How to Start a Bookkeeping Business – Tips to Choose Your Business Name

It is important to have a positive feeling in the business name. It is not essential to have bookkeeping in the title, but many people use it and it makes it clear what people are getting. It is good to keep it relatively short, to make it easy to remember. Words which are synonymous with bookkeeping can be a good start, like balanced, bottom line, in the black or BASic.

It is also important to research what people are searching for when looking for a bookkeeper. Often people will look on line for a bookkeeper. It is import to understand that many people search online for services and if you can have a name which contains some of the key words that people use when looking for a bookkeeper, you will be easy to find. We will go into detail later about marketing and internet search engines, but at this stage it is important to consider the words people may be using to find you. The closer you are to the top of the page in the search engine the more chance you have to be found and promote your services.

Spend some time looking at other business names in the bookkeeping industry, what do you like? What would you look for if you wanted a bookkeeper? Do some research using online tools such as Google niche finder.This tool will show you what people are searching for in relation to bookkeeping and it will give you the volume of people searching and it will give you an indication of the advertising volume for those key words. Ideally it is good to fins a high search volume with low advertising as this equates to low competition.

Once you have thought of your business name, depending on the structure you have chosen, it will determine how you proceed.

If you have chosen a company structure, you have the option of registering a general company name and use trading as names for your bookkeeping business. This may be of value if you are planning on doing a few different arms of your business. For example you might register XYZ Pty Ltd and then register a trading name such as Julias Basic Bookkeeping. You are also then free to market other services which can be run through the Company but via a different trading name, such as Julias Bookkeeping Training. This way you can have multiple business threads via one company which minimizes cost and does not lock the company name into one business stream.

To operate in the above manner, you need to complete the registration of a company form (form 201) which can be downloaded from the ASIC web site. It is then sent off with payment and once processed; you are sent your registration details. You can then register any applicable business names you wish to operate as trading as names. You will then need to open any bank accounts and register with the ATO for an ABN and register for GST if applicable.

If you are registering the company under the chosen name, such as Better Bookkeeping Services Pty Ltd, you can just complete the form 201 from ASIC and send it with the applicable fee. Once processed and your company registration certificate is issued, you can arrange your bank accounts, ABN and register for GST if you are going to do so.

If you are operating as a sole trader, you can apply for your business name in the State in which you are trading. You do not need to obtain your registration certificate before obtaining your ABN as it is issued in your name as a sole trader. This means you can obtain your ABN and register for GST if applicable whilst you are thinking about your business name. Once you have registered your business name you can open any accounts required in your business name.

On another note, your business name will become important at a later date if you ever want to sell your business. It its important to understand what your long term goals are to see if this will have an impact on your business name choice and or structure. You can think about this later and you can always change your name and structure later, but it is important to think about how transferable your business name is.

7 Small Business Marketing Tips

Small businesses do not often have large budgets. Thanks to the Internet, small business marketing can be a huge success, even without big dollars behind it.

Small business marketing can benefit from new trends in general marketing. These trends point to methods that are inexpensive, innovative, and online.

One of the key online options for small business marketing is search engines. The cost of submitting your Web site to a search engine is minor, but there are some considerations to be made:

1. Your site must be optimized with keyword phrases. Search engine optimization is achieved by including keyword phrases that apply to your company. These phrases must be present enough times to draw the attention of the search engines to your site.

2. Since most small businesses focus on their local market, you should aim your advertising efforts at your local audience. Users have recently begun pushing for better local search capabilities and most search engine companies are responding. Statistics have shown that 74% of Internet users perform local searches. Your keywords should reflect your locale and you should look into local search engines and directories, like your local Yellow Pages, Google Local, Citysearch and others.
If you are a local merchant and your intention is to sell products on the web, one of many tactics is to build your online ads around local content to increase your click through rate.

3. Speaking of local searches, newspaper Web sites have become the top portal in their local areas, especially among the coveted 18-34 demographic. Traditional newspaper advertising is generally beyond most small business marketing budgets, but the online versions offer more affordable ads on the “back” pages – those that are not visited as often but are rich in content.

4. Another exciting small business marketing method is the weblog, or blog. A blog offers your business a good way to have an inexpensive, two-way conversation with your customers. Write a blog for your Web site to give your customers and prospects an additional reason to visit your site.

5. Podcasts are among the newest small business marketing techniques. A podcast is a multimedia file (think radio broadcast) distributed by paid or unpaid subscription over the Internet. Podcasts offer you a direct way to tell your prospects how your product or service can benefit them.

6. Many small businesses can use online seminars or demos, also known as webinars, to demonstrate and promote their latest products. Online demos are an ideal tool for small business marketing because they are relatively easy to produce and allow you to reach a wide audience without ever leaving the office.

7. A strong online presence is a critical component of any small business marketing campaign. Why? Because the Internet offers advertising options that are relatively inexpensive. Because 87% of consumers research purchases online before they buy. Because 63% research online and then visit a bricks and mortar store to complete a purchase. And because demographic trends show that the most desired customers are most accessible through online means.

Small Business Marketing Materials

Small business marketing materials introduce a product to its consumers. The marketing materials detail the features of the product to the public. Small business marketing materials are intended to grab the attention of the public and enhance sales. Marketing materials play a significant role in the positioning of the product in the market. These materials include collateral materials, advertisements and technical tools such as websites and emails.

Marketing materials are designed carefully since they reflect the quality and credibility of the business concern. A small business is always in search of unique marketing materials to withstand the severe competition in the market. The text in the material must compel the consumer with a new offer or information. Small business marketing materials must be standout pieces, highlighting the product.

Small business marketing materials should also be cost effective, since the marketing budget is limited for a small concern. The appearance of the material is important. All the materials of a concern must maintain a unique family look. They are designed according to the strategy of the business. Professional designing is preferred to harness technological advancements in this field. It utilizes different combinations of colors and graphics to make the material more attractive. In technical materials, the possibilities of animation are also exploited. Good quality photographs of the product are included to detail the parts and their purpose. Marketing tips remind us to use effective design without extravagant splashes of color.

Small business marketing collaterals comprise printed materials such as brochures, logos, newsletters and business cards. Advertisings such as banner ads, sign boards, trade show handouts, magazine and directory ads are also marketing materials. Technological advancement has now introduced a wide scenario of web marketing. Websites and email alerts are potential marketing tools. Email alerts and affiliate marketing sites form effective marketing materials. Complimentary gifts such as shirts, caps, pens and curios with the company logo are marketing materials that appeal to the public.

The design of small business marketing materials is usually entrusted to advertising firms. Professionals with technical excellence and creative experience are essential for good designs. The material design must be consistent to avoid confusion among consumers. Guidelines and templates for designs are available on Internet sites.

How to Start a Bookkeeping Business – Your Business Plan

If you are about to start a bookkeeping business, a business plan is an essential part of your start up requirements. This might not sound like a news flash, but many people start their own business by accident and they stumble along getting clients slowly or doing the books for their family business.

Although this is a great starting point, but if you want to take your bookkeeping business to the next level and want to create a sustainable long term business, you will need a business plan.

Many people run for cover when your start talking about creating a business plan, but it really is a wonderful tool to make your business grow to the next level. A business plan gives you all the information you need at your finger tips. Your business plan then becomes a reference tool and can help guide you in the choices you make in you business life.

You can pin point what your market is, who you market is and how you will capture your market when you have a business plan. You will be able to understand your own weakness and strengths with a business plan. It will give you a road map of where you are going and how to have a successful bookkeeping business.

There are many things which you can include in a business plan and it doesn’t need to be a 10 page novel. Short statements about what you want to achieve and how you will achieve it is fine. Waffle will not make your business plan any clearer and the age old expression, keep it simple stupid rings true.

What is your business? This is an important question for you to really understand what your business will do. Is it targeted to specific industry? You might have a lot of experience in a certain sector, such as retail or hospitality. If so, capitalise on this and market your expertise to this sector.

Is there a market for the bookkeeping business? This is a very fundamental one, but often not asked. You will need to make sure there actually is a market for a bookkeeping business in there you wish to operate in.

Is the market expanding or contracting? It is a good idea to understand what is going on in the market so you can assess if there is a long term future in the bookkeeping industry. Fortunately, bookkeeping services and the ongoing need for bookkeeping is expanding in Australia, US, UK, Canada and New Zealand.

How are you going to price your bookkeeping service? What will you do which is unique, what is your competitive advantage? Who are your competitors? What are your strengths? What are your weaknesses? How will you overcome your weaknesses and capitalise on your strengths?

These are only examples, you can use these questions as a template and modify it for your purposes and add your own ideas and requirements to it. It is a good starting point. Not only will you be made to think clearly about your bookkeeping operations, it will also assist with making the business become a reality. Additionally, it will make you feel more professional and you never know when your business plan may be needed for something.