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Outsourcing. Does it sound such a scary word to you? For many new and small businesses, the answer is a resounding yes! Outsourcing involves paying someone to do something related to your business. If cashflow is short or you struggle with the thought of others doing something for your business, outsourcing be thought of as a big no-no.

We thought it was time to shed some light on this ‘bad word’ known as outsourcing, explaining the benefits of doing it and identifying exactly what tasks can be outsourced.

What is Outsourcing?

Outsourcing is the hiring of a freelancer or business to do a particular job for you. A good example is engaging the services of a bookkeeper to keep your accounts straight. You pay them to do things specific to this task. You remain in full control of what they are doing and your business.

By far the biggest hurdle for new businesses is getting over the mindset of having to pay someone else to do something they believe they could do. We completely get that. When you have a new business, it’s ‘your baby’ in a way and you want to do everything to help it grow. Becoming a jack of all trades and a master of none is very common. It’s the master of none that is the concerning aspect. By doing absolutely everything, you are not focusing specifically on your strengths; the things that are going to help grow your business. Instead, you spend more time than necessary having to get your head around figuring out (and possibly doing a poor job) how to do something. It’s this task you could have outsourced, and while it would have cost you money, it frees up your time to use your strengths and grow your business. A far better alternative, in our opinion.

Why is Outsourcing a Good Idea?

The best way to answer this is by listing the benefits that outsourcing can provide you with. They include:

  • Saving you time, which saves you money – forget spending 12 hours doing your accounts, when a bookkeeper could do the same amount in one hour!
  • Frees you up to do the things you enjoy doing – you don’t need to do everything, and that especially means the things you dislike doing. You also don’t need to work every hour of every day, which means you can still have a life outside of your business.
  • Cheaper and less hassle than having an employee – there is no overtime, holiday pay or KiwiSaver to worry about. You simply have a contract with the person or company you are outsourcing to, which states what you want them to do, when they’ll do it and how much you will need to pay.
  • Giving you access to new skill-sets – not everyone is good at writing, sewing or using social media. If you are not confident or have little knowledge about a task needing to be done for your business, outsource it to someone who does know what they are doing.
  • You choose how long you need their services for – whether it is for one day a week, the next two months or only at certain times of the year, you decide.

There are also three things to look out for which should be triggering you into thinking it is time to outsource:

  • There is a more cost-effective way to get tasks done
  • Some tasks take too long for you to complete
  • You are unable to do what really needs to be done to grow your business because you are stuck doing the mundane daily business tasks

Once you’ve decided to outsource, next comes deciding what that task will be, and who will do it for you.

Choosing What Business Tasks to Outsource

Start this process by firstly identifying the challenges you are facing in your business. These may include chasing unpaid invoices, posting on social media, not having any free time anymore or struggling to understand how to take your business to the next step. Note down the tasks you enjoy doing and where your strengths are, as well as the ones you hate doing and struggle with completing.

This list should have identified a number of business tasks. Group them into levels of importance and consider which ones you would be happy to give to someone else to do. You’ll also need to consider the cost of outsourcing each task and if outsourced, what return will it give you back in terms of you being able to do something else?

Common tasks new and small businesses outsource include:

There are some tasks though, that shouldn’t be outsourced. These are the absolutely critical things your business does that nobody outside of it would understand how to do. This can include things such as professional development, company culture, manufacture of a highly specific product, or particular service.

Once you have identified exactly what you want to outsource, it’s time to find the right person or company to do the work.

Choosing Who to Outsource to

While it’s not as time-consuming as hiring an employee, it does take time to find the right person to outsource your work to. If you haven’t already got someone in mind, a good place to start your search would be to ask for recommendations. Word of mouth is one of the easiest ways to find and learn about potentials. You can get honest feedback from others and no sense of pressure to hire them.

Otherwise to find freelancers or companies are to look for recommendations on websites, social media or networking groups. Visit their website and learn more about the services they offer and how they work. Many are happy to have a free chat with you to discuss your needs and explain how they could help meet them. If you are wanting to meet in person, then choosing someone local becomes important. But if you are happy to chat via Skype, phone or email, then their location shouldn’t be a factor in your decision.

It’s also important that you contact your shortlist of potentials to ‘interview’ them, in a way. Asking for references or clients to talk with helps you learn more about how they work. You’ll also see what their communication is like, be it by email or phone. It’s a good idea to use their services in a small scale first, before signing any long-term contracts. In regard to the contract itself, read the fine print regarding any cancellation or other penalties you may be up for.

At MBP Online, it’s true that you can outsource all of your accounting and bookkeeping tasks to us. But we can also help you with keeping on top of your taxes and making future plans to grow your business. Based in Taupo (where our espresso machine is always on for clients), we work with both local and NZ wide businesses. Get in touch and let’s have a chat about your needs and how we can help.

Your considering turning your hobby into a profitable business but have a few questions you’d like answered first. We’re guessing they include questions such as:

  • How do I know if it will be successful?
  • What steps do I need to take to set up a new business?
  • Should I quit my job and do my business full time?
  • How do I know if I’ve got what it takes to run a profitable business?

As you’re thinking seriously about turning your hobby into a profitable business, you must already be passionate and reasonably confident about it. So, let us help you understand what steps you will need to take to turn your hobby into a business.

Am I Ready to Take the Next Step with My Hobby?

Before you jump into making any big decisions, there are a few questions you should be asking yourself first:

  • Will I enjoy my hobby when I have to work to a deadline to fulfil orders?
  • Do I like my hobby enough to live and breathe it 24/7?
  • Am I happy with the quality of the goods I produce and know that my customers would be satisfied too?
  • How much are you prepared to sacrifice to start up this business (emotionally, physically and financially)?

If you are happy with your answers, then the chances are that now is a good time for you to start looking into turning your hobby into a business.

Can a Hobby Become a Profitable Business?

Yes, absolutely! There is a catch, though; it requires plenty of hard work and determination. A hobby is something you do because you enjoy doing it. A business is when you sell products (which you could make by doing your hobby) for a profit.

The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (along with the IRD), clearly state that if you sell goods regularly online or in person, you are in trade. This means that you are in business if you:

  • Buy and resell goods
  • Intend to make a profit selling goods
  • Are creating goods to sell for a profit
  • Offer your goods to others to sell on your behalf
  • Receive payment (cash or otherwise) for goods

If you already are or want to be selling what you make for a profit, then it’s time to get serious!

First Steps in Turning a Hobby into a Business

A profitable business is one which receives more income than it has expenses. That sounds simple enough, but it is the biggest thing new businesses struggle to achieve. A business is more likely to fail in its first two to three years, making planning and preparation before starting a business vital. To successfully turn your hobby into a profitable business, you will need to do the following:

  • Research your industry – who else is making products like yours? What do they sell them for? Is there a market for your type of products?
  • Investigate your own products – what is the time and cost involved in making each product? What can you realistically sell them for? How much profit will you make, and is it enough? What makes your products different from those sold by your competitors? Do some product testing in that you ask your target audience what they think of your product, if they would buy it, and how much they would pay. Check out how others promote products similar to yours.
  • Create a business plan – this is your blueprint which contains all of the steps you will need to take over the first year. It also lists your goals, where you will go for help if needed, your additional resources and how you will sell your products. We can help you with your business planning – just ask!
  • Investigate the rules and regulations for your industry – there are some industries including clothing, food and toys which have many compulsory regulations to follow. Not meeting these can result in huge financial penalties against you.
  • Apply for a business IRD number
  • Decide upon your business structure – sole trader or company – and set it up
  • Register for GST if necessary
  • Open a business only bank account
  • Organise your business’ resources including domain name and website, logo and graphics, social media accounts and products
  • Seek advice from a business advisor. Yes, it will cost you money when things may be tight. However, it is best to pay a small amount now and get things right from the start, than to be out of pocket for huge expenses if you make bad decisions.

You’ll also need to decide if you are going to treat your business as a supplementary income and keep your existing job. Or if you are willing to resign and work on your business full-time. There’s pros and cons for both options, and it all comes down to the level of risk you are prepared to take.

We are more than willing and able to help get your new business off on the right foot. Our business planning services team can help you create realistic goals and identify the steps needed to achieve them. Get in touch with us now, and let’s have a chat over coffee: our shout!

Taking the Next Steps in Turning Your Hobby into a Profitable Business

Most likely you’ve got a website up and going and are busy building a following on social media. Creating an online presence is an affordable way for a new business to sell and promote its products. Other activities you’re involved with should include networking both in person and online with other small business owners, following helpful business blogs (like ours), and keeping up to date with the latest developments in your industry.

It’s also essential that you keep financial records for your new business. This includes keeping receipts for expenses, details of all income received, bank records, credit and debit notes, details of wages and PAYE if required. A company structured business will have different financial reporting requirements than a sole trader, so make sure that understand what they are.

Each year you will be required to create financial statements for your business. The bare minimum of information you must include in these are:

  • Balance sheet detailing assets, liabilities and net assets
  • Profit and loss statement, or income and expenditure
  • Statement of accounting policies
  • Details of this year’s results against last years

If this seems completely overwhelming and is not the reason why you wanted to start a business, we understand. Not everyone wants to be a bean counter and spend hours drooling over columns of numbers. But we do, except we don’t drool – just drink plenty of coffee!

Our team of accountants and bookkeepers can handle your businesses’ financial paperwork and obligations for you. We love diving into tax returns, completing financial reports and identifying ways our clients can reduce their tax obligations; legally, of course.

We offer a range of tailored business accounting packages for all businesses, including start-ups like yours. We’d be honoured to help support you as you make your way in transforming your hobby into a profitable business. Get in touch with us today, and let’s chat!

Most good accountants are great at reading the data and giving implementable advice to their customers to help improve that bottom line. They are worth their weight in gold if they can tell you at a glance about seasonal fluctuations, government policies that may affect you and areas where you can streamline or invest to get the most productivity. But all of this great insight and advice is worth very little if actions aren’t taken. That is where your accountability coach comes in.

“Professional Nag”

When you became self-employed or bought/took-over your business, I bet you thought that having someone on your case (like a boss), was in the past.

As humans, we’re very good at putting things off. That dental appointment, getting Xero reconciled and taking steps to improve your business, get moved to the end of the list in favour of instant gratification tasks (and the social media rabbit hole – don’t pretend that you don’t know what I’m talking about).

An accountability coach becomes your secret weapon of productivity;

Need to spend time getting your website built? Everyday you get to check in with your accountability coach that you’ve done half hour and that equates to a fully functioning website that can make you more sales without having to employ more sales staff.

You know a quite period is coming up so need to set up a marketing plan now. Your accountability coach can make sure you’ve scheduled posts, set up an onboarding system and are putting your best foot forward to reach your target market.

An accountability coach can save you from burn out. They can tell you when you need a break, when you’ve done enough, and you just need to trust the process. This is one of the hardest things for driven business owners to do, but it is vital to avoid a crash, that could wipe you out. Reducing your time out of the game.

You’ll build a trusted working relationship with your Accountability Coach

They’ll be someone you can reach out to when the unexpected happens, when you just can’t see the start point. You will be able to discuss the whole experience of being your own boss including all the ups and downs of being a human (health, dependents, confrontations, anxiety, personal barriers and financial realities). Because a good Accountability Coach knows from experience that being the boss means that the business needs you to be able to make clear decisions and life doesn’t hit pause just because you’re in work mode.

Like your Accountant and/or Bookkeeper, an Accountability Coach can be part of your team. The team that supports You as the business owner. Just because you’re self-employed doesn’t mean you have to go it alone.

Want to talk to an Accountability Coach, see if the service is right for you & your business? Talk to AJ The Business Owners Accountability Coach W: aj-pipe.com  T: 021 246 4244 E: ajpipe@ajpipe.com

 

Note: MBP will only be responsible for the terms and conditions for an engagement undertaken directly with MBP. If you undertake a new engagement with a separate firm or a related entity you will need to enter into your own contractual arrangements directly with that firm or entity. We will not accept any liability in respect to any work they may undertake for you.

There are a huge number of benefits to running a business with an abundance mentality, but what is it.

What is an Abundance Mentality

In short, an abundance mentality is an acknowledgement that there is enough demand in the market to support many businesses. Its essentially the business version of the old ‘more fish in the sea’ approach to dating. This allows you to be less desperate to compete and more open to collaboration and developing a community of success.

How Can an Abundance Mentality Help My Business

Co-opetition

When you aren’t focused on every single business in your industry as competition, you develop a much more symbiotic relationship with your industry. This opens up or highlights opportunities for co-operation with your competition, something we like to call co-opetition.

Co-opetition is really at the core of the abundance mentality. With increasingly more businesses across all industries developing services and products tailored to very specific niches, there is growing room for cooperation between businesses with complimentary products or services.

These strategic partnerships allow businesses to focus on delivering the best they can to their customers in their niche. However, they acknowledge that they cant do everything. So they partner with strategic competitors who offer specialised services to a different niche. This way, no matter what the needs of  client or customer, the business is able to help get them sorted.

Specialisation

This focus on delivering to your niche allows you to specialise. This specialisation enables you to become the go-to expert in your field. This not only improves your relationship with existing customers and clients but also increases the likelihood of your industry partners referring to you for things in your niche.

Better Customer Service

Kiwi’s seem to expect a one-stop-shop. However, no business is ever going to be an expert in every single thing a client or customer will ever need. In order to get the best possible outcomes, your clients or customers are going to have to go somewhere else at some point.

Chances are, they’ll ask you before they look around. In a competitive mindset, this is where you say you can help and you inevitably do a sub-par job or just screw it up all together. With an abundance mentality, this is where you refer them to on our your trusted strategic partners.

Our Abundance Mentality in Action

There is no longer a need to look at business as kill or be killed.

Here at MBP, we live by an abundance mentality. We are accountants, but we refer prospective clients to other firms if we think they will be a better fit with them or we don’t think they’ll live into our core values.

Our MBP Bookkeepers are are your expert team of bookkeeping pros, with the backing and support of our team of accountants. However, some clients prefer to have the bookkeeping outsourced. That’s why refer them all to the team at Admin Army.

At MBP, we offer coaching and business development services. However, our coaches aren’t the best fit for everyone. You need to really gel to make it work. That’s why we refer people to the business owners accountability coach, AJ Pipe.

These businesses compete with us on one level or another. However, we acknowledge that we can’t do it all and deliver the same level of consistent expert service, that’s why we need partners.

 

Note: MBP will only be responsible for the terms and conditions for an engagement undertaken directly with MBP. If you undertake a new engagement with a separate firm or a related entity you will need to enter into your own contractual arrangements directly with that firm or entity. We will not accept any liability in respect to any work they may undertake for you.

The New Year is a time for setting goals and targets for the months head. Its also the best time to make sure you have the best people on your team to help you achieve those goals and targets. That makes it a great time to look for a new accountant.

Your accountant is one of the most important people on your team. They might not be the first person you’d consider. However, a having an approachable, proactive accountant can be the difference between success and failure.

When is it Time to Consider a New Accountant?

Any time is a good time to look at your options. Whether you want better results, better service or better value for money, its always a good time to look for your best fit.

If you aren’t happy with the services provided, don’t feel your treated properly or are not getting value for money, its definitely time to switch. No matter what time of year it is.

Take the Time to Find the Right New Accountant

Regardless of how long you’ve been with your current accountant, a new accountant could be the perfect match for you. Not all accountants are created equal and every single business is different. To get the best value from the relationship between you and your accountant, you have to be a good match.

For example, at MBP, we have a set of unwritten ‘clubhouse rules’. These aren’t anything hard and fast but are a way for us to get to quickly understand how a new business will partner with us. We use the term partner instead of client because its far more appropriate. We consider all of our clients to be our MBP Business Partners. As such, they get the best partner level service, direct access to the team and generous discounts on business products and services. If we don’t think a business will fit in comfortably or won’t be a good fit, we’ll refer them to another firm in our network who we think will be a better match.

Should You Look for a New Accountant with Fixed Fees?

Fixed fee accounting is a great way to ensure that you get everything you need at a price you’re willing to pay. Its also really easy on cash flow as you don’t get stung with any huge bills. The smaller monthly payments make cash flow management a breeze.

Fixed fees, no surprises.

At MBP, we have a range of fixed price packages built for every business. From sole traders to rental property investments, end of year essentials to monthly management reports, we have every solution you need at a fixed fee.

A Proactive New Accountant Will Highlight Potential Issues

Time seems to pass faster than ever in the modern world and in business it seems to fly even faster. Gone are the days when you can afford to only see your accountant once a year to discuss things that happened months ago. To not only stay ahead of the competition but to maintain your financial position in the face of increase competition, you need a proactive accountant.

A proactive accountant doesn’t just sit back and wait. They get stuck into your books throughout the year. At least bi-monthly they will review how things are tracking, and if anything jumps out to them as an issue. This gives you an invaluable opportunity to benefit from outside eyes looking in, holding you accountable and giving you any necessary nudges..

Often, business owners get stuck in the day to day. With a proactive new accountant, that isn’t an issue. You can get stuck into doing what you love while they focus on making sure the big picture is still working.

Is it Difficult To Shift to a New Accountant?

Moving to a new accountant is as easy as having a cup of coffee. In fact, you can sit there and have a cup of coffee while we get it all sorted. The team at MBP do all the heavy lifting, including handling the divorce with your old accountant.

You won’t notice any interruptions and before you know it, you’ll be all moved in with your new accountant and their team.

Make The Move To Modern Accounting With MBP

The team at MBP aren’t your old accountants. We don’t just meet with you once a year, we’re there by you all year long, through it all. With fixed price packages and unlimited communication, you never have to be afraid of getting a bill for a simple phone call or a quick query over email. Our team are here to support you and your business on your path to success.

We leverage the power of the best accounting software and tools available to streamline our services. This means we invest more time in dealing with our clients direct. Unlike old firms, we’re able to give you timely monthly reports, KPI tracking and business coaching in real time.

If its time for a new accountant, get in touch with the team at MBP. We’ll schedule a proactive accounting meeting to see exactly what your needs are and how we can tailor our services to give you everything you need and nothing you don’t.