Information From The Experts
What is a Drum and Why do I need one?
By Karen Phillips from Direct Office Products
I have a laser printer - so what is a drum and why do I need one?
I am often asked what is the difference between the toner and the drum?
The drum is a waste collection unit. It is a consumable part and will need to be replaced when your print appears excessively blackened, or you get a check drum warning.
A laser beam produces an image on a drum. The light of the laser alters the electrical charge on the drum wherever it hits. The drum is then rolled through a reservoir of toner, which is picked up by the charged portions of the drum. Finally, the toner is transferred to the paper through a combination of heat and pressure.
So, the drum is what holds the image itself.. the toner cartridges hold the black and/or color toners that are transferred to the drum.
The drum usually needs to be replaced around every 5 toners.
Written by Donna Stone from Stone Consulting
Well, the word now is not that “cash is king” but that now “cash is the whole royal family!”. Cash is crucial to keeping any business running; your cash tightens up and you may as well have severed your carotid artery. So, here are 21 really practical and down to earth tips for businesses to keep their cash flowing.
1. Invoice immediately or frequently. If you do larger projects, be sure to invoice in instalments (progress claims) but otherwise invoice immediately after the job, or at least weekly. You need to invoice to get paid.
2. Make it easy for a client to pay. Include your bank details on the invoice and have various options for payment, ie direct, BPAY, Credit Card or cheque.
3. Debt collect every week. Yep – weekly! Have a system, a schedule and keep notes. When someone makes a promise but fails to fulfil, follow up as you should have noted all promises and when they were made. Remember the adage “the squeaky wheel gets the grease”. Squeak heaps and get those payments in quicker. It’s a statistical fact that the longer you let an account go unpaid, the more likelihood of you not being paid – at all.
4. Know your margins and your cycles. And of course, keep your bookkeeping up to date. A sale may mean income (in the books) but reality is that it’s when the client pays that’s critical. If your average collection days are say 70 and you are buying lots of stock, which has to be paid in 30 days, you are carrying a lot. Try to close the gap. If you can buy on credit, 30 days from end of month, buy early in the month, so you essentially get up to 60 days. Cut the debtors from 70 to 50 days and you’ll be ahead.
5. Keep stock purchases to a minimum – don’t carry any more stuck than necessary. Of course you have to have stock to keep the business going, but know what moves and what does not. For example, I am a MYOB software re-seller. Some levels sell heaps and I stock these, but other levels (the very high levels) move slowly so I only order these in on a needs-only basis.
6. Have client/customer agreements and be sure to cover aspects such as interest or fees you charge on late payment – remember you are not a free bank for your customers; if you owe the ATO money, they have a GIC (general interest charge) why shouldn’t you?
7. Get customers/clients to pay deposits on work – especially if you have stock. It’s quite common for high stock items (such as cabinet makers) to ask for a 30% deposit.
8. Don’t release work till you are paid. Many service orientated businesses, will not release work (ie Accountants with clients tax returns) until they are paid, or at least the old account is settled.
9. If you have a client who has a bad history of payment or looks to be going bankrupt, then definitely work on a pre-payment system. With a bad history, it’s very fair to ask for repayment in order to keep doing their work.
10. Consider “sacking” the “D” grade clients. If they are hard work, always unjustly complain and then don’t pay – you don’t want them. Honestly. Move them out to make room for a new “A” grade client.
11. Look after you’re “A” and “B” grade clients. These are great clients and you value them, so be sure to look after them and not put so much emphasis on gaining new clients that you neglect the old. Find at least one thing you can value add to these clients (perhaps a free report, or additional free service) to show thanks for their custom.
12. If you have a new client who has no history with you, again work on pre-payment system for 3-6 months. Be polite way and explain it’s standard Corporate Policy – most (especially if they have good payment intentions) will understand and be ok.
13. Don’t discount. Look at a “discounting table” on the internet – it really can be scary. You will see for example that if you gross profit margin is say 15% and you discount by a tiny 5%, then you actually have to double your sales volume to achieve the same gross profit.
14. Ask suppliers for early payment discounts. Although you know discounting isn’t good, doesn’t mean you can’t ask your suppliers for discounts if you pay early. They may decide that having the payment early is worth giving out the discount.
15. Watch your expenses. Ensure you are not paying a fortune in phone services, or bank fees, but don’t be silly about it. Remember you “need to spend money to make money”. Don’t cut costs on things like marketing and advertising and these costs are really investments in your business and critical to its good health.
16. Ensure your marketing/advertising is working. Above I said to not cut costs, but be sure you spend well. Track your leads. Ask every new enquiry how they heard from you and write it down. If you spend money on an advert that generates zero enquiry, then it’s close to wasted money.
17. Review/revamp your website. We are in the age of technology and most people search via the internet. When did you last review your web site? Or gosh, do you even have one? For most businesses, an effective website can really generate a lot of work. Use it.
18. Have a good accountant – this will help (legally) with tax liabilities and possibly reduce the need for instalment, and thus free your cash up further.
19. See your solicitor or accountant re your entity setup. Not only is the setup critical for asset protection, but quite often you can (legally) pay less tax with the correct setup. For example, why pay individual tax at 46.5%, rather than corporate tax at 30%?
20. Have a mentor or business coach. Often (especially those of us in small business) we benefit from advise from a coach or mentor. Maybe we just need someone to keep us focussed and on track, or to ask curly questions. Don’t forget your accountant here too – a good one will help your business with more than just tax return prep.
21. Educate yourself – read articles on business subjects, attend seminars and gain knowledge. Sometimes it’s not about learning something new, but refreshing ourselves with reminders on what we should be doing – and then do it.
Donna Stone is the founder of Stone Consulting, has over 25 years experience, 12 staff and hundreds of clients. Her multi award winning Consultancy & Bookkeeping business, celebrating its 10th year in 2010, uses MYOB, Cashflow Manager & BankLink. Learn more at www.stoneconsulting.com.au.
© Donna Stone, 2010
Written by Donna Stone from Stone Consulting
It never ceases to astound me how a member during a Key Business Meeting will say to me “Donna, I didn’t know you did that!” The fact is that 60 seconds is not enough time to say everything you do. In fact it’s often hard to get across not only everything you do but also how you do it, and also your business philosophies and how you look after your customers.
I’ve been in networking groups which meet weekly for about 3 years now and I’ve found time and time again that I get the best and most leads after I’ve had a meeting with one of my members. It’s simply a fact that if someone knows you better and what you do better and feels connected with you, then they are more likely going to give you leads. So if you want more leads, get out there and have a Key Business Meeting with more members.
Personally I love to have a Key Meeting after the main meeting; this ensures I have one a week AND it’s convenient. We are both there – so it’s easy to just stay an extra hour and have a meeting. Whether you devote the hour to one member or split the time (my preference, as I like to share) the important thing is to be prepared and of course be sure to listen to the other person.
Donna Stone is the founder of the multi award winning Consulting business
Stone Consulting. She is also the author of Stepping Stones to
Business Success – a book of over 200 tips on how to succeed in business,
borne of over 25 years experience working with businesses. Learn more at
www.stoneconsulting.com.au or www.donna-stone.com.au .
KBN Josh Browne Wins Toastmasters' Competition!
Josh's Story of Achievement!
On Monday 28th November, I competed in the Toastmasters' Queensland Area 7 Tyro Competition. The Tyro competition is for members of Toastmasters that haven’t completed more than 4 speeches out of their Toastmasters workbook. Each state with in Australia is broken up into districts with each district made up of areas. In order to compete in the Area 7 Tyro I first needed to win first place in my club’s Tyro competition. Sunnybank Toastmasters Tyro was held a few weeks ago to which I came first place thus moving me on to the Area Tyro Competition.
There were four other competitors from various clubs within the area. We each draw the order to which we would speak, I drew last. The first speaker was very dramatic in his performance and having spoken with him later he said that he had an acting background. Two of the speakers used PowerPoint and media to aid their presentations but I felt it took away from their presentation as they relied too much on it.
After all the speeches were presented we waited for the results. Third place was announces, it wasn’t me. I became really nervous as I didn’t think I had done enough to win. Second place was announced, it wasn’t me. I almost breathed a sigh of relief and grew in confidence. First place was announce, “Josh Browne”. All my nerves disappeared in that one moment a smile came to my face as I went up and collected my trophy and certificate.
Toastmasters is a fantastic way to improve or polish your public speaking skills. I highly recommend it for anyone who is giving any form of presentation in the current work role.
Written by Julie Bannister from Key Business Network
Network With Ease
This week I want to cover several points about ‘Overcoming the Fear of Networking’.
By practising some simple effective communication skills you will be able network with ease and make the experience more enjoyable.
I often meet people who are very nervous when going to networking events. I suppose most of us were nervous at our first few networking events but we soon realised that it is not as bad as we thought it would be. One very important thought to remember is that if people are out networking they are ‘usually’ going to be friendly and welcoming (or they should be).
People are now realising that networking is the most effective form of advertising. People want to do business with people, not with a business name or brand. Networking with other people is far more cost effective than other forms of marketing.
More and more people are networking. If you don’t learn how to network, you will be left behind and miss out on a lot of business. When you get to a stage where you can relax with your networking, it becomes very enjoyable and you look forward to every event.
I believe there are some very simple points to remember when you are going to your first network meetings or visiting a new group:
• Remember to use good communication skills- good eye contact; give the other person your attention when you are chatting- listen to them and appear interested in what they are saying
• Have a goal to meet a certain number of new people at each meeting (and this number should not be too many). You may be attending a networking event that has a large number of people present but you would not benefit from trying to make contact with all or most of them. It is far more beneficial to meet and chat with a small number of those people and build rapport with them.
• Try to appear relaxed and easy going. People wish to be around others who are ‘easy to be with’. Be comfortable to be with.
• Do not be a know it all or egotistical. When networking you need to use the 80/20 rule- listen for 80% of the time and talk for 20% of the time and this especially applies when talking about yourself. A good way to make this happens is to start off by asking the other person a question. You should tell others about what your business is and what you do but do not overdo it.
• Try to be interesting so people will get something of value by associating with you.
• Practice liking people.
• Give recognition and congratulations for achievements and remember to edify others where appropriate.
I hope these few points help when you go out to your networking events.