Spring 2013

Five steps to ‘engaging’ website visitors

ON 28 October 2012, Monte Hubesch published a “5 step video process to ‘engage’ website visitors”. 

If you’re considering updating your website, have a look at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N9x2XfjnOns

If this doesn’t work just Google “monte hubesch on website design” as we did.

Why should you watch this Youtube presentation? 

Firstly, because Monte points out the importance of having a Youtube presentation on your home page.

Secondly, he tells you the five steps to get the best result from your video. He tells you how to drag in the customers.

Thirdly, he tells you to do it yourself. Home-made is best. You can even take the pictures on your cell phone.

If you really think you should leave this to a professional, look at the video, anyway. You’ll be better placed to tell the professional just what you want.

Monte Hubesch is CEO of Aussieweb Local Search, in Brisbane.

When designing your website, consider the following:

Who are you trying to attract?

How can you capture the visitor’s email address?

Design your website with the customer in mind, not yourself. Don’t talk about what you can offer. Talk about finding solutions for the customer’s problems.

Who cares about your firm? No one except you and maybe your mother. Why should they?  “About us” is only of use to increase your credibility. It does not need to be prominent.

As in all marketing, references are invaluable. Put them into your website.

Replacement insurance - it’s up to you

SAY goodbye to insuring your house for replacement. It was nice while it lasted.

In future, the risk of not getting full replacement value is going to be on you. You will have to work out what it will cost to rebuild your house.

There are all sorts of hidden extras  such as resource consent, retaining walls and swimming pools, which can be easily overlooked. Add to this the volatility of the building industry.

Finally, when there’s a crisis such as in Christchurch, scarcity is going to make everything even more expensive.

Be very careful working out the cost of rebuilding. It’s likely to be higher than the market value of your house (excluding the value of your land). You could get a quantity surveyor’s help. Once he/she sets up the measurements, it should be easy to key in new monetary values in following years.

Once you have a cost of replacement, you then need to decide how much you want to add to this figure to allow for delays and price rises.

Do you rent your holiday home?

IF YOU rent your holiday home, you need to start keeping records now (in addition to income and expenditure) of the following:

·           Who uses the home each day of the year?

·           Their relationship to you.

·           Rent charged to each person.

·           Details of any repairs, including the reason for the repairs.

The man who asked

A YOUNG man recently set up business as an IT consultant.

When he sent his third bill, he asked, in an attached email, whether the customer was happy with his work. He then said: “Please feel free to pass on my details to anyone who might be in need of some assistance.”

There’s everything to gain and nothing to lose in asking for referrals.

SEVERAL new apps for smartphones and other mobile devices are out there to make your business life easier.

Some are downright silly and a waste of time, but some are useful. One worth looking at is an app to convert business cards. You know what it’s like – a drawer full of business cards which get pulled out when you suddenly need a phone number or  email address.

There are apps for all sorts of mobile devices, but for people with iPhones and other Apple iOS devices, there’s Card Munch. With this little app you can photograph the business card with your smartphone and the business networking company LinkedIn (who provide the app) convert the data to an electronic form. This is then added to your device’s electronic contacts. An Android app is in the pipeline.

CardMunch is apparently very accurate because real people do the processing. And it costs nothing, at least at the moment.

The advantages – other than not having to sift through physical cards when you’re looking for a contact – is that you can search inside the app; and you can add the card as a contact in LinkedIn.

It’s just another way of storing business cards so you have them available on the run.

Being good at what you do is only a small part of business

YOU might be particularly good at what you do. 

Unfortunately, this is only a small part of being successful in business. 

You also need to learn a multitude of other skills  such as time management, people skills, how to hire staff and, most importantly, how to grow your business. 

You can get these skills in a variety of ways including reading, going to seminars, webinars and so on. 

A great way to grow your business is to get a suitable mentor.

If you’re interested in this option, take a look at this website: www.business.govt.nz

ANDREWS  CORNER

I have had a few days break in the Ski Fields of the South Island.  I was skiing with considerable speed down the slopes towards the end of the day when the inevitable happened and I ended up with my first visit to a medical clinic on the Ski field.  My thoughts went to the current world economic situation and you may well wonder what the connection is.  The lure of good weather and good snow enticed this middle aged man into skiing at speeds which perhaps he should not ski at.  We have a world economy in particular the US, the European and Japanese economies continuing to pour billions of printed money into the money supply to maintain a speeding share market.  Investments advisors and share brokers are saying there has never been a better time to purchase shares and the market is ever racing to greater heights – but there will be a crash.  Already  the Federal Reserve Bank is dropping hints that the money printing (quantitative easing) is going to cease.  They have not stated definitely when but have given the market an indication that it will happen.  The moment an announcement is made that quantitative easing will cease, there will be a dramatic fall in the share market and this will be combined with a significant jump in interest rates.  At the moment our banks are comfortable but because most are reliant upon their Australian parents we will feel the impact.  There is already anecdotal evidence coming out of Australia that all is not well with the Australian banks.

So what to do?  Rather than leave your money in the bank I would strongly recommend that you continue to pay down personal debt and avoid credit card debt if you cannot pay it off at the end of every month.

You may ask where should I then invest my money if I have spare cash.  I am going to go right out on a limb and suggest that you consider purchasing property.  However I would suggest that you purchase property with very little debt on it.  If you cannot do this then you may consider joining with one or two other investors whom you know and pool your resources. This can be structured in such a way to protect each party.  Why do I suggest property, because while the value may go up or down you will still retain your asset and it will still be able to produce an ongoing income for you.  In my thirty years in practice I have observed continually that those people who are able to maintain a satisfactory lifestyle when they retire are inevitably those who have invested in property.  Now because under the new regulations regarding investment I cannot give you investment advice I record the above as an observation only.  You may draw your own conclusions.

PS  I am recovering from my crash however the next economic crash will take the world somewhat longer to recover from.

Another invoicing scam

THERE’S a business operating out of the United States, but  based in Latvia. It issues invoices for re-registering patents and trademarks.

The person who told us this story said he received a hard copy invoice from an Auckland address which included email and phone number. He has a trademark  which requires annual renewal and the payment of a significant fee. The invoice appeared genuine, so he paid it.

He said, “Had it arrived by email, I’d have been suspicious.”

In due course he discovered the scam and advised the police.  To his surprise, after two or three telephone calls he actually got his money back.  He believes informing the police was a major reason for this.

Be sure to check all invoices before you pay them. It’s easy to get caught when an invoice has the appearance of coming from a reputable source and it’s for an expense you expect to have to pay.

This one was for $1900 and the real fee was $700.

Keep GST file open at IRD

CLIENTS frequently close their GST file at IRD too quickly. If you’re giving up business, don’t rush to close your GST file. When we prepare your final accounts, we’re likely to produce some GST adjustments. You’ll need to close your GST file when your last business transaction goes through. In the meantime, if there’s nothing to declare or claim, send in nil returns.

TAX CALENDAR

August 28

1st instalment of 2014 Provisional tax if you pay three times a year

(March balance dates)

 

September 30

2nd instalment 2014 Provisional tax (December balance dates)

 

October 29

1st instalment of 2014 Provisional tax for those who pay GST twice a year

(All March balance dates)

 

November 28

1st instalment of 2014 Provisional tax

(June balance dates)

 

 

All information in this newsletter is, to the best of the author’s knowledge, true and accurate. No liability is assumed by the author or the publisher for any losses suffered by any person relying directly or indirectly upon this newsletter.   You are advised to consult professionals before acting upon this information.

 

About Us

We are a full service Chartered Accountancy firm based in Mt. Eden, Auckland, New Zealand.  We provide full tax accounting, management accounting, trust accounting services.

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