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Archive for December, 2012

WHAT TO INCLUDE ON YOUR INVOICE

December 20th, 2012

Do you know the essential items that you need to include on your invoices to clients? Some of this depends which country your business is based in and what your tax status is. It’s best if you check with your own tax authority for specific details. Links to various tax authorities are included.

Here’s a really useful list from UK government site www.gov.uk which lays out the common-sense basics:

  • You must clearly display the word ‘invoice’ on the document.
  • a unique identification number
  • your company name, address and contact information
  • the company name and address of the customer you are invoicing
  • a clear description of what you are charging for
  • the date the goods or service were provided (supply date)
  • the date of the invoice
  • the amount(s) being charged
  • VAT amount if applicable
  • the total amount owed

Hands up how many of you had all the items? I confess I had been missing one of them off for years until I started working here at SliQTools – oops!

If you are a UK VAT registered business, there are different things you need to include, explained at the HMRC website

Wouldn’t life be easier if there were ready made invoice templates to use you say? Well, luckily enough, we’ll soon be providing just that! Free invoice templates for you to download, use and share as many times as you like. Do check back in the new year when we will hopefully have them loaded up for you once we’ve stopped merry making and dragged ourselves back into work!

And with that, we’d like to wish a happy holiday season to you all.

Links to tax authorities by Country:

Country

Taxation Website

Australia The Australian Taxation Office (Opens new window)
Austria Ministry of Finance (Austria) (Opens new window)
Argentina Argentina Tax Information (Opens new window)
Azerbaijan Ministry of Taxation (Opens new window)
Bangladesh National Board of Revenue (Opens new window)
Belgium Ministry of Finance (Belgium) (Opens new window)
Brazil Federal Revenue of Brazil (Opens new window)
Canada Canada Revenue Agency (Opens new window)
China (Hong Kong) Inland Revenue Department (China (Hong Kong)) (Opens new window)
Croatia Ministry of Finance (Croatia) (Opens new window)
Cyprus Ministry of Finance (Cyprus) (Opens new window)
Denmark Central Customs and Tax Administration (Opens new window)
Egypt State Information service – Taxes (Opens new window)
Estonia Ministry of Finance (Estonia) (Opens new window)
Falkland Islands Taxation Office (Opens new window)
Faroe Islands Customs and Tax Authorities (Opens new window)
Finland Ministry of Finance (Finland) (Opens new window)
France Ministry of Finance (France) (Opens new window)
Germany Ministry of Finance (Germany) (Opens new window)
Gibraltar Information Services (Opens new window)
Greece Ministry of Finance (Greece) (Opens new window)
Guernsey Income Tax Authority (Opens new window)
Hungary Ministry of Finance (Hungary) (Opens new window)
Iceland Ministry of Finance (Iceland) (Opens new window)
India Ministry of Finance (India) (Opens new window)
Ireland Revenue Commissioners (Opens new window)
Isle of Man Treasury (Opens new window)
Israel Ministry of Finance (Israel) (Opens new window)
Italy Ministry of Finance (Italy) (Opens new window)
Japan Ministry of Finance (Japan) (Opens new window)
Jersey Jersey Customs (Opens new window)
Kenya Revenue Authority (Opens new window)
Korea, Republic of Ministry of Strategy and Finance (Opens new window)
Latvia State Revenue Service (Opens new window)
Lithuania Ministry of Finance (Lithuania) (Opens new window)
Luxembourg Ministry of Finance (Luxembourg) (Opens new window)
Malaysia Inland Revenue Board (Opens new window)
Malta Ministry of Finance (Malta) (Opens new window)
Mexico SHCP (Opens new window)
Monaco Department of Finance and Economy (Opens new window)
Morocco Ministry of Finance (Morocco) (Opens new window)
Nepal Inland Revenue Department (Nepal) (Opens new window)
Netherlands Ministry of Finance (Netherlands) (Opens new window)
New Zealand Inland Revenue (Opens new window)
Norway Ministry of Finance (Norway) (Opens new window)
Pakistan Federal Board of Revenue (Opens new window)
Peru Ministry of Economy & Finance (Opens new window)
Philippines Philippine Bureau of Internal Revenue (Opens new window)
Portugal Ministry of Finance (Portugal) (Opens new window)
Singapore Inland Revenue Authority (Opens new window)
Slovenia Ministry of Finance (Slovenia) (Opens new window)
South Africa South African Revenue Service (SARS) (Opens new window)
Spain Agencia Tributaria (Opens new window)
Sweden Ministry of Finance (Sweden) (Opens new window)
Switzerland Federal Department of Finance (Opens new window)
Thailand Revenue Department (Opens new window)
Turkey Ministry of Finance (Turkey) (Opens new window)
United States Internal Revenue Service (Opens new window)

EASY SMALL BIZ MARKETING – #2 Setting Goals

December 11th, 2012

Your marketing goals should support your business goals. So in other words your marketing goals will help you achieve the goals you have for your business.
I’ll use an example that we discussed here at SliQTools the other day. We want to increase sales of our SliQ Invoicing Plus software outside the UK. This is one of our business goals. In order to achieve this, we need to increase the volume of traffic to our .com website. So our marketing goal is to increase the number of daily visits to our website.

If you want to increase your chances of success, make sure your marketing goals are SMART. I’ve seen a few different variations of what SMART stands for but I think this one is really good:

Specific
Measurable
Attainable
Results-orientated
Time-limited

If I give you 2 examples to compare, you will see why using SMART is erm, smart!

Imagine your business, POSH PETS sells luxury accessories for pets (crystal cat collars, designer dog clothes, priceless pet beds, you get the idea!)

Example 1 – you say you want to:
Increase sales by making more people aware of the POSH PETS brand

That sounds positive but it also sounds very vague. Which people are you targeting? How will you reach them? By how much do you want to increase your sales? By when? Do you want to sell more of a particular product line? This example begs too many questions – NOT VERY SMART GOALS :-(

You’ll need to come up with something more detailed as a plan otherwise how will you know if you’ve been successful in raising brand awareness or achieving the sales figures you want.

Example 2 – you say in the next 12 months, you want to:
• Increase sales by 10%
• Raise awareness among local customers with 1 feature & 1 advert in the local press
• Set up a monthly email newsletter and gain 100 subscribers
• Promote the newsletter with a product giveaway via your website & facebook page

As you can see, this example features MUCH MORE SMART GOALS :-)

They are:
Specific – stating how much you want to increase your sales by.

Measurable – By pinpointing precise figures (10% sales increase, 2 press articles etc) you will be able to see how you performed against your targets. You can then use this information to help you set more accurate goals in the future.

Attainable – hopefully you will have considered each goal in turn and set figures and deadlines that you can realistically achieve. For example, the 10% sales increase is a realistic forecast and you that have the time and resources to invest in writing press releases and newsletter. One organisation I know who had one person doing their marketing wanted their brand to be as high profile as the local council who had a large communications team and budget to match. Erm, reality check?!!

Results-orientated- far from being vague, the goals state the precise results you want to see ie 100 subscribers. Again this helps you keep track of how successfully your business is performing.

Time-limited- putting realistic deadlines on activities helps you stay focussed. If you are new to marketing strategy and / or are pushed for time, you might consider writing down one or two goals for the next 3 months. Then review it and do the next 3 months and so on. Keeping things short term will be more manageable.

If you had to choose one marketing goal for the next 3 months, what would it be?

 

You may be interested in the other articles in our EASY SMALL BIZ MARKETING series:

Intro – MARKETING CHECKLIST
#1 – MARKETING BASICS

EASY SMALL BIZ MARKETING – CHECKLIST

December 6th, 2012

Here at SliQTools we’ve produced a series of articles providing practical marketing help for people running small businesses. A good place to start would be our article on Marketing Basics then follow the checklist here. We have provided links to accompanying articles in the list below.

 

IT’S HELPFUL TO THINK OF MARKETING IN 3 STAGES:

WHAT, WHO & HOW

To get the best results from your marketing efforts you need to address these in order, so I’ve highlighted them in traffic light colours.

 

WHAT

What do you want your marketing to help you achieve?

1. Set marketing goals that support your business goals (Marketing strategy)

Make the goals: Specific Measurable Attainable Results-orientated Time-limited

2. Consider how much time & money you have for marketing (Marketing Resources)

 

WHO

Who do you need to consider to achieve this?

1. CUSTOMER NEEDS

Carry out Market Research to find out about:

i) Existing and potential customers (Target Market)

What do you know about them?

What do they need?

Where can they be found?

Describe your ideal customer.

 

ii) What are you offering them? (Product Features & Benefits)

 

iii) Is It The Right Price? (Pricing)

 

iv) Is it in the right place for customers to find it? (Place / Distribution)

 

2. COMPETITORS

i) What are yours and their strengths & weaknesses?

ii) What do you offer that’s unique? (USP)

 

HOW

How Are you going to reach your customers most effectively?

1. THE MESSAGE

i) Can you describe your business in one sentence?

ii) How would you like your business to be known? (branding)

iii) Do you have a tagline?

iv) What do your satisfied customers say about you?

 

2. THE METHOD

i) Choosing the right promotional tools for reaching your ideal customer (brochures, website, facebook etc)

ii) Consider how your existing customers find out about you?

 

3. MEASURING

How will you measure if your promotional activity is working?