Kathy Vant Foort is owner and founder of Backyard Buyers, a business that helps property owners sub-divide and develop excess land. Kathy is one of the few female Registered Building Practitioners in Victoria.
Having grown the business from concept to start-up, Kathy now manages her company from Melbourne.
Nearly ten years on, business has never been better.
Here are Kathy’s top five tips for success:
1. Know your objectives
“I have two whiteboards visible from my desk. One has long-term objectives and targets. It also has a list of big or innovative ideas.
“The other whiteboard is operational, mapping out all current and pipeline sub-divisions, key performance metrics and projects.”
I recently accompanied the Australian Minister for Small Business, Bruce Billson MP, as he visited small businesses in Templestowe Village, Victoria. The Minister was out selling the good news in the budget about the immediate deductibility of assets costing less than $20,000 (for small businesses with an aggregated turnover less than $2 million). He talked with young entrepreneurs and owners of businesses ranging from restaurants and dry cleaners, to cafés and specialty fashion retailers. Did you know the deduction was available on purchases from 7.30pm 12 May 2015?
Successful entrepreneurs beware! The easiest way to manage Australian payroll tax is simply not to mismanage it in the first place. Like all taxes, ignorance is no defence, and you will ultimately end up paying your dues, probably plus a penalty and interest.
Small businesses that are growing rapidly and medium sized businesses need to work closely with their business advisors. MYOB has Australia’s biggest network of accountants, bookkeepers and consultants, ready to help you and your business succeed. As small operations ride high on success, it need not be a ‘dangerous’ time for business compliance.
Many entrepreneurs start out as a one-man (or woman) show. While this can be challenging, exhausting and incredibly rewarding, ultimate success may not be determined by your business idea, but by how organised you are.
Experienced freelancers and small businesses that are single person operations need to be ultra-organised. Whether you are flying solo for the first time or well established, technology can improve your efficiency and performance. Here are some pointers based on my own experience running a one-man show.
The next graduate arrives, interviewing for a position at a small to medium-sized accounting firm: your accounting firm. This graduate will be one of the top performing employees for the employer of their choice. It takes you a while — nearly fifteen minutes into the interview, to fully realise that they are actually interviewing you.
Methodically, the graduate carefully crafts their answers and questions. When you look up from your notepad, direct eye contact takes a fraction of a second to re-connect: this graduate is absorbing the environment, the workspace and your body language. As you take notes, this graduate is also checking boxes on their own mental checklist: assessing you as a partner and the firm as a whole.
They don’t fit into your standard interview guide or assessment criteria: they are impressive in every aspect that a young aspiring graduate could be. They are energized and prepared to embark on a exciting career — just not with your firm.
It started as people dealing with people, discussing paperwork, then people talking with machines and now your relationship with your tax authorities can be machine to machine. With no human interaction, your home computer can upload your tax return to tax office, their computer receives that data and then hopefully there is an electronic bank transfer for a refund coming your way!
I currently reside in Australia, but still do my own tax return for the US (IRS) and Australian authorities (ATO). Just the other day, I was thinking about the best ways to communicate with a large bureaucracy such as the ATO when my phone started vibrating. I reached into my pocket and was surprised to see it was the ATO texting.
Biometrics This year, my relationship with the ATO went deeper: first texting, then it turned to biometrics. The text arrived conveniently during my lunch hour. It was a nice, helpful text message telling me that new pre-fill information was available for my e-tax. To end our texting relationship, I simply needed to reply STOP. To report SMS scams I should contact 13 28 61.
A few years ago, one of my first business coaching sessions was with an entrepreneur who had spent a year and a half in development. He’d given up a well-paid job and spent about $25,000 on developing an App. He had no real business plan. When I pointed out that he had notionally invested about a quarter of million dollars on the App, he drew a deep breath of entrepreneurial fatigue, and said disheartenly, “Well, I suppose so.”
People depend on the CEO to get things right. A failure to manage your personal taxes may see you damage your reputation, send your startup belly up and let down all those people looking at you as an inspirational start-up CEO.
A chance to be the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of a startup company can be one of the most exciting, challenging, inspiring, risky and adrenalin-filled periods of your life. Particularly for young innovators and entrepreneurs, the dynamic and fast paced environment can leave little time to reflect on your own tax position or obligations to any new employees.
A lot of great startups come undone by neglecting the mundane — but essential — regulatory or compliance functions. So while I would love to write an inspiring story of innovation and success, Why? Because you are the CEO and it is your job to get it right.