Australian Business Podcast episode #10 is now live on the Rask network: my best software, apps and tools for small business owners.
In this episode, I — Owen Rask, founder of The Rask Group — dive into my favourite tools for small business owners.
1. Design – Canva – Link ?
You should pay a designer on Fiverr or Freelancer; a friend or family member (better option); or a local university design student, to make you a logo and ‘style guide’. A style guide is a rulebook for your business design and marketing – it tells you which fonts to use for headings and text, and colour palette and includes your logos (in transparent, dark and light, square, rectangle).
Once you have your brand assets and styleguide the next part is super easy — use Canva!
If you do any type of social media, email or web marketing, Canva will save you heaps of time (no Photoshop needed!) and effort. It’s Aussie too, which is great.
2. Xero – accounting, HR, Super & Tax ?
ou can use Intuit or MYOB (your accountant might have a view on their favourite) but the hands-down winner by the sheer number of users (and part-time Xero lovers like me) is Xero. It’s a Kiwi business that has dominated the New Zealand market, then Australia and (soon) the UK. Why? Because the accounting software is awesome. It’ll take care of all or 80% of your:
- Accounting needs – making your accountant’s life easy and saving you money
- Manage employee payroll
- Manage your Super
- File your financials directly to the ATO
- Read your bank accounts and match payments (e.g. you can ‘categorise’ everything from BP or Shell as “fuel costs”)
- Integrate with HR apps and heaps of other tools
You can take a free trial on Xero by going here.
3. WordPress – More advanced website builds ??
If you’re creating a pretty stock-standard website that is secure and widely accepted, consider WordPress — for all of its criticisms it still runs about 1/3 of the internet. In the past, WordPress was primarily a blogging website. But more recently WordPress has become hugely extendable through a global library of WordPress plugins (amongst our favourites are Elementor, WP Fusion and Paid Memberships Pro).
Steps to get a WordPress website:
- Get your web domain (e.g. with Crazy Domains)
- ‘Point’ your domain to a web host (e.g. Flywheel or WP Engine)
- Log-in via your web host
- Install the Elementor plugin and learn how to use Elementor
If you’re not looking for a flash website, consider these two easier options:
- Shopify for selling stuff online (note: you can do with WordPress with the free Woocommerce plugin)
- Wix.com (for super basic builds)
I always prefer for businesses (beyond a sole trader) to have a website but if you don’t have one, you can make do with great tools on platforms like Instagram or third-party ‘sites’ like Medium.com. Just be mindful that eventually, your business should consider a website.
This is a simple one but if you’re storing data like documents, videos, audio files or anything – Google Workspace is my choice.
You can create a free Google Drive account when you register a Gmail account. If you create a Google Admin account (note: you may want your email set-up first), you can then share drive space, calendars, etc. You can ‘point’ your domain to Google to create @YOUR-DOMAIN email addresses.
5. Payment terminals – Smartpay or Square ?
- Square – Square is an ‘off-the-shelf’ service that allows all types of businesses to create a Point of Sale service and take payments. All the trendy cafes use Square. You can buy a Square terminal from Officeworks or join online. There are some limitations to using Square, and it costs a lot. They’ll require you to pay for the hardware (e.g. at Officeworks) but also clip a big fee for each transaction. That’s why some businesses could do with…
- Smartpay – this little Kiwi business does something called “smartcharge”, which is when the cost of accepting card payments (like Visa or Mastercard, which can be as high as 50c or 0.3%) is ‘passed’ back to the cardholder. For example, I buy a coffee from your cafe and you’re charged, say, 50 cents with Square. With Smartpay, it’s free to you because the cost is passed onto the cardholder. If you do a certain amount of transaction volume per month, they’ll give you the terminal for free. Click here to learn more.
You can download our business plan template on Rask Education.
Please note: if you’re confused about business ‘structures’, like companies, trusts, “sole trader”, etc. that was covered in episode 7 of The Australian Business Podcast — and it’s available right now in our free business course.
Love the Australian Business Podcast? Let me know about it by leaving a review on Apple or Spotify.
If you want to help me out with the course, right now the best thing you can do is subscribe and review this podcast in Apple or Spotify. Please use the “Ask a question” menu link on the Rask websites, or leave your questions in the Apple Reviews.