Inspiring Stories – Lisa Johnson @ Just Own This

Shortly after setting up Green Zebra I felt overwhelmed.

Everywhere I turned people were telling me what we should be doing in our business, how we should run it, what we should focus on – from social media and advertising, to technical advice and systems.  Now, trust me, I have a lot of business experience and I’m pretty switched on, but even I felt confused and alone.  I now know that this is quite normal for entrepreneurs all around the globe, we all struggle at times and working for yourself can sometimes be lonely.

So I confided in a business friend who recommended an online group called GSD Society (Get Sh!t Done) and I’ve never looked back. It’s a safe haven for female business owners to learn and share with each other. Lisa Johnson who set up the group also offers up free materials where you can learn about a myriad of business subjects, from identifying your Ideal Client right through to generating Passive Income streams.

Lisa Johnson who is the founder of GSD also manages Carmela Weddings. She is a wife, mother to twins, multiple business owner and a freedom and success coach. She set up Just Own This and her membership group GSD Society to help women to make profit from their passions using strategy and mindset.

Lisa has spoken on the BBC’s Women’s Hour and is a Huffington Post Contributor. She has presented at Planners Extraordinaire in Dubai and been featured in national newspapers and magazines including Psychologies and Red. 

So, what inspires me about Lisa? Firstly, she is normal. She is just like anyone else out there, just like you, and she’s managed to achieve amazing results in all her businesses. If you read her story you’ll see that she’s had a tough life, but she’s stayed focused, she’s kept on track, she’s pushed hard and today she is a highly successful, multi six-figure business coach.

She is open and honest, and she wants to share her success with ambitious business women and believe me, her passion truly shines through. She is proof that you can be successful no matter what your background is, no matter how hard or difficult your life might have been.

Secondly, I am inspired by the fact that Lisa shares everything (and I mean pretty much everything) with the groups. She is honest in a raw and refreshing way. She doesn’t

Continue Reading

What Are Add-On’s?

In Part 2 of our Overview of Cloud Accounting we look at Add-On’s

What are they, what do they do and how can you use them to your advantage?

Put simply, Add-On’s are additional software tools that you can add to your Xero Cloud Accountancy System which help you to manage your business in a way that saves you time and money.

There are over 600 of them available – so you really need to find an Accountant who knows and understands them and can recommend which ones are going to add the most value to your business.

Add-On’s mainly help with business needs such Managing Payments, Invoicing, Expenses, Debtor Tracking, Time Tracking, Customer Relationship Management, eCommerce, Payroll & HR and Reporting.

In this article we will give an overview of our Top 3 Add-On’s:

1. Receipt Bank

It’s a game changer – we love this software! Each and every client we take care of is set up on receipt bank. It’s a paperless solution for managing your receipts and expenses which significantly reduces hours of data processing each month. No more keeping paper receipts in a shoebox and saving them up until you see your Accountant!

How It Works: Receipt bank can be for a single user or a multiple number of users. You submit your receipts by taking a photo with the mobile app or by emailing or uploading them from a computer.

The clever software extracts the relevant information on the receipt so that you don’t have any data entry and the data then appears in your Receipt Bank account. Your Accountant will still need to reconcile it – but the software makes it a quick and easy task compared to manually inputting receipt data.

If you want to be extra whizzy you can set up Receipt Bank so that it pushes your receipt information automatically into Xero so that your Accountant can make quick work of bank reconciliations and sales and expenses. You’ll end up with a seamless Accounts Payable process. Then you can pull reports as and when you need them.

Our Advice: Find an Accountant who really understands your business and the Add-On’s that are available so that they can advise you. Also take the time to set up your Xero and Add-On systems correctly from day one as it will save you tons of time (and money) in the long run.  As we

Continue Reading

8 Simple Ways To Grow Your Business – Part 1

This week we ask the question “what are the simplest ways to grow your business”?

As you know, at Green Zebra we are all about keeping it simple and focusing on the things that have the biggest impact.

So here is PART 1 of our simple ways to grow your business, without spending a fortune. All based on our experience of running a growing business.

Stay tuned – subscribe to our newsletter list and Part 2 will go straight to your inbox. Just subscribe on the front page of our website.

From your experience what else would you add to the list?

1. Reputation – word of mouth referrals are worth their weight in gold. People buy from people. They trust recommendations from people they have built solid relationships with.


We have just introduced a referral scheme for our clients, so when they recommend us we give them some money back.

Yes, OK, it costs us a bit of money when they refer someone, but referrals have a domino effect and it is more cost effective than direct advertising. If they are happy working with us (we sincerely hope that they are) then we encourage them to spread the word.

It does mean that you must be consistent with your delivery, build great relationships with your clients and ensure that you are meeting their expectations (even exceeding them at times). One bad review also has a domino effect and you really don’t want to go there.

2. Passive income – It’s all the rage. It’s a buzz word that you’ve probably heard bounced around at network meetings – but what does it actually mean?


A Passive income stream is something you sell, usually online, that takes very little, or none of, your your time – like an online course, or a download of a pdf, for example. Having a passive income stream can mean that your basic income is covered or partially covered, giving you more time and freeing up more money/cashflow to focus on growing your business.

So get your thinking cap on – think about your ideal client, what are their pain points? What can you sell online that will help them?

3. Network – not only can networking lead to sales, the people you meet can help you, can knowledge share with you, can provide services that you might use (or recommend to your customers) and

Continue Reading

Inspiring Stores – Danielle Rolfe

InspireI’m excited to introduce you to one of my big inspirations, Danielle Rolfe of Penton Park – She is Wife, Mother (to three young children, including twins) and Managing Partner of Penton Park.

Along with her husband Guy, Danielle runs three businesses, yes you heard me right, THREE businesses, from their family home in Penton Mewsey, Hampshire as well as managing a busy, fun-filled home life.

I met Danielle when she offered to support me with the School Charity that I was Co-Chairing and I was instantly blown away by her energy, business knowledge and ambition. In the past year she has been an immense help to me in building Green Zebra – she has coached me, challenged my thinking and is the most amazing advocate.

What inspires me about Danielle? Well, firstly she manages to balance a busy home life and running three businesses. I struggle with running one business and having one child, so I absolutely admire her for managing to do that!

Secondly, she is pragmatic and has long term vision, a rare combination of skills – so, she can visualise where she wants the business to go, build a strategy around it and then break it down in to manageable chunks and deliver against it. I’ve watched her do just that, along with Guy, for Penton Park Brewery. They literally spent evenings brainstorming names and ideas and concepts and turned all of that around into a strategy to build a flourishing business.

Thirdly she is brave. Totally brave. And I really admire her for that. I think so many of us have great ideas and can visualise how we want something to be but aren’t brave enough to go for it.

Penton Park

So, let’s find out a bit more about the businesses at Penton Park;

Penton Park is their stunning family home to which they open the doors for weddings, private parties, corporate events and filming. The house is beautiful and has been restored to its former glory by Guy’s parents Douglas and Vivien who also live in the house.

Penton Park Brewery LogoPenton Park Brewery is a newer venture. Danielle and Guy have just renovated the 270 year old Georgian Kitchen at Penton Park and are now brewing their own beers using the water from their own well. Check out their gorgeous new logo which incorporates the letters PPB and the water from their well.

Danielle also manages James’s

Continue Reading

What Bank Accounts Do You Need For Your Business?

Whether you are a Sole Trader or a Limited Company, you need to have bank accounts set up for your business.

If you aren’t sure which type of account or how many of them you need, then read on …


Business MoneyIf you are a Sole Trader, you can use a personal bank account but do check your Banks Terms and Conditions to be sure that it doesn’t stipulate that the account can only be used for personal use.

Always shop around when choosing your Bank, compare monthly rates, cashback deals and interest charges.

For Business accounts make sure you look at transaction charges too.


If you are a Sole Trader we recommend that you have one business account for all your income and expenses and then another account to put money into for your Tax, VAT, National Insurance etc.


Each time you get paid, just transfer approx. 30% of the monies into the second account and you’ll be banking up money throughout the year in preparation for your end of year and the amount that you’ll owe the tax man. It’s another easy way to reduce the end of year tax panic.


One of our Top Tips is to keep your personal income/expenses and your business income/expenses separate – it makes it so much easier and will save you tons of time when doing your Personal Tax Return. It might even save you money if you’ve got an Accountant doing it for you as it’ll take them considerably less time to work through your accounts if they are separated.


Business Bank Account

If you have a Limited Company you’ll need to open a Business bank account for all your Company income and expenses this is because your business is a separate legal entity. The main difference between personal and business accounts is that you usually have to pay to have a Business Account. Most business bank accounts charge a monthly fee and additional charges for certain types of transactions.


As a Limited Company we recommend having a second account and doing the same as above in preparation of your Corporation Tax liability. Just move across a provision each month into the second account and you’ll be banking up a pot of monies which you can use for your end of year tax liability.

Obviously, you can have more than two bank accounts if you want to, for instance you might want a business

Continue Reading

How To Find The Best System Provider

Getting the best Cloud Accounting System for your business is so important. The right Cloud Accounting system will make your processes simpler and easier and will save you time and money. You need an expert – someone who can advise you – someone who is going to understand your business, so here are our tips on how to find a good system provider to advise, install and possibly manage your cloud accounting system. 

The Top 5:

@ Number One – Get advice. We can’t over emphasise this enough. There are lots of Accounting systems out there, some are free, some aren’t, some are suitable for sole traders, some aren’t. Some do payroll, some don’t. Some link to your bank account, some don’t. You get the picture. You could spend a lot of your value time researching all the options but quite honestly your time will be better spent elsewhere (like growing your business). You need a system provider who already knows this stuff. Check their credentials, get testimonials, take references if you want to but make sure that they know their stuff,

@ Number 2 -Find someone GREAT. And we do mean GREAT. You want someone who has worked with Cloud Accounting systems across a multitude of different companies. You want a system provider who will be able to understand your business and quickly determine what you need and what will add the most value, saving you the most time and working within your budget. You need to find someone that you can build a relationship with, someone that you trust.


@ Number 3 – Sometimes smaller is better. Without wishing to tarnish everyone with the same brush, larger companies tend to involve lots of people in system migration. The more people involved the more likely that mistakes will happen, and things won’t join up quite so well. There’s also an increased risk that each person involved won’t understand your business as well as they should so you’re less likely to get a system that’s been properly tailored to you. If you get offered an “off the shelf” package, you’ll likely be paying for tools that you won’t need and missing out on the ones you do need.  It’s just our view, but we prefer to go with smaller more niche system providers who can own your system from end to end and tailor it

Continue Reading

How To Get Paid On Time

Not getting paid on time? Wasting time chasing unpaid invoices? Struggling with Cashflow?

We can help. We create a beautiful business world for you where you automatically get paid on time and you don’t have to spend valuable time chasing customers for payments. Our clever cloud-accountancy system automatically collects payment by direct debit for your invoices as soon as they are due. So you can stop chasing customers for payments and worrying about your cashflow.

We set up direct debits with each customer so that payments are made automatically. Each time you create an invoice in Xero (which is super easy by the way) you collect the payment automatically by direct debit on the date that the invoice is due. Or we can add a “pay now” button to your invoices in Xero so that the customer can click and pay the invoice straight away.

It is so simple.

We know how it feels to be worrying about whether money is coming in to your business on time and we know much time it takes to keep chasing up customers for unpaid invoices. Plus let’s face it, it’s not a very nice job either.

Remove all the stress and hassle from your business life, and make it easier for your customers to do business with you by using brilliant systems. We set up the system for you, train you how to use the system and then we can either leave you to it, or we can manage your account on your behalf.

We also offer bookkeeping and accountancy services which you can tie in with this system.

For more information and an informal chat just give us a call on 01264 314220 or email

Continue Reading

How The World Cup Can Boost Your Revenue

How can the World Cup (or any other large event) drive revenue to your business?

Whether you like it or not, World Cup fever is hitting a high; nearly everyone is talking about it, the news is full of it and everywhere you look there are adverts relating to it. So, how can your business benefit?

As Teams progress through the ranks, consumer spending is impacted by the “feel-good factor”.

Consumer confidence increases and ultimately, people increase their spending on the high street and online. The most obvious businesses to benefit from the World Cup fortune are those specialising in sportswear, selling beer and/or take away foods, pubs, BBQ goods and electronic equipment but there are plenty of other ways that you can raise the profile of your business and increase your revenue.

Football related products – Themed items that can be bought as gifts are a great revenue stream. You can design your own products and sell them online, through a retailer or via your own store (if you have one). Think T-shirts, gifts, notepads, pens, bags. One word of warning is to avoid using the FIFA logo due to copyright restrictions, instead use generic terms or country themes.

World Cup related articles & blogs – a great way to increase your Company PR – think of an angle which relates football to your product and write an article. For example, if you’re a wedding planner you could write an article on how to incorporate the World Cup in to your wedding. Be creative, try to think of a unique slant and send your article to magazines, journals and newspapers that your ideal client will be reading.

Use the football theme to bring more customers to your door. If you have premises, a stall, or a location that you work from you can use the football theme to draw people to you. Food companies, restaurants and cafes can all benefit hugely by offering themed menus, meal-deals and showing football on a TV (check you have a TV licence). Creative companies can design football themed products or by offering face painting on big game days. Once you’ve drawn people in you then can sell other products to them and to promote your business so make sure that you hand out flyers and have some enticing offers.

World Cup Offers & Deals – You can entice customers by offering related promotions,

Continue Reading