The homeware and furniture industry has been doing well for the past couple of years, and we expect this trend to continue. The annual expenditure on furniture per US consumer was $502 in 2015 (up from $386). Meanwhile, a report by Furniture Insights found that furniture orders for February 2017 were up 4% from last year.
Running a business is hard and it often feels like there aren’t enough hours in the day to get everything done that you want (or should) do. By the time you pay your bills, invoice customers, return calls, put the final touches on that big proposal, and get the stock order out, the day is over and it’s time to pick up the kids.
Firing employees is probably one of the hardest things you’ll ever have to do as a business owner. It’s also one of the most litigious.
The short answer is patent trolls. The long answer is that using cloud computing to do business may get you sued by patent trolls in the District Court for the Eastern District of Texas.
Striking the right balance between maximum and minimum hours for your part-time or casual staff can often be a difficult process. But getting the balance wrong can have serious and long-lasting ramifications for your business.
Some brick-and-mortar merchants see ecommerce as the force that’s grabbing market share and taking customers away from offline stores. We don’t think this is the case. The way we see it, physical and digital retail aren’t rivals — they’re allies.
I’ve heard it said that it’s a sales rep’s job to promise the moon to customers, and it’s a service rep’s duty to bring customers back to earth.
It’s no debate that the world is becoming increasingly globalized. Despite some barriers to entry into international business, geographical expansion and the use of imports and exports has become easier and more prevalent. Regardless of the size of a business or where it chooses to operate, one necessity remains constant, and that’s the need for accurate costing.
As a small to medium business owner, getting your inventory management right can sometimes seem like a daunting endeavor. Fortunately, most of the stress involved in developing good inventory practice can be resolved by identifying the right inventory management strategies for your business. That’s not to say that there’s an immediately obvious solution for every problem – there are some tricky issues in inventory management however there are well-documented strategies to help you get the basics right.
The Isle of Skye Candle Company’s first batch of candles was made in a converted croft on the Isle of Skye in 2006, and since then the company has been lighting up across Scotland and the UK.
It can be unwelcome news that the success of your business is, in part, out of your control. If your business involves importing or exporting inventory, it pays to be aware of and be prepared to mitigate potential impacts of trade policy on your business.
Collaboration is the key to success for every business—that’s what 75% of CEOs believe. It’s a way of bringing together diverse minds and ideas and sharing resources to create something bigger and better than individuals could achieve alone, and it’s gradually becoming the status quo for modern businesses in all sectors, including retail.
The field of marketing never stops evolving. Outdated strategies lose popularity and are soon overtaken by innovative approaches that pair tried-and-tested techniques with new technology. One of the latest strategies is influencer marketing, which takes word-of-mouth advertising and amplifies it through the huge social networks of high-profile individuals. Two-thirds of marketing professionals worldwide are pairing with influencers who can create original content to promote the brand to thousands or even millions of social media followers.
The web is loaded with articles that promise to help you market your ecommerce store, but there’s one really important fact they usually leave out: it takes time to see results from your marketing efforts, even when you’re doing everything right. How come?
Over the past decade, social media platforms have grown in popularity and digital marketing has become one of the dominant ways for brands to interact with their customers. But digital marketing is more than just social media and, after all these years, email marketing is still one of the best ways to keep your customers informed and interested in your brand.
I recently overlooked a GST bill.
The taxman is not okay with that. He wants his money. And fair enough; I want free healthcare and the other benefits of being a taxpayer.
China-watching is mandatory for many people in business.
The world’s most-populous nation looms large on the global stage in politics, commerce and sport. Its 300 million aspiring middle class citizens – still a small part of the total population - are increasingly sophisticated in their consumer activities, travelling a lot more and further, and pursuing business interests on all continents and the South Pacific region.
Many small business owners start out with a good business idea but little concept of what it takes to manage and grow a business.
The good news is that you can definitely learn and improve your management skills as your business grows.
And while there isn’t a definitive list of skills, the ones we’ve listed below could help you to build your initial vision and develop your business to its full potential.
You almost certainly started your business for one of two reasons: you can do something better than anyone else, or you have a burning passion so deep you cannot focus on anything else. And if you’re lucky, it’s both. You didn’t start your business because you wanted to track cash moving in and out of your bank account. Nor to complete complicated forms for the government. You hadn’t even contemplated how business software could help you do these tasks, mostly because you didn’t know you need to do them.
It’s time to address a subject that a lot of companies fail to notice or incorporate into their business planning – the costs of carrying inventory. Inventory costs money to purchase, this much is a given; however the cost of the inventory goes far beyond that. Typically, (if accurate values are not calculated on a case-by-case basis) the total carrying costs of a product are 25% of its value and composed of capital costs (15%), storage costs (2%), servicing and handling costs (2%) and the cost of risk (6%). Let us look at these different components of inventory carrying costs more closely.
If you had just one minute to talk to a prospective customer in your store, what would you say? Would you help them find what they were looking for? Tell them about your current promotions? Encourage them to stay a little longer and take a look around? After all, the more time they spend in your store, the more likely they are to make a purchase.
Campbell Parker is one of the brains behind two of Christchurch’s must-eat restaurants.
Opening in March 2015, Bootleg BBQ is an inner-city destination providing the city’s meat and craft beer lovers with a real taste of American cuisine. The Old Vicarage, which Campbell has owned for the past 10 years, is an iconic restaurant on the outskirts of Christchurch.
Attracting new customers to your ecommerce store is a must if you’re going to make a profit, especially in the early years of running your business. It’s one of the best ways to boost your sales in the short term, and grow your store. But there’s a lot of effort involved in acquiring new customers—it can cost six times as much as retaining your existing customers—so it seems like a shame to let them disappear off the face of the earth after just one purchase.
Social media is a great tool; it’s a route to new and different customers and a direct way of communicating with your existing customers. It’s also a free way to build brand recognition and create a name for yourself in your field.
So it’s surprising that many businesses still don’t have a social media presence. Sometimes this is a conscious decision, but quite often it’s due to people not always understanding the benefits.
The reality is that social networks can bring a whole new dimension to your business – and they’re definitely a marketing tool worth using to your benefit.
A perpetual inventory system is also known as a continuous inventory system. The premise of this type of inventory system is that is allows businesses to keep a real-time account of what inventory they have in stock.
From today Australian retailers will have more choice in the way they run their business and sell to customers. Vend and Square’s market-leading POS and payments integration, first launched in the US late last year, is now available in Australia. This collaboration brings together two of the best systems for retail today, and provides more options for advanced retailers, those with multiple locations, and complex operations.
Your digital presence as a business is absolutely crucial. If you want consistent work, to build trust in your brand, and the opportunity for growth, you have to know how to gather feedback, and how to embrace it.
Here, we’ve laid out the most important things you need to know about doing just that.
Struggling to keep on top of employee timesheets? Want to offer employees a simpler way to clock in and out? Keen to track remote workers’ location throughout the day? Eager to make payroll easier? TSheets, a mobile employee tracking software, is here to help.
Super contributions cap changes: what do they mean for you? The super reforms introduced in the 2016 Federal Budget are set to start coming into effect from 1 July 2017
Your online store is set up and ready to go. You’ve got an attractive site design and helpful product pages, and you’ve promoted your launch through social media and email marketing. Now all you have to do is sit back and enjoy…but you’re still not seeing the traffic you hoped for. What’s going on?
Knowing what your payroll costs are – daily, weekly, monthly and yearly – is an important part of running a successful business. It allows you to forecast future wage costs, ensures you don’t have any surprises come pay day, and gives you confidence in the stability of the business.
But do you know the TRUE cost of your roster?
Colour-coded job sheets on clipboards. Customer details stuffed in manila folders. Rooms full of grey filing cabinets overflowing with clip-lock files. Cardboard boxes bursting with service manuals arranged in rough alphabetical order. Handwritten notes, 8am sales meetings in sweaty city offices and well-thumbed street directories in company-car gloveboxes.
Safety doesn’t happen by accident. As a business owner or director, you need to be deliberate to make sure everyone who comes to work goes home healthy and safe.
Most business owners face a constant struggle to get everything done in the course of their working week, while looking for ways to keep costs low and sales high. Optimising your supply chain is a must for achieving this goal, and it requires careful management of your suppliers or manufacturers. But that’s no easy task when they’re also busy and can’t always respond to your requests as quickly as you’d like.
Cloud software is fast becoming the way to do business. The reason for this? Everything becomes easier, more accurate and more accessible – which, at the end of the day, is the direction a company should be going in. Cloud-based software is basically where everything to do with the program is online. We will look at a few ways that cloud software can help you achieve good inventory management and manufacturing control.
Launched in 1985 for Mac and two years later for Windows, the first version of Excel was an advancement in spreadsheet technology. A great new tool to help sort, manipulate and present data; one that supported the automation of repetitive tasks.
Thirty years is a long time in technology. Using spreadsheets to manage inventory, financials and business reporting is costing your company time and money. Here’s five reasons why:
We recently joined the thousands of businesses headed to the Xero Roadshow, an annual exploration of what’s happening in the world of cloud accounting. Much more than just a showcase of Xero’s features, the Roadshow is one of the best ways to learn about the ecosystem.
Just-In-Time (JIT) inventory is a strategy used to increase efficiency and minimize waste in the manufacturing process. The overarching concept of JIT is relatively simple, with a JIT approach, when an inventory item is in demand, it is delivered and as a result this system does not have high inventory levels. By receiving goods only as they are needed in the production process, it minimizes inventory costs. There are many factors that must work in harmony for such a system to be successful. Below are some of the key highlights of a JIT inventory system.
Whether you’ve just opened up shop or you’re expanding your ecommerce empire, one of the biggest ongoing challenges you’ll face is finding a way to increase traffic to your online store. Your high-quality products and stellar customer experiences are a good start, but if you want customers to find you, you’ll need to find a way to stand out in the crowd of competing businesses vying for their attention. In this post, we’ll take you through a collection of digital marketing strategies that will help you attract and retain a customer base that’s both engaged and loyal, so you can get ahead of the competition.
When considering a business loan, most people will evaluate affordability based on the advertised interest rates. But the truth is that if you compare only the interest rates, you could waste money, or end up with a deal that isn’t the best fit.
The craft beer revolution has sparked a unique production for breweries both small and large. Beer drinkers everywhere are seeing an emergence of eccentric flavors and quirky names fill the taps at their local pub. Not only are beer drinkers seeing this emergence, they are demanding it and as a result craft beer has become increasingly popular over the past few years. This popularity has sculpted the way breweries are operating. Craft beer may be infused with peculiar hues, notes and suggestions of ingredients we never would have thought to be vaguely compatible with beer, yet a few staples remain intact in the beer brewing process.
Hospitality is a complex – and often fickle – business. There are so many factors that can affect the need for staff, and therefore the overall turnover of the business. There are far too many to mention, but can include: changes in weather; local events; public holidays; what your competition is doing; what deals are running; and how you’ve marketed the business.
Happy international women's day! Wednesday 8 March 2017 marks the 100th anniversary of the first International Women's Day.
Staff turnover always seems to be a struggle for businesses in the hospitality industry.
By its nature, working in cafés, restaurants, and even take-away food outlets is a high-stress occupation. Add to this, relatively lower pay rates, long shifts, or erratic schedules, and it’s not surprising that many employees suffer burnout.
With loyal customers being worth up to 10 times as much as their first purchase, it pays to keep in touch even after you’ve made the sale. After all, they’re not easy to replace—new customers are in limited supply, significantly less likely to buy, and up to six times more expensive to sell to than your existing customer base. So it’s important for retailers to retain their customers by building authentic relationships that benefit both parties.
An efficient, hard-working and friendly team is often the making of a successful hospitality business. So it can be quite disruptive when employees need to take leave.
Anyone who has been in eCommerce for any length of time knows that small parcel carriers like UPS, FedEx, and DHL charge extra for oversized items. These carriers, who ship by land, air or water, have also recently reduced the size requirements that trigger these fees.
Almost every product or service imaginable these days has a website where anyone with an opinion can rate or comment on the product they purchased or service they received.
And thanks to the smartphone, this can be done instantaneously.
This is the second article in a series of posts about RADAR, a new debtor analysis and cash flow advisory tool for accountants from Debtor Daddy. This article focuses on two pieces of information available in RADAR, Debtor Days and Cash per Day.
Overstocked? Don’t worry, this negative can be turned positive.
Being overstocked by nature isn’t normally a great problem to have. You basically have too much stock that you haven’t been able to shift – somewhere along the line something has gone wrong, be it a large order falling over, incorrect forecasting or stock mismanagement. However, let’s not look at this as a negative, but focus on turning this opportunity into something beneficial for your business. So, why is too much inventory a positive thing for you?
Manufacturers and inventory obviously go hand in hand, it’s not like you can manufacture anything without the necessary parts. However, even with simpler manufacturing jobs, there are a lot of moving parts, and managing the supply chain can become a complex business. It’s one big juggling act, and if you drop one of the balls it can send it all spiraling out of control. However, with inventory management and modern software a lot of the worries of old can be controlled.
Here’s how inventory management can help a manufacturers business performance.
There are now over 500 time saving Xero apps that are designed to help your business work more efficiently. But which are the best Xero apps for your business?
From advanced reporting and time tracking tools, through to tools that make managing inventory and orders in real-time easy, there are a vast number to choose from.
Effective job scheduling is one of the most important but least understood disciplines of business management. Assigning the correct employee to the right job at the right time is crucial for business success, especially for companies with a mobile workforce. So why don’t some managers give it more of their attention?
Getting out of the cashflow trap for good: The first step is to admit your clients have a problem (with debtors)
This is the first article in a series of posts about Debtor Radar, a new debtor analysis and cash flow advisory tool for accountants from Debtor Daddy. If you’re an accountant you’ll be able to learn more here.
Our goal with Debtor Radar is simple: Help more small businesses solve the cash flow troubles caused by debtors.
For a number of years, advancements in technology have been the driving force behind most of the recent innovations in business and business management. Our systems are continually being optimized, our processes streamlined and our use of automation made more precise and more intuitive.
‘There are just not enough hours in the day!’ you cry with a desperation rivalling Tom Hanks’ Wilson-I’m-Sorry and fall to your knees in despair.
Okay, maybe that’s a little dramatic. But if you’re a business owner, I’m sure that sentiment or something like it has at least crossed your mind before. Maybe more than once.
And when you’re working crazy hours six or seven days a week just to get everything done, sometimes a deserted island with only a volleyball for company doesn’t actually sound so bad...
As an SMB, you’ll never have a shortage of sources for tips and insights. From retail websites (such as this one) to mentors and fellow retailers, there’s always somewhere to turn to for business advice and best practices.
Grow your business through marketing and advertising!
Whether you’re a personal trainer or a large computer repair shop, if you want to grow and build your business, you’ll need to attract new customers and keep them coming back for more.
Effectively marketing your business is one way to grow your brand and your business.
If you’ve just appointed your first fresh-faced Gen Zeds to your staff (anyone who’s just out of school and are aged 15-19), you could have up to five different generations to manage at work. In fact, these days, it’s not at all uncommon to have a wide range of generational diversity.
Don’t get stuck in your own Groundhog Day: 4 easy changes to re-energise your business
As a business owner, it’s important to learn how to protect yourself and your business from scams. Many scammers will imitate government departments to try and lure you into giving them valuable information and paying false payments.
In April 2016 the Government passed the Employment Relations Amendment Act 2016 which saw a number of changes in employment law, including legislating against the use of “Zero-hour” contracts in employment agreements.
Learn more about the Encouraging Entrepreneurship and self-employment initiative!
Are you a young Australian with a great business idea? If so, our friends at the Department of Employment have launched the Encouraging Entrepreneurship and Self-Employment initiative to help young Australians start and run their own business!
With more than 350 million products on Amazon.com it becomes more and more difficult for sellers to get their products in front of the customer. Thus, Amazon’s “Sponsored Products” ads (“Amazon PPC”) are becoming extremely popular among sellers as they offer an (allegedly) easy way to bring their products on the first page. The following tips will help Amazon sellers avoid some common mistakes and get the most out of Amazon Sponsored Products.
It’s often how you say something that determines whether you get the result you want. This applies in financial services, marketing and even tax collecting.
In one experiment by the Nudge Unit they improved the payment of vehicle taxes by using simple plain language, “pay your tax or lose your car”. In fact HM Revenue & Customs attributes the recovery of an extra £210 million a year from taxpayers by using behavioural insights in its letters i.e. changing the words to influence behaviour.
Seven vehicles on the road. Ten electricians in the field. One business owner working overtime, all the time...
Such was the norm for L&L Electrical, a versatile electrical services company in Campbelltown, Victoria, and proud owner John Libroaperto.
Proud and successful owner he was, yes – but at a hefty cost in a most valuable currency: time.
Personalization is one of the most important aspects of retail and one of the biggest industry trends for 2017. The key to building lasting relationships with customers, personalized shopping experiences generate satisfaction and loyalty on the part of the consumer — and increased revenue for the retailer.
We’ve all been there before. You’ve called about those overdue invoices once, maybe twice, maybe three times, and payment still hasn’t been made.
What to do next? Throw up your hands in despair? Give up on it as a lost cause? No way, Jack. Not in this economy.
If you’re a fashion store owner looking to set your sales soaring in 2017, opening an online store might just be the best way to do it. Online sales of clothing, shoes and accessories are booming, with 43% of Australians aged sixteen and over now shopping online for these products, a 14% increase from the previous year.
Let’s face it, concepts like paperless office and cloud computing are not ‘new’ concepts anymore. It still surprises me when I encounter businesses that are not paperless and in the cloud. It just makes sense. I’ve been running businesses as ‘paperless offices’ since I co-founded Business Fitness back in 2001. My current business, PARADOX, has been ‘paperless’ and had 100% cloud-based IT and business systems from day one, almost 8 years ago now.
I was catching up with a friend over the holidays who was telling me about one of his friends getting made redundant from a small family business just before Christmas. The basic premise of the story was that the bank had told them they needed to make cutbacks, and as part of this they had to reduce staff numbers. They didn’t want to do this, but they had no choice…
There are several things that go into managing a business and optimizing its performance. These are often reflected in the balance sheet, customer satisfaction and low staff turnover amongst other factors. One component of managing the business effectively and which has a big impact is inventory control. To better achieve inventory control, there are specialized software packages such as Unleashed. However, before purchasing a package, you need to be sure of the benefits to your company’s performance.
Efficient omnichannel strategies used to be the ultimate goal for retailers — a milestone to work toward on a continuous basis. But times have changed, and both shoppers and retail itself have evolved. Omnichannel is now the standard.
We’ve worked with thousands of small businesses over the past few years and managed over $1B in receivables, so we’ve learned a few things when it comes to getting invoices paid earlier with less effort and stress.
“There’s more reasons for an invoice to be paid late than there are for it to be paid on time…” – Debtor Daddy Survey
The problem is that when it comes to getting paid on time there’s more reasons for an invoice to be paid late than there are for it to be paid on time. This means that you’re going to need great systems and great people to keep your receivables under control.
Time and again you hear that being overstocked is bad and a situation to avoid, however sometimes this is just not possible. And when it is not possible, you need to be in a position to handle it properly and turn the situation into something the company can benefit from. There are a number of ways to do this in fact, let’s look at them more closely.
While any time of year is a great time to pause and reflect, many people find January is a great opportunity to understand how well their business has performed for the past year and what their targets are for the year ahead. To do that, you need to understand the difference between a budget and a forecast.
Thanks to everyone who participated in our 2017 stock picking competition. We’re busy tallying the top stock picks from Sharesight members, Livewire subscribers and some of Australia’s top fund managers. As promised, we’ll create portfolios of the five most popular stocks from each group and share them with those of you who completed the survey (and opted-in to having the portfolios shared alongside your personal portfolios).
It’s no secret that smaller retailers face the challenge of their lives against ecommerce giants such as Amazon — and in Britain, this fight has recently been compounded by Brexit and its potential effects on the retail and trade industries.
But there’s hope yet. A recently launched organization called SaveTheHighStreet.org aims to give the power back to high street retailers and local shopkeepers by endowing them with the tools, skills, and digital capabilities they need to compete in the modern age.
There’s nothing quite like starting the new Year with a clean bill of health on all your HR documents, systems and processes.
And in 2017, as if you needed further impetus, there are some new, and pretty compelling reasons to put HR compliance on the top of your to-do list!
Happy 2017, everyone!
In light of the new year, here’s one question you should think about: are you planning to bring anything new to the in-store experience? If your answer is “no” then 2017 could be a rough one for your physical stores.
California is the most populous state in the union, and California residents love to shop online. Because of this, many TaxJar users have to deal with California state sales tax. Whether you’re based in California, use California as your West Coast base of operations, or sell with FBA and store products in a California Amazon fulfillment center, chances are you file and remit sales tax in the Golden State.
You’re back at work ready to make your mark in 2017, and your employees are all rested, recharged and raring to go, right?
Wrong. The spectre of financial stress is wreaking more havoc than ever among the Australian workforce and crippling productivity levels in its wake.
As we reach the end of another successful year, we take this opportunity to thank each of you for your ongoing support and contribution to our firm.
The holiday shopping season is definitely in full swing, with just weeks to go before Christmas day. And while some early bird shoppers are probably taking it easy by now, a big chunk of consumers will still flock to retail stores. In fact, you can expect your foot traffic (and hopefully) sales to pick up in the coming weeks and continue til the days leading up to 25th.
That spa retreat you really really wanted to go to over the holidays is booked out, you can’t get a reservation at any of your favourite restaurants and even the bach you normally go to at this time of the year is fully occupied...how on earth are you supposed to relax?!
Luckily we can help!
Here are 10 different things you can try to re-charge over the break.
Pulling aside thick velvet curtains, you nervously step inside the fortune teller's tent. Leaves crunch under your feet and the smell of perfumed incense hangs heavy in the air.
Technology has the power to make our lives easier, and small businesses have the flexibility and the creativity to take advantage of this power. By staying lean and agile, a small business can adapt quickly in a moment and use new technology to power into emerging markets.
Word of mouth is one of the most powerful drivers of traffic and sales for retailers. According to McKinsey, it’s the primary factor behind 20 – 50% of all buying decisions and can influence purchases in ways that traditional advertising can’t.
David Barrett is the CEO and Founder of Expensify. Named one of the Most Innovative Companies in 2015 by FastCompany, Expensify’s team has a simple goal — expense reports that don’t suck. That ethos made them a popular app in our marketplace.
It used to be that people needed to live in the technology hubs of the world, like Silicon Valley or London, to accelerate their technology careers, but that’s changing quickly.
As a father of three, I often come back to a phrase I once heard. “In life, there are rubber balls and glass balls and you are always juggling.”
Govt intervention having little effect: 50,000 UK businesses go under each year due to late payments
A new report from The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) says that the UK’s poor payment culture forces 50,000 small businesses under and costs the UK economy around £2.5 billion each year.
In a recent blog, I wrote about preparing your business for the traditionally quiet summer period. But there’s another side to this, where the lead up to the festive season can be the busiest time of year for many businesses.
As we celebrate the sixth Small Business Saturday this year, SME owners are more integral than ever to the health of our economy as we brace ourselves for uncertain times. SMEs make up an astounding 99.8% of the British economic engine, generating 47% of revenue and employing 60% of the workforce.
The summer period can be an interesting time for accountants, bookkeepers and BAS agents. Clients are often away, business can be slower than usual, and the temptation to take a break pulls steadily closer as December unwinds.
Trees are up. Decorations are hung. And jingles fill the air. Yup, it’s that time of year again. A time to reflect on the year that was and wonder what more we could have squeezed into those past 12 months. Instead of wondering if you feel the same, we thought we’d just ask.
The Xero Roadshow is coming to South Africa in February 2017, visiting Johannesburg on 1 February and Cape Town on 2 February to give local advisors an insider’s insight into cloud accounting. We can’t wait to meet partners from across the country at what are sure to be two sellout events.
The end of the year brings a lot of victories and challenges to eCommerce businesses and Amazon sellers…and sometimes those victories/challenges show up in the exact same package!
There’s a lot to love about the holidays — family, food and a blessed reprieve from the rigours of work.
It’s not all baubles and eggnog for SMBs however. Along with those inappropriate secret Santa presents and inadvised mistletoe moments, the period also brings its own unique challenges to business owners. Many SMBs find themselves under economic stress as clients and suppliers shut up shop over the break — often well before the those statutory holidays arrive — leaving phones ringing, emails unanswered and often, invoices unpaid.