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.
Let’s discuss something we already know: Most tradespeople didn’t enter the tradie game because they love spreadsheets — usually, the case is quite the opposite.
It makes sense then that plumbers, electricians and other tradies can have a tendency to let some of the more elaborate number crunching required to run a business fall by the wayside. It’s understandable; you’re busy and you’re focused on the job at hand, so the temptation to only measure the bare minimum — ‘profit’ for example — can be strong.
The Christmas period is always a hectic time for anyone working in hospitality. With Christmas celebrations and client functions galore, it should be the busiest time of the year for you and your staff.
When gauging the health of your business, employee retention is a pretty important measure. Generally speaking, the lower the turnover number, the better it is. Though the number alone is only half the story.
If you’re a tradesperson looking to build your business and win more work, improving your online visibility is key. Homeowners will often research extensively online before making a decision, and it’s important you can earn customers’ trust from the get-go.
Having worked with several trade contracting businesses, I’ve observed a very common, but inefficient, behaviour: going after big contracts before thinking about the fit.
Often, companies will spend months preparing a proposal only to see it rejected.
Rob Nixon has 22 years of experience as an advisor to accountants, with clients in over 30 countries. In his current role, Nixon is helping define and execute how PANALITIX’s cloud-based accounting solution software helps thousands of accountants improve their firm’s position across profit, capacity and growth through a connection with the ultimate accountant membership community. With a belief that accountants are the naturally trusted advisors to effective business through innovative technology, quality content and transformative methodology, Nixon empowers accountants to a position where they are able to exert a tremendous impact on their client’s conditions.
HomeRetail Tips & Trends How to Create a Workplace Culture that Attracts and Retains the Best Employees
Workplace culture.” This phrase is easy to throw around at HR meetings or interviews, but actually understanding the concept and building a strong culture in your organization is whole other story.
As Chancellor Philip Hammond’s first Autumn statement was announced yesterday to focus on “preparing and supporting the economy as we begin writing a new chapter in our country’s history”, I wanted to share what I believe are most interesting proposals for businesses – and whether they are the best investments to reflect current needs.
Millennials are now the largest living generation in the U.S.. An acute understanding of the entrepreneurial individuals in this group is growing to be a necessity for accountants and bookkeepers in order to provide services that will meet their needs and wants.
If you’ve never heard of just-in-time, don’t worry—it’s not too late. The just-in-time manufacturing model was introduced by Toyota in the 1960s and has become a popular way for manufacturers to manage their inventory, raw materials and the other supplies they use in the manufacturing process. Of course, manufacturers aren’t the only small businesses that can benefit from this approach.
A few months ago we set up an innocuous little survey on the WorkflowMax blog to help us understand our customers’ pain points better. We wanted to create more targeted and relevant content that would address their issues directly (and maybe even bring a smile to their face as they scrolled past the occasional GIF and bad pun).
These days, cultural fit is an important part of the recruiting process. The prevailing wisdom is that you train for skills, and hire for attitude and fit.
When you’re recruiting, identifying cultural fit in candidates is essential. There is a greater likelihood that employees will stay with a business when the work feels meaningful and the company’s values are in sync with their own.
Peer-2-peer lending is a form of debt financing that allows businesses to borrow money without going through traditional lending routes such as a bank. P2P lending platforms connect individuals looking to lend their money with businesses looking to borrow.
1. a person who sets up a business or businesses, taking on financial risks in the hope of profit.
We know what it’s like to be a startup; we were one. That’s why we’re excited to launch the 2017 Xero Entrepreneur Scholarship, designed to help UK students afford the rising cost of education and help them along the road to success on their entrepreneurial journey.
Being an effective manager is demanding and complex. Aside from thoroughly knowing and understanding your business, you need to understand people and their motivations, be a motivator yourself, and manage emotional and business-related issues at once.
Whatever the size of your venture, whatever you set out to achieve, a strong online presence has become the cornerstone of a modern business strategy.
With Thanksgiving around the corner, small businesses are gearing up for what many say is their peak time.
Unsurprisingly, some of the early-adopters of cloud software were the IT, Communications and Financial Services industries. The many advantages of using cloud Software are beneficial to a broad scope of businesses.
Since Henry Ford built his first assembly line in 1913, automation has revolutionised manufacturing industries. Similarly, manufacturing can greatly benefit from the multi-functional nature of cloud software and services, improving forecasting, inventory management, sales support functions, HR, product development and life cycle management.
We live in an increasingly mobile world. Pretty much everyone has (and spends a great deal of time on) a cell phone, and devices like tablets and smartwatches are prominent features of today’s society. It’s no surprise, then, that for several years now mobile technology has been one of the biggest and fastest-growing trends in the retail world — something that’s perhaps most true in the United States, where much of this technology is pioneered or widely tested.
Are you struggling to motivate your employees? Do you constantly chase after them to get their timesheets in on time or wonder why they aren’t more focused or driven? Is absenteeism, poor morale and failure to meet targets a common occurrence?
Do you feel like it might be time for a change in your office environment? Perhaps the productivity isn’t as good as it use to be or there are a handful of employees who just don’t seem to be performing at their best. Conducting a performance review can greatly help you manage your employees and make sure that your workplace stays strong, efficient, and goal driven.
One of the most overlooked and under-practiced habits in today’s businesses is creating annual profit and loss budgets. But why is this so critical for your business?
With a profit and loss budget, you’ve considered and developed an understanding of the key areas in your business that really make your profit and loss come to life.
What’s the first thing that comes to your mind when the word “paperless” is brought up?
It’s easy to take for granted the innovative technology we have at our disposal today. For small businesses, something as simple as email has completely revolutionized the way you communicate with customers.
In order to run a modern business, you need to utilize modern technology. Doing so means that you can run your business as efficiently as possible, hire staff that are best-suited to the job and retain them.
I am astounded by the number of times I search for a product online, click the option to purchase, only to find that I then need to phone the retailer to pay. In 2016, this kind of disconnected experience is not good enough. Connected consumers want the freedom to buy from anywhere at any time, with a recent Zendesk survey revealing that 67% of consumers use multiple channels to make purchases.
Happy employees are engaged employees. It’s the HR holy grail. So gaining a measure of employee happiness in your business makes good sense. But all employee happiness surveys are not created equal. An employee happiness survey is only as good as the questions you ask and how you follow through on the responses.
Do you know what your business would do during a natural disaster? Planning for emergencies and natural disasters is essential to help protect your business against the worst.
Help make sure your business is prepared for extreme weather conditions this summer, and create an emergency management plan.
It’s the Holy Grail of business: increasing the number of profitable hours in a day. Short of asking staff to do more overtime or take shorter breaks, how do owners and managers coax more revenue-raising activities out of every employee and every subcontractor on every shift? And how do they become more effective at making decisions that will boost business efficiency every week?
In contemplating what to write about in this post I turned to the bevvy of online news sites for inspiration. Every second headline seemed to shine a spotlight on the issues our organisation deals with every day: minimum wage increases, penalty rates, protecting Australian jobs, childcare affordability and superannuation. Federal elections certainly have a way of getting people focused on employment services topics!
As a manager, it’s important to do your best to keep your workplace from becoming an episode of the Real Housewives. Here are some tips for managing conflict.
You’ve had a hectic day at the office. A last minute crisis occurred and you worked 2 hours overtime to get everything done. When you finally arrive home you’re too exhausted to cook dinner (and substitute with greasy takeaways and a cheap bottle of wine).Your ‘quality time’ with your spouse consists of a few muttered sentences before doing the laundry and other crucial tasks, then rolling into bed exhausted.
Are you looking for ways to ensure your employees are happy at work?
With the right approach, flexible working arrangements can help your employees achieve a work-life balance and benefit your business.
We all know that cash flow is king. But just how much sway does it have? Well, you might want to ask the nine out of 10 small businesses that have failed because of cash flow problems. That’s, right, according to D&B, 90% of small businesses close their doors because of poor cash flow management.
Small business owners today have an unprecedented opportunity to run their businesses better than ever thanks to improvements in technology. These smart technologies, ranging from on-the-go payment solutions to chatbots, are creating a boon for small businesses.
Xero U.S. President, Russ Fujioka, recently penned a column for Inc. where he highlighted some of the smart technologies taking the small business world by storm.
Everyone makes a plan at some point in their life. Whether it’s for their wedding, family, business – or even just the weekend. Spontaneity is fun when it comes to road trips and skinny dips, but successful businesses need to think about the future and how to work smarter, not harder.
A recent study focused on identifying the current issues and trends facing Australian SMEs has found that 38% of small businesses pick Marketing & Advertising as the primary strategy for growth.
With more than a third of small business competing in the open market it will mean that it’s going to be harder and harder for your prospective customers to differentiate your business to your competitors. This often means that with a limited budget, as an owner of a business you would rather hire new sales or marketing personnel than HR. Or invest time in prospecting new business rather than increasing employee engagement and other people management strategies.
If there’s one phrase found on the lips of finance-conscious small business owners more often than any other, it’s surely this old chestnut: “Cash flow is king”.
But how often does the average small business owner actually walk the talk of ‘cash is king’? Could it be that the simple distinction between ‘cash’ and ‘profit’ is actually unclear for many SMBs? And just what is the difference?
With smartphones at our fingertips, customers are searching online more than anywhere else to research a product. As a small business owner, it’s critical that you have a website ready for customers who are looking you up. Understanding why it is important and figuring out where to start can be intimidating. Here’s what you need to know.
Small businesses will often say that their number one goal is business growth. But where does business growth come from? An easy answer to this can be “attracting new customers”. But attracting new customers can come at a very high price. Marketing has become increasingly difficult with online advertising and social media offering. Competition is fierce. Every other small business is online competing for potential customers. On the other hand, you could rely on word-of-mouth, but that is going to be a very slow process.
Mention the word ‘millennial’ and the first thing that comes to mind for a lot of employers is ‘risky’. Today’s university graduates are looking to fast-track their career, and are not afraid of jumping from employer to employer to achieve advancement.
These days, using a mortgage broker certainly makes sense if you want some expert help in whittling down the huge number of loan options out there.
You’ll certainly save a lot of time and legwork, but to make the most of a broker’s services, it’s critical that you share your financial goals with them so they can actually show you the best loans to help you achieve your financial goals.
Several years ago, I had a customer who would glower at me as soon as I entered his department. He would say, ‘Fix it right this time, or get it out of here,’ no matter what the problem was.
If I was even one minute later than my ETA, he would be on the phone with my boss, complaining about the horrible service he was getting.
Because he would place a service call for the slightest imperfection or hiccup of the machine, I was going there almost every day.
Working with family members presents unique advantages, and unique challenges. If you've built up your own business, now might be the time to bring in other family members. Here’s how to avoid some of the pitfalls.
Emergencies that force you to stop trading, like earthquakes, floods or fires, come with little or no warning. To give your business the best chance of survival, you need a contingency plan. Make sure it includes what happens after disaster strikes, when less — or no — money might be coming in.
The types of failures that led to the Pike River mine tragedy can be found in many businesses and in many industries, says Rebecca Macfie, the Listener journalist who spent a year investigating the disaster and wrote the book Tragedy at Pike River: How and Why 29 Men Died.
If you’re a shop owner, new rules mean your council may let you open on Easter Sunday. However, you can’t make your employees work that day.
If you track income and expenses on a spreadsheet, you could be losing sight of how your business is performing and wasting a lot of time on data entry. There are low-cost alternatives that allow you to monitor business cashflow really simply.
Job sheets, whiteboards, clipboards, filing cabinets … these are the communication and information storage tools of old-fashioned, inefficient small businesses. For owners and managers of trades and services companies who are only familiar with these traditional ways of working, and systems that may have been used for decades, it can seem like a difficult task to move to modern, cloud-based job management software.
Have you ever wondered what makes successful business owners tick? Do you share their good habits? We surveyed 2,000 business owners to help you find out.
Are your staff turning up late, grouchy and stressed? Do they have a distant look in their eyes (like they’d rather be anywhere else)? Is your turnover rate on the rise?
Not too long ago, customers walked into retail stores without knowing much about their products. They’d browse the merchandise to discover items they liked, relying on store associates for more details and information.
If you’re like most small business owners and managers, you probably wear many hats and are responsible for many areas of your business. You’re the CEO, bean counter, marketing whiz, sales guru, lead developer, and more.
So you’ve typically got your hands full developing growth strategies, optimising the cash flow, managing customer relationships, product and service innovation, not the mention the human side of running your business.
As an employer, it's important that you understand the difference between employees and contractors. Employing someone under the wrong arrangement could put your business at risk of penalties. Things like your tax and super obligations are also affected by your workers’ arrangement.
‘I love deadlines…. especially the whooshing noise they make as they go by!’ That’s one of my favourite “Dilbert” quotes about business but it flies in the face of what motorsport stands for. Motorsport is a business of hitting deadlines because it doesn’t matter what reasons or excuses there are, the race will always start on time…. Whether you are there or not.
Marketing. *Cringe*. You can think of a million things you’d rather be doing. The ice bucket challenge in the middle of winter. A half marathon with your ridiculously fit niece, a Toastmasters table topics competition in front of 100 unknown people.
One of the tougher challenges for many trade businesses today in terms of finance is what’s commonly referred to as a cash gap.
A cash gap is a lag which occurs between income and cost of goods sold (COGS); that is, cash inflows and outflows. Businesses that suffer from a cash gap may be profitable on paper, but have cash flow problems because they have to pay their suppliers (COGS) much earlier than they receive money from their clients (income).
A big mistake made by small business managers is not providing adequate staff training. It doesn’t matter if a business is bringing in a new employee or the latest piece of specialist machinery or mobile technology, staff who aren’t trained properly will cost time and money. In the long run, businesses who don’t make training a priority will likely lose good staff, too.
How did trust, that fundamental building block of human behaviour, become a cornerstone of modern business? Once something that required significant time and investment to build, maintain and yield results, trust is now being made and broken by strangers at speed – and that shift is being commoditised.
The concept behind Auckland-based social enterprise Eat My Lunch is a simple one. Buy a lunch and a kiwi-kid in need gets one for free. But there’s a level of complexity behind the scenes to ensure its sustainable future – from carefully planning menus to ensure zero-waste kitchen to thorough financial forecasting.
Good managers can make or break a business. They're essential to developing a positive and productive workforce, which, in turn, improves employee retention levels and ensures everybody in the business is working in line with the company’s strategy and objectives.
Freelancing and gigging are gaining popularity fast. Not only do you get the flexibility to work when and how you want, a lot of these jobs let you work from home. However, if you’ve never worked from home before this can be a challenge.
Treating your home like an office can take practice, especially if you don’t have enough space for a dedicated home office. If you’re freelancing and want to work more efficiently, here are some tips to help.
Much like finding an old $20 in those jeans that you’ve had away since last winter, or like realising you’ve ordered your pizza on cheap Tuesday when you go to foot the bill, figuring out that just a small change to the way you work can save you time and money is gold.
Sometimes, it’s the minor details that matter. It might seem like a small win at the time, but it’s one that can make a big difference to your business.