As a founding member of the Fast Company magazine team, Polly LaBarre has seen her share of successes—and failures—in the business world. Now the cofounder and director of Management Lab, she helps businesses and entrepreneurs succeed. She starts by asking them a single question: Are you capable of changing as fast as the world is changing?
Secretly, my ultimate goal is an empty inbox. I create folders and subfolders and diligently file emails away as soon as possible, or delete anything I no longer need. The thought of my inbox growing massive in number kind of scares me - an irrational fear that if it grows beyond a certain amount, it’s too late to be saved, and I’d just have to give up and let it run wild. Some might call it OCD, I just like to call it ‘organised’.
If you’d asked anyone 10 years ago about how important technology was in running a successful café, they probably would have responded: not at all!
But today, we are increasingly seeing small businesses embrace technology to grow and be more relevant to their clients.
Raw data describes the facts and figures that a business processes every day. Over time, every business hoards a certain amount of data and it only becomes information to a business after it has been processed to add context, relevance and purpose.
Have you ever thought you were doing something good for yourself only to find out it was having the reverse effect? Like having a caffeine-hit only to end up in an even bigger slump, or dry-cleaning that expensive jacket and having it returned ruined. Unfortunately the same can be said for many Australians who keep their savings in a high-interest bank account.
The end of the first home saver accounts (FHSA) scheme means Australians who have put their money into the FHSA have lost a great vehicle to build up their savings.
We’re quickly approaching EOFY, the moment that businesses often dread. Time consuming, admin heavy tasks begin to really start to gather momentum, which often means reconciling the entire year’s payroll. However, it shouldn’t be a burden or a time of concern. Instead, it’s an opportunity to draw a line in the sand and begin a new financial year with a clean start to payroll and perhaps a focus on what you’re really in business for.
New Zealand’s Consumers Price Index for the March 2015 quarter fell 0.3% compared with last quarter, but the prices for fruit, rental housing, and newly built housing all went up. With the basic costs of living and housing all consistently rising, saving money for your retirement becomes less of a focus, and seemingly less achieveable.
As your business begins to grow, when the workload increases and the time commitment too, you may start to think you need some help. If getting the kids to stuff envelopes for pocket money come invoicing time just isn’t cutting it anymore, it might be time to think about formally hiring some staff.
I've learned a number of valuable marketing lessons over the last few weeks and I thought I'd share three of these with you.
In more than 20 years of writing for and about a wide variety of companies, I’ve noticed something important. The businesses that flourish are the ones that truly understand their customers – who they are and what they want.
As a merchant or a person acquainted with ecommerce, you might have heard such terms as “cross selling” and “upselling”. But if you think these are some sort of sophisticated novelties – they are not. These techniques have been used by many generations of traditional retailers and are still considered to be the keys to profit generation.
Are you a retailer (or retail sales associate) who’s struggling with how to approach shoppers? Worried that you lack the magic touch, or that you’ll come off as an annoying salesperson? Would you rather be awkwardly staring at your store’s point of sale software screen than actually talking to the customer in front of you?
The beginning of a relationship is always the best. You laugh at each other’s jokes, you look forward to every phone call, and you truly enjoy getting to know one another.
This guest blog is by Tim Campbell, the first winner of BBC TV’s The Apprentice and co-founder of the Bright Ideas Trust, a charity that helps people start their own businesses.
What ‘simple things’ can you do to improve sales?
Regardless of what is going on in the economy there are always simple things many businesses can use to improve their sales and profits.
Sometimes making more sales is as simple as talking to more potential customers about what you sell.
You offer a valuable service, a skill set or a must-have product. Whatever your business, your customers obviously turn to you for a reason. And when it comes to sharing a little knowledge, your customers will be ready and waiting to read something from you, in your own voice.
Back in the day, retail pricing was relatively straightforward. Customers would walk into a store, browse products, look at their price tags, and if they like what they see, they would move on to checkout.
When deciding how to price your products, you need to understand how – and where – your business fits into the economy.
In the past, having honest scales were key to doing good business. Today, for many service-based businesses, our scales are our timesheets. Keeping our timesheets honest is not only good for our customers, but necessary to grow your business.
A popular topic these days is how to hire the perfect candidate for your business. Many industries seem to be suffering from a candidate shortage. When you can’t hire a quality candidate with a lot of experience, the focus quickly turns to hiring people straight out of school. So, how do you identify the diamonds in the rough? How can you give them what they need to grow and turn them into the best they can be?
Making your office a little greener is not just a great way to do your bit towards a healthier and more sustainable planet, it can also give your business a point of differentiation, while also helping your bottom line.
Job Management Software is a new market. Anyone using it is ahead of the game. Those that have adopted it name three key reasons for abandoning their old ways. ‘ Needless extra admin’, ‘Scheduling the workforce was painful’ and ‘We have had poor visibility of job progress’ are the top three.
A cloud inventory solution is one of the most important tools for an ecommerce business. Cloud inventory is the core of your operations, providing the infrastructure and technology needed to manage goods. There are many great cloud solutions which integrate with multiple marketplaces, shopping carts, and accounting platforms.
The government has high hopes for Australian small businesses and is banking on them to boost the country’s economic growth over the next few years.
One of the many things I love about working at Xero is how we can spot a gap in the market and work at #xerospeed to create a solution. It’s not only a buzz to see it happen, it’s also great for our customers – and rewarding for the people who work on the project, too.
The Government this month handed down the 2015 NZ Budget with a few surprises in store. This Budget continues to deliver on National Government’s pattern of fiscal responsibility. This is a positive thing for New Zealand business as it creates an environment of certainty and stability for businesses to invest.
It’s no question that data is a godsend for many retailers. Analytics can help you get to know your business better and can enable you spot trends, identify problems, and plan for the future. Data also empowers you to make more reliable decisions in just about every area of your business, including sales, inventory, staffing, and more.
The 2015 UK election results are in and the Conservatives are back in charge, this time governing alone. So what does the new government mean for UK small businesses?
Switching from QuickBooks to Xero just got even easier. Any US Xero user can now upload a QuickBooks Pro, Premier, Mac or Online data file and it will be automatically converted in three hours or less. A new Xero organization will be created with all of the transactional data for the current and previous year. All for free.
You started your own business to do something you love and make money. But how much should you pay yourself? Too little and you may struggle to survive. Too much and your business might be at risk. So how do you strike the right balance?
Small businesses often start out using Excel – but that’s only doable up until a point. Like every teenager eventually becomes an adult, your business needs to evolve and grow. Find out why the smartest organisations are using online accounting software instead.
Accountants can help out at various stages during the growth of your business. They can handle much more than just your payroll and tax returns. So when should you consider hiring an accountant for your small business?
If you want your business to work smarter and faster, cloud accounting software is a wise investment. Working in the cloud will give you a better overview of your finances, and improve collaboration with your team.
When tax time comes around, is the hobby of selling the occasional item on eBay or Etsy still really considered a hobby, or have you found yourself in an accidental business?
One of the big opportunities for many businesses is the huge ‘hidden market’ for what they offer.
Invoices are a necessary evil. It’s what your agency needs to get paid! As your agency’s financial manager, ownership of this monthly responsibility falls to you.
While this likely isn’t news to your agency, as with any service business, there is a constant struggle to retain and grow long-term client relationships.
With the digital age in full swing, it’s no surprise that your employees’ personal and professional lives are becoming more and more intertwined.
Starting out afresh – either creating your own accounting practice or regenerating one from within – can be a daunting venture. It is a leap of faith, but also a tantalising opportunity to journey down a different path.
We asked you, our customers, to share with us the pain points that made you turn to GeoOp and had you try and quantify the savings you’ve made.
The traditional argument about Intellectual Property has always been whether it is a sword or a shield
In the desktop world that we are rapidly leaving behind, updates are infrequent and painful. If there was something you didn’t like or didn’t quite work in your accounting software it could be years before you got a fix for it.
What’s the word customers most use to describe your brand? Don’t do any fancy research or hire any consultants. Just go listen. Listen with an ear to the words they use in the first sentence. Then keep score.
There is no question that an IP strategy should be aligned with business strategy.
But, what needs to be better recognised is that IP issues can actually drive most strategic considerations in an organisation
Do you know who an incredible advocate for hard work was? Mary Poppins.
If there was an option to make things easier for yourselves…would you take it?
Inventory management can be hard for any business to do well. Whether you're in manufacturing or retail, your business can suffer if you have too little stock – or too much. Here's how to get it right.
Busy offices can generate a lot of paperwork. But too much paper can reduce the efficiency of your business – and cost you money. So what steps can you take to cut the amount of paper your business uses?
We understand that SEO can be a bit of a mysterious beast. So we reached out to our friends from Alpha Digital, to share some of their best practice tips to help you make your product descriptions SEO friendly.
Women all over the world are becoming entrepreneurs and building successful businesses. What lessons can they teach the rest of us? Here, seven famous female entrepreneurs share their tips for success.
Human beings are overwhelmingly visual. How could I say that? 90% of information transmitted to the brain is visual, and visuals are processed 60,000X faster in the brain than text. Why are high-quality photos important for online retail?
There a simple creative thinking system that you might like to use to increase your sales fast. It’s called the 20 idea method.
It’s very rare for consumers to make purchase decisions without doing any research. Save for impulse buys, people generally take their time and consult several sources when they’re trying to decide what to buy and who to buy from.
What is your ‘Unfair Marketing Advantage Strategy’ going to be for the next 12 months?
In other words, what will you change (or do differently) so you get much better business results in the next 12 months with a lot less effort?
Successful agencies are constantly on the hunt to attract and retain top talent through recruiting and networking. But making a hiring decision isn’t easy, and it’s important to hire the right person—the first time around.
Agency-life can be a whirlwind. With client requests, impromptu projects, and ever-looming deadlines, simply retaining your sanity can be tough. But all hope is not lost.
Getting organized is the second most popular New Year’s resolution, according to a study conducted by the University of Scranton. Are you still sticking to yours?
Do employers have to pay annual leave loading to employees on termination?
Xero is pleased to announce New Zealand Payroll has been released so you can get ready for processing payroll from the 1st April. Now is the time to make the change in time for the new financial year.
The Wow Company’s annual Benchpress survey, released this week, has shown that more independently-owned UK creative agencies than ever have chosen beautiful accounting software to manage their businesses.
This is a good time of year to review various parts of your business. Payroll is sometimes neglected in reviews, yet it's an important topic. So here's how to make payroll work perfectly for you this year.
Often it’s easy to get stuck in a rut. You begin to doubt yourself and your ability to perform your job at a level that you see fit. But you know what? It’s okay.
We all know the colleagues we love working with every day. They usually have a few common characteristics, including…
When Heraclitus said “the only thing constant is change” in the 5th century BC, he probably didn’t have the internet in mind, but his words couldn’t apply more closely to any other field than to this one.
No industry is exempt from change. Change is inevitable. It affects everyone within a business, from the CEO and director through to front line employees. It’s important to keep in mind the implications of change that can occur if it isn’t managed appropriately.
If you're running a small business - and there are nearly 30 million of you in the U.S. alone - then you know the old adage rings true: Time really is money.
Change. Whether you’re someone who welcomes it with open arms, or you’re the type who tries to maintain the status quo as long as possible, change is inescapable. As the cliché goes, change the only constant thing in the world. And in retail, this statement couldn’t be more true, especially in the last few years!
Cashflow management is vital for a growing business. We spoke to Ed Castaño of BlueVine, a provider of working capital to small businesses, to find out how to manage cashflow. Here are his thoughts.
Small businesses win work by using sales quotes (also known as price quotes). Yet they often don’t realise that how they prepare and create quotes can cost them business. Many lose revenue by not following up on quotes or turning quotes around fast enough.
Over the last five years, blogging for business has become an industry unto itself. With numerous companies all over the world vying for the top talent and the most pageviews, it’s no surprise that the top business blogs are those which can adapt and respond to the changing landscape of the digital world.
From cupcake-crazy home bakers to fitness addicts and artistic dreamers, more and more entrepreneurial Britons are turning passions and pastimes into money-making enterprises. In fact, latest studies show there are 600,000 more micro businesses in the UK today than there were during the onset of the financial crisis in 2008*.
Rust never sleeps’ was supposedly the tagline for a 1970s advertising campaign for a rust-inhibitor product called Rustoleum. Although the phrase found far more traction as an album title for legendary Canadian rocker Neil Young, it resonates with us here at Debtor Daddy because it echoes one of our favourite sayings that “Debt never sleeps”.
What do modern customers expect from retailers? How can you increase revenues per transaction? How can you ramp up word-of-mouth for your business? Our latest retail roundup answers these questions and then some.
We live in a globally connected, digital economy. In this world the all-pervasive force is data. So much so that is has become to the digital economy, what oil was to the industrial. There has never been a better time to use data to drive your business performance.
The ATO app puts tax and super help in your hand, making it easier for you to conduct your tax and super affairs on the go.
If you pay for a website for your business, here are some things to remember about claiming the costs…
Starting a business is a big decision, and needs careful research and planning well before you start trading.
In a world of large players, naturally many smaller organisations cannot compete directly with the resources of larger ones. So innovative companies need to know the landscape, be nimble and targeted in their approach, and recognise when it could be more useful to sell intellectual property rather than commercialise it themselves.
Retail stores have long been collecting basic details (i.e. name and email) on their customers. Now, with the help of some nifty retail cloud solutions, it’s possible to collect so much more.
Many businesses are making costly mistakes because they do not have a strategy for undertaking Freedom to Operate assessments.
Your website or LinkedIn profile will often be the first thing about your company that a prospective client sees, and as we all know, you only get one chance to make a good first impression.
There’s some truth to the saying “You have to spend money to make money.” When you’re running a business, shelling out without seeing an immediate return is part of the territory.
No matter what products or services they produce, businesses need two essential things to succeed: employees and customers.
I’m sure we all remember using acrostic poems growing up. This week we’ve chosen to discuss the topic of customers in acrostic form!
As an agency working with brands to create engaging marketing and digital content campaigns, it’s important to keep up-to-date with the trends in the market.
Is THIS the year that you are going to concentrate on your inbound marketing and commit to creating a blog that generates results for your business? Great news!
In the race to attract the best staff, and always have a talent pool ready to fill any immediate gaps at short notice, more employers are turning to non-traditional recruitment channels, using social media.
Take a moment to imagine you’ve been given the task of being a mystery shopper for one night. Your job is to go in and assess multiple aspects of a venue: its employees, its food and beverage, the decor, the atmosphere – the works.
Retailers and consumers alike are huge fans of loyalty programs, and for good reason. For merchants, loyalty programs drive repeat spending and encourage customers who buy once to return again and again.
The Government’s campaign for health and safety reform has made it clear that there is an increased focus on high risk industries such as forestry, agriculture, manufacturing and construction.
Xero accounting software is designed to revolutionise the way small businesses manage their finances.
The level of employee retention within a business is always a good testament to the management team.
With the spotlight on agribusiness and food technology sectors, we're leading the conversation about the life cycle of innovative ideas.
Presented by Senior Associate Jonathan Lucas and Catalyst Ltd Director, Janes Lancaster, this video highlights how to develop products and services with a long term vision, ensuring sustainable success.
Receipt Bank allows you to add in details of your bank accounts and payment methods in order to help us categorise your receipts and invoices even more efficiently!
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