During the Christmas holiday season, businesses of many types employ seasonal or casual workers to meet extra demands. Often these workers are hard-working young people who have travelled from overseas, bringing with them their own language and culture. This international melting-pot makes for a fun and productive work environment, although it can also present challenges.
Outsourcing ‘business as usual’ tasks can bring focus and efficiencies your business needs in order to succeed in today’s fast paced environment. A new level of agility and access to quality analytics and expertise can be brought into your business. To get ahead of the competition, consider outsourcing.
Have you ever considered selling private label products? If so, keep reading. For this post, we caught up with Sarah Ferrence, the founder of Mod. Merchant, a firm that helps retailers and wholesalers adapt and grow their businesses in the new era of retail.
Shifting data, systems and the inner workings of a business onto the cloud can be a big move. However, it’s hard to stay away from the cloud these days; the applications of cloud-based software are seemingly endless.
While there are many things that can affect the in-store experience (e.g. products, prices, store environment, etc.) customer service is always going to be one of the top factors that impact how shoppers perceive your brand.
There were almost 5 million retail sales jobs in the U.S. in 2016. Those workers, both full- and part-time, represent a sizeable chunk of the workforce, and they’re also a key component to every growing retail business. (post by Alexandra Sheehan)
When thinking about threats to your retail store, shoplifting is probably number one, right? The idea of someone swiping hundreds of dollars of products into a giant bag and walking out with them is horrifying, isn’t it? (post by Cara Wood)
Perhaps the most important part of retail is the moment of the transaction — when money transfers from the customer to the cashier. (post by Cara Wood)
Recruiting more women into roles within the technology sector continues to be to a major challenge for employers. In the UK technology sector, only 15% of people working in STEM roles are female, and women hold only 5% of tech leadership positions.
The Harvey Weinstein scandal is back in the news this week – and it’s a reminder that we should seriously think about how we recognize and prevent sexual harassment in the workplace.
When it comes to creating a vibrant company, values are absolutely foundational – in fact, they’re one of the most visible aspects of any company culture.
Conflicts are inevitable, even in the most engaged of workplaces. Regardless of the source of the conflict, if they are left unresolved, conflicts can quickly impact employee morale and productivity.
Free healthy meals at work, discounted travel, opportunities for personal development and study, flexible working, and paid time off for volunteering – these are just some of the compelling employee benefits that leading company’s offer.
Dealing with difficult customers can be… well, difficult, but it doesn’t have to be. With the right attitude and action steps, you can effectively navigate these tricky customer situations and emerge (hopefully) unscathed.
Customer Success is one of the most important strategic priorities at Spotlight Reporting. The more we learn about Customer Success principles, strategy and practice, the more we can see the powerful resonance this could have for accountants in practice.
Creating a highly-engaged workforce and a thriving workplace continues to be a major focus for all HR managers. And the reason is simple.
Training in the workplace is a very valuable and important component of running a successful business.
So, you’re doing your homework on employee onboarding and preparing new starter kits infused with your company’s values. You also want to mastermind an onboarding process that even the tech giants would be proud of.
Many businesses in the building, civil and mining and professional services industries in particular, underestimate the benefit of a well-constructed employment contract.
Workplace training is an important part of company work life which, as expensive as it may be, is a necessary means to a skilled workforce.
If the business you work in is anything like other small businesses, then your role of office manager means you handle just about anything!
As we mentioned in a previous post, putting on new staff comes with a mountain of onboarding paperwork. But, that certainly doesn’t mean your new starter’s first day should be all about filling in forms.
Dennis Yarrow began Yarrow Plumbing back in 2003. Before that, he cut his teeth in the plumbing industry working in Papua New Guinea where he learned how to manage a team of 50 (and some other life skills he hadn’t bargained for).
These days, managing HR in a growing business is a constant task. As an HR manager, you’re probably overloaded with work and you never seem to get to the bottom of it all.
Aside from efficient inventory management, teamwork is an incredibly important component of the ‘successful business’ recipe and if left out, the result can be a real flop.
We have spoken to hundreds of business owners and thousands of their employees over the last twelve years.
Millennials – young people born between the 1980s and early 2000s – make up an increasingly large proportion of drinking-age customers. It’s important that good hospitality businesses understand that.
No one ever starts a business with the intention of spending most of their time tied up in the administrative tasks that come with operating one.
The thing is, employee wellbeing and happiness isn’t just about nap rooms, onsite massages, and cafeterias serving healthy food and snacks (though that would be nice!)
Many small business owners don’t give a second thought about the need for clear communication.
Every business owner knows that as soon as you start hiring people, there’s a whole heap of important and must-do HR related tasks and compliance requirements that goes with them.
Look at a company with a reputation for strong employee engagement and you’ll find a high performing business. We’re not making this up.
Are you equipped to handle retail theft and robberies? Whether you answered yes or no to that question, keep reading.
Staff training is one of the best investments you can make for the future success of your business.
Remember the old (and slightly misogynistic) phrase Happy Wife, Happy Life! ? Well, it turns out there is a workplace equivalent: Happy workers, productive business! (and no – we couldn’t make it rhyme).
The idea of starting your own business and being your own boss has become more popular in recent years.
If you’re an accountant or professional advisor, take heed of a recent decision by the Federal Circuit Court. You may be at risk of accessorial liability for your clients’ breaches of the Fair Work Act.
Are you a grape grower and wine producer or tax advisor who advises grape growers and wine producers on the R&D Tax Incentive?
While most businesses and tax advisors do the right thing, the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) and Department of Industry, Innovation and Science (DIIS) has issued a warning to tax advisors who have been improperly advising businesses on the R&D Tax Incentive.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
1. a person who sets up a business or businesses, taking on financial risks in the hope of profit.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
Hiring the right person for the job isn’t always a straightforward process. There are many variables to consider and whether you are a startup looking to hire your very first member of staff or already have a few team members on board and are looking to expand, the right person with the right skills can really enhance your work environment and have a positive impact on production. Hiring the wrong person does just the opposite and can not only be a costly exercise, but it can also be time-consuming and even have a negative impact on employee morale.
In the world of small business, the changing nature of competition requires us to constantly adjust and adapt, succeed and remain grounded. Everyday business decisions can be a continuous battle between the urge to stand still and consolidate, or push to achieve more.
So how do you strike the right balance? Multi-medal winning swimmer Michael Klim shares four top tips.
Change is a normal and essential part of business. It’s an important step in improving your staff performance, enhancing goods or services and expanding.
Ah, meetings. With their almost universally hated status, running one can be tough going. You can almost *hear* the groans as you schedule one in the team’s shared calendar (and heaven forbid you try and make it a regular weekly occurrence). Given the enormous amount of pressure you – as the brave meeting organiser – face, it’s easy to default to a boring Powerpoint deck and read off the slides word-for-word. Unfortunately it’s also a great way to send everyone to sleep or to seek solace in tea breaks and lunch.
If you haven’t heard already, there are some big changes around the corner for workers covered by modern awards, which are has kicked in at the start of August 2016. Importantly, there are some big changes in the way employees can cash out annual leave.
Being tired on the job is a health and safety issue many businesses have to grapple with, says a world authority on worker fatigue.
“Fatigue is just another hazard,” says Professor Drew Dawson, director of the Appleton Institute at the Central Queensland University.
How many times have you been on a road trip with children and heard that constant question that gratingly gets on your nerves: ‘Are we there yet?’
If you’re like me, you want to answer with, ‘Of course not or we’d be… there.’ Kids, knowing the potential fun to be had at the destination, get weary in the waiting of the journey itself.
They may stand alone on the podium, but gold-winning medallists always thank the team that made them. So how do you build the right team around you when you’re only just off the blocks – and why should you bother?
As the company owner, you have that entrepreneurial streak, that will to succeed. You can see the big picture and have a clear view of where you want the company to be in 5 years time.
The big problem comes when you can’t seem to translate that enthusiasm and drive to your team. They’re qualified and hardworking, but they just don’t really seem that fussed what happens to the company. You want them to be resilient, driven and – above all else – as motivated to succeed as you are.
When you own a business, it’s easy to get caught up in the day-to-day: from ensuring jobs get done, to checking employees and customers are happy. That’s before we even factor in our families, let alone ourselves.
But when we don’t take care of ourselves too, it can take a toll on the quality we operate at, affecting business productivity and ultimately profitability.
Having a good working relationship with your suppliers is vital to ensure your business runs smoothly. Although it’s likely you’ve taken the time to find the right suppliers for your business and build up a good supplier relationship with them, it’s still important to know what to do if any issues arise.
In light of the Philip Green pension scandal at BHS, we thought we’d take the opportunity to educate you on some of the most notorious business villains.
From revealing industry secrets to mistresses to throwing lavish parties funded by fraudulent loans, these anti heroes have committed some of most lucrative and luxurious (and rash) crimes ever recorded.
A robust rostering system is essential in any hospitality or retail business. Ensuring you have the right number of staff rostered on will keep your customers happy, and your wage cost looking great.
On the contrary, building rosters inefficiently can be a real time-waster. So, how do you get maximum results from your roster?
However there's extra time and help available to you if you need it…
Think about the stars of Hollywood’s red carpets and you probably have in mind a certain sort of person. Someone who embodies the glamour of the silver screen, effortlessly suave, confident and full of panache… Or maybe you just see someone who’s made it lucky and never done a proper day’s work in their life.
Many years ago, I was on lunch with two other techs when one asked, 'Have you seen Tom around lately?'
Tom was a bit of a 'lone wolf' so it wasn’t too strange that we hadn’t run into him, but our manager had also requested a few times that we take his service calls.
I decided to call Tom to find out why he had been MIA for the past few weeks.
It’s Saturday night and dozens of people are starting to stream into your restaurant for a bite to eat. Your staff are ready and everyone’s looking sharp… except Dave, who was supposed to be there 15 minutes ago. Turns out he didn’t realise he was meant to be working and is away for an epic skiing weekend. Awesome for him – not so much for you.
Winter bugs can hammer a small business’s productivity, so it pays to help your people stay healthy — and to understand sick leave rules.
Sick leave absences cost the country more than six million work days throughout 2014 — an average 4.7 days for each employee — at a cost of $1.4 billion, according to the annual Wellness in the Workplace survey.
If you’re seeking to achieve business growth and expansion, it’s likely you’ll look to leverage the passion and talent of your employees. This might mean looking to your star performers, and it might mean looking for new hires.
The ultimate outcome here is to create autonomy within your workforce – you’re seeking to create a capability that works as if you were controlling it but with little need for your input. Think about that for a moment.
Great employees are made up of two foundational elements: enthusiasm and teachability.
The former denotes a passionate individual, while the latter is one who wants to develop and progress, who is hungry to learn, and who evidences the trait of humility.
If you can find an individual with these two traits as well as highly developed skills, then you’re on to a winner. And, even if the skill levels are less than required, their rise to skill mastery will be much faster if they already have these two foundational traits.
Earlier this week, Square and Startup Week 2016 presented Ladies Who Launch: a panel featuring some of Australia’s inspiring business owners – who just happen to be women.
Around 200 of us gathered at 524 Flinders Street to hear from four successful founders: Sarah Hamilton ofBellabox, Simone Clark of Butterbing Cookie Sandwiches, Sheryl Thai of Cupcake Central + the League of Extraordinary Women, and Jacqui Bull of Sidekicker.
The panel was hosted Josh McNicol, Head of Marketing and Communications for Square Australia.
Discrimination can happen in any area of the business, whether it be during the interviewing process or with current staff. This article aims to help employers and employees understand discrimination, how to identify it, and how to avoid it.
There comes a time in every growing business where an entrepreneur has to make some key hires to ensure the health and longevity of their operations.
Our survey of 2000 small business owners showed successful small business owners don’t pretend to have all the answers. Instead, they establish a strong network of family, advisors, and mentors, including an accountant or financial advisor.
“This is our breakout area. As you can see, we’ve got a pool table, an ironic Space Invaders machine, several broken Apple Macs hanging on the exposed brick wall, craft beer on tap, though I think the keg’s empty… Oh, and that khaki tent in the corner is for meetings. Of course, there’s nobody in here at the moment as we’re all so busy working.”
You may walk the walk, but can you talk the talk? Public speaking, pitching, talking, listening. Communication is integral to every aspect of business ownership and is a skill that directly impacts success.
There are fundamental shifts taking place in HR. In these times of critical skills shortages, everyone has woken up to the fact that employees are the most important company asset. And using the right HR Tech will help you get the best out of them.
It seems, nowadays, that everywhere you look you’ll see something related to ‘culture’ and the benefits of a good company culture — and of course the disadvantages of a bad one. So what is this ‘culture’ I speak of?
“The people that embrace technology of course are the ones who are going ahead. The ones who see disruption not as disruption but as a challenge to develop new processes and new products.”
– Steve Vamos, non executive director, Telstra and Fletcher Building
Staff scheduling is the heartbeat of any SME, and should never be taken on half-heartedly.
Corporate social responsibility (CSR) is becoming an increasingly popular concept in the retail world. More and more merchants are realizing that giving back doesn’t just make the world a better place, it’s also good for business.
Over the last few years we’ve been able to get a pretty good handle on your biggest pain points as a business.
We’ve all worked with them at some point – the employees or coworkers who are chronically late for work but who are the first ones to head home at the end of the day.
When they’re on the job, they do the minimum that they can get by with without getting fired. Many label them as ‘lazy’ or ‘slackers’ and quickly write them off as a potential layoff candidate.
When Fortune tabs you as the #5 Best Workplace in Retail for 2015, you’re on to something good.
This week Xero Gravity host Elizabeth Ü chats with Anthony Bucci, Founder & CEO of online motorcycle retailer RevZilla. Anthony’s passion for hiring the right person is undeniable. He shares his learnings from those first handful of hires made at RevZilla and offers invaluable insight into how to grow your best team.
A robust rostering system is essential in any hospitality or retail business. Ensuring you have the right number of staff rostered on will keep your customers happy, and your wage cost looking great.
If you employ people you need to take the time to understand a number of employment law changes.
When it comes to building rosters you want to be as accurate as possible when forecasting future staffing requirements. Time again, we’ve seen rosters being created based on instinct and manager experience.
The issue of bullying at school is well-known and reasonably well understood. But workplace bullying is just as big a problem. In the US, for example, 27% of employees have experienced bullying, and managers are the main cause.
Wherever you find people who are driven, ambitious and strong-willed, there’s potential for bullying. Unfortunately, there’s a good chance that some of the people reading this are workplace bullies.
As an employer, it's important you understand the difference between employees and contractors. You're responsible for getting it right!
Engaged employees are the secret weapon of successful organisations of any size. If your people are happy, committed and empowered, they’ll stay with your business. Your customers will get a better experience, you spend less on recruitment and re-training, productivity soars and absenteeism plummets.
“We selected our 12 best managers and we psychometrically profiled them. From that profile we were then able to build what we saw was an ideal person that would fit our culture.” - Angus Kennard, non executive director and third generation leader of Kennards Hire.
The adult minimum wage is going up from $14.75 an hour to $15.25, with the starting-out and training rates rising too. Here’s what you’ll need to know for your business.
New laws are increasing parental leave entitlements. Find out what impact it will have on your business.
Changes to employment law will ban so-called zero-hour contracts. Here’s what you’ll need to know for your business.
We’ve all heard about the rise of the on-demand gig economy. About one third of the United States workforce are freelancers. It signals a fundamental shift following the Global Financial Crisis where incomes stagnated and the size of the total labor pool contracted.
Change. It is the one crucial element an organization needs to be able to execute if it wants to remain relevant and profitable in an increasingly dynamic and challenging global economy. It is also the one vital element that generates the greatest amount of resistance, and throws up the largest number of obstacles to success, than any other business necessity.
As the saying goes, the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results. So if 2015 was a busy, challenging or downright insane year, it might be time to re-think a few workplace habits as we tear another page off the calendar and hurtle headfirst into 2016.
Offering your staff flexibility means allowing them to work in ways that fit in with their home life. It could mean letting staff work some hours at home or work a mix of long and short days.
Hiring employees can be extremely time-consuming, but it’s important if you want to grow your business. Your staff can become your most valuable asset so it’s important to get it right.
If you work from home you already have to look after your own health and safety (H&S). But what will the upcoming law changes mean for you?
Effective and supportive management is a key ingredient in making sure your employees love their jobs. And one of the most important aspects of being a good manager is giving clear feedback to your team members. This is something you should be doing consistently throughout the year. But yearly performance reviews are the perfect opportunity to reflect holistically on what went well and what could use some work. Here are some tips for how to conduct constructive and effective yearly performance reviews.
Businesses that boost the technical skills of their employees lift their productivity and profits, as well as improve worker satisfaction. Despite knowing this, most firms still suffer from skill gaps.
A recent survey in the UK found that while most companies accepted the business benefits that would flow from improving their staff’s digital skills, only 14 percent felt their staff training was adequate.
Surveys are great. They often provide you the down and dirty data needed to develop or validate a hypothesis.
Market research is another fantastic tool. It provides the broad net needed to understand the intricacies of who your target customer is, and what their pain points and needs are.
Does your business have a story? The kind of story that demonstrates your business is committed to upholding its values? This may be key in retaining staff and making them happy.
What do Elizabeth Holmes, Sara Blakely, Linda Avey and Arianna Huffington have in common? They are all female entrepreneurs who have successfully built billion dollar businesses. But what does differ dramatically is their age.
Customers. Without them, you wouldn't be in business. But sometimes they are the sole cause of all our stress and woe. That's especially true during busy times of the year, which for many industries is the leadup to the holiday season.
Where to in 2016?
In a competitive market, customer loyalty is everything. Keep your customers coming back for more and encourage them to become loyal brand advocates, and profitable growth is a given.
As a small business owner, you should take any edge you can get when it comes to being successful. You never know what piece of advice is going to be the key to breaking your business wide open.
That’s why we launched our Make or Break? report,which looks into what makes businesses more likely to succeed or fail, in honor of Global Entrepreneurship Week. We want to give you all the information you need to make an informed decision about your business.
Here’s a quick flow chart to help you decide how to take the next steps in your business.
In honor of Women’s Entrepreneurship Day, we want to celebrate women who are out there working hard on their businesses. We know starting and running your own business presents new challenges everyday. From getting funding, to keeping on top of your cash flow, to trying to be more productive. Every day it’s something new.
We asked 500 small business owners about how the run their business and the things they think about every day. We found that the women in our survey are constantly hustling for their business. Not only that, they tend to only turn to their accountant during tax times. We know that having a great advisor can be the key to maintaining a healthy business.
Take a look at some of the other findings from our survey:
Entrepreneurs will often say you’ve got to fail fast and learn faster if you want to succeed. It’s these learnings which not only make you a better business owner but also increase your chances of establishing a successful business.
As a business owner, you can generally decide who you want to do business with, but in some circumstances you could be breaking the law if you refuse.
Whether you’re a supplier, manufacturer, wholesaler, or distributor, it’s a good idea to understand when refusing to supply is allowed and when it’s against the law.
With the summer holidays approaching, now is the time to think about how you’ll fill staffing gaps quickly. Casual employees could be the answer.
Unexpected events, such as a staff member calling in sick, can potentially derail your business day. So having casual staff available is very useful.
But tread carefully – if you treat casual workers like part-time staff, eg give them regular hours, this is a breach of employment law.
Bestselling author and business coach James Kerr hosted a dinner with Xero to discuss the overlap in the philosophy of sport and business.
James makes a living coaching high performing teams and organisations, with experience inside environments including the All Blacks, Australian Kangaroos, Formula One, Team GB, Premier League Football and the US Navy Seals. This is especially relevant today as the All Blacks prepare for the Rugby World Cup final on Saturday.
From 28 October all New Zealand companies must have at least one director who lives in New Zealand, or who lives in Australia and is a director of an Australian registered company.
New Zealand companies that don’t comply risk being removed from the Companies Register.
If your company doesn’t have a New Zealand-based director, you will need to appoint one who lives in New Zealand or in Australia immediately.
There’s also additional information about directors you’ll need to provide when filing your Companies Office annual returns.
I bet we can all agree that we don’t need anything else to be stressed out about. Unfortunately, new research shows that being stressed can affect your health.
We’ve known for a long time that stress and health are closely correlated and it’s easy to put one above the other, but now it seems that they are both of equal importance for day-to-day health.
You’re a business manager or owner, sitting in a room with 10 employees. Have a good look at them. What do you see? Do they all look like people who are happy and keen to show their talents and make a difference to your bottom line?
Chances are that this is unlikely. Alarmingly, statistics show that six of those 10 aren’t engaged in the business at all and another one, maybe two, are “actively disengaged”. If you’re lucky, two or three of them will understand what you and your business are really trying to achieve.
So, what’s the real reason the Holiday season is considered so difficult for hospitality businesses down under?
With the end of the year nearing, it won’t be long now until most Australian and New Zealand companies begin winding down, planning their summer holidays and organising what they’re going to do over the long break. However, while most people are winding down, hospitality businesses are gearing up for their busiest period of the year.
Employers know the importance of keeping their teams engaged. Engaged staff are more motivated. They collaborate more effectively, driving your business to success. Combined with work-life balance, engagement is the path to retention, productivity and, ultimately, competitive advantage.
Being the busiest shopping season of the year, retail sales during the holiday months can account for as much as 20-40% of a retailer’s annual sales. That’s a lot of revenue–and it takes a lot of additional work to achieve. That’s why the holiday season always brings about a spike in temp hiring.
If you’re one of the many merchants looking to hire seasonal employees in the next few months, it’s high time that you start looking, vetting and training people. Remember, you’re competing with a lot of other retailers for talent these days, so the sooner you get started, the better.
Culture is recognised as the ideas, customs, and social behaviour of a society. When it comes to business, it’s importance can carry even more weight. When we think about a business’ culture, we think of the values, behaviours and attributes of your people.
Entrepreneurs come in different shapes and sizes. Which type are you?
There’s an old saying attributed to Mark Twain: “History doesn’t repeat itself, but it does rhyme.” That’s certainly true of business. Time and again I’ve read that the most successful entrepreneurs are the ones who left school in their early teens and set up their own businesses.
You’ve got all this amazing talent, ideas are firing, business is thriving, you wake up every day feeling really lucky to be doing what you do. But one day it all starts to go downhill. People are leaving, HR is in overdrive and unfamiliar faces are springing up left right and center as freelancers start filling in the gaps...
What do you think when you think of HR?
Administrative? Transactional? Boring?
Yep, the traditional human resources department hasn’t got the best rep. And for good reason – it’s where the business dots the i’s and crosses the t’s, where policies and processes are fine-tuned. It’s not exactly thrilling stuff.
At Xero, we use the power of technology to foster innovation, connection and entrepreneurialism. To create beautiful work that makes a difference. This is why, each month, we speak to business leaders within our like-minded community. We want to see how they apply similar values to shape their businesses, and their future.
This month, we speak to Stephen Borg. He’s an experienced executive recruiter who, together with his two business partners, started Miller Leith. The firm aims to turn the recruitment industry on its head. They’re creating a more personal, community-minded and supportive experience for businesses and candidates alike.
Stephen tells us in his words why genuine connections make all the difference, how you can innovate work to be a force for good, and how a value-driven service can transform business challenges.
Just like most organizations, the success of a retail business relies on the unity and alignment of three critical elements: people, process, and technology. This is especially true when you’re running several retail locations. With multiple moving parts, stores, and teams, it’s essential that you keep every component in sync to ensure that your business runs smoothly.
“Counting your chickens before they hatch” is an idiom that’s thrown around a lot in day to day conversation. Little do people realise its relevance to business strategy. In a nutshell, it means to ‘plan how you’re going to utilize the good results of something, before those results have actually occurred.’
It might be hard to imagine now but what if something were to happen to you? Would your loved ones be taken care of or would they face a tough financial future?
The greatest gift you can leave your family is having your affairs sorted out before you go.
If you have made plans, do your loved ones know where to find them? Would they know what assets you have, what insurance policies are in place or how to access your superannuation or life insurance?
Here are some simple steps you can take to protect the important people in your life.
If you require your employees to wear a uniform, you may need to pay them a uniform allowance or provide them with a uniform at no cost.
If you’ve ever had to fire an employee before then you know first-hand that the termination process can be as traumatic for you as it is for the person losing their job. It’s one of the most stressful situations for company managers and owners, and over the course of running your business you’re probably going to have to do it at least once. While disciplining staff comes with emotional strain for everyone involved, you also have to consider the legal ramifications involved in the process. If you follow the right protocol when dealing with problem employees you can ensure the safety of your business. Better yet, if you make your employees feel like valued members of your company you can avoid disciplinary problems altogether.
Businesses must always consider first whether they can reasonably eliminate risks. If not they must take reasonably practicable steps to minimise risks under new health and safety laws that take effect next year. But what might this mean for your business?
There is a lot of misinformation and confusion about what reasonably practicable means.
The knockout stages. The final reckoning.
At this point, one decision can define lives, one mistake can devastate nations, one moment can deliver immortality.
As we approach the deciding phases of the Rugby World Cup, how do the teams perform under pressure on the paddock? How do they keep their heads while people around them are losing theirs? And what lessons can we learn from them about dealing with our own business pressure?
I’m sure you’ve heard the saying many times. But what does it actually mean? How does it really help? Does it help at all?
According to the Wiktionary, to put oneself in someone’s shoes means ‘to try to look at a situation from a different point of view, as if one were the other person. To empathise’.
If you don’t already work alongside Millennials, the chances are that you will soon. Allianz recently posted that are those born between 1980 and the early 2000s, the eldest Millennials are in the workplace now and by 2025 will make up 75 percent of the global workforce. While they’ve got the numbers in force, it’s easy to find negativity towards hiring Millennials, primarily due to their fickle nature when it comes to job-hopping. A greater understanding about what makes Millennials tick is an easy way to build a culture that’s likely to keep them engaged.
It seems as though everywhere you look nowadays you’ll see something related to ‘culture’ and the benefits of a good company culture and of course the disadvantages of a bad one.
So what is this ‘culture’ I speak of?
Whether you’re running a cafe, a landscaping business or you’re a virtual assistant, repeat customers and positive word of mouth are important to your business’s success. Here are some great ways to make sure your customers remember your business and recommend you to their friends.
Unfortunately, payroll fraud is a reality for many businesses across Australia. The average payroll fraud amount has shot up thanks to some large instances, including the Clive Peeters case when a single employee stole 19 million and a Canberra Catholic Education case which saw a single employee rob the system of 1.2 million.
If you provide personal protective equipment (PPE) to your workers, here’s how to stay compliant when new laws take effect in April 2016.
Pre-dawn kick-offs. Mid-week games. The men in black may play havoc with getting a full day’s work out of your staff.
Automatic enrolment of employees into a workplace pension will affect every employer over the next couple of years.
Every employer has a legal duty to enrol all eligible employees into a pension scheme. They also need to assess their employees according to certain criteria to find out who is ‘Eligible’.
When I first started out as a copywriter working for myself, I felt a bit lost. There were so many different directions my career could go, and I wasn’t sure which one to take. I’d never worked for myself before. It was daunting, and I wasn’t sure where to begin to find answers.
Social media is changing, advancing and evolving, so it’s difficult for employers to know where they stand legally.
The Fair Work Ombudsman has been unusually proactive in pursuing underpayment claims in the courts recently. This may have been prompted by several widely reported cases of large supermarket chains mistreating and underpaying their staff. Regardless, this impacts small to medium size employers who may have genuinely underpaid staff due to naivety or a human error and who are now prescribed to the same serious consequences.
It’s no secret that providing employee perks to your staff is a key way to keep motivation and happiness levels high, and to increase productivity across the business. However, for many small to medium size businesses, it can be difficult to compete on a level playing field with large companies. Big corporate players have access to the funds to spend on developing programs at a much higher scale than SMBs can afford.
Whether in a large corporation or a small retail store, implementing a new piece of software can be a daunting task. One of the largest mistakes an organization can make is overlooking the training investment required with new software.SoftwareInsider recently conducted a survey of potential software buyers and asked what the most important buying factor was when choosing a product. Here were the results:
Whether you’re on vacation, attending a conference, or simply working from home, being out of the office can feel stressful.
Have you been told that you should use business networking as a tool to grow your business? You should; it’s an awesome way to expand your brand’s reach and find new clients through referrals, particularly if you’re just getting your business off the ground. But, there is SO much more to be gained from business networking - both professionally and personally - if you put the effort in.
Flexibility and the ability to work from anywhere are increasingly becoming the driving forces behind many career goals. FlexJobs (a leading job search site) has reported a 26% increase in remote jobs advertised from 2013-14. Workers are looking for companies that allow them to set their own schedules, work from home or while travelling, and not stay tied to one company.
According to Greek mythology, the temple of Apollo at Delphi was inscribed with the words “Gnothi Seauton.” This translates to “Know thyself” – and it’s a useful maxim for business owners today.
What is it that makes us truly successful? Renowned psychologist, best-selling author and happiness guru Dr. Robert Holden believes our definition of success has changed over time.
While many of us were brought up to believe that success will make us happy, Robert says we’re now looking at success differently. “In fact, I think many of us today believe happiness actually increases our chances of success,” he says.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
Do you know who an incredible advocate for hard work was? Mary Poppins.
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.
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…
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.
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*.
No matter what products or services they produce, businesses need two essential things to succeed: employees and customers.
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.
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.
The level of employee retention within a business is always a good testament to the management team.