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.
In April this year, Elon Musk (CEO of Tesla and SpaceX) publicly announced that his company, a startup in California, Neuralink, is developing a neural lace technology that will enable human beings to communicate with devices through their thoughts alone.
Knowing what your payroll costs are – daily, weekly, monthly and yearly – is an important part of running a successful business.
Preparing your business activity statement (BAS) or income tax return is definitely one of the less glamorous elements of running your retail or ecommerce business.
The idea of starting your own business and being your own boss has become more popular in recent years.
Knowing where a business is and where it needs to be, forms only the start understanding this week’s topic. The ideal cycle of business has an owner, that is, a person or persons, who are responsible for the business as an entity and who have taken on the risk for operating that business. The owner then invests time to build a team, who in turn, services the business’ customers, providing revenue for the business and dividends back to the owner. This can be simply depicted in the following diagram:
Time is running out.
If you want to take a few simple preventative measures to minimise or defer how much tax you will pay for this Financial Year, you need to do two things:
“The cloud” is a phrase that means something very different these days, due to the increasing use of cloud computing. But what exactly is cloud computing? And is it a good option for small businesses?
Your childcare business may be running fine at the moment, but what will happen if there's a major problem? Here are four ways to prepare it for disaster.
There’s a lot more to running a childcare business than just looking after children.
Setting up a new childcare centre is a big commitment, both to yourself and to the children you will ultimately be looking after.
There’s a saying in business, “You can go broke making a profit.” And another, “Cash is king. Profit is theory.”
Think back to the days before you started your business, when you were working for a boss. Chances are you were rewarded for your hard work with a regular salary.
For many, the word ‘budget’ is about as appealing as the word ‘diet’. It seems to imply what you will go without, rather than what you will achieve.
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.
Word of mouth is like the holy grail of marketing. And to help you tap into it, we’ve compiled some tips that you can put into action in your store.
Every successful company, large or small, has a strong brand. In fact, the most important and valuable asset of some of the largest companies in the world – Apple, Google and Coca-Cola – is their brand.
But you don’t need a massive marketing budget to build a successful brand. It can be done with just a few simple changes to the way you think about and operate your business.
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.
Starting and sustaining a small business requires a lot of time and dedication. It also requires money. For many people, the one thing holding them back is the capital required to start a business and endure a lean period when it is getting up and running. People fall into debt or end up giving up on their dream and returning to full-time work for a steady income.
However, it is possible to prevent this heartache by hanging on to your full-time job while your business gets off the ground. It will mean long hours that don’t end once you get home from work and the sacrifice of every minute of free time, but it can be the difference between having the security to forge ahead with your dream, or having to abandon it when you can’t sustain it any longer.
Whiteboards took up half of Wendy Fallow’s office. The operations manager of Clear Concepts, a customised glass design business, said her working life consisted of sticking cellotaped magnets on pieces of paper and talking on the phone to her seven mobile installers and sales reps.
Close to one million businesses in Australia are home-based – a significant portion of the nation’s business community.
Running a home-based business offers a number of advantages including flexibility, convenience, freedom and cost savings. And when it comes to tax time, operating a business at or from your home means you may be eligible for a number of tax deductions.
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.
We’ve recently added an ABN search feature to the new business.gov.au. This feature is similar to the ABN search feature you may have used on our site previously.
Your business website costs may be claimed as a tax deduction...
It's tax time again. Follow our top tax tips to make tax time a breeze.
I believe that a useful goal in marketing is to have people remember us positively. In other words we want them to be thinking and saying good things about our business as often as possible.
A recent High Court case shows companies need to take extra care when claiming their products are New Zealand made, an intellectual property expert says.
“The cheapest trainer in the world is too expensive if the client isn’t yet sold on your value” – Jon Goodman, Ignite the Fire.
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 were few surprises for small businesses in the 2016 Budget, but there were still things to smile about. The biggest of these were aimed at boosting innovation and simplifying taxes. Here’s what you need to know:
60% of SME businesses (defined as businesses with between 0 and 249 employees) sought some form of external funding in the last three years, says a British Business Bank Survey published in February 2016. Businesses need finance for a variety of different purposes, but there are some common reasons why businesses apply for funding. This can include loans for working capital, to buy machinery, to hire more staff, or even re-finance existing loans to reduce monthly costs. Read on to discover the 5 most common reasons that most businesses apply for finance.
Whatever your sector, there is one rule of thumb which could save you some serious money when instructing a lawyer. This insight may not sound revolutionary, it may not sound groundbreaking, but your wallet will thank you.
Are you considering what the legal implications might be for your business if Britain does vote to leave?
Several areas we see businesses concerned with are adjusting business contacts, managing your workforce, and intellectual property rights.
It’s important to realise though that changes will not happen immediately. There will be a period of time when the United Kingdom can negotiate its future relationship with the European Union (EU). The process is regulated by law by Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty.
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.
If you’re a small business owner, it’s likely that time is one of your most precious commodities, especially if you’re taking on multiple roles within your business. You may be the CEO, bookkeeper, financial controller, chief marketing officer and sales manager all rolled into one.
Andrew Smith and neighbour Shane Dryden founded Yuppiechef, South Africa’s most loved online store, in 2006. The pair had been working on a couple ideas, including a business selling flags and bug zappers, but decided to run with Yuppiechef.
The world of business has entered the Age of Data. (It’s like the Age of Aquarius, except instead of a catchy song we have a smartphone app). Now, business owners can record, track, and report on every facet of their company.
Do you spend a lot of time entering invoices? At Xero, they're committed to helping you shave hours off your invoicing workflow. Here’s a grab-bag of ways you can use Xero to speed up your invoicing. Some ways might not suit you, it’s a case of picking the ones that make sense for your business.
“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.
Dolphins can stay continuously alert for over two weeks at a time. They only sleep with half their brains turned off at a time. This helps prevent them being eaten by sharks. Entrepreneurs will no doubt find this fact hauntingly familiar.
It’s an issue a lot of our customers face: being priced out of work by newer, shinier and yes, cheaper competition. If your business is losing clients this way, it’s time to assess what’s going on.
As any business grows, one of the biggest challenges is keeping costs to a minimum while bringing in more revenue and staying profitable. In others words: achieving business efficiency. So how can you go about doing this?
Businesses in the professional services space come in all shapes and sizes. From creatives and consultants to accountants and engineers they all have one thing in common; they are all selling their time and expertise. In this industry, more than any other, people and skills are the product.
Some company names have interesting stories behind them. For example, Nike is named after the Greek goddess of victory. Yahoo! Is short for “Yet Another Hierarchical Officious Oracle.” Steve Jobs came up with the name Apple after a trip to an apple farm. He thought the name sounded “fun, spirited and not intimidating.”
If you want a quick and low-cost strategy to get more jobs quickly, then email marketing is a must do. But how do you make it work?
It goes without saying that shoplifting is a major problem in retail. A 2014 study by the National Retail Federation found that shoplifting accounts for 38% of shrinkage, and was costing retailers $32 billion a year. That’s a huge chunk of revenue. To help you keep the income you deserve, we’ve put together some tips for preventing and dealing with shoplifting.
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
Every seven years, renowned graphic designer Stefan Sagmeister takes a year off. Unencumbered, unrestricted by the demands of his high-profile career, he has an opportunity to work for himself. The result is surprising, beautiful, provocative (check it out in his TED talk here) and comes from a place of authenticity and complete creative freedom.
As a small business owner, you’re going to have good days and bad days. Some days will be worse than others.
Part of coping with the darker days that come with managing your own operation is being primed and ready to handle them when they arrive.
This involves building a network of advisors around you, hiring the right team and implementing the right technology so you have all the resources to push through and come out the other side with a healthy and stable business.
Sheryl Sandberg told startup founders to fail fast, she didn’t tell you to fail. It’s a subtle difference I’m calling out because there’s a trend starting to emerge, particularly in the Bay Area, that flat out failing is completely acceptable.
Do you want to expand your business, be more competitive in your industry and achieve certain goals?
If you answered yes to any of the above, you need a business plan!
Whether you’ve just started out or you’ve been running your business for years, business planning can be the key to your success.
We’ve laid out three key reasons why you need to get started on your business plan today.
The first year in business is often both the toughest and most rewarding time. It’s when you start to figure out who you are as a business owner, and whether there really are people out there who will pay for your product or service.
More people than ever work remotely, at least part of the week. Here at WorkflowMax, many of our users – and even some of our team – work remotely all across the globe. I myself work from my off-grid eco-home in rural New Zealand. Usually, this is a wonderful arrangement enabling staff the freedom to live and work wherever they want, and to facilitate a great work/life balance. But it comes at a cost.
This week on Xero Gravity, Xero’s very own Rod Drury joins us to divulge what inspires him as a leader. Rod knows all about the importance of thinking globally. A Hi-Tech New Zealand Entrepreneur of the Year winner and stand-up paddleboard enthusiast, he joins Elizabeth Ü in studio to discuss the parallels between Tesla’s plan to make the world better, and how small businesses can innovate and grow beyond their community.
A few years ago, who would have thought you could be watching your kids play sports while keeping on top of your business’s finances? All from a phone in the palm of your hand? Or that you could be travelling – across town or across the world – and be able to login to your accounting software and see where your business stands at that precise moment in time?
When starting a business, one of the things you’ll need to work out is where you’ll operate.
Each business has different requirements, so it’s important to consider what will work for you when deciding on a location for your business.
During the 2015 federal budget, the Australian Government labelled small businesses as the ‘engine room of the Australian economy’ – driving growth and creating jobs.
A year on, the federal government solidified that moniker. They handed further tax cuts to small business owners and increased the revenue threshold to include a further 60,000 businesses not previously eligible for lower taxes and asset deductions.
Staff scheduling is the heartbeat of any SME, and should never be taken on half-heartedly.
Every year you pay levies to ACC to cover injuries suffered in and out of work — and vehicle regos help cover injuries suffered in road accidents.
The eighth budget from Minister of Finance, Bill English, was another “steady as she goes” affair, with many of the major policies being announced in the run-up to the actual Budget release.
Helping New Zealand’s small businesses grow would benefit our economy — but many lack the time, confidence or both to set their sights higher.
You may be surprised to learn that the worst culprits for consistent late payment are not actually the massive corporate juggernauts or the mini mom-and-pop businesses out there… the latest payers are actually high street retailers.
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.
One of the easiest ways to drive sales for your business is to have repeat and referral customers. But if you want a customer to keep coming back, or to refer you to their friends, you have to keep them engaged. This doesn’t mean hammering them with emails or making sure they’re following all your social media accounts. It means interacting with them in a meaningful way, a way that makes an impact.
Over the last few years we’ve been able to get a pretty good handle on your biggest pain points as a business.
Understanding your target audience is vital for developing a marketing strategy that works. Without a particular ideal customer in mind, your efforts amount to little more than wishful thinking. There are very few niches where a business will be unopposed, and if you aren’t making efforts to refine your marketing focus to build better leads, you can be sure that your competition is. Having a great product is only part of the equation. Getting it in front of the right faces is as, if not more, important.
There is one quality that every trades or services business needs to survive – trustworthiness. Without it, a company and all who sail in her are destined for a watery grave.
Five customers from 100 leads is huge. But what about the other 95 that started out interested? The answers lay in digital marketing.
This week, Xero Gravity host Elizabeth Ü chats to Michael Mothner, Founder & CEO of online marketing firm WPromote. He’ll bust digital marketing myths and provide solutions that won’t burn a hole in your pocket. We’ll also explore questions like, “We created a website, what now?” and “I get business from world of mouth, why do I need digital too?”
The profitability of any job undertaken by a field services business can vary significantly from expectations at the time the estimate for that job was created. Removing this variability and delivering consistent profits should be the goal of every business owner.
Hands up if you recognise the process of; receiving an invoice, getting it to your bookkeeper, making sure it’s entered into your accounts, filing the invoice and then storing it for several years…
It’s that time of the year again – the time when you’re looking over your books and seeing what worked and didn’t work. You’re thinking about goals for the year ahead and wondering how you can improve profit in your company. And one simple solution is staring you in the face: you can raise prices.
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.
“I’ll just finish that email, oh look my friend is messaging me, oh and there’s someone knocking on the door of my office, and that report is due, and my phone is buzzing …”
Does this sound like you? Are you trying to do a million things at once and failing at them all?
In the early days of my field service career, I took over a territory from a tech who was… let’s just say, less than the ideal service rep.
My very first service call in his territory told me what I was in for. I called the customer to give an ETA and her response was, “Two hours? Yeah, right. I’ll see you tomorrow, if I’m lucky.”
I was shocked, so I had to ask, “Excuse me, but why do you say that?”
We haven’t written a “Work Life” post in a while and I’m a firm believer that it’s a critical part of a productive work environment. So taking a break from all our “Work Smarter” posts, I hereby offer something on the lighter side. And hey, as April gains momentum in, it’s also a GREAT time to make some positive changes to start FY17 fresh!
Do you remember the last time you focused so deeply, so completely on something that it consumed you entirely? In the middle of writing this blog post I’ve already checked my mail (twice), flicked through a couple of articles on Medium, Forbes and Fast Company (my favourite research and inspiration hunting/stomping grounds) drafted an email to a customer and trawled through 76 responses from a user survey. I’m SUPPOSED to be writing an 1000+ word blog post, but more often than not I find my attention drifting to the million other things I need to get done during the day.
As we’ve mentioned, wearable tech for our everyday lives hasn’t exactly taken off. There are multiple reasons for this, mostly around cost, wearability and it’s lack of desirable functionality. However, those factors aren’t the same in the business world. They have vastly different budgets and needs, and let’s face it, when have work uniforms ever been fashionable? The wearable tech revolution isn’t going to be pioneered by hipsters living in Silicon Valley, it’s going to be ushered in by industries that can most benefit from the current technology.
Mark Constantino Jr is on a mission – to convince small business operators and managers that there is nothing scary about cloud-based computing. “The cloud is just the internet,” says the US-based information technology expert and co-CEO of tech-help solutions company MyCloudCure. “It’s just the way that everything is interconnected from country to country, from continent to continent.”
A few months back, Xero released the Make or Break report, which identified key traits of successful business owners. Surveying 2,000 small business owners across the US and the UK, we gathered data on the perfect ingredients a small business owner needs in his/her pantry to survive the hardships that come along with owning a business. As we are kicking off a new quarter, here are some of the tips on how Xero can help formulating the right recipe –
How do you keep on top of your customer and supplier relationships? Look no further than your email.
For small businesses, email is a critical communications tool. With the advent of mobile technologies, small businesses in all industries can stay in touch with their business while working on the go. They use email to stay in touch with what’s happening with their customers and suppliers whenever it’s convenient.
Your cash box has been brightening since New Zealand’s vibrant new $5 and $10 notes began circulating last October. Those tills are about to get even more colourful as new $20, $50 and $100 notes hit the streets in May.
If you employ people you need to take the time to understand a number of employment law changes.
In December 2015, we started a GST pilot in which 1,400 businesses sent their GST returns from Xero direct to Inland Revenue. The very successful first phase of the pilot has just wrapped up. The small businesses who participated were enthusiastic:
New proposals will give small business owners a pay-as-you-go option for provisional tax — income tax by another name. This is one initiative in a package of proposed tax changes aimed at reducing the stress of tax compliance for businesses.
This month sees the launch of Xero Signals, another asset for small businesses to gain insight into trends within New Zealand’s small business market. Based on real data from almost 10,000 businesses across New Zealand, these insights can help small business owners understand how they’re faring, compared to the rest of the market.
The 2016/2017 tax year looks set to be another challenging year for small businesses up and down the country as a result of a number of changes in UK payroll that take effect this April.
From Auto Enrolment to the National Living Wage we take a quick look at the top changes facing payroll for the 2016/2017 tax year.
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.
Customer retention is vital for the growth and sustainability of any eCommerce business. The cost of acquiring new customers means building loyalty within your current customer base should take precedence.
When business is booming and everything’s going well, it seems fair to cut back on your marketing efforts. More business means less spare time, so investing effort in marketing becomes difficult, and easy to neglect.
Social media. It’s big, it’s fast, and it’s growing. What can you do to make sure you’re using the right social channels to connect with your customers and market your brand?
In this episode of Xero Gravity, hosts Elizabeth Ü and Gene Marks are joined by Mychelle Mollot, CMO at Klipfolio, and Raheela Nanji, Director at Ree Consulting Inc., to discuss all the nitty gritty details of social media in business.
Cash is often referred to as the lifeblood of an organisation, a key factor that determines business success or failure. In many cases, cash is vital for daily survival; a small business that doesn’t have enough cash on hand to pay suppliers might not be able to open the next day.
As a small business owner, it’s quite likely you play both the role of salesperson and debt chaser. On one hand you want to keep the relationship positive so you can continue selling to that customer, but on the other hand you need your bills paid for your business to survive. Maintaining customer loyalty and satisfaction while keeping a credit control policy that’s abided by can (at times) put you in an awkward position.
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.
We love curating list posts, especially list posts that feature apps and tools to help you work smarter. We recently published a post on handy browser extensions to improve productivity and get more done. This is one landscape that’s always changing however and we’re always looking to provide the most up-to-date and helpful information to help you achieve more. A conversation with a colleague sparked this particular post, and I hope you find it helpful – I certainly have.