You almost certainly started your business for one of two reasons: you can do something better than anyone else, or you have a burning passion so deep you cannot focus on anything else.
This is a post by Alexandra Sheehan. Most thriving retail businesses process many transactions on a daily basis, sometimes thousands.
As businesses grow, it is often inevitable that additional entities will be needed. Typically these will arise from international expansion into new markets or for legal and risk mitigation.
The UK retail landscape is changing rapidly. Consumer spending is decreasing, competition is increasing between businesses, and people are turning to e-commerce at an unprecedented rate.
The shopping habits of consumers has changed significantly over the past 10 years and will continue to change over the next decade too.
As traditional retail channels dwindle in popularity, more businesses are turning to multi-channel retailing to provide an extra income stream and keep business ticking over.
In the cosmetic industry, managing the supply chain efficiently and effectively is crucial for cosmetic companies to gain a competitive advantage.
As more businesses use online inventory management, manufacturing and procurement tools, businesses that stick to traditional ways of operating are likely to surrender their competitive advantage.
Competition is rife in every industry. In order to keep up with competitors you have to be innovative and quick.
As some of us begin a new financial year, it’s time to reflect on trends from the year that’s been. The 2018 financial year continued the dramatic trend of change that small and medium sized businesses have been experiencing for the last few years.
One critical factor for food and beverage industry growth is innovation. While the food and beverage players are experienced innovators, the industry itself is facing new consumer, food safety and regulatory challenges.
Numbers don’t lie, so if you find yourself at a loss with what’s happening in your business, one of first the things you should do is look at your retail metrics.
One of the complexities of managing a small to medium sized business is having the ability to optimise your organisation, enabling it to run more efficiently.
Running your own business is awesome, right? There are not many other lifestyles that afford the opportunity to enjoy the kind of life you’ve always dreamed of, on your own terms. Time, money, flexibility… the chance to have it all.
If you’re shipping your goods out to your customers, it’s essential to ensure your freight costs are as low as possible. At the same time, we all know how important it is to reduce our impact on the environment.
The growth of the coffee industry has been truly unprecedented and experts have been prepared for the bubble to pop.
Conducting business is no longer as simple, and dare we say primitive, as being present in the store at the point of sale, making said sale, recording said sale and replenishing inventory stock – all in a very hands-on manner.
Inventory control and supply chain management has evolved on a near continuous basis since the 1980s.
For most businesses the question is no longer whether it is appropriate to adopt a cloud service, but rather when is the right time and what services to move.
As technology and digital marketing tools continue to improve, businesses will have to adapt to trends in marketing and consumer behavior.
The world of inventory management is ever evolving, and for the better. It is commonplace and highly recommended now to have a software-based inventory management system...
At its core, cloud computing is about changing the way that we do business. Computing over the internet has allowed organisations access to their essential business tools at any time from anywhere with an internet connection.
B2B eCommerce is short for business-to-business, electronic commerce, where it is selling products or services between businesses via an online sales portal.
When I designed the first Spotlight Reports, I usually included an Action Plan to close the circle between great data analysis and goal-setting.
Brewery inventory management can be done in a variety of ways. Often, companies will rely on a combination of methods, including web apps, written notes and spreadsheets.
At a certain point, every growing business needs to take a leap and invest in new technology. It can be daunting and expensive, but the rewards can greatly outweigh the costs and stress.
Let’s get straight to the point: ecommerce is NOT killing brick-and-mortar retail.
To be successful in business, you need to be organised, have a clear plan for where you’re headed and be confident with the processes you have in place.
The role of a tax accountant has been continuously changing over the course of the last 50 years, and it is currently undergoing yet another transition period with the growing popularity of cloud accounting.
We live in a data-driven age - so why not use data in your business to solve problems, be more efficient and invent new products?
There are many factors to consider when you’re selecting an ecommerce platform, and when you first start selling online, it can be hard to find one that’s the right match.
More than just dispatching machines, handhelds have become as ubiquitous to field service as the screwdriver and wrench.
There are a multitude of things that can go wrong throughout the supply chain, exposing the firm to different kinds of risks.
Mobile technology has revolutionized the way modern society does business and permanently changed the retail landscape.
Advances in technology over the last two decades have shrunk the world; travel is inexpensive, cross border payments are fast and businesses communicate in real-time.
More and more manufacturing companies are beginning to use cloud-based manufacturing systems to improve the way their business functions.
Businesses today are quickly adopting cloud software as the benefits become more apparent and even necessary to keep a competitive edge – benefits like less paperwork, greater efficiency, and time savings.
Over the past five years, mobile devices have begun to dominate the consumer landscape around the world.
Machine learning has the power to change how we look at field service – what it means to contractors and customers alike.
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.
It doesn’t matter how large or small your store is, or how many of them you’ve got—if you’ve got a point of sale (POS), you’ll see big benefits in switching from a simple cash register to a full-featured, cloud-based POS platform.
Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SME) are companies that are independently owned and managed with less than 250 employees in their ranks and bringing in less than 50 million euros per year.
When a visitor spends time browsing your online store or bricks-and-mortar outlet, they’re looking for something. And when they find it, they’ll be tempted to buy it.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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?”
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.”
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.
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.
Inventory management has been around for as long as there have been businesses that stock and sell products. Even in the bygone era of having main street village shops and trades, some kind of inventory management was used, even if it was only a brief daily stock take followed by simple restocking, manufacture and acquisitions.
Keep up to date with the latest in the tech sector.
SEO. Many business owners make the mistake of thinking it’s a one-time thing. It turns out that investing in search engine optimization and content marketing is actually one of the most important facets of running your business. Long story short, if your business has a web presence, you need to know SEO.
This week on Xero Gravity, Rand Fishkin, SEO wizard and founder of Moz, talks about the importance of optimizing your website and how it’s changing with social and mobile.
We’re excited to announce another development in our long-running global partnership with Square. Square is launching Square Reader in Australia, enabling business owners to quickly and securely accept card payments directly on smartphones and tablet devices.
Doing your timesheets can be a time consuming task. But now they’re a breeze with the long-anticipated addition of Timesheets to Xero Me.
It’s another big step towards bringing payroll out of the back office – and we’re really excited to have made it happen for Xero Australia.
Mobile-friendly simply means that your website is compatible with a range of devices that aren’t desktop or laptop computers. This includes smartphones and tablets, which in themselves cover a wide range of screen sizes and resolutions. These smaller devices, especially smartphones, need a website to be attractive and brand-relevant while being functional and easy to use with one hand, a thumb, or several fingers. Multi-touch technology means that users often have a range of ways they interact with the screen, and your site must make it simple to navigate and interact to cover all bases.
Apple’s recent release of the iPad Pro has brought up the question again, can you replace your laptop with a tablet? For some early adopters, the answer is yes.
Xero CEO, Rod Drury, is among those early adopters. He recently made the switch and decided to stick with it. His motivations for doing so:
Why small businesses should switch to inventory management software. How much is spreadsheet-based inventory management costing your business? Chances are more than you think.
Mobile devices give us convenience and efficiency. Like taking a quick photo of a receipt and submitting an expense claim while on a business trip.
But there are still times when you need the convenience of a larger screen. Sometimes you need to look at multiple things at once. Closing Xero to open a browser, your banking app, Dropbox, then jumping back into Xero does the job, but it’s not efficient.
You may have had a nice holiday, but scammers never take a break. In fact, in the last few months there has been a significant rise in the number of reported scam incidents.
Xero Managing Director, Gary Turner talking about the importance of better support for small businesses at Xero’s annual conference in London last week.
If you are a business owner, moving your accounting software from “on-premise” to “the cloud” can bring huge benefits. Not only could you save bucket loads of time, but cloud accounting software is cheaper, more secure and accessible anywhere.
In today’s competitive marketplace, there is little room for error for owners and operators in the field services industry. Businesses are under more pressure than ever to deliver an exceptional service that aligns with what customers expect.
The latest you need to know.
Social media isn’t just about viral videos or selfies. For consumers, sites and apps such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter are playing an increasingly large role in their path to purchase.
This is why it’s so important for retailers to invest in social media marketing. Having a strong presence in relevant social networks not only gives you an avenue to communicate with your audience, it also allows you to stay in the radars of your customers. This in turn, increases the likelihood of a shopper choosing your brand when they’re ready to buy.
Are you thinking of starting a retail business? Do you already have a brick and mortar store and have been thinking of making a switch to ecommerce? Operating an online-only store has many advantages, and if you can learn the fundamentals of online marketing for retail, it can be a very fulfilling and liberating endeavour. Let’s consider some of the advantages of trading purely online:
Technology has changed business as we once knew it… And it’s not stopping either. The changes are quickly advancing. In order to thrive and succeed in today’s fast paced environment, your business not only needs to able to adapt, it needs to remain one step ahead.
The promise of free-shipping can seem too good to be true, and often it is suspected that the shipping costs have been absorbed into the price of the goods. This can sometimes be true, but with products that are available online direct from the manufacturer, it makes it harder for retailers to add their own mark-up. Competing on price becomes impossible and retailers have to find other ways to set themselves apart. Free shipping becomes the next logical step.
Want to succeed as a small business owner? Have a mentor or an accountant. Our recent Make or Break? report shows that asking for help from mentors and advisors, and having a good relationship with your accountant, means you have a leg up. The research was timed to coincide with Global Entrepreneurship Week which kicks-off today.
Chances are, at some point in time you’ve probably messed up a spreadsheet. And when we take into account that nearly 9 out 10 spreadsheets contain errors, that’s to be expected! But when millions of pounds are at stake it becomes a bit more important to get your spreadsheet right…
We’ve all heard the phrase, a picture is worth a thousand words. We believe, when advising your clients on their businesses, graphs and charts have the same impact on numbers. Graphs and charts condense large amounts of information into easy to understandable formats that can clearly and effectively communicated. With approximately 65% of people being mainly visual learners, meaning they easily pick up information with their eyes and prefer to be taught something by seeing it in a graphical manner. This is especially relevant when there is a lot of data and complex material to understand. Delivering information that’s pertinent to their business and in a visual way gives your client the greatest chance of understanding, implementing and valuing your advice.
For business owners, upgrading or changing software systems is usually an opportunity to upgrade or change the business itself. A chance to try something different, make things easier or more efficient, or give a fresh interface for employees. However, if not implemented carefully, such changes can turn into costly, time-consuming nightmares, due to the various difficulties involved. For this reason, change management is a critical step when implementing any new software in a business.
Technology is flipping the way small businesses deal with the world. Everything from automation to new ways of financing your operations, are all transforming the sector.
Here’s what small business owners can learn from the big tech news events this month.
I used to think that LinkedIn was just a networking tool to keep in touch with business contacts, associates, colleagues etc. But all of this changed recently, when I came across an entrepreneur called Alex Pirouz.
Before we consider the ways to optimise your website for local search, let's see what local search really is, and why it is important for your business: If you ever used the Google now feature on an Android phone, have you noticed how Google is able to return the results for places to eat around you, or popular shopping destinations in the vicinity? Similarly, have you ever wondered how Siri on the iPhone is able to tell you how many good Italian restaurants are in your neighbourhood? Another example is a set of listings you see on Google desktop search.
As a tech-enthusiast I’ve tried just about every web app, mobile app and cloud-service available. I’ve downloaded phone apps, and deleted them, signed up to this, downloaded that, and joined the next social platform, however, I’m pretty scrupulous. I’ll dig in and see what it’s going to do for me and if it isn’t going to change my life for the better overnight, I’ll delete and repeat.
A business that aims to scale successfully for growth needs to be able to meet the versatile demands of handling their inventory effectively. As a business expands the level of complexity and challenges for its most critical operations increase, too. Relying on outdated and ineffective systems to manage burgeoning inventory demands will not only stunt growth but could also potentially drive the business towards failure.
Technology is accelerating at lightning speed but its impact on small business, one of the world’s largest drivers of revenue and a huge contributor to every nation’s GDP, is rarely discussed.
Breakthrough ideas are often not embraced by large companies – particularly if they are not core business. So stated Charles Hull the inventor of 3D printing in the inventor’s session at the recent IP Global Business Congress in San Francisco.
We’re pleased to announce the biggest release since the native version of our Xero Android app. Every pixel of the dated Android 4.x ‘Holo’ look is gone! Xero now follows Google’s ‘Material’ design guidelines. We’ve revisited every single screen with an eye on consistency and #beautiful design. We think you’ll find it a vast improvement.
I often get asked how small businesses should approach technology. My advice is always the same. To safeguard your business and improve operating efficiency, stay up to date. Small businesses have always been nimble – it’s our greatest strength. Constantly evolving tech is letting us to be more nimble and competitive than ever.
One of the greatest advantages of small businesses is their agility.
The ability to make quick decisions is what makes us so competitive. We’re nimble. Whether it’s launching a new product, responding to customer requests or changing a business’s focus altogether.
You’re still likely to know someone who will tell you how much better things used to be before “technology”. This term covered anything from mobile phones to computers to fax machines to maybe even television sets. Whatever “it” was, it was to blame for making the modern world far too busy and far less human.
As a customer, you want the payment process to be easy and as a business, you naturally want to get paid. For this reason, it’s always a good idea to consider what options you give your customers.
Invoicing clients should be fun - it’s the final step between your hard work and hard cash! But often it’s a stressful process filled with friction and sometimes fiction!
Giving more payment options to your consumers is a proven way to increase sales and grow your business. eWAY's flexible, award-winning solutions make it easy to customise the payment process to suit your industry and your business.
Float is an online cash management and forecasting tool that helps you manage your business and keep on top of your cash flow. By projecting your future cash in the bank it’s easier to make the right decisions for your business.
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:
When asked what inventory management is, business owners often say it’s about keeping control over stock levels: optimising how much inventory your business holds, to minimise costs associated with inventory handling, obsolete stock, and logistics. While inventory management assists with all of these things, its benefits to a business extend far beyond this. With the software available today, a good stock management system can help with making better sales, customer retention, business data analytics, security, and cash flow.
Often we’re asked for recommendations on what devices to roll out to field staff. While we prefer not to recommend any one device, the following article may shed some light on how to go about making an informed decision.
Cloud computing is quickly becoming a viable and effective tool for manufacturing businesses. While there is still room for improvement, the advances already made offer some great inventory management solutions. Many businesses are using it to some degree, although there remains a lack of understanding across the board as to how deeply it can be implemented. Most ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) packages now include cloud modules, and concerns around reliability and security are steadily being overcome.
Let’s set the scene. Close your eyes. Imagine.
A staunch, somewhat broad gentleman exhibiting a sunken in face, dressed in the latest season Hugo Boss navy suit and donning a pair of the most expensive Ted Baker shoes, opens the door to the office. His shoulders are drooped as if he were carrying the weight of the world on them. It’s 8:00pm. He walks down the hallway pretending to have purpose – trying his best not to let the onset exhaustion show.
Summer has finally arrived in the UK and Brits all over the place are no doubt collectively yearning for a beach holiday. But for small business owners, that heady feeling of freedom is often replaced by worry at the prospect of leaving their business at such a critical time.