My collection of memories attending Xero Roadshows and XeroCons since 2010 to 2015.
It’s a retailer’s worst nightmare, and a delight for consumers – realising a pricing error has underpriced goods for sale.
It rarely happens, but if it does strike your business, here are some tips on how to handle it.
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.
Instagram is one of the big four social networks, alongside Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. It took what people loved most about Facebook, sharing photos, and turned it into a global phenomenon. An average of 55 million photos are uploaded to the platform every day, which means a lot of users and a big opportunity for brands that can harness Instagram’s power.
The results are in. If you’re not proactively listening to business online reviews, you might be missing out on key insights into how to grow an online business.
This consumer review survey by BrightLocal highlights how customer reviews play a vital role in helping businesses build trust with their audience.
A gift guide is one of the most powerful tools you can have during the holidays. It allows you to showcase your products, inspire shoppers, and stay top of mind throughout the season.
But it’s important to note that creating a winning gift guide takes more than just rounding up your products and putting them in a catalogue. Releasing gift guides is a tradition in the retail world, so you have to be creative with how you craft and market them.
Developing product and brand names that become iconic is an art, with a whole range of factors that need to come together at the right time. These include things that are in your control, such as the words themselves, and other societal elements that no one can predict. To give your new name the best chance of success, consider the following when creating a moniker for your business or latest product.
Branding is the emotional response your business evokes in its audience. It is more than a logo or a series of advertisements, it encompasses all the accumulated interactions your business has with customers. A brand is the core identity of your business and can be a powerful tool in ensuring your customers return, as well as recommend you to their friends and family. Successful branding is about capturing the hearts and minds of customers and turning them from people who use your product to advocates who go out of their way to choose you over a competitor. This loyalty is the foundation of many successful companies, from Apple to McDonalds, Coca Cola and many more.
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.
There is never enough time in the day to do everything, which is why it is important to make the most of the time you do have. The biggest hurdle to efficient time use is a lack of planning and structure. Follow these tips and you will find yourself being more productive and less stressed.
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.
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 – to see how they apply similar values to shape their businesses, and their futures.
This month, we speak to Ted Gethen – founder of The Black Label Tailoring. Together with his business partner, Brendan, Ted has built a strong supply chain and opened four stores which give men the opportunity to dress with style and comfort, at a price point they can afford.
Ted tells us in his words why personal customer service has become the cornerstone of their success. And also how, in a world of internet shopping, their bricks-and-mortar business continues to thrive.
Does your business use telemarketing or fax marketing to promote goods or services?
If so, you need to be aware of your obligations under the Do Not Call Register Act External Site.
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.
Do you a run a business and express ideas or information in your own unique way? You should understand if your work is protected under the Copyright Act 1968 (the Copyright Act).
Have you noticed that your cash till is looking a bit different? It could be that you’ve already received some of New Zealand’s new banknotes.
New $5 and $10 notes started to be released by the Reserve Bank in mid-October, with $20, $50 and $100 notes coming in April next year.
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.
Most government agencies close down over Christmas and in early January. Here’s a list of who will be open and who shuts down for holidays.
It’s coming up to that time of year when you might be planning a staff Christmas party. It's great for morale and a chance to mark the end of the year. But what are the tax considerations?
You may be able to claim as business expenses events such as Christmas functions or giving gifts to employees.
Many people who run a small business use an area in the home for work purposes. You do not have to have an area specifically set aside for the business. If you're doing this, you can make a claim for the area so long as you keep a full record of all expenses you wish to claim.
Last week Revenue Minister, the Hon. Todd McClay announced an industry initiative enabling businesses to file GST returns straight from Xero to Inland Revenue (IR), rather than having to file a separate return. No more filling out forms. Nothing to print, sign or post.
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.
If your company is project-based, you probably have a framework or system in place for how you manage each project within your team. But even the most robust project management system will occasionally encounter a snafu.
A key area of business directly affects the overall health of a business is how accurate its inventory levels are. For businesses who fail to maintain a finger on the pulse of inventory as it flows through their operation the consequences can be dire – perhaps even fatal.
One of the biggest and most important challenges many businesses will face is how to successfully manage and control their inventory. It is usually one of their biggest ongoing costs, and often one of the biggest overall investments.
Why not too much, not too little, but just the right amount of inventory is crucial to your business.
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.
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…
There’s no shortage of events this time of year, and it can be challenging to make your voice heard over all the holiday noise. Here’s how to get your event on people’s radar and turn it into a can’t-miss occasion.
With the weather turning colder and the ski slopes opening up, love it or hate it, pretty soon we’re going to start seeing snow. Whether you’re a consumer who plans to pay for it, or a service who plans to charge for it, you need the answer to one question: is snow removal taxable?
Many, many states had sales tax filings due yesterday, October 20th. Yesterday evening I was chatting with an FBA seller who had waited until the last minute and told me, “I wish there were 48 hours in this day!” Luckily she was a TaxJar customer so it turned out her sales tax filings were quick and painless!
Inaccurate estimations can cause drawbacks in the process of important projects. An electrical contractor who ends up buying more materials than is truly needed, for example, might waste a lot of money. And, inversely, an electrical contractor who purchases less than the job requires might miss lower prices offered by wholesale arrangements, and waste time procuring all the necessary items for the completion of the project.
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.
Inventory is considered to be one of the most important assets of a business. Its management needs to be proactive, accurate and efficient. Whilst holding either too much or too little inventory places a burden on both productivity and profitability, it is still essential for most businesses to hold a sufficient quantity of inventory at all times.
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.
One of the benefits of having a modern inventory management system is that it aids business decision-making. Central to this is the comprehensive real-time data that can be analyzed with this software. Managers, factory staff, and retail staff alike will benefit from relevant information that concerns their particular role in the business. This article will discuss how inventory management software can help decision-makers in different areas of a business.
I don’t know about you, but I really love it when a customer takes the time to give feedback about the service my team has provided them, whether it’s good or bad.
Positive feedback may be the most pleasant to receive, but it’s actually the negative feedback that brings the most important benefits. Negative feedback provides valuable insight into where the team is falling short, and pinpoints the specific areas that need to be improved.
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.’
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.
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.
Australian entrepreneurs face many of the same obstacles as their counterparts around the world, with one unique addition: our deep-seated, psychological fear of failure. It is a cultural issue I have had to face personally in recent months, and one we must face collectively as a nation if we are to build an environment where innovation and disruption can thrive.
To help make sure your business is prepared for the conditions this summer, it’s important to take the time to plan what you would do in an emergency situation or during a natural disaster.
You need to cancel your ABN after you’ve sold or closed your business.
Yesterday we sent an email advising recipients they may need to change their Xero password. This email was originally intended for active users in Australia. However, it was distributed more widely. We apologize for any inconvenience or confusion, though this is a useful and timely reminder to change your passwords frequently.
Customer retention is the most important form of marketing. These are people who have already engaged with your business and their return depends on the quality of your products and the standard of your service. A loyalty program offers added value and a tangible reason to shop with your company again.
While New Zealand businesses are getting far more savvy about doing business in Asia, some are still learning the hard way that it can be tricky, particularly in China.
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?
Sometimes an employee will ask you to make tax or student loan deductions from salary or wages that are not at the standard rate.
Negotiations for the Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade agreement have concluded. The 12 Asia-Pacific countries involved account for 36 per cent of the global economy – but what does it mean for your business?
This isn’t a nightmare or a Hollywood film. It’s a reality for thousands of small businesses every year. You wake up one morning to find your business, your passion, your life’s work now a smoldering ruin or several feet under flood water.
Of all the presidential hopefuls, America’s small business owners would trust Donald Trump to run their operations and champion their cause on the Hill, a new survey from Xero has found.
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.
I had the opportunity recently to meet with Nicole Crump the owner of Tactix Marketing. We were both speaking at a seminar for a client in the sales technology field. I discovered that Nicole spends a good amount of time showing SME’s how to put together an effective marketing plan. So I invited her to share some ideas on how to do this.
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’.
Great opportunities to grow your business are actually all around you.
Whenever a new business starts, it tries to consolidate by focusing on its native region, a market it is familiar with. It is a natural instinct to make the most of one’s home advantage. But sooner or later a moment comes when we realize that there is a need to move out of one’s comfort zone and explore other territories in search of growth. While it is a delicate task and the specifics will vary from case to case, let us list out a few basic strategies that should help you get started.
As a service business, you don’t usually need product photographs for a catalogue or online shop, but what you will need is a great photo of yourself. Images on your website help make you more approachable and real, and if you’re going to do anything online, you need a decent headshot to accompany your profile. From your website about page to your social media profiles and any article ever written about you by any publication, ever, you’re going to need a decent picture to use … and a selfie taken with your camera phone just isn’t going to cut it.
Having well structured and timed invoices is essential to getting your invoices paid (and paid on time).
Running a business is a high stakes game, afterall it’s your livelihood… it’s you that has to pay the mortgage / rent and put food on the table. Getting invoices paid on time (or at all) is an ongoing challenge for many small businesses, especially in services where you’re often doing the work prior to getting paid.
Fortunately there’s a bunch of measures you can put in place to defend yourself from sharks, flakey customers and downright back luck. So we’ve put together a handy infographic that you can print out and keep nearby to remind you to stack the odds in your favour when it comes to getting paid. Enjoy!
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.
If you added up all the time people waste in bad meetings every day worldwide, the cost would probably equate to the annual GDP of a small country. Long unproductive and poorly run meetings cost both time and money.
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?
Time Management is one of those skills many of us struggle with. As business owners, managers and leaders, you wear many hats. Now, hats are awesome. I love hats. I just returned from Peru with a hat that bears a striking resemblance to the one Indiana Jones wears … but that doesn’t mean I want to be juggling all my hats at the same time.
“The best things in life are free
But you can keep them for the birds and bees
Now give me money.”
The Beatles weren’t singing about employee motivation when they recorded Money (That’s What All I Want) in 1963. But it’s fair to say that money has always been seen as a key to workplace harmony.
More than seventy percent of change projects or initiatives within an organisation fail – why? Typically organisations are not taking a consistent or holistic approach to change management, nor are they engaging their workforces effectively to do so. Whether it’s new initiatives, adopting technological improvements, shifting work methodologies from being compliance heavy to advisory based , or simply just wanting to stay ahead of the competition – these factors all drive ongoing changes to the way we work.
A process is a set of defined tasks required to complete a given business activity, including who is responsible for completing each step, when and how they do so, and how long it takes to complete.
If you think of the number of repeated tasks required throughout your day, refined processes can amount to huge benefits. Processes clearly define how things are done, then provide the focus for making them better. How they are done determines how successful the outcomes will be.
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.
Did you know that Free Trade Agreements (FTA) can be used by businesses large and small?
As FTAs come into force, you may find new opportunities to expand your business overseas. Or, you may find that overseas investors are interested in partnering in your business operations.
Make sure you understand how FTAs work and what help is available to you!
Developing a brand for your business means giving it an ‘identity’ or personality.
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 want to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in your business and help the environment, going carbon neutral in your business is a great way to do your part.
I’m excited to announce that Xero has brought two new financial institutions on board with direct bank feeds in Australia: Bendigo Bank and Rural Bank. Direct feeds are now available for all of their products.
The recent slump in dairy prices once again reminds us how vulnerable the New Zealand economy is to price fluctuations for commodity products. Of course animal protein is particularly susceptible because it is a renewable commodity that any farmer anywhere in the world can produce.
If you provide personal protective equipment (PPE) to your workers, here’s how to stay compliant when new laws take effect in April 2016.