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.
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.
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).
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.
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…
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.’
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
“Everything that can be invented has been invented,” said the Director of the US Patent Office in 1899. It was a breathtakingly naive thing to say even then. But many business owners today still make a similar mistake. They look at the market around them and assume it’s fixed. Having marked out their territory they believe nothing will change.
Business owners have so many distractions that it’s easy to… where was I? Oh yes, to lose focus. But there’s a way you can keep yourself on track.
No doubt you started your business for a good reason. It might have been to get rich, to escape the rat race or to challenge yourself. It might have been to change the world for the better. It might have simply been to generate a regular income while being your own boss instead of having other people tell you what to do.
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.
To any inventory based business, the ability to control your inventory efficiently is crucial to operating profitably. The moment control is lost, at any stage in the flow of inventory, both productivity and profitability will nosedive.
Do you think your store could use more motivated, top performing employees? Do you feel as if your staff could do better at selling and serving customers? If you answered yes to any of the above questions, keep reading.
Today’s post tackles retail staff training and offers best practices on how you can facilitate effective learning to ensure that your staff performs at their best.
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.
As a discipline, time management is all about looking at the way you spend your time, and seeing if you can shuffle tasks around or eliminate tasks altogether so that you might be able to spend your time however you like.
Creating a quote for services is generally reliant on an individual - often the business owner - whose experience in positioning and pitching their services or products has been refined over time. It requires carefully considering the level of services and resources needed for a job - while still ensuring a certain margin - then presenting that proposal in a way that convinces a potential client that they should click ‘accept’!
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.
David Koch is best known as ‘Kochie from Sunrise’, co-host of an Australian television breakfast program. But he also runs a small business, a boutique media production agency called Pinstripe Media. It’s a family business that’s been up and running for well over a decade. In fact, David and his family started the business around the same time he was hired to work on Sunrise.
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.
Whether you’re on vacation, attending a conference, or simply working from home, being out of the office can feel stressful.
In the world of inventory management all mistakes are costly. Errors throughout a business’ supply chain almost always filter down to place unnecessary burden on the bottom line.
For any operations manager, it is extremely important to be aware of the common mistakes to look out for when overseeing inventory as well as to know how to prevent them from occurring in the first place.
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.
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.
Many successful inventors sometimes talk about “BBB time” – time spent in Bed, in the Bath or on the Bus (or other form of public transport). This is when most new ideas come to them, because they’re relaxed and unfocused. Their minds are running on automatic, free to roam far and wide without the constraint of work or other distractions.
If you employ people to provide services to customers, it’s vital to manage the hours invoiced to customers compared to those you pay to staff. Reason being, the differential is potential lost income to your business and precious profit.
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.
I was driving to work the other day - it was still dark, it was cold, it was pouring with rain, and traffic was at a standstill. Looking around, I could tell people were grumpy, fed-up, and exhausted before their work day had even started. I was feeling pretty sorry for myself, too; man, if I could be anywhere else but here right now… damn you, work, for getting in the way of a nice relaxing life…!
I’ve always appreciated the freedom and flexibility mobile tech allows me to have. From staying in touch with my kids overseas to running the family business on the move. In fact, right now I’m writing this on a plane.
And I think it’s the same for most people. With instant notifications and endless apps across phones, tablets and computers, we’ve never been more connected. In one afternoon, I can Skype family, send off a string of emails and tweet a photo from the footy. It’s all so normal now.
A cash flow forecast is a key management tool for businesses. This video will show you how you can use the Cash Summary report in Xero to quickly create a cash flow forecast in Excel for your business.
Opening additional retail stores is always an exciting endeavor. When implemented correctly, expanding to new locations enables you to tap into new communities, create more jobs, increase revenues, and more.
In other words, opening additional stores can catapult your business to higher levels of retail success. But in order to achieve that success, you need to plan your expansion thoroughly. Rapidly sprouting up new stores can do more harm than good if you don’t think things through.
Running an agency is hard.
It’s the ultimate service-based business where time quite literally equals money. Waste a single second, and you're eating into your margins.
Or even worse, a project that you thought would take 4 weeks takes you 6 weeks. The delay in your deliverable means a delay in a paycheck from your client, and you risk becoming a cashflow negative business.
“We have this big myth in the technology industry that we like to impose on everybody — disruption is going to happen and it’s going to destroy you. But this pattern of change actually takes time.”
Getting your inventory management strategies working in harmony can be a daunting – but far from impossible – task. The key is recognizing what strategies best suit your business needs and having the tools to implement them effectively and efficiently. If you’re a small business looking to take the leap, or a start-up wanting to get the basics right, there are some critical strategies to consider.
Thinking like a freak means looking at common, everyday problems through an out-of-the-box lens. This process lets you question every step involved in your current systems and processes. It also means re-examining whatever conclusions you arrive at. How can you be sure you’re actually performing at the highest level if you’re not willing to deconstruct the way you’re currently working?
“Um… I dropped it really, really hard…” I said as I dropped a baggy full of pager pieces on the desk.
The stunned look on our technology specialist’s face was priceless. She poured the beeper’s remains onto her desk. Sifting through shards of plastic, bits of metal and a crushed battery, she smirked and asked, “Stressful day?”
As a founding member of the Fast Company magazine team, Polly LaBarre has seen her share of successes—and failures—in the business world. Now the cofounder and director of Management Lab, she helps businesses and entrepreneurs succeed. She starts by asking them a single question: Are you capable of changing as fast as the world is changing?
Secretly, my ultimate goal is an empty inbox. I create folders and subfolders and diligently file emails away as soon as possible, or delete anything I no longer need. The thought of my inbox growing massive in number kind of scares me - an irrational fear that if it grows beyond a certain amount, it’s too late to be saved, and I’d just have to give up and let it run wild. Some might call it OCD, I just like to call it ‘organised’.
Raw data describes the facts and figures that a business processes every day. Over time, every business hoards a certain amount of data and it only becomes information to a business after it has been processed to add context, relevance and purpose.
In more than 20 years of writing for and about a wide variety of companies, I’ve noticed something important. The businesses that flourish are the ones that truly understand their customers – who they are and what they want.
As a merchant or a person acquainted with ecommerce, you might have heard such terms as “cross selling” and “upselling”. But if you think these are some sort of sophisticated novelties – they are not. These techniques have been used by many generations of traditional retailers and are still considered to be the keys to profit generation.
Are you a retailer (or retail sales associate) who’s struggling with how to approach shoppers? Worried that you lack the magic touch, or that you’ll come off as an annoying salesperson? Would you rather be awkwardly staring at your store’s point of sale software screen than actually talking to the customer in front of you?
The beginning of a relationship is always the best. You laugh at each other’s jokes, you look forward to every phone call, and you truly enjoy getting to know one another.
This guest blog is by Tim Campbell, the first winner of BBC TV’s The Apprentice and co-founder of the Bright Ideas Trust, a charity that helps people start their own businesses.
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.
Making your office a little greener is not just a great way to do your bit towards a healthier and more sustainable planet, it can also give your business a point of differentiation, while also helping your bottom line.
Job Management Software is a new market. Anyone using it is ahead of the game. Those that have adopted it name three key reasons for abandoning their old ways. ‘ Needless extra admin’, ‘Scheduling the workforce was painful’ and ‘We have had poor visibility of job progress’ are the top three.
A cloud inventory solution is one of the most important tools for an ecommerce business. Cloud inventory is the core of your operations, providing the infrastructure and technology needed to manage goods. There are many great cloud solutions which integrate with multiple marketplaces, shopping carts, and accounting platforms.
One of the many things I love about working at Xero is how we can spot a gap in the market and work at #xerospeed to create a solution. It’s not only a buzz to see it happen, it’s also great for our customers – and rewarding for the people who work on the project, too.
It’s no question that data is a godsend for many retailers. Analytics can help you get to know your business better and can enable you spot trends, identify problems, and plan for the future. Data also empowers you to make more reliable decisions in just about every area of your business, including sales, inventory, staffing, and more.
Starting out afresh – either creating your own accounting practice or regenerating one from within – can be a daunting venture. It is a leap of faith, but also a tantalising opportunity to journey down a different path.
We asked you, our customers, to share with us the pain points that made you turn to GeoOp and had you try and quantify the savings you’ve made.
If there was an option to make things easier for yourselves…would you take it?
Inventory management can be hard for any business to do well. Whether you're in manufacturing or retail, your business can suffer if you have too little stock – or too much. Here's how to get it right.
Busy offices can generate a lot of paperwork. But too much paper can reduce the efficiency of your business – and cost you money. So what steps can you take to cut the amount of paper your business uses?
Agency-life can be a whirlwind. With client requests, impromptu projects, and ever-looming deadlines, simply retaining your sanity can be tough. But all hope is not lost.
Getting organized is the second most popular New Year’s resolution, according to a study conducted by the University of Scranton. Are you still sticking to yours?
WorkflowMax is a web based workflow management solution used by creative agencies, accounting and consulting practices and even tradesmen to manage their businesses from quoting and job costing, through to invoicing and reporting.
Here in the goRoster office we’re all about helping others. So, in keeping with that theme we’ve put together some useful tools that all of you can use no matter what type of hospitality business you work for!
Why is it that in our always on, always connected world where we take fully automated self service consumer experiences for granted – everything from online shopping, to banking, to theatre and movie ticket reservations – that we’re happy to function in manual mode in the workplace?
Replacing paper based forms with Paperless Onboarding Systems and Paperless Induction Systems is the fastest and easiest way to make employment administration more efficient and cost effective.
A decision in the Federal Court this week serves as a timely reminder to all employers to ensure workplace policies are drafted in ways that do not unwittingly create exposures to legal claims by staff.
Many small and medium business in the trades and services sector such as plumbers, electricians, cleaning organisations and maintenance and repair services to mention a few, express the annoyance that they spend far too long performing menial tasks that bear little or no relation to the core process of the service that their business actually offers. For new owners, it’s particularly challenging as they’re suddenly expected to become accountants, HR managers and advertising specialists all at the same time.
A recent article came to our attention which got us thinking. This article was written by Ryan Lazanis of Xen Accounting, a virtual accounting firm based in Quebec, Canada.
As a business owner, Lazanis understands the importance of providing exceptional service. He has also seen the frustration of his clients when faced with paying for his services at an hourly rate. If providing the best customer experience is important, then why not apply customer-first thinking to pricing?
Expenses are a hassle and they cost time and money to process. To help you with the paper war we’re expanding the choice of providers that integrate with Xero and sort this problem for you.
Our latest add-on Receipt Bank is a receipt and invoice processing service that gathers together your receipts and invoices, scans them, converts the receipts into useful data and then sends them directly into Xero.
Receipt Bank allows you to add in details of your bank accounts and payment methods in order to help us categorise your receipts and invoices even more efficiently!