Many years ago, I was on lunch with two other techs when one asked, 'Have you seen Tom around lately?'
Tom was a bit of a 'lone wolf' so it wasn’t too strange that we hadn’t run into him, but our manager had also requested a few times that we take his service calls.
I decided to call Tom to find out why he had been MIA for the past few weeks.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Keep up to date with the latest in the tech sector.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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’.
If you’d asked anyone 10 years ago about how important technology was in running a successful café, they probably would have responded: not at all!
But today, we are increasingly seeing small businesses embrace technology to grow and be more relevant to their clients.
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.
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.
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.
We understand that SEO can be a bit of a mysterious beast. So we reached out to our friends from Alpha Digital, to share some of their best practice tips to help you make your product descriptions SEO friendly.
If you're running a small business - and there are nearly 30 million of you in the U.S. alone - then you know the old adage rings true: Time really is money.
Small businesses win work by using sales quotes (also known as price quotes). Yet they often don’t realise that how they prepare and create quotes can cost them business. Many lose revenue by not following up on quotes or turning quotes around fast enough.
Rust never sleeps’ was supposedly the tagline for a 1970s advertising campaign for a rust-inhibitor product called Rustoleum. Although the phrase found far more traction as an album title for legendary Canadian rocker Neil Young, it resonates with us here at Debtor Daddy because it echoes one of our favourite sayings that “Debt never sleeps”.
We live in a globally connected, digital economy. In this world the all-pervasive force is data. So much so that is has become to the digital economy, what oil was to the industrial. There has never been a better time to use data to drive your business performance.
Retail stores have long been collecting basic details (i.e. name and email) on their customers. Now, with the help of some nifty retail cloud solutions, it’s possible to collect so much more.
Xero accounting software is designed to revolutionise the way small businesses manage their finances.
More than just a search engine, Google offers a whole host of free tools for using the web. By far one of its most popular is gmail - Google’s free web client that allows users to choose their own email address and send and receive unlimited messages.
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.
I had a conversation with a good friend last week that got me thinking. She has recently started some contract work after having a baby. She’s working from home; juggling motherhood and meetings, feeding and phone calls, and managing suppliers in between managing nap times.
With so many tools and apps that claim to increase organization or productivity, how do we find out which tools will actually help and not hinder our workflow? At Expensify, our approach is to keep it simple; forget the apps and stick to what’s tried and true. Here are a few core principles that help us stay productive; try them out and let us know what you think!
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!
Debtor Daddy is a brilliant credit control app that works alongside Xero to help you get your invoices paid faster. It's an automated reminder system that sends up to 5 email reminders to your customers if they don't pay their invoices by the due date.
When you've had a computer crash, or you've got a software issue that's preventing you from doing a certain job, or you're terrified that you've wasted money on something that doesn't work, you're even more susceptible to taking offence to written messages. This is why customers dealing with email support are often more sensitive than other type of customers.