I was catching up with a friend over the holidays who was telling me about one of his friends getting made redundant from a small family business just before Christmas. The basic premise of the story was that the bank had told them they needed to make cutbacks, and as part of this they had to reduce staff numbers. They didn’t want to do this, but they had no choice…
As an SMB, you’ll never have a shortage of sources for tips and insights. From retail websites (such as this one) to mentors and fellow retailers, there’s always somewhere to turn to for business advice and best practices.
Effective job scheduling is one of the most important but least understood disciplines of business management. Assigning the correct employee to the right job at the right time is crucial for business success, especially for companies with a mobile workforce. So why don’t some managers give it more of their attention?
Getting out of the cashflow trap for good: The first step is to admit your clients have a problem (with debtors)
This is the first article in a series of posts about Debtor Radar, a new debtor analysis and cash flow advisory tool for accountants from Debtor Daddy. If you’re an accountant you’ll be able to learn more here.
Our goal with Debtor Radar is simple: Help more small businesses solve the cash flow troubles caused by debtors.
We know what it’s like to be a startup; we were one. That’s why we’re excited to launch the 2017 Xero Entrepreneur Scholarship, designed to help UK students afford the rising cost of education and help them along the road to success on their entrepreneurial journey.
It’s no secret that smaller retailers face the challenge of their lives against ecommerce giants such as Amazon — and in Britain, this fight has recently been compounded by Brexit and its potential effects on the retail and trade industries.
But there’s hope yet. A recently launched organization called SaveTheHighStreet.org aims to give the power back to high street retailers and local shopkeepers by endowing them with the tools, skills, and digital capabilities they need to compete in the modern age.
Let’s face it, concepts like paperless office and cloud computing are not ‘new’ concepts anymore. It still surprises me when I encounter businesses that are not paperless and in the cloud. It just makes sense. I’ve been running businesses as ‘paperless offices’ since I co-founded Business Fitness back in 2001. My current business, PARADOX, has been ‘paperless’ and had 100% cloud-based IT and business systems from day one, almost 8 years ago now.
You’ve put yourself out of your comfort zone and tried something new with your business, with less than spectacular results.
Now’s the time to brush yourself off and try again.
Marketing. *Cringe*. You can think of a million things you’d rather be doing. The ice bucket challenge in the middle of winter. A half marathon with your ridiculously fit niece, a Toastmasters table topics competition in front of 100 unknown people.
Having worked with several trade contracting businesses, I’ve observed a very common, but inefficient, behaviour: going after big contracts before thinking about the fit.
Often, companies will spend months preparing a proposal only to see it rejected.
Peer-2-peer lending is a form of debt financing that allows businesses to borrow money without going through traditional lending routes such as a bank. P2P lending platforms connect individuals looking to lend their money with businesses looking to borrow.
These days, cultural fit is an important part of the recruiting process. The prevailing wisdom is that you train for skills, and hire for attitude and fit.
We spend most of our lives working rather than with the ones we love, so it seems only sensible to ensure the relationships we have at work with our colleagues or employees are healthy and happy, as well as professional.
Well that’s the holidays done and now there is an arbitrary line drawn on the calendar that demands we contemplate, plan and decide the future of many things – including work.
This quandary is most pressing for many baby boomers contemplating retirement as well as businesses in industry sectors that are rapidly changing with a rush of innovations.
Take a moment to put yourself in your target customer’s shoes. Now, pretend you’re someone who’s walking into your store for the first time.
Do you take regular cash drawings from your business profits to meet personal living costs? You need to be aware of how your personal drawings sit with your tax position.
We have long known we’re a nation powered by small business. And that lends itself to highly personalised ways of doing business, strong relationships going back a long way, teams that feel like family.
That’s why it’s so devastating when a business finds out someone they’ve trusted has cheated them, sometimes over a long time: a so-called ‘person in a special relationship’.
Proposals to change the rules governing look-through companies (LTCs) and closely held companies are currently going through parliamentary hearings and consultations.
A wee reminder while you are in holiday mode. These dates apply to those clients for whom we prepare tax returns. Different dates will apply for those clients for whom we don't prepare returns.
If there’s one phrase found on the lips of finance-conscious small business owners more often than any other, it’s surely this old chestnut: “Cash flow is king”.
But how often does the average small business owner actually walk the talk of ‘cash is king’? Could it be that the simple distinction between ‘cash’ and ‘profit’ is actually unclear for many SMBs? And just what is the difference?
With the holidays about to kick off, companies that don’t close for the break may need to employ extra people over the holidays.
Business owners and managers need to consider the kind of help required and broadly, what kind of employment contract is best suited to the situation.
Hark the BUSINESS Buddies sing
"Glory to our accounting!”
Peace with Xero and don’t get wild
Debits and credits reconciled."
Changes to tax law around buying and selling property might affect you.
Now that the changes are in operation and the bright line test is being applied to determine tax liability, an issue highlighted only recently might leave you exposed.
Who is responsible for fixing a product if it breaks after the manufacturer’s warranty or an extended warranty has expired? If you answered “the customer”, you should read on — the good reputation of your business may depend on it.
It’s easy to take for granted the innovative technology we have at our disposal today. For small businesses, something as simple as email has completely revolutionized the way you communicate with customers.
In order to run a modern business, you need to utilize modern technology. Doing so means that you can run your business as efficiently as possible, hire staff that are best-suited to the job and retain them.
You’ve had a hectic day at the office. A last minute crisis occurred and you worked 2 hours overtime to get everything done. When you finally arrive home you’re too exhausted to cook dinner (and substitute with greasy takeaways and a cheap bottle of wine).Your ‘quality time’ with your spouse consists of a few muttered sentences before doing the laundry and other crucial tasks, then rolling into bed exhausted.
Yippee it's December and we are feeling the Christmas spirit.
It’s the Holy Grail of business: increasing the number of profitable hours in a day. Short of asking staff to do more overtime or take shorter breaks, how do owners and managers coax more revenue-raising activities out of every employee and every subcontractor on every shift? And how do they become more effective at making decisions that will boost business efficiency every week?
We all know that cash flow is king. But just how much sway does it have? Well, you might want to ask the nine out of 10 small businesses that have failed because of cash flow problems. That’s, right, according to D&B, 90% of small businesses close their doors because of poor cash flow management.
Happy employees are engaged employees. It’s the HR holy grail. So gaining a measure of employee happiness in your business makes good sense. But all employee happiness surveys are not created equal. An employee happiness survey is only as good as the questions you ask and how you follow through on the responses.
The earth has performed a tap dance, the power is out and access to the office is impossible. How do you continue to function as a business?
It is easy for businesses to think “it will never happen” but when disaster strikes it is too late to plan how to survive both physically and commercially.
Whoot, whoot, our lovely Deidre has reached double digits!
We are very pleased to announce that we have had the pleasure of Deidre’s company here at BUSINESS buddy for 10 whole years.
In an ideal world, the growth arrow of every business would always point up, with no flattening out or dipping.
In our more realistic world, business growth fluctuates significantly, due to both internal and external factors.
Unsurprisingly, some of the early-adopters of cloud software were the IT, Communications and Financial Services industries. The many advantages of using cloud Software are beneficial to a broad scope of businesses.
Since Henry Ford built his first assembly line in 1913, automation has revolutionised manufacturing industries. Similarly, manufacturing can greatly benefit from the multi-functional nature of cloud software and services, improving forecasting, inventory management, sales support functions, HR, product development and life cycle management.
One of the most overlooked and under-practiced habits in today’s businesses is creating annual profit and loss budgets. But why is this so critical for your business?
With a profit and loss budget, you’ve considered and developed an understanding of the key areas in your business that really make your profit and loss come to life.
You’ve found the perfect business to buy, it’s been up and running for a while and the current owners say they’ve been really successful.
It’s in your budget, you like the concept, you are willing to take the dive but before getting overly enthusiastic, you need to do a spot of fact checking.
Several years ago, I had a customer who would glower at me as soon as I entered his department. He would say, ‘Fix it right this time, or get it out of here,’ no matter what the problem was.
If I was even one minute later than my ETA, he would be on the phone with my boss, complaining about the horrible service he was getting.
Because he would place a service call for the slightest imperfection or hiccup of the machine, I was going there almost every day.
Emergencies that force you to stop trading, like earthquakes, floods or fires, come with little or no warning. To give your business the best chance of survival, you need a contingency plan. Make sure it includes what happens after disaster strikes, when less — or no — money might be coming in.
Starting your own business can feel like scaling Mt Kilimanjaro. You dig your feet in, climb, and pray for the best. It’s an exciting, chaotic, and hope-filled journey… But what happens when you reach the top of the mountain? Is there anywhere to go but downhill?
Unfortunately many small businesses grind to a halt - or even start to decline - after climbing their first mountain. This is known as the small business profit plateau. Your company is finally up and running smoothly, but its exponential growth suddenly stops. Your profits start to flatline. It feels like your team is working twice as hard just to maintain the same ROI.
Xero was born to achieve a simple but bold purpose: to build powerful, relevant and beautiful cloud accounting software that would change the lives of its global accounting partners and small businesses.
That’s why we consider it our greatest achievement to know that small business owners and key decision makers have named Xero the most-loved accounting software for a second year in a row, beating MYOB and Intuit Quickbooks, through independent research.
Business is heading into the final quarter of the year and the challenge of employing someone right now or waiting until the New Year is on a lot of people’s minds.
The BUSINESS buddy team has made it into the finals of the 2016 David Awards in two different categories and we are mega excited.
We have just heard we are in the running as the most outstanding established business and the Bizbuzz most community minded business.
Whether you’re an architect or a personal trainer, you’ll know the importance of using the right tools for the job. When it comes to running a thriving business, cloud-based apps are becoming an increasingly essential item in a small business’ toolkit.
Providing access to real-time information on the go, as well as reducing time spent on manual data-entry are just some of the benefits apps can provide busy small business owners.
In the pursuit of standardising service so every customer receives the same message or deal, many companies are producing staff who cannot sort out the simplest problem.
One size does not fit all and when someone throws a spanner in the works, can your team handle the situation?
Believe it or not, the super organised of us have actually started our Christmas shopping by now.
But there is another list that business owners should be ticking off on the run up to Christmas, and that is your business plan.
We like to think we are one of the David’s of the world, punching above our weight, using innovation to help us run rings around the Goliaths out there.
There is even an award for it, and voting closes today, so no dilly-dallying.
Applying for funding from a bank can be daunting. It’s a lengthy process which involves jumping through hoop after hoop with no guarantee of success.
But it doesn’t have to be that way, follow our guide to ensure you go into the loan process with the correct information and watch your chances of approval soar.
Research suggests it costs a business between 4-10 times more to acquire a new client than it does to retain a current client. As a business owner, you will do well to look for ways to nurture these clients who’ve used you once into not just returning, but spreading the word about your company.
Going to conferences is a much-loved activity for BUSINESS buddy and the team recognises the importance of being at the top of their game to get the most out of the experience.
Training like All Blacks ensures they are sharp as tacks – even in the after-lunch-I’m-ready-for-a-snooze time.
No we are not standing in the local body elections but BUSINESS buddy has entered the David Awards.
The team thought long and hard and we thought we had what it takes to be a true David – heroically taking on the big guns in the world of accounting and business advising.
You put a lot of work into gaining your customers.
So once you have them, you don’t want them to simply buy from you once, and then leave you to go out acquiring new customers.
That’s exactly what might happen if your customer has a bad experience with your customer service.
A robust rostering system is essential in any hospitality or retail business. Ensuring you have the right number of staff rostered on will keep your customers happy, and your wage cost looking great.
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.
Like many other Kiwis, our head honcho, Kirsten Hawke, has been watching Olympic highlights, sharing in the highs and lows of our athletes as they battle it out in the worlds most ancient arena. But not everyone is so keen.
Since the recession in 2008, there have been many complaints that the banks aren’t lending to SMEs. As a result businesses are increasingly seeking out alternative finance routes to access funding.
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.
This year, Business Buddy took the plunge and entered the Westpac Auckland Business Awards – South, which was a little bit nerve-racking for us.
However, we are super-excited to shout to anyone who will listen that we made the finals for two categories; Excellence in Innovation and Excellence in Strategy & Planning.
Juggling a multitude of roles is the bane of many business owners and when the heat goes on, it can feel like most of the day is spent putting out fires.
Of course, there are going to be times when the unexpected happens and the boss must plonk on the fire chief hat and start extinguishing but with a bit of planning – those days should be reduced.
I believe that a useful goal in marketing is to have people remember us positively. In other words we want them to be thinking and saying good things about our business as often as possible.
A recent High Court case shows companies need to take extra care when claiming their products are New Zealand made, an intellectual property expert says.
The 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.
The experts tell us New Zealand’s economy is dominated by the basics – farming and tourism.
The economies of many developing countries are much the same and some economists argue that these low-tech sectors do not bode well for the future.
Do you spend a lot of time entering invoices? At Xero, they're committed to helping you shave hours off your invoicing workflow. Here’s a grab-bag of ways you can use Xero to speed up your invoicing. Some ways might not suit you, it’s a case of picking the ones that make sense for your business.
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.
“The cheapest trainer in the world is too expensive if the client isn’t yet sold on your value” – Jon Goodman, Ignite the Fire.
Anyone who lives in Auckland knows about the traffic. In fact, anyone who lives in New Zealand knows about Auckland traffic.
There is a familiar pattern happening across Auckland and BUSINESS buddy is taking affirmative action – work from home Friday.
Here at Business Buddy, we like to give back to the community and now we’ve gone global.
Our head honcho, Kirsten Hawke, heard a B1G1 speaker at the Panalitix conference and she was keen to include Business Buddy in the philanthropic programme.
Give Business Buddy a call today, and get started with planning the success of your business.
All it takes is a ONE PAGE business plan, which keeps you on course for success.
Learn about getting payroll right, meeting MBIE requirements, health and safety compliance, Holidays Act, employment agreements, annual leave.
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.
During the last six months the Government has made many changes that have an impact on businesses and in May they lowered the travel expense rate for the second year running.
New health and safety laws meant most businesses needed to revise their policy, which also raises the question – should the use of company cars have a health and safety policy too?
And, then there is much misunderstanding regarding the fringe benefit tax (FBT) especially concerning motor vehicles.
As a small business owner, you’re going to have good days and bad days. Some days will be worse than others.
Part of coping with the darker days that come with managing your own operation is being primed and ready to handle them when they arrive.
This involves building a network of advisors around you, hiring the right team and implementing the right technology so you have all the resources to push through and come out the other side with a healthy and stable business.
There are fundamental shifts taking place in HR. In these times of critical skills shortages, everyone has woken up to the fact that employees are the most important company asset. And using the right HR Tech will help you get the best out of them.
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?
This year, many businesses hit the ground running and haven’t had much of a breather to take stock of where their business is going in the next 12 months and let alone five years.
Your cash box has been brightening since New Zealand’s vibrant new $5 and $10 notes began circulating last October. Those tills are about to get even more colourful as new $20, $50 and $100 notes hit the streets in May.
In December 2015, we started a GST pilot in which 1,400 businesses sent their GST returns from Xero direct to Inland Revenue. The very successful first phase of the pilot has just wrapped up. The small businesses who participated were enthusiastic:
Corporate social responsibility (CSR) is becoming an increasingly popular concept in the retail world. More and more merchants are realizing that giving back doesn’t just make the world a better place, it’s also good for business.
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?”
With the recent implementation of the new legislation to keep everyone safe in workplaces, many employers and health and safety officers may feel slightly overwhelmed.
It’s that time of the year again – the time when you’re looking over your books and seeing what worked and didn’t work. You’re thinking about goals for the year ahead and wondering how you can improve profit in your company. And one simple solution is staring you in the face: you can raise prices.
We’ve all worked with them at some point – the employees or coworkers who are chronically late for work but who are the first ones to head home at the end of the day.
When they’re on the job, they do the minimum that they can get by with without getting fired. Many label them as ‘lazy’ or ‘slackers’ and quickly write them off as a potential layoff candidate.
April 1 has seen a few changes to the employment law that you need to know about.
The main change is the increase in the minimum wage, it is increasing to $15.25 an hour, while the training hourly wage increases to $12.20 an hour.
Our head honcho has been away attending the ThePac 2016, the Panalitix accountants’ conference and came home with a prize – the most innovative accounting business.
Over the last few years we’ve been able to get a pretty good handle on your biggest pain points as a business.
A few months back, Xero released the Make or Break report, which identified key traits of successful business owners. Surveying 2,000 small business owners across the US and the UK, we gathered data on the perfect ingredients a small business owner needs in his/her pantry to survive the hardships that come along with owning a business. As we are kicking off a new quarter, here are some of the tips on how Xero can help formulating the right recipe –
You’ve been asked to prepare a quote for a new client and you’re not to sure how to do it.
Picking a number out of air, multiplying it by a magic number and flicking off an email will do, right?
First impressions count.
A quote is often the first formal contact a client has with you and you want it to be impressive.
Gather friends, family and your work colleagues and enjoy a five km walk or fun run around the Auckland Botanic Gardens.
Sunrise Walk is all about celebrating life and remembering those we love, while raising funds for Totara Hospice South Auckland.
With smartphones at our fingertips, customers are searching online more than anywhere else to research a product. As a small business owner, it’s critical that you have a website ready for customers who are looking you up. Understanding why it is important and figuring out where to start can be intimidating. Here’s what you need to know.
Striking out on your own and starting a business is one of the hardest things you can do in your professional life, but the work isn’t over the second you open your shop. Once the business is up and running you constantly have to improve and optimize to stay ahead of the curve and, most importantly, to become — and stay — profitable.
Engaged employees are the secret weapon of successful organisations of any size. If your people are happy, committed and empowered, they’ll stay with your business. Your customers will get a better experience, you spend less on recruitment and re-training, productivity soars and absenteeism plummets.
We love curating list posts, especially list posts that feature apps and tools to help you work smarter. We recently published a post on handy browser extensions to improve productivity and get more done. This is one landscape that’s always changing however and we’re always looking to provide the most up-to-date and helpful information to help you achieve more. A conversation with a colleague sparked this particular post, and I hope you find it helpful – I certainly have.
Keep up to date with the latest in the tech sector.
Keep tabs on your business relationships without fuss. Connect and collaborate seamlessly with your contacts. That’s what you get from the tighter integration of Xero and Google Apps for Work announced today.
A strong service culture within your business leads to improvements in customer experience and can give your business a competitive advantage in your industry.
Because customers now have more choice than ever — making it even easier to switch suppliers or service providers — field service businesses must work harder and smarter to build relationships with customers and sustain long-term loyalty. Building a service culture within a company is an extremely valuable way to do this, as it leads to opportunities for higher growth and revenue and helps create strong relationships with your customers.
Awards don’t only belong to celebrities and big corporates.
Winning a business award for your small or medium business is a great way of putting your team or business forward for recognition and improve your business reputation.
We all know by now that it’s essential for a business to have an internet presence; a company website is the mainstay for anyone doing business in the 21st century.
But what about a company Facebook page, Twitter account or LinkedIn profile? Are you losing out on potential customers by ignoring these social networking heavies? Do you panic when you think about how your lack of social media savvy has caused you to miss out on reaching your sales goals?
Change. It is the one crucial element an organization needs to be able to execute if it wants to remain relevant and profitable in an increasingly dynamic and challenging global economy. It is also the one vital element that generates the greatest amount of resistance, and throws up the largest number of obstacles to success, than any other business necessity.
The word in the workplace is that the Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment (MBIE) is on its way to Auckland to audit employers who may not be meeting the minimal requirements for staff.