Effective job scheduling is one of the most important but least understood disciplines of business management.
UX (User Experience) is at the heart of every good design. It’s the difference between your customers groaning in wretched frustration, or grinning with enjoyment; with them shaking a defeated fist at your site and hastily clicking away from it, or completing a satisfying purchase and wanting to return for more.
For most of us the internet is an intrinsic part of our lives. We rely on it to get us where we are going, connect us to friends and family and answer all of our questions, no matter how banal. It has also quickly become an integral part of most businesses, enabling them to complete business transactions in mere minutes as well as connect to their customers and a global network.
Ten years ago, the accounting industry looked very different but new technology is evolving. Cloud-based software is becoming more prevalent everywhere you look; accountants have had to adapt their mode of operation. These changes to the industry will create so many opportunities for accountants. Yet, there will also be notable challenges to face with this level of change.
The cloud – what is it and why is it important? Like the name suggests, the idea of the cloud feels lofty and hard to grasp. Simply put, cloud computing is the practice of using a network hosted on the Internet, or “the cloud,” to store, manage, and process data. This means you won’t have to maintain or own any hosting equipment.
Christmas is here and more than anything, it’s usually referred to as the season of love. Love is expressed by giving, and many employers hope to express this love to their employees by giving gifts.
Business negotiation is a world of contradictions. You’ve got to be firm but flexible open and sharing, but a little cagey. There’s a lot to get your head around. But your state of mind might be the most important thing. Aim for a mutually beneficial outcome, and you’ll find the whole exercise more comfortable. Follow these five tips to prepare for your next negotiation.
When a customer asks you for a quote, they're giving you a golden opportunity. With the right response, you can close the deal quickly and win new business. Here's how to make the most of price quotes.
Offices used to be essential for most businesses. But mobile technology and new working practices mean that many small businesses don't need any office space. Here's what you need to know about having a mobile office.
As traditional retail channels dwindle in popularity, more businesses are turning to multi-channel retailing to provide an extra income stream and keep business ticking over.
You almost certainly started your business for one of two reasons: you can do something better than anyone else, or you have a burning passion so deep you cannot focus on anything else.
This is a post by Alexandra Sheehan. Most thriving retail businesses process many transactions on a daily basis, sometimes thousands.
The UK retail landscape is changing rapidly. Consumer spending is decreasing, competition is increasing between businesses, and people are turning to e-commerce at an unprecedented rate.
As businesses grow, it is often inevitable that additional entities will be needed. Typically these will arise from international expansion into new markets or for legal and risk mitigation.
The shopping habits of consumers has changed significantly over the past 10 years and will continue to change over the next decade too.
In the cosmetic industry, managing the supply chain efficiently and effectively is crucial for cosmetic companies to gain a competitive advantage.
As more businesses use online inventory management, manufacturing and procurement tools, businesses that stick to traditional ways of operating are likely to surrender their competitive advantage.
Competition is rife in every industry. In order to keep up with competitors you have to be innovative and quick.
As some of us begin a new financial year, it’s time to reflect on trends from the year that’s been. The 2018 financial year continued the dramatic trend of change that small and medium sized businesses have been experiencing for the last few years.
One critical factor for food and beverage industry growth is innovation. While the food and beverage players are experienced innovators, the industry itself is facing new consumer, food safety and regulatory challenges.
Software as a Service (SaaS) has paved the way for businesses and consumers to test early cloud services. With SaaS being both flexible and financially attractive, businesses continue to take advantage of the simplicity and high performance the cloud offers.
Numbers don’t lie, so if you find yourself at a loss with what’s happening in your business, one of first the things you should do is look at your retail metrics.
One of the complexities of managing a small to medium sized business is having the ability to optimise your organisation, enabling it to run more efficiently.
Running your own business is awesome, right? There are not many other lifestyles that afford the opportunity to enjoy the kind of life you’ve always dreamed of, on your own terms. Time, money, flexibility… the chance to have it all.
If you’re shipping your goods out to your customers, it’s essential to ensure your freight costs are as low as possible. At the same time, we all know how important it is to reduce our impact on the environment.
The growth of the coffee industry has been truly unprecedented and experts have been prepared for the bubble to pop.
Conducting business is no longer as simple, and dare we say primitive, as being present in the store at the point of sale, making said sale, recording said sale and replenishing inventory stock – all in a very hands-on manner.
Inventory control and supply chain management has evolved on a near continuous basis since the 1980s.
For most businesses the question is no longer whether it is appropriate to adopt a cloud service, but rather when is the right time and what services to move.
As technology and digital marketing tools continue to improve, businesses will have to adapt to trends in marketing and consumer behavior.
To be successful in business, you need to be organised, have a clear plan for where you’re headed and be confident with the processes you have in place.
At a certain point, every growing business needs to take a leap and invest in new technology. It can be daunting and expensive, but the rewards can greatly outweigh the costs and stress.
When I designed the first Spotlight Reports, I usually included an Action Plan to close the circle between great data analysis and goal-setting.
Brewery inventory management can be done in a variety of ways. Often, companies will rely on a combination of methods, including web apps, written notes and spreadsheets.
Let’s get straight to the point: ecommerce is NOT killing brick-and-mortar retail.
The role of a tax accountant has continuously changed over the course of the last 50 years, and it is currently undergoing yet another transition period with the growing popularity of cloud accounting.
We live in a data-driven age - so why not use data in your business to solve problems, be more efficient and invent new products?
There are many factors to consider when you’re selecting an ecommerce platform, and when you first start selling online, it can be hard to find one that’s the right match.
More than just dispatching machines, handhelds have become as ubiquitous to field service as the screwdriver and wrench.
There are a multitude of things that can go wrong throughout the supply chain, exposing the firm to different kinds of risks.
Mobile technology has revolutionized the way modern society does business and permanently changed the retail landscape.
Advances in technology over the last two decades have shrunk the world; travel is inexpensive, cross border payments are fast and businesses communicate in real-time.
More and more manufacturing companies are beginning to use cloud-based manufacturing systems to improve the way their business functions.
Businesses today are quickly adopting cloud software as the benefits become more apparent and even necessary to keep a competitive edge – benefits like less paperwork, greater efficiency, and time savings.
Over the past five years, mobile devices have begun to dominate the consumer landscape around the world.
Machine learning has the power to change how we look at field service – what it means to contractors and customers alike.
In April this year, Elon Musk (CEO of Tesla and SpaceX) publicly announced that his company, a startup in California, Neuralink, is developing a neural lace technology that will enable human beings to communicate with devices through their thoughts alone.
It doesn’t matter how large or small your store is, or how many of them you’ve got—if you’ve got a point of sale (POS), you’ll see big benefits in switching from a simple cash register to a full-featured, cloud-based POS platform.
Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SME) are companies that are independently owned and managed with less than 250 employees in their ranks and bringing in less than 50 million euros per year.
When a visitor spends time browsing your online store or bricks-and-mortar outlet, they’re looking for something. And when they find it, they’ll be tempted to buy it.
The Isle of Skye Candle Company’s first batch of candles was made in a converted croft on the Isle of Skye in 2006, and since then the company has been lighting up across Scotland and the UK.
It can be unwelcome news that the success of your business is, in part, out of your control. If your business involves importing or exporting inventory, it pays to be aware of and be prepared to mitigate potential impacts of trade policy on your business.
You almost certainly started your business for one of two reasons: you can do something better than anyone else, or you have a burning passion so deep you cannot focus on anything else. And if you’re lucky, it’s both. You didn’t start your business because you wanted to track cash moving in and out of your bank account. Nor to complete complicated forms for the government. You hadn’t even contemplated how business software could help you do these tasks, mostly because you didn’t know you need to do them.
Some brick-and-mortar merchants see ecommerce as the force that’s grabbing market share and taking customers away from offline stores. We don’t think this is the case. The way we see it, physical and digital retail aren’t rivals — they’re allies.
The short answer is patent trolls. The long answer is that using cloud computing to do business may get you sued by patent trolls in the District Court for the Eastern District of Texas.
A perpetual inventory system is also known as a continuous inventory system. The premise of this type of inventory system is that is allows businesses to keep a real-time account of what inventory they have in stock.
For a number of years, advancements in technology have been the driving force behind most of the recent innovations in business and business management. Our systems are continually being optimized, our processes streamlined and our use of automation made more precise and more intuitive.
Technology has the power to make our lives easier, and small businesses have the flexibility and the creativity to take advantage of this power. By staying lean and agile, a small business can adapt quickly in a moment and use new technology to power into emerging markets.
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.
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.
What’s the first thing that comes to your mind when the word “paperless” is brought up?
Job sheets, whiteboards, clipboards, filing cabinets … these are the communication and information storage tools of old-fashioned, inefficient small businesses. For owners and managers of trades and services companies who are only familiar with these traditional ways of working, and systems that may have been used for decades, it can seem like a difficult task to move to modern, cloud-based job management software.
Not too long ago, customers walked into retail stores without knowing much about their products. They’d browse the merchandise to discover items they liked, relying on store associates for more details and information.
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.
It’s been a huge year for M&A in the tech industry. For startups, there are many valuable insights that can be gleaned from this activity. By looking to organizations that have been around for a long time, entrepreneurs can learn what it takes to stay relevant in the coming years.
Corporate espionage… A sinister plot to a movie or a real threat to your small business? You’d be surprised by what you don’t know about your company’s cyber security.
This week on Xero Gravity we are joined by our very own Felix Shi. Felix is the product security specialist at Xero and has seen it all when it comes to cyber breaches. On this week’s episode, we explore the holes hiding in your business’ cyber security systems and offer some valuable steps you can take to protect yourself.
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.
Is your small business on social media yet? I’m sure you’ve heard of the great potential social media holds for marketing your company, so I won’t preach to the converted. Everyone knows about the 6 big players - Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Google+ and LinkedIn - but trust me, not all of them are right for your small business.
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.