The holiday shopping season is definitely in full swing, with just weeks to go before Christmas day. And while some early bird shoppers are probably taking it easy by now, a big chunk of consumers will still flock to retail stores. In fact, you can expect your foot traffic (and hopefully) sales to pick up in the coming weeks and continue til the days leading up to 25th.
That spa retreat you really really wanted to go to over the holidays is booked out, you can’t get a reservation at any of your favourite restaurants and even the bach you normally go to at this time of the year is fully occupied...how on earth are you supposed to relax?!
Luckily we can help!
Here are 10 different things you can try to re-charge over the break.
Pulling aside thick velvet curtains, you nervously step inside the fortune teller's tent. Leaves crunch under your feet and the smell of perfumed incense hangs heavy in the air.
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.
Word of mouth is one of the most powerful drivers of traffic and sales for retailers. According to McKinsey, it’s the primary factor behind 20 – 50% of all buying decisions and can influence purchases in ways that traditional advertising can’t.
David Barrett is the CEO and Founder of Expensify. Named one of the Most Innovative Companies in 2015 by FastCompany, Expensify’s team has a simple goal — expense reports that don’t suck. That ethos made them a popular app in our marketplace.
It used to be that people needed to live in the technology hubs of the world, like Silicon Valley or London, to accelerate their technology careers, but that’s changing quickly.
As a father of three, I often come back to a phrase I once heard. “In life, there are rubber balls and glass balls and you are always juggling.”
Govt intervention having little effect: 50,000 UK businesses go under each year due to late payments
A new report from The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) says that the UK’s poor payment culture forces 50,000 small businesses under and costs the UK economy around £2.5 billion each year.
In a recent blog, I wrote about preparing your business for the traditionally quiet summer period. But there’s another side to this, where the lead up to the festive season can be the busiest time of year for many businesses.
As we celebrate the sixth Small Business Saturday this year, SME owners are more integral than ever to the health of our economy as we brace ourselves for uncertain times. SMEs make up an astounding 99.8% of the British economic engine, generating 47% of revenue and employing 60% of the workforce.
The summer period can be an interesting time for accountants, bookkeepers and BAS agents. Clients are often away, business can be slower than usual, and the temptation to take a break pulls steadily closer as December unwinds.
Trees are up. Decorations are hung. And jingles fill the air. Yup, it’s that time of year again. A time to reflect on the year that was and wonder what more we could have squeezed into those past 12 months. Instead of wondering if you feel the same, we thought we’d just ask.
The Xero Roadshow is coming to South Africa in February 2017, visiting Johannesburg on 1 February and Cape Town on 2 February to give local advisors an insider’s insight into cloud accounting. We can’t wait to meet partners from across the country at what are sure to be two sellout events.
The end of the year brings a lot of victories and challenges to eCommerce businesses and Amazon sellers…and sometimes those victories/challenges show up in the exact same package!
There’s a lot to love about the holidays — family, food and a blessed reprieve from the rigours of work.
It’s not all baubles and eggnog for SMBs however. Along with those inappropriate secret Santa presents and inadvised mistletoe moments, the period also brings its own unique challenges to business owners. Many SMBs find themselves under economic stress as clients and suppliers shut up shop over the break — often well before the those statutory holidays arrive — leaving phones ringing, emails unanswered and often, invoices unpaid.
Let’s discuss something we already know: Most tradespeople didn’t enter the tradie game because they love spreadsheets — usually, the case is quite the opposite.
It makes sense then that plumbers, electricians and other tradies can have a tendency to let some of the more elaborate number crunching required to run a business fall by the wayside. It’s understandable; you’re busy and you’re focused on the job at hand, so the temptation to only measure the bare minimum — ‘profit’ for example — can be strong.
The Christmas period is always a hectic time for anyone working in hospitality. With Christmas celebrations and client functions galore, it should be the busiest time of the year for you and your staff.
When gauging the health of your business, employee retention is a pretty important measure. Generally speaking, the lower the turnover number, the better it is. Though the number alone is only half the story.
If you’re a tradesperson looking to build your business and win more work, improving your online visibility is key. Homeowners will often research extensively online before making a decision, and it’s important you can earn customers’ trust from the get-go.
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.
Rob Nixon has 22 years of experience as an advisor to accountants, with clients in over 30 countries. In his current role, Nixon is helping define and execute how PANALITIX’s cloud-based accounting solution software helps thousands of accountants improve their firm’s position across profit, capacity and growth through a connection with the ultimate accountant membership community. With a belief that accountants are the naturally trusted advisors to effective business through innovative technology, quality content and transformative methodology, Nixon empowers accountants to a position where they are able to exert a tremendous impact on their client’s conditions.
HomeRetail Tips & Trends How to Create a Workplace Culture that Attracts and Retains the Best Employees
Workplace culture.” This phrase is easy to throw around at HR meetings or interviews, but actually understanding the concept and building a strong culture in your organization is whole other story.
As Chancellor Philip Hammond’s first Autumn statement was announced yesterday to focus on “preparing and supporting the economy as we begin writing a new chapter in our country’s history”, I wanted to share what I believe are most interesting proposals for businesses – and whether they are the best investments to reflect current needs.
Millennials are now the largest living generation in the U.S.. An acute understanding of the entrepreneurial individuals in this group is growing to be a necessity for accountants and bookkeepers in order to provide services that will meet their needs and wants.
If you’ve never heard of just-in-time, don’t worry—it’s not too late. The just-in-time manufacturing model was introduced by Toyota in the 1960s and has become a popular way for manufacturers to manage their inventory, raw materials and the other supplies they use in the manufacturing process. Of course, manufacturers aren’t the only small businesses that can benefit from this approach.
A few months ago we set up an innocuous little survey on the WorkflowMax blog to help us understand our customers’ pain points better. We wanted to create more targeted and relevant content that would address their issues directly (and maybe even bring a smile to their face as they scrolled past the occasional GIF and bad pun).
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.
When you’re recruiting, identifying cultural fit in candidates is essential. There is a greater likelihood that employees will stay with a business when the work feels meaningful and the company’s values are in sync with their own.
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.
1. a person who sets up a business or businesses, taking on financial risks in the hope of profit.
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.
Being an effective manager is demanding and complex. Aside from thoroughly knowing and understanding your business, you need to understand people and their motivations, be a motivator yourself, and manage emotional and business-related issues at once.
Whatever the size of your venture, whatever you set out to achieve, a strong online presence has become the cornerstone of a modern business strategy.
With Thanksgiving around the corner, small businesses are gearing up for what many say is their peak time.
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.
We live in an increasingly mobile world. Pretty much everyone has (and spends a great deal of time on) a cell phone, and devices like tablets and smartwatches are prominent features of today’s society. It’s no surprise, then, that for several years now mobile technology has been one of the biggest and fastest-growing trends in the retail world — something that’s perhaps most true in the United States, where much of this technology is pioneered or widely tested.
Do you feel like it might be time for a change in your office environment? Perhaps the productivity isn’t as good as it use to be or there are a handful of employees who just don’t seem to be performing at their best. Conducting a performance review can greatly help you manage your employees and make sure that your workplace stays strong, efficient, and goal driven.
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.
What’s the first thing that comes to your mind when the word “paperless” is brought up?
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.
I am astounded by the number of times I search for a product online, click the option to purchase, only to find that I then need to phone the retailer to pay. In 2016, this kind of disconnected experience is not good enough. Connected consumers want the freedom to buy from anywhere at any time, with a recent Zendesk survey revealing that 67% of consumers use multiple channels to make purchases.
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.
Do you know what your business would do during a natural disaster? Planning for emergencies and natural disasters is essential to help protect your business against the worst.
Help make sure your business is prepared for extreme weather conditions this summer, and create an emergency management plan.
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?
In contemplating what to write about in this post I turned to the bevvy of online news sites for inspiration. Every second headline seemed to shine a spotlight on the issues our organisation deals with every day: minimum wage increases, penalty rates, protecting Australian jobs, childcare affordability and superannuation. Federal elections certainly have a way of getting people focused on employment services topics!
As a manager, it’s important to do your best to keep your workplace from becoming an episode of the Real Housewives. Here are some tips for managing conflict.
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.
Are you looking for ways to ensure your employees are happy at work?
With the right approach, flexible working arrangements can help your employees achieve a work-life balance and benefit your business.
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.
Small business owners today have an unprecedented opportunity to run their businesses better than ever thanks to improvements in technology. These smart technologies, ranging from on-the-go payment solutions to chatbots, are creating a boon for small businesses.
Xero U.S. President, Russ Fujioka, recently penned a column for Inc. where he highlighted some of the smart technologies taking the small business world by storm.
Everyone makes a plan at some point in their life. Whether it’s for their wedding, family, business – or even just the weekend. Spontaneity is fun when it comes to road trips and skinny dips, but successful businesses need to think about the future and how to work smarter, not harder.
A recent study focused on identifying the current issues and trends facing Australian SMEs has found that 38% of small businesses pick Marketing & Advertising as the primary strategy for growth.
With more than a third of small business competing in the open market it will mean that it’s going to be harder and harder for your prospective customers to differentiate your business to your competitors. This often means that with a limited budget, as an owner of a business you would rather hire new sales or marketing personnel than HR. Or invest time in prospecting new business rather than increasing employee engagement and other people management strategies.
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 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.
Small businesses will often say that their number one goal is business growth. But where does business growth come from? An easy answer to this can be “attracting new customers”. But attracting new customers can come at a very high price. Marketing has become increasingly difficult with online advertising and social media offering. Competition is fierce. Every other small business is online competing for potential customers. On the other hand, you could rely on word-of-mouth, but that is going to be a very slow process.
Mention the word ‘millennial’ and the first thing that comes to mind for a lot of employers is ‘risky’. Today’s university graduates are looking to fast-track their career, and are not afraid of jumping from employer to employer to achieve advancement.
These days, using a mortgage broker certainly makes sense if you want some expert help in whittling down the huge number of loan options out there.
You’ll certainly save a lot of time and legwork, but to make the most of a broker’s services, it’s critical that you share your financial goals with them so they can actually show you the best loans to help you achieve your financial goals.
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.
Working with family members presents unique advantages, and unique challenges. If you've built up your own business, now might be the time to bring in other family members. Here’s how to avoid some of the pitfalls.
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.
The types of failures that led to the Pike River mine tragedy can be found in many businesses and in many industries, says Rebecca Macfie, the Listener journalist who spent a year investigating the disaster and wrote the book Tragedy at Pike River: How and Why 29 Men Died.
If you’re a shop owner, new rules mean your council may let you open on Easter Sunday. However, you can’t make your employees work that day.
If you track income and expenses on a spreadsheet, you could be losing sight of how your business is performing and wasting a lot of time on data entry. There are low-cost alternatives that allow you to monitor business cashflow really simply.
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.
Have you ever wondered what makes successful business owners tick? Do you share their good habits? We surveyed 2,000 business owners to help you find out.
Are your staff turning up late, grouchy and stressed? Do they have a distant look in their eyes (like they’d rather be anywhere else)? Is your turnover rate on the rise?
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.
If you’re like most small business owners and managers, you probably wear many hats and are responsible for many areas of your business. You’re the CEO, bean counter, marketing whiz, sales guru, lead developer, and more.
So you’ve typically got your hands full developing growth strategies, optimising the cash flow, managing customer relationships, product and service innovation, not the mention the human side of running your business.
As an employer, it's important that you understand the difference between employees and contractors. Employing someone under the wrong arrangement could put your business at risk of penalties. Things like your tax and super obligations are also affected by your workers’ arrangement.
‘I love deadlines…. especially the whooshing noise they make as they go by!’ That’s one of my favourite “Dilbert” quotes about business but it flies in the face of what motorsport stands for. Motorsport is a business of hitting deadlines because it doesn’t matter what reasons or excuses there are, the race will always start on time…. Whether you are there or not.
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.
One of the tougher challenges for many trade businesses today in terms of finance is what’s commonly referred to as a cash gap.
A cash gap is a lag which occurs between income and cost of goods sold (COGS); that is, cash inflows and outflows. Businesses that suffer from a cash gap may be profitable on paper, but have cash flow problems because they have to pay their suppliers (COGS) much earlier than they receive money from their clients (income).
A big mistake made by small business managers is not providing adequate staff training. It doesn’t matter if a business is bringing in a new employee or the latest piece of specialist machinery or mobile technology, staff who aren’t trained properly will cost time and money. In the long run, businesses who don’t make training a priority will likely lose good staff, too.
How did trust, that fundamental building block of human behaviour, become a cornerstone of modern business? Once something that required significant time and investment to build, maintain and yield results, trust is now being made and broken by strangers at speed – and that shift is being commoditised.
The concept behind Auckland-based social enterprise Eat My Lunch is a simple one. Buy a lunch and a kiwi-kid in need gets one for free. But there’s a level of complexity behind the scenes to ensure its sustainable future – from carefully planning menus to ensure zero-waste kitchen to thorough financial forecasting.
Good managers can make or break a business. They're essential to developing a positive and productive workforce, which, in turn, improves employee retention levels and ensures everybody in the business is working in line with the company’s strategy and objectives.
Freelancing and gigging are gaining popularity fast. Not only do you get the flexibility to work when and how you want, a lot of these jobs let you work from home. However, if you’ve never worked from home before this can be a challenge.
Treating your home like an office can take practice, especially if you don’t have enough space for a dedicated home office. If you’re freelancing and want to work more efficiently, here are some tips to help.
Much like finding an old $20 in those jeans that you’ve had away since last winter, or like realising you’ve ordered your pizza on cheap Tuesday when you go to foot the bill, figuring out that just a small change to the way you work can save you time and money is gold.
Sometimes, it’s the minor details that matter. It might seem like a small win at the time, but it’s one that can make a big difference to your business.
Hiring the right person for the job isn’t always a straightforward process. There are many variables to consider and whether you are a startup looking to hire your very first member of staff or already have a few team members on board and are looking to expand, the right person with the right skills can really enhance your work environment and have a positive impact on production. Hiring the wrong person does just the opposite and can not only be a costly exercise, but it can also be time-consuming and even have a negative impact on employee morale.
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.
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.
In the world of small business, the changing nature of competition requires us to constantly adjust and adapt, succeed and remain grounded. Everyday business decisions can be a continuous battle between the urge to stand still and consolidate, or push to achieve more.
So how do you strike the right balance? Multi-medal winning swimmer Michael Klim shares four top tips.
No matter what type of business you start, while you’re getting up and running, you’ll have a number of expenses that you’ll need to pay for up front.
To help you invest more money in growing your business, you’re now able to claim back certain startup costs, sooner.
Change is a normal and essential part of business. It’s an important step in improving your staff performance, enhancing goods or services and expanding.
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.
Ah, meetings. With their almost universally hated status, running one can be tough going. You can almost *hear* the groans as you schedule one in the team’s shared calendar (and heaven forbid you try and make it a regular weekly occurrence). Given the enormous amount of pressure you – as the brave meeting organiser – face, it’s easy to default to a boring Powerpoint deck and read off the slides word-for-word. Unfortunately it’s also a great way to send everyone to sleep or to seek solace in tea breaks and lunch.
All too often a brand will launch a new product or service that flops because of a poorly thought through marketing campaign – so here are 8 tips for a successful marketing campaign.
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.
If you haven’t heard already, there are some big changes around the corner for workers covered by modern awards, which are has kicked in at the start of August 2016. Importantly, there are some big changes in the way employees can cash out annual leave.
Being tired on the job is a health and safety issue many businesses have to grapple with, says a world authority on worker fatigue.
“Fatigue is just another hazard,” says Professor Drew Dawson, director of the Appleton Institute at the Central Queensland University.
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.
How many times have you been on a road trip with children and heard that constant question that gratingly gets on your nerves: ‘Are we there yet?’
If you’re like me, you want to answer with, ‘Of course not or we’d be… there.’ Kids, knowing the potential fun to be had at the destination, get weary in the waiting of the journey itself.
Choosing a bank is one of the most important decisions when starting a small business.
It’s as important as choosing where you’ll set up a brick-and-mortar store, developing a business strategy or deciding who you’ll partner with.
Choosing a bank should be the start of a long and fruitful business relationship.
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.
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.
They may stand alone on the podium, but gold-winning medallists always thank the team that made them. So how do you build the right team around you when you’re only just off the blocks – and why should you bother?
As the company owner, you have that entrepreneurial streak, that will to succeed. You can see the big picture and have a clear view of where you want the company to be in 5 years time.
The big problem comes when you can’t seem to translate that enthusiasm and drive to your team. They’re qualified and hardworking, but they just don’t really seem that fussed what happens to the company. You want them to be resilient, driven and – above all else – as motivated to succeed as you are.
It’s the beginning of the new financial year which means it’s time to review, reset and plan for the year ahead.
Here are 7 steps to help your business start the new financial year out right.