Writing a fantastic blog is just the first part in the process of channeling more traffic to your site. To be of any value, it needs to be read and shared by your audience and beyond. Below are five of the most common and effective ways to give your content exposure.
What do Elizabeth Holmes, Sara Blakely, Linda Avey and Arianna Huffington have in common? They are all female entrepreneurs who have successfully built billion dollar businesses. But what does differ dramatically is their age.
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.
It could be one of the most asked questions by trade contractors: should I be focusing on my cash flow or my profits? It can be a difficult question to answer, as cash flow and profit both play critical roles.
Every business wants to make each year better than the last, and at Vend, we’re all for helping retailers do exactly that. So for this post, we’ve put together some action steps that you can implement to help make 2016 your best year yet.
Whether last year’s performance could use a lot of improvement, or you did extremely well and want to break your own record, the pointers below will help you kick off the year strong:
If you’re a busy business owner with lots on your plate, it can sometimes be overwhelming knowing where to begin. But if you try and do it all, things will undoubtedly get neglected, or you’ll find yourself dreading those painful hours when you have to trawl through hundreds of unread mails.
Here’s ten ways to make sure that you start 2016 with purpose, vision and the courage to super-charge your firm!
Does your business have a story? The kind of story that demonstrates your business is committed to upholding its values? This may be key in retaining staff and making them happy.
Surveys are great. They often provide you the down and dirty data needed to develop or validate a hypothesis.
Market research is another fantastic tool. It provides the broad net needed to understand the intricacies of who your target customer is, and what their pain points and needs are.
Businesses that boost the technical skills of their employees lift their productivity and profits, as well as improve worker satisfaction. Despite knowing this, most firms still suffer from skill gaps.
A recent survey in the UK found that while most companies accepted the business benefits that would flow from improving their staff’s digital skills, only 14 percent felt their staff training was adequate.
Effective and supportive management is a key ingredient in making sure your employees love their jobs. And one of the most important aspects of being a good manager is giving clear feedback to your team members. This is something you should be doing consistently throughout the year. But yearly performance reviews are the perfect opportunity to reflect holistically on what went well and what could use some work. Here are some tips for how to conduct constructive and effective yearly performance reviews.
Christmas is a great opportunity to relax and recharge, but if you’re like us, you might find it hard to just drop everything and take it easy.
Instead, you are just as likely to spend the first half of your long-anticipated break worrying about an unfinished project, checking your emails, and stuck with your brain in the office while your body is on leave.
The latest you need to know.
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.
So you’ve made a New Year's Resolution. Several in fact. You’ve declared next year is YOUR year. Your business is going to triple, you’re going to be more productive, manage your teams better, nail time tracking on its head, and finally learn all those collaboration tools and apps you’ve been meaning to. You’ve got it sussed...or so you think until February rolls around, you’ve started none of the above and the year is about to slip past as it’s always done.
If January 2016 mirrors the years that have gone before, it will be the busiest month in the calendar for people starting a business. Returning from Christmas to an unfulfilling job and a burning idea to turn a hobby or passion into a way of making a living, people in their droves will take steps to become their own boss. Will you be one of them?
When building a business, it is important to learn as much as possible from industry leaders and people with experience. Fortunately, many of these people have written about their experiences and distilled their most influential and successful ideas into books. There are thousands of business books, each claiming to teach you something vital to your success. Below are some of our favourites and ones we find genuinely enlightening.
In a competitive market, customer loyalty is everything. Keep your customers coming back for more and encourage them to become loyal brand advocates, and profitable growth is a given.
Where to in 2016?
Customers. Without them, you wouldn't be in business. But sometimes they are the sole cause of all our stress and woe. That's especially true during busy times of the year, which for many industries is the leadup to the holiday season.
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.
One of the biggest troubles small business owners face is access to capital. So activities like theft or fraud can cripple a small business in a heartbeat.
I received some excellent marketing advice recently from Lori Nash Byron the founder of Famous in Your Field. Lori was talking about the power of content marketing. And here a few of the tips she shared with me about content marketing.
When you sell an expensive or high priced service there are three marketing challenges you need to solve…
One of my favourite marketing experts is my good friend Troy White in Calgary Canada. 7 years ago Troy had an epiphany. He realized that the best marketing promotions he had done for his clients involved some wacky themes.
Blogging is one of the most valuable tools that a business has to engage with customers; it’s a direct communication channel to share timely and relevant information, plus, it fuels SEO for your business website.
Being the busiest shopping season of the year, retail sales during the holiday months can account for as much as 20-40% of a retailer’s annual sales. That’s a lot of revenue–and it takes a lot of additional work to achieve. That’s why the holiday season always brings about a spike in temp hiring.
If you’re one of the many merchants looking to hire seasonal employees in the next few months, it’s high time that you start looking, vetting and training people. Remember, you’re competing with a lot of other retailers for talent these days, so the sooner you get started, the better.
To be the best our staff need to be the best
5 policy changes that could improve the retirement income of Australians
Customer retention is the most important form of marketing. These are people who have already engaged with your business and their return depends on the quality of your products and the standard of your service. A loyalty program offers added value and a tangible reason to shop with your company again.
Yesterday we sent an email advising recipients they may need to change their Xero password. This email was originally intended for active users in Australia. However, it was distributed more widely. We apologize for any inconvenience or confusion, though this is a useful and timely reminder to change your passwords frequently.
You need to cancel your ABN after you’ve sold or closed your business.
To help make sure your business is prepared for the conditions this summer, it’s important to take the time to plan what you would do in an emergency situation or during a natural disaster.
Australian entrepreneurs face many of the same obstacles as their counterparts around the world, with one unique addition: our deep-seated, psychological fear of failure. It is a cultural issue I have had to face personally in recent months, and one we must face collectively as a nation if we are to build an environment where innovation and disruption can thrive.
If you require your employees to wear a uniform, you may need to pay them a uniform allowance or provide them with a uniform at no cost.
It might be hard to imagine now but what if something were to happen to you? Would your loved ones be taken care of or would they face a tough financial future?
The greatest gift you can leave your family is having your affairs sorted out before you go.
If you have made plans, do your loved ones know where to find them? Would they know what assets you have, what insurance policies are in place or how to access your superannuation or life insurance?
Here are some simple steps you can take to protect the important people in your life.
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.
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.
“Counting your chickens before they hatch” is an idiom that’s thrown around a lot in day to day conversation. Little do people realise its relevance to business strategy. In a nutshell, it means to ‘plan how you’re going to utilize the good results of something, before those results have actually occurred.’
Just like most organizations, the success of a retail business relies on the unity and alignment of three critical elements: people, process, and technology. This is especially true when you’re running several retail locations. With multiple moving parts, stores, and teams, it’s essential that you keep every component in sync to ensure that your business runs smoothly.
At Xero, we use the power of technology to foster innovation, connection and entrepreneurialism. To create beautiful work that makes a difference. This is why, each month, we speak to business leaders within our like-minded community. We want to see how they apply similar values to shape their businesses, and their future.
This month, we speak to Stephen Borg. He’s an experienced executive recruiter who, together with his two business partners, started Miller Leith. The firm aims to turn the recruitment industry on its head. They’re creating a more personal, community-minded and supportive experience for businesses and candidates alike.
Stephen tells us in his words why genuine connections make all the difference, how you can innovate work to be a force for good, and how a value-driven service can transform business challenges.
I don’t know about you, but I really love it when a customer takes the time to give feedback about the service my team has provided them, whether it’s good or bad.
Positive feedback may be the most pleasant to receive, but it’s actually the negative feedback that brings the most important benefits. Negative feedback provides valuable insight into where the team is falling short, and pinpoints the specific areas that need to be improved.
One of the benefits of having a modern inventory management system is that it aids business decision-making. Central to this is the comprehensive real-time data that can be analyzed with this software. Managers, factory staff, and retail staff alike will benefit from relevant information that concerns their particular role in the business. This article will discuss how inventory management software can help decision-makers in different areas of a business.
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.
Inventory is considered to be one of the most important assets of a business. Its management needs to be proactive, accurate and efficient. Whilst holding either too much or too little inventory places a burden on both productivity and profitability, it is still essential for most businesses to hold a sufficient quantity of inventory at all times.
What do you think when you think of HR?
Administrative? Transactional? Boring?
Yep, the traditional human resources department hasn’t got the best rep. And for good reason – it’s where the business dots the i’s and crosses the t’s, where policies and processes are fine-tuned. It’s not exactly thrilling stuff.
You’ve got all this amazing talent, ideas are firing, business is thriving, you wake up every day feeling really lucky to be doing what you do. But one day it all starts to go downhill. People are leaving, HR is in overdrive and unfamiliar faces are springing up left right and center as freelancers start filling in the gaps...
Entrepreneurs come in different shapes and sizes. Which type are you?
There’s an old saying attributed to Mark Twain: “History doesn’t repeat itself, but it does rhyme.” That’s certainly true of business. Time and again I’ve read that the most successful entrepreneurs are the ones who left school in their early teens and set up their own businesses.
Culture is recognised as the ideas, customs, and social behaviour of a society. When it comes to business, it’s importance can carry even more weight. When we think about a business’ culture, we think of the values, behaviours and attributes of your people.
Inaccurate estimations can cause drawbacks in the process of important projects. An electrical contractor who ends up buying more materials than is truly needed, for example, might waste a lot of money. And, inversely, an electrical contractor who purchases less than the job requires might miss lower prices offered by wholesale arrangements, and waste time procuring all the necessary items for the completion of the project.
I’m sure you’ve heard the saying many times. But what does it actually mean? How does it really help? Does it help at all?
According to the Wiktionary, to put oneself in someone’s shoes means ‘to try to look at a situation from a different point of view, as if one were the other person. To empathise’.
I had the opportunity recently to meet with Nicole Crump the owner of Tactix Marketing. We were both speaking at a seminar for a client in the sales technology field. I discovered that Nicole spends a good amount of time showing SME’s how to put together an effective marketing plan. So I invited her to share some ideas on how to do this.
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.
I’m excited to announce that Xero has brought two new financial institutions on board with direct bank feeds in Australia: Bendigo Bank and Rural Bank. Direct feeds are now available for all of their products.
If you want to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in your business and help the environment, going carbon neutral in your business is a great way to do your part.
Unfortunately, payroll fraud is a reality for many businesses across Australia. The average payroll fraud amount has shot up thanks to some large instances, including the Clive Peeters case when a single employee stole 19 million and a Canberra Catholic Education case which saw a single employee rob the system of 1.2 million.
Whether you’re running a cafe, a landscaping business or you’re a virtual assistant, repeat customers and positive word of mouth are important to your business’s success. Here are some great ways to make sure your customers remember your business and recommend you to their friends.
Developing a brand for your business means giving it an ‘identity’ or personality.
Did you know that Free Trade Agreements (FTA) can be used by businesses large and small?
As FTAs come into force, you may find new opportunities to expand your business overseas. Or, you may find that overseas investors are interested in partnering in your business operations.
Make sure you understand how FTAs work and what help is available to you!
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.
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.
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.
A process is a set of defined tasks required to complete a given business activity, including who is responsible for completing each step, when and how they do so, and how long it takes to complete.
If you think of the number of repeated tasks required throughout your day, refined processes can amount to huge benefits. Processes clearly define how things are done, then provide the focus for making them better. How they are done determines how successful the outcomes will be.
More than seventy percent of change projects or initiatives within an organisation fail – why? Typically organisations are not taking a consistent or holistic approach to change management, nor are they engaging their workforces effectively to do so. Whether it’s new initiatives, adopting technological improvements, shifting work methodologies from being compliance heavy to advisory based , or simply just wanting to stay ahead of the competition – these factors all drive ongoing changes to the way we work.
“The best things in life are free
But you can keep them for the birds and bees
Now give me money.”
The Beatles weren’t singing about employee motivation when they recorded Money (That’s What All I Want) in 1963. But it’s fair to say that money has always been seen as a key to workplace harmony.
Time Management is one of those skills many of us struggle with. As business owners, managers and leaders, you wear many hats. Now, hats are awesome. I love hats. I just returned from Peru with a hat that bears a striking resemblance to the one Indiana Jones wears … but that doesn’t mean I want to be juggling all my hats at the same time.
It seems as though everywhere you look nowadays you’ll see something related to ‘culture’ and the benefits of a good company culture and of course the disadvantages of a bad one.
So what is this ‘culture’ I speak of?
If you added up all the time people waste in bad meetings every day worldwide, the cost would probably equate to the annual GDP of a small country. Long unproductive and poorly run meetings cost both time and money.
If you don’t already work alongside Millennials, the chances are that you will soon. Allianz recently posted that are those born between 1980 and the early 2000s, the eldest Millennials are in the workplace now and by 2025 will make up 75 percent of the global workforce. While they’ve got the numbers in force, it’s easy to find negativity towards hiring Millennials, primarily due to their fickle nature when it comes to job-hopping. A greater understanding about what makes Millennials tick is an easy way to build a culture that’s likely to keep them engaged.
Running a business is a high stakes game, afterall it’s your livelihood… it’s you that has to pay the mortgage / rent and put food on the table. Getting invoices paid on time (or at all) is an ongoing challenge for many small businesses, especially in services where you’re often doing the work prior to getting paid.
Fortunately there’s a bunch of measures you can put in place to defend yourself from sharks, flakey customers and downright back luck. So we’ve put together a handy infographic that you can print out and keep nearby to remind you to stack the odds in your favour when it comes to getting paid. Enjoy!
Having well structured and timed invoices is essential to getting your invoices paid (and paid on time).
As a service business, you don’t usually need product photographs for a catalogue or online shop, but what you will need is a great photo of yourself. Images on your website help make you more approachable and real, and if you’re going to do anything online, you need a decent headshot to accompany your profile. From your website about page to your social media profiles and any article ever written about you by any publication, ever, you’re going to need a decent picture to use … and a selfie taken with your camera phone just isn’t going to cut it.
Whenever a new business starts, it tries to consolidate by focusing on its native region, a market it is familiar with. It is a natural instinct to make the most of one’s home advantage. But sooner or later a moment comes when we realize that there is a need to move out of one’s comfort zone and explore other territories in search of growth. While it is a delicate task and the specifics will vary from case to case, let us list out a few basic strategies that should help you get started.
Great opportunities to grow your business are actually all around you.
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.
Business owners have so many distractions that it’s easy to… where was I? Oh yes, to lose focus. But there’s a way you can keep yourself on track.
No doubt you started your business for a good reason. It might have been to get rich, to escape the rat race or to challenge yourself. It might have been to change the world for the better. It might have simply been to generate a regular income while being your own boss instead of having other people tell you what to do.
According to the Small Business Association, about half of all new small businesses survive five years. And only about 33 percent survive ten years or more. Having a solid plan in place to manage cash flow is essential to ensuring that your business can survive.
“Everything that can be invented has been invented,” said the Director of the US Patent Office in 1899. It was a breathtakingly naive thing to say even then. But many business owners today still make a similar mistake. They look at the market around them and assume it’s fixed. Having marked out their territory they believe nothing will change.
Cash flow is a hot topic for any small business. We caught up with the people over at Fundbox, who know a thing or two about the importance of having cash on hand. Anna Eschenburg offered to give us the rundown on how to get better at lead conversion.
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.
David Koch is best known as ‘Kochie from Sunrise’, co-host of an Australian television breakfast program. But he also runs a small business, a boutique media production agency called Pinstripe Media. It’s a family business that’s been up and running for well over a decade. In fact, David and his family started the business around the same time he was hired to work on Sunrise.
It’s no secret that providing employee perks to your staff is a key way to keep motivation and happiness levels high, and to increase productivity across the business. However, for many small to medium size businesses, it can be difficult to compete on a level playing field with large companies. Big corporate players have access to the funds to spend on developing programs at a much higher scale than SMBs can afford.
The Fair Work Ombudsman has been unusually proactive in pursuing underpayment claims in the courts recently. This may have been prompted by several widely reported cases of large supermarket chains mistreating and underpaying their staff. Regardless, this impacts small to medium size employers who may have genuinely underpaid staff due to naivety or a human error and who are now prescribed to the same serious consequences.
The cost of travelling overseas can quickly add up so it pays to know some tips and tricks so you can avoid being ripped off on exchange rates and unnecessary fees as well as get a better deal on your flights.
As someone who constantly has the travel bug, I’m always on the lookout for ways to get more out of my money so that I can afford to squeeze in more trips each year. Here are things that I’ve discovered from my travels over the years.
Having spent years as a fitness instructor and in financial services, there are many lessons I’ve learned from keeping in shape and living a healthy lifestyle that can be transferred to managing your finances.
Social media is changing, advancing and evolving, so it’s difficult for employers to know where they stand legally.
One of the greatest advantages of small businesses is their agility.
The ability to make quick decisions is what makes us so competitive. We’re nimble. Whether it’s launching a new product, responding to customer requests or changing a business’s focus altogether.
I often get asked how small businesses should approach technology. My advice is always the same. To safeguard your business and improve operating efficiency, stay up to date. Small businesses have always been nimble – it’s our greatest strength. Constantly evolving tech is letting us to be more nimble and competitive than ever.
Helping our customers get paid faster and automating administration are mantras at Xero. We’re always looking for ways to help simplify invoicing, make Xero more efficient, or reduce the effort required to get tasks done.
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.
Creating a quote for services is generally reliant on an individual - often the business owner - whose experience in positioning and pitching their services or products has been refined over time. It requires carefully considering the level of services and resources needed for a job - while still ensuring a certain margin - then presenting that proposal in a way that convinces a potential client that they should click ‘accept’!
As a discipline, time management is all about looking at the way you spend your time, and seeing if you can shuffle tasks around or eliminate tasks altogether so that you might be able to spend your time however you like.
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.
Do you think your store could use more motivated, top performing employees? Do you feel as if your staff could do better at selling and serving customers? If you answered yes to any of the above questions, keep reading.
Today’s post tackles retail staff training and offers best practices on how you can facilitate effective learning to ensure that your staff performs at their best.
To any inventory based business, the ability to control your inventory efficiently is crucial to operating profitably. The moment control is lost, at any stage in the flow of inventory, both productivity and profitability will nosedive.