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Do or Do Not - There is No Try: Working with a Business Mentor

When I first started out as a copywriter working for myself, I felt a bit lost. There were so many different directions my career could go, and I wasn’t sure which one to take. I’d never worked for myself before. It was daunting, and I wasn’t sure where to begin to find answers.

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Graham McGregor on marketing tips for busy people

Most of us today have very busy lives in our businesses.
So I like marketing tips that I can get quickly and put into action fast.

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9 Tips for Writing Irresistible Service Descriptions for Your Website

A potential customer has landed on your website, and your home page has so far convinced them enough that they like the vibe of your company. But your site’s job is not done yet. Before they decide if you’re the right business for the job, your customer will click through to your service descriptions to make sure that what you offer fits with what they’re looking for.

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Float - The simple cashflow forecasting tool for businesses

Float is an online cash management and forecasting tool that helps you manage your business and keep on top of your cash flow. By projecting your future cash in the bank it’s easier to make the right decisions for your business.

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eWAY - Easy Online Payments

Giving more payment options to your consumers is a proven way to increase sales and grow your business. eWAY's flexible, award-winning solutions make it easy to customise the payment process to suit your industry and your business.

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How to get paid faster

Invoicing clients should be fun - it’s the final step between your hard work and hard cash! But often it’s a stressful process filled with friction and sometimes fiction!

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Why Turning To The Cloud Is The Best Decision For Your Business

Let’s set the scene. Close your eyes. Imagine.
A staunch, somewhat broad gentleman exhibiting a sunken in face, dressed in the latest season Hugo Boss navy suit and donning a pair of the most expensive Ted Baker shoes, opens the door to the office. His shoulders are drooped as if he were carrying the weight of the world on them. It’s 8:00pm. He walks down the hallway pretending to have purpose – trying his best not to let the onset exhaustion show.

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How Can Cloud Software Help a Manufacturing Business?

Cloud computing is quickly becoming a viable and effective tool for manufacturing businesses. While there is still room for improvement, the advances already made offer some great inventory management solutions. Many businesses are using it to some degree, although there remains a lack of understanding across the board as to how deeply it can be implemented. Most ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) packages now include cloud modules, and concerns around reliability and security are steadily being overcome.

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Choosing the right smart device for field staff

Often we’re asked for recommendations on what devices to roll out to field staff. While we prefer not to recommend any one device, the following article may shed some light on how to go about making an informed decision.

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Inventory Management - More Than Just Controlling Your Stock

When asked what inventory management is, business owners often say it’s about keeping control over stock levels: optimising how much inventory your business holds, to minimise costs associated with inventory handling, obsolete stock, and logistics. While inventory management assists with all of these things, its benefits to a business extend far beyond this. With the software available today, a good stock management system can help with making better sales, customer retention, business data analytics, security, and cash flow.

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8 Unexpected Benefits of Business Networking

Have you been told that you should use business networking as a tool to grow your business? You should; it’s an awesome way to expand your brand’s reach and find new clients through referrals, particularly if you’re just getting your business off the ground. But, there is SO much more to be gained from business networking - both professionally and personally - if you put the effort in.

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3 of the most common inventory management mistakes

In the world of inventory management all mistakes are costly. Errors throughout a business’ supply chain almost always filter down to place unnecessary burden on the bottom line.

For any operations manager, it is extremely important to be aware of the common mistakes to look out for when overseeing inventory as well as to know how to prevent them from occurring in the first place.

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Out of the Office? What to Monitor For Complete Agency Management

Whether you’re on vacation, attending a conference, or simply working from home, being out of the office can feel stressful.

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4 Tips for Training Your Staff on How to Use New Technology

Whether in a large corporation or a small retail store, implementing a new piece of software can be a daunting task. One of the largest mistakes an organization can make is overlooking the training investment required with new software.SoftwareInsider recently conducted a survey of potential software buyers and asked what the most important buying factor was when choosing a product. Here were the results:

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How to reduce your risk of bad debtors, starting today

Talk to any credit control expert and they’ll tell you the sooner you follow up an overdue invoice the better. You’ll not only get paid sooner, but you’ll also send a clear signal to your customer that you take your payment terms seriously.

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How to Discount in Retail: 5 Tips for Running Sales Without Killing Your Profits

Discounting is one of the most popular (and arguably among the most effective) ways to drive sales.

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The power of thank you

I’m a big fan of simple marketing strategies that are easy to use and produce a noticeable impact on your sales results when you use them consistently.
And that’s why I love thank you cards
Thank you cards are easy to use, very affordable and work like magic.

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Graham McGregor on the value of focussing on a niche in your marketing

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3 Ways to Improve Your Customer Experience Strategy

Customer expectations have changed rapidly for retailers, and the pressure to provide great shopping and checkout experiences is more critical than ever. In the last 5 years, it’s become clearer that you’re not just competing with the shops in your community – you’re competing on a global level with every online business. There’s even a new app that will send competitors’ coupons to your customers when they walk into your store.

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What’s new with Inventory in Xero

It’s been three months since we launched Tracked Inventory in Xero. It’s proven to be a great tool for small businesses who want a real-time view of the products they sell.

Our customers are impressed with Inventory in Xero. They’ve found it to be an easy way to keep track of their stock.

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The pros and cons of always being connected

I’ve always appreciated the freedom and flexibility mobile tech allows me to have. From staying in touch with my kids overseas to running the family business on the move. In fact, right now I’m writing this on a plane.
And I think it’s the same for most people. With instant notifications and endless apps across phones, tablets and computers, we’ve never been more connected. In one afternoon, I can Skype family, send off a string of emails and tweet a photo from the footy. It’s all so normal now.

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No More Mondayitis! 8 Reminders to Help You Love The Job You’re In

I was driving to work the other day - it was still dark, it was cold, it was pouring with rain, and traffic was at a standstill. Looking around, I could tell people were grumpy, fed-up, and exhausted before their work day had even started. I was feeling pretty sorry for myself, too; man, if I could be anywhere else but here right now… damn you, work, for getting in the way of a nice relaxing life…!

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Do you know yourself as a business owner?

According to Greek mythology, the temple of Apollo at Delphi was inscribed with the words “Gnothi Seauton.” This translates to “Know thyself” – and it’s a useful maxim for business owners today.

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Teamwork Makes the Dream Work: Advancing Collaboration for a Dispersed Workforce

Flexibility and the ability to work from anywhere are increasingly becoming the driving forces behind many career goals. FlexJobs (a leading job search site) has reported a 26% increase in remote jobs advertised from 2013-14. Workers are looking for companies that allow them to set their own schedules, work from home or while travelling, and not stay tied to one company.

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How to boost profits using behavioural science

Setting a price for your product or service can be difficult to get right. We think we’re rational when we assess the value of something. But there’s actually a lot of factors, including the prices of competitors and our own emotions. Understanding behavioural science is key to setting the right prices and improving your profitability.

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Are You Selling All The Hours You're Paying For?

If you employ people to provide services to customers, it’s vital to manage the hours invoiced to customers compared to those you pay to staff. Reason being, the differential is potential lost income to your business and precious profit.

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Does gender matter in marketing?

“Female customers? Make it pink.”
I once heard this sage advice in a product marketing meeting. It was said partly in jest – but only partly. Does that make it insulting, offensive, and sexist? Or was it a helpful insight into gender biases amongs consumers?

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What not having any downtime is costing you

Many successful inventors sometimes talk about “BBB time” – time spent in Bed, in the Bath or on the Bus (or other form of public transport). This is when most new ideas come to them, because they’re relaxed and unfocused. Their minds are running on automatic, free to roam far and wide without the constraint of work or other distractions.

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The Top Three Reasons To Switch To Outsourced Payroll

We’re quickly approaching EOFY, the moment that businesses often dread. Time consuming, admin heavy tasks begin to really start to gather momentum, which often means reconciling the entire year’s payroll. However, it shouldn’t be a burden or a time of concern. Instead, it’s an opportunity to draw a line in the sand and begin a new financial year with a clean start to payroll and perhaps a focus on what you’re really in business for.

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Your alternative options to the First Home Saver Account (FHSA)

The end of the first home saver accounts (FHSA) scheme means Australians who have put their money into the FHSA have lost a great vehicle to build up their savings.

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Are your savings going backwards?

Have you ever thought you were doing something good for yourself only to find out it was having the reverse effect? Like having a caffeine-hit only to end up in an even bigger slump, or dry-cleaning that expensive jacket and having it returned ruined. Unfortunately the same can be said for many Australians who keep their savings in a high-interest bank account.

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Making Data Meaningful for your Business

Raw data describes the facts and figures that a business processes every day. Over time, every business hoards a certain amount of data and it only becomes information to a business after it has been processed to add context, relevance and purpose.

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Cafe owner shares 5 tips for growing your business with technology

If you’d asked anyone 10 years ago about how important technology was in running a successful café, they probably would have responded: not at all!

But today, we are increasingly seeing small businesses embrace technology to grow and be more relevant to their clients.

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A busy business owner’s guide to taming an out of control email inbox

Secretly, my ultimate goal is an empty inbox. I create folders and subfolders and diligently file emails away as soon as possible, or delete anything I no longer need. The thought of my inbox growing massive in number kind of scares me - an irrational fear that if it grows beyond a certain amount, it’s too late to be saved, and I’d just have to give up and let it run wild. Some might call it OCD, I just like to call it ‘organised’.

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Polly LaBarre’s Maverick Manual for Success

As a founding member of the Fast Company magazine team, Polly LaBarre has seen her share of successes—and failures—in the business world. Now the cofounder and director of Management Lab, she helps businesses and entrepreneurs succeed. She starts by asking them a single question: Are you capable of changing as fast as the world is changing?

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Stress, Speculation and the Apple Watch

“Um… I dropped it really, really hard…” I said as I dropped a baggy full of pager pieces on the desk.

The stunned look on our technology specialist’s face was priceless. She poured the beeper’s remains onto her desk. Sifting through shards of plastic, bits of metal and a crushed battery, she smirked and asked, “Stressful day?”

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Stephen Dubner on 7 ways to think like a freak

Thinking like a freak means looking at common, everyday problems through an out-of-the-box lens. This process lets you question every step involved in your current systems and processes. It also means re-examining whatever conclusions you arrive at. How can you be sure you’re actually performing at the highest level if you’re not willing to deconstruct the way you’re currently working?

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9 Critical Strategies to Improve Inventory Management

Getting your inventory management strategies working in harmony can be a daunting – but far from impossible – task. The key is recognizing what strategies best suit your business needs and having the tools to implement them effectively and efficiently. If you’re a small business looking to take the leap, or a start-up wanting to get the basics right, there are some critical strategies to consider.

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5 ways to navigate change in business today

“We have this big myth in the technology industry that we like to impose on everybody — disruption is going to happen and it’s going to destroy you. But this pattern of change actually takes time.”

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5 Productivity Hacks That Will Help Save Your Agency 2 Hours Per Day

Running an agency is hard.
It’s the ultimate service-based business where time quite literally equals money. Waste a single second, and you're eating into your margins.

Or even worse, a project that you thought would take 4 weeks takes you 6 weeks. The delay in your deliverable means a delay in a paycheck from your client, and you risk becoming a cashflow negative business.

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Happiness is the key to success

What is it that makes us truly successful? Renowned psychologist, best-selling author and happiness guru Dr. Robert Holden believes our definition of success has changed over time.

While many of us were brought up to believe that success will make us happy, Robert says we’re now looking at success differently. “In fact, I think many of us today believe happiness actually increases our chances of success,” he says.

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Is Revenue A True Predictor Of Success?

Typically defined as: ‘the accomplishment of an aim or purpose.’ (1)
Success means a lot of different things to different people. Success may mean wealth, or it may mean happiness. It may mean fame, and for others it may mean power. But can revenue be a true predictor of success?

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3 Ways to Help Your Small Business Get Cash Flow Positive Fast

No matter how innovative, sought after or profitable your small business may be, without cash in the bank, you’re going to face some serious struggles.

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Big Name Retailer Moving into Town? 5 Things You Should Do ASAP

Having a big name retailer move in on your turf can be quite daunting. Retail giants not only carry the name recognition that draws huge crowds, but they also have resources and connections to drive down prices and offer tremendous deals.

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5 tips to grow sales in your small business

Sales drive a small business forward, but too often they’re a sideline rather than a focus.

From owning and selling a small business to being CEO of a billion dollar company, I’ve seen sales from every angle. Here are my suggestions to grow sales by creating a small business where sales are a focus and customers keep coming through your door.

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5 Questions Every Retailer Should Ask When Opening Additional Locations

Opening additional retail stores is always an exciting endeavor. When implemented correctly, expanding to new locations enables you to tap into new communities, create more jobs, increase revenues, and more.

In other words, opening additional stores can catapult your business to higher levels of retail success. But in order to achieve that success, you need to plan your expansion thoroughly. Rapidly sprouting up new stores can do more harm than good if you don’t think things through.

Should you spend $20,000 to get a tax deduction?

Remember - it's a deduction, not $20K in your pocket.

6 Big Mistakes Retailers Make When Dealing with Data

It’s no question that data is a godsend for many retailers. Analytics can help you get to know your business better and can enable you spot trends, identify problems, and plan for the future. Data also empowers you to make more reliable decisions in just about every area of your business, including sales, inventory, staffing, and more.

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BankLink to Xero: made even easier for Aussie customers

One of the many things I love about working at Xero is how we can spot a gap in the market and work at #xerospeed to create a solution. It’s not only a buzz to see it happen, it’s also great for our customers – and rewarding for the people who work on the project, too.

What Australian small businesses need to know about the budget

The government has high hopes for Australian small businesses and is banking on them to boost the country’s economic growth over the next few years.

Selecting a cloud inventory solution for an ecommerce business

A cloud inventory solution is one of the most important tools for an ecommerce business. Cloud inventory is the core of your operations, providing the infrastructure and technology needed to manage goods. There are many great cloud solutions which integrate with multiple marketplaces, shopping carts, and accounting platforms.

Why Change What You’ve Always Done?

Job Management Software is a new market. Anyone using it is ahead of the game. Those that have adopted it name three key reasons for abandoning their old ways. ‘ Needless extra admin’, ‘Scheduling the workforce was painful’ and ‘We have had poor visibility of job progress’ are the top three.

Go green! 10 easy ways small businesses can make their office more eco-friendly

Making your office a little greener is not just a great way to do your bit towards a healthier and more sustainable planet, it can also give your business a point of differentiation, while also helping your bottom line.

Top tips for hiring recent grads

A popular topic these days is how to hire the perfect candidate for your business. Many industries seem to be suffering from a candidate shortage. When you can’t hire a quality candidate with a lot of experience, the focus quickly turns to hiring people straight out of school. So, how do you identify the diamonds in the rough? How can you give them what they need to grow and turn them into the best they can be?

5 ways to boost productivity using timesheets

In the past, having honest scales were key to doing good business. Today, for many service-based businesses, our scales are our timesheets. Keeping our timesheets honest is not only good for our customers, but necessary to grow your business.

Pricing it Right

When deciding how to price your products, you need to understand how – and where – your business fits into the economy.

How to Price Across Multiple Channels: What Retailers Need to Know About Modern Pricing Policies

Back in the day, retail pricing was relatively straightforward. Customers would walk into a store, browse products, look at their price tags, and if they like what they see, they would move on to checkout.

Writing a blog & why your customers will love it

You offer a valuable service, a skill set or a must-have product. Whatever your business, your customers obviously turn to you for a reason. And when it comes to sharing a little knowledge, your customers will be ready and waiting to read something from you, in your own voice.

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Smart Business Advice - Improving Sales

What ‘simple things’ can you do to improve sales?
Regardless of what is going on in the economy there are always simple things many businesses can use to improve their sales and profits.
Sometimes making more sales is as simple as talking to more potential customers about what you sell.

Six good reasons to start a business

This guest blog is by Tim Campbell, the first winner of BBC TV’s The Apprentice and co-founder of the Bright Ideas Trust, a charity that helps people start their own businesses.

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Secret Tips for Agencies to Improve Client Relationships

The beginning of a relationship is always the best. You laugh at each other’s jokes, you look forward to every phone call, and you truly enjoy getting to know one another.

Retail Sales Tips: How to Read Customers and Sell to Them Like a Pro

Are you a retailer (or retail sales associate) who’s struggling with how to approach shoppers? Worried that you lack the magic touch, or that you’ll come off as an annoying salesperson? Would you rather be awkwardly staring at your store’s point of sale software screen than actually talking to the customer in front of you?

Maximise your profit with upsells and cross sells

As a merchant or a person acquainted with ecommerce, you might have heard such terms as “cross selling” and “upselling”. But if you think these are some sort of sophisticated novelties – they are not. These techniques have been used by many generations of traditional retailers and are still considered to be the keys to profit generation.

How to understand your customers

In more than 20 years of writing for and about a wide variety of companies, I’ve noticed something important. The businesses that flourish are the ones that truly understand their customers – who they are and what they want.

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Graham McGregor on three valuable marketing lessons

I've learned a number of valuable marketing lessons over the last few weeks and I thought I'd share three of these with you.

Why cloud accounting is good for business

If you want your business to work smarter and faster, cloud accounting software is a wise investment. Working in the cloud will give you a better overview of your finances, and improve collaboration with your team.

When you should hire an accountant

Accountants can help out at various stages during the growth of your business. They can handle much more than just your payroll and tax returns. So when should you consider hiring an accountant for your small business?

Move from Excel to accounting software

Small businesses often start out using Excel – but that’s only doable up until a point. Like every teenager eventually becomes an adult, your business needs to evolve and grow. Find out why the smartest organisations are using online accounting software instead.

How much should you pay yourself?

You started your own business to do something you love and make money. But how much should you pay yourself? Too little and you may struggle to survive. Too much and your business might be at risk. So how do you strike the right balance?

Make the use of 1-click sales in your emails

Ever get that one product in that you just know will sell if people just get a chance to buy it quickly and easily?

How social commerce could be the game changer

We live in a social world. As much as some of us hate to admit it, social media plays a significant role in our everyday lives – from news updates to obscure selfies – the world is documented through social feeds.

Customer Acquisition Techniques Every Retailer Should Know

Congrats! You just finished setting up your online store. You’ve created winning product pages, put up some killer product photos, and you’re ready to start selling to the world.

Pain Points Before GeoOp

We asked you, our customers, to share with us the pain points that made you turn to GeoOp and had you try and quantify the savings you’ve made.

My Building blocks for value-add success

Starting out afresh – either creating your own accounting practice or regenerating one from within – can be a daunting venture. It is a leap of faith, but also a tantalising opportunity to journey down a different path.

Are your best brand champions sitting just down the hall?

With the digital age in full swing, it’s no surprise that your employees’ personal and professional lives are becoming more and more intertwined.

9 Tools That Support Better Agency-Client Relationships

While this likely isn’t news to your agency, as with any service business, there is a constant struggle to retain and grow long-term client relationships.

3 Tips to Streamline Monthly Invoice Management

Invoices are a necessary evil. It’s what your agency needs to get paid! As your agency’s financial manager, ownership of this monthly responsibility falls to you.

Where is the ‘hidden market’ for what you sell?

One of the big opportunities for many businesses is the huge ‘hidden market’ for what they offer.

Understanding ‘word of mouth'...

One of the marketing e-zines I find particularly helpful is called ‘The Likeable Expert’. It is written by Michael Katz the owner of Blue Penguin Development.

Remembering Accountants who served

Choosing the right tax agent

There are some dodgy tax agents out there - how do you know if yours is a good one?

When a contractor isn't a contractor

Just because an employer says you're a contractor it may not be so.

Love Beautiful

What’s the word customers most use to describe your brand? Don’t do any fancy research or hire any consultants. Just go listen. Listen with an ear to the words they use in the first sentence. Then keep score.

Continual innovation at pace

In the desktop world that we are rapidly leaving behind, updates are infrequent and painful. If there was something you didn’t like or didn’t quite work in your accounting software it could be years before you got a fix for it.

Annual Leave Loading Payable On Termination

Do employers have to pay annual leave loading to employees on termination?

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3 Ways to Keep Your “Get Organized” Resolution at the Office

Getting organized is the second most popular New Year’s resolution, according to a study conducted by the University of Scranton. Are you still sticking to yours?

3 Time Management Tips For Agency Pros

Agency-life can be a whirlwind. With client requests, impromptu projects, and ever-looming deadlines, simply retaining your sanity can be tough. But all hope is not lost.

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Make the Right Hire: 3 Tips for Agencies to Consider

Successful agencies are constantly on the hunt to attract and retain top talent through recruiting and networking. But making a hiring decision isn’t easy, and it’s important to hire the right person—the first time around.

What is your Unfair Marketing Advantage strategy for the next 12 months?

What is your ‘Unfair Marketing Advantage Strategy’ going to be for the next 12 months?
In other words, what will you change (or do differently) so you get much better business results in the next 12 months with a lot less effort?

How to Get in Front of Customers Who Are at the Research Stage of the Shopping Journey

It’s very rare for consumers to make purchase decisions without doing any research. Save for impulse buys, people generally take their time and consult several sources when they’re trying to decide what to buy and who to buy from.

Using Creative Thinking to Increase your Sales

There a simple creative thinking system that you might like to use to increase your sales fast. It’s called the 20 idea method.

The Importance of Using Professional Photography for Products

Human beings are overwhelmingly visual. How could I say that? 90% of information transmitted to the brain is visual, and visuals are processed 60,000X faster in the brain than text. Why are high-quality photos important for online retail?

Seven business lessons from seven female entrepreneurs

Women all over the world are becoming entrepreneurs and building successful businesses. What lessons can they teach the rest of us? Here, seven famous female entrepreneurs share their tips for success.

How to write SEO Friendly Product Descriptions

We understand that SEO can be a bit of a mysterious beast. So we reached out to our friends from Alpha Digital, to share some of their best practice tips to help you make your product descriptions SEO friendly.

How to Have a Paperless Office

Busy offices can generate a lot of paperwork. But too much paper can reduce the efficiency of your business – and cost you money. So what steps can you take to cut the amount of paper your business uses?

How to create an efficient inventory management system

Inventory management can be hard for any business to do well. Whether you're in manufacturing or retail, your business can suffer if you have too little stock – or too much. Here's how to get it right.

It’s never been so easy to streamline your business operations

If there was an option to make things easier for yourselves…would you take it?

3 Monetary Basics You Should Continuously Be Reviewing

Do you know who an incredible advocate for hard work was? Mary Poppins.