Click on any of the topics here to tap into our resources. If there is anything you would like to discuss, please feel free to contact us.
The recent slump in dairy prices once again reminds us how vulnerable the New Zealand economy is to price fluctuations for commodity products. Of course animal protein is particularly susceptible because it is a renewable commodity that any farmer anywhere in the world can produce.
If you provide personal protective equipment (PPE) to your workers, here’s how to stay compliant when new laws take effect in April 2016.
Pre-dawn kick-offs. Mid-week games. The men in black may play havoc with getting a full day’s work out of your staff.
If your business is a registered company, a law change means you must have a director who lives in New Zealand – or who lives in Australia and is a director of an Australian registered company – by 28 October.
You’ll also need to provide some extra information about directors and any ultimate holding company with your next annual return.
Make sure you’re sorted by following this quick and easy checklist:
You have to register for GST as soon as you think you’ll earn more than $60,000 in a 12 month period, but you may want to register earlier so you can claim back GST while your business is still small. Make sure you provide the correct information so your registration isn’t delayed by avoidable mistakes.
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.
“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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The recent New Balance case should be a big wake up call for Kiwi companies exporting to Asian markets, especially those capitalising on e-commerce to do so.
As a customer, you want the payment process to be easy and as a business, you naturally want to get paid. For this reason, it’s always a good idea to consider what options you give your customers.
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!
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.
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.
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.
Discounting is one of the most popular (and arguably among the most effective) ways to drive sales.
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.
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:
Whether you’re on vacation, attending a conference, or simply working from home, being out of the office can feel stressful.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
When it comes to customer protection, New Zealand legislation sets a high standard, and recent amendments to the Fair Trading Act 1986 shifts the focus even more to doing the “right thing by the consumer”.
The sudden decline in stock values in China is alarming, but the outcome may not be as hard on New Zealand as some people fear. Johnathan Chen, Head of James & Wells' Asia Division, explains.
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.
“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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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…!
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.
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.
A cash flow forecast is a key management tool for businesses. This video will show you how you can use the Cash Summary report in Xero to quickly create a cash flow forecast in Excel for your business.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
“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.”
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.
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?
“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?”
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?
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’.
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.
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.
New Zealand’s Consumers Price Index for the March 2015 quarter fell 0.3% compared with last quarter, but the prices for fruit, rental housing, and newly built housing all went up. With the basic costs of living and housing all consistently rising, saving money for your retirement becomes less of a focus, and seemingly less achieveable.
As your business begins to grow, when the workload increases and the time commitment too, you may start to think you need some help. If getting the kids to stuff envelopes for pocket money come invoicing time just isn’t cutting it anymore, it might be time to think about formally hiring some staff.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
When deciding how to price your products, you need to understand how – and where – your business fits into the economy.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
The Government this month handed down the 2015 NZ Budget with a few surprises in store. This Budget continues to deliver on National Government’s pattern of fiscal responsibility. This is a positive thing for New Zealand business as it creates an environment of certainty and stability for businesses to invest.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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?
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.
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.
One of the big opportunities for many businesses is the huge ‘hidden market’ for what they offer.
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.
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.
With the digital age in full swing, it’s no surprise that your employees’ personal and professional lives are becoming more and more intertwined.
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.
The traditional argument about Intellectual Property has always been whether it is a sword or a shield
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.
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.
There is no question that an IP strategy should be aligned with business strategy.
But, what needs to be better recognised is that IP issues can actually drive most strategic considerations in an organisation
Do you know who an incredible advocate for hard work was? Mary Poppins.
If there was an option to make things easier for yourselves…would you take it?
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.