Mobile-friendly simply means that your website is compatible with a range of devices that aren’t desktop or laptop computers. This includes smartphones and tablets, which in themselves cover a wide range of screen sizes and resolutions. These smaller devices, especially smartphones, need a website to be attractive and brand-relevant while being functional and easy to use with one hand, a thumb, or several fingers. Multi-touch technology means that users often have a range of ways they interact with the screen, and your site must make it simple to navigate and interact to cover all bases.
We all know by now that it’s essential for a business to have an internet presence; a company website is the mainstay for anyone doing business in the 21st century.
But what about a company Facebook page, Twitter account or LinkedIn profile? Are you losing out on potential customers by ignoring these social networking heavies? Do you panic when you think about how your lack of social media savvy has caused you to miss out on reaching your sales goals?
One of the most frustrating things in life is when you get all fired up and decide to make some big improvements in your results.
So you set goals to get in great physical shape, improve your business results, spend a lot more time with your family etc.
Welcome to 2016!
To help your business start 2016 off on the right foot, we’ve put together a list of changes for business that came into effect from 1 January 2016.
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.
Do you a run a business and express ideas or information in your own unique way? You should understand if your work is protected under the Copyright Act 1968 (the Copyright Act).
As a business owner, you can generally decide who you want to do business with, but in some circumstances you could be breaking the law if you refuse.
Whether you’re a supplier, manufacturer, wholesaler, or distributor, it’s a good idea to understand when refusing to supply is allowed and when it’s against the law.
Does your business use telemarketing or fax marketing to promote goods or services?
If so, you need to be aware of your obligations under the Do Not Call Register Act External Site.
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 – to see how they apply similar values to shape their businesses, and their futures.
This month, we speak to Ted Gethen – founder of The Black Label Tailoring. Together with his business partner, Brendan, Ted has built a strong supply chain and opened four stores which give men the opportunity to dress with style and comfort, at a price point they can afford.
Ted tells us in his words why personal customer service has become the cornerstone of their success. And also how, in a world of internet shopping, their bricks-and-mortar business continues to thrive.
Want to succeed as a small business owner? Have a mentor or an accountant. Our recent Make or Break? report shows that asking for help from mentors and advisors, and having a good relationship with your accountant, means you have a leg up. The research was timed to coincide with Global Entrepreneurship Week which kicks-off today.
The promise of free-shipping can seem too good to be true, and often it is suspected that the shipping costs have been absorbed into the price of the goods. This can sometimes be true, but with products that are available online direct from the manufacturer, it makes it harder for retailers to add their own mark-up. Competing on price becomes impossible and retailers have to find other ways to set themselves apart. Free shipping becomes the next logical step.
Technology has changed business as we once knew it… And it’s not stopping either. The changes are quickly advancing. In order to thrive and succeed in today’s fast paced environment, your business not only needs to able to adapt, it needs to remain one step ahead.
Are you thinking of starting a retail business? Do you already have a brick and mortar store and have been thinking of making a switch to ecommerce? Operating an online-only store has many advantages, and if you can learn the fundamentals of online marketing for retail, it can be a very fulfilling and liberating endeavour. Let’s consider some of the advantages of trading purely online:
There is never enough time in the day to do everything, which is why it is important to make the most of the time you do have. The biggest hurdle to efficient time use is a lack of planning and structure. Follow these tips and you will find yourself being more productive and less stressed.
Entrepreneurs will often say you’ve got to fail fast and learn faster if you want to succeed. It’s these learnings which not only make you a better business owner but also increase your chances of establishing a successful business.
In honor of Women’s Entrepreneurship Day, we want to celebrate women who are out there working hard on their businesses. We know starting and running your own business presents new challenges everyday. From getting funding, to keeping on top of your cash flow, to trying to be more productive. Every day it’s something new.
We asked 500 small business owners about how the run their business and the things they think about every day. We found that the women in our survey are constantly hustling for their business. Not only that, they tend to only turn to their accountant during tax times. We know that having a great advisor can be the key to maintaining a healthy business.
Take a look at some of the other findings from our survey:
As a small business owner, you should take any edge you can get when it comes to being successful. You never know what piece of advice is going to be the key to breaking your business wide open.
That’s why we launched our Make or Break? report,which looks into what makes businesses more likely to succeed or fail, in honor of Global Entrepreneurship Week. We want to give you all the information you need to make an informed decision about your business.
Here’s a quick flow chart to help you decide how to take the next steps in your business.
Branding is the emotional response your business evokes in its audience. It is more than a logo or a series of advertisements, it encompasses all the accumulated interactions your business has with customers. A brand is the core identity of your business and can be a powerful tool in ensuring your customers return, as well as recommend you to their friends and family. Successful branding is about capturing the hearts and minds of customers and turning them from people who use your product to advocates who go out of their way to choose you over a competitor. This loyalty is the foundation of many successful companies, from Apple to McDonalds, Coca Cola and many more.
Developing product and brand names that become iconic is an art, with a whole range of factors that need to come together at the right time. These include things that are in your control, such as the words themselves, and other societal elements that no one can predict. To give your new name the best chance of success, consider the following when creating a moniker for your business or latest product.
A gift guide is one of the most powerful tools you can have during the holidays. It allows you to showcase your products, inspire shoppers, and stay top of mind throughout the season.
But it’s important to note that creating a winning gift guide takes more than just rounding up your products and putting them in a catalogue. Releasing gift guides is a tradition in the retail world, so you have to be creative with how you craft and market them.
The results are in. If you’re not proactively listening to business online reviews, you might be missing out on key insights into how to grow an online business.
This consumer review survey by BrightLocal highlights how customer reviews play a vital role in helping businesses build trust with their audience.
Instagram is one of the big four social networks, alongside Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. It took what people loved most about Facebook, sharing photos, and turned it into a global phenomenon. An average of 55 million photos are uploaded to the platform every day, which means a lot of users and a big opportunity for brands that can harness Instagram’s power.
Social media isn’t just about viral videos or selfies. For consumers, sites and apps such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter are playing an increasingly large role in their path to purchase.
This is why it’s so important for retailers to invest in social media marketing. Having a strong presence in relevant social networks not only gives you an avenue to communicate with your audience, it also allows you to stay in the radars of your customers. This in turn, increases the likelihood of a shopper choosing your brand when they’re ready to buy.
I bet we can all agree that we don’t need anything else to be stressed out about. Unfortunately, new research shows that being stressed can affect your health.
We’ve known for a long time that stress and health are closely correlated and it’s easy to put one above the other, but now it seems that they are both of equal importance for day-to-day health.
Chances are, at some point in time you’ve probably messed up a spreadsheet. And when we take into account that nearly 9 out 10 spreadsheets contain errors, that’s to be expected! But when millions of pounds are at stake it becomes a bit more important to get your spreadsheet right…
Employers know the importance of keeping their teams engaged. Engaged staff are more motivated. They collaborate more effectively, driving your business to success. Combined with work-life balance, engagement is the path to retention, productivity and, ultimately, competitive advantage.
So, what’s the real reason the Holiday season is considered so difficult for hospitality businesses down under?
With the end of the year nearing, it won’t be long now until most Australian and New Zealand companies begin winding down, planning their summer holidays and organising what they’re going to do over the long break. However, while most people are winding down, hospitality businesses are gearing up for their busiest period of the year.
You’re a business manager or owner, sitting in a room with 10 employees. Have a good look at them. What do you see? Do they all look like people who are happy and keen to show their talents and make a difference to your bottom line?
Chances are that this is unlikely. Alarmingly, statistics show that six of those 10 aren’t engaged in the business at all and another one, maybe two, are “actively disengaged”. If you’re lucky, two or three of them will understand what you and your business are really trying to achieve.
Why not too much, not too little, but just the right amount of inventory is crucial to your business.
One of the biggest and most important challenges many businesses will face is how to successfully manage and control their inventory. It is usually one of their biggest ongoing costs, and often one of the biggest overall investments.
A key area of business directly affects the overall health of a business is how accurate its inventory levels are. For businesses who fail to maintain a finger on the pulse of inventory as it flows through their operation the consequences can be dire – perhaps even fatal.
If your company is project-based, you probably have a framework or system in place for how you manage each project within your team. But even the most robust project management system will occasionally encounter a snafu.
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.
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.
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.