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The 5 Ws of basic job creation

Much like finding an old $20 in those jeans that you’ve had away since last winter, or like realising you’ve ordered your pizza on cheap Tuesday when you go to foot the bill, figuring out that just a small change to the way you work can save you time and money is gold.

Sometimes, it’s the minor details that matter. It might seem like a small win at the time, but it’s one that can make a big difference to your business.

What You Really Should Look For When Hiring New Staff

Hiring the right person for the job isn’t always a straightforward process. There are many variables to consider and whether you are a startup looking to hire your very first member of staff or already have a few team members on board and are looking to expand, the right person with the right skills can really enhance your work environment and have a positive impact on production. Hiring the wrong person does just the opposite and can not only be a costly exercise, but it can also be time-consuming and even have a negative impact on employee morale.

What startups can learn from this year’s major tech deals

It’s been a huge year for M&A in the tech industry. For startups, there are many valuable insights that can be gleaned from this activity. By looking to organizations that have been around for a long time, entrepreneurs can learn what it takes to stay relevant in the coming years.

4 ways to adapt to the changes that come with starting a business

In the world of small business, the changing nature of competition requires us to constantly adjust and adapt, succeed and remain grounded. Everyday business decisions can be a continuous battle between the urge to stand still and consolidate, or push to achieve more.

So how do you strike the right balance? Multi-medal winning swimmer Michael Klim shares four top tips.

Hit a Profit Plateau? 8 Breakout Ideas for Small Businesses

Starting your own business can feel like scaling Mt Kilimanjaro. You dig your feet in, climb, and pray for the best. It’s an exciting, chaotic, and hope-filled journey… But what happens when you reach the top of the mountain? Is there anywhere to go but downhill?

Unfortunately many small businesses grind to a halt - or even start to decline - after climbing their first mountain. This is known as the small business profit plateau. Your company is finally up and running smoothly, but its exponential growth suddenly stops. Your profits start to flatline. It feels like your team is working twice as hard just to maintain the same ROI.

How to Approach Your Bank for Funding

Applying for funding from a bank can be daunting. It’s a lengthy process which involves jumping through hoop after hoop with no guarantee of success.

But it doesn’t have to be that way, follow our guide to ensure you go into the loan process with the correct information and watch your chances of approval soar.

9 Tips For Hosting Awesomely Effective Meetings

Ah, meetings. With their almost universally hated status, running one can be tough going. You can almost *hear* the groans as you schedule one in the team’s shared calendar (and heaven forbid you try and make it a regular weekly occurrence). Given the enormous amount of pressure you – as the brave meeting organiser – face, it’s easy to default to a boring Powerpoint deck and read off the slides word-for-word. Unfortunately it’s also a great way to send everyone to sleep or to seek solace in tea breaks and lunch.

8 Tips For Launching Your New Marketing Campaign

All too often a brand will launch a new product or service that flops because of a poorly thought through marketing campaign – so here are 8 tips for a successful marketing campaign.

Small businesses name Xero the most-loved accounting software for the second year in a row

Xero was born to achieve a simple but bold purpose: to build powerful, relevant and beautiful cloud accounting software that would change the lives of its global accounting partners and small businesses.

That’s why we consider it our greatest achievement to know that small business owners and key decision makers have named Xero the most-loved accounting software for a second year in a row, beating MYOB and Intuit Quickbooks, through independent research.

Find the right app to strengthen your small business’ toolkit

Whether you’re an architect or a personal trainer, you’ll know the importance of using the right tools for the job. When it comes to running a thriving business, cloud-based apps are becoming an increasingly essential item in a small business’ toolkit.
Providing access to real-time information on the go, as well as reducing time spent on manual data-entry are just some of the benefits apps can provide busy small business owners.

Are we there yet?

How many times have you been on a road trip with children and heard that constant question that gratingly gets on your nerves: ‘Are we there yet?’

If you’re like me, you want to answer with, ‘Of course not or we’d be… there.’ Kids, knowing the potential fun to be had at the destination, get weary in the waiting of the journey itself.

10 Things You’re Not Doing To Nurture Your Clients

Research suggests it costs a business between 4-10 times more to acquire a new client than it does to retain a current client. As a business owner, you will do well to look for ways to nurture these clients who’ve used you once into not just returning, but spreading the word about your company.

5 things you should consider when choosing a bank for your business

Choosing a bank is one of the most important decisions when starting a small business.

It’s as important as choosing where you’ll set up a brick-and-mortar store, developing a business strategy or deciding who you’ll partner with.

Choosing a bank should be the start of a long and fruitful business relationship.

Xero Gravity: Small business cyber security: the good, bad & funny

Corporate espionage… A sinister plot to a movie or a real threat to your small business? You’d be surprised by what you don’t know about your company’s cyber security.

This week on Xero Gravity we are joined by our very own Felix Shi. Felix is the product security specialist at Xero and has seen it all when it comes to cyber breaches. On this week’s episode, we explore the holes hiding in your business’ cyber security systems and offer some valuable steps you can take to protect yourself.

5 Classic Blogging Mistakes Small Businesses Make (And How To Avoid Them)

You’ve got a beautiful business blog, full of white space and full bleed imagery. It’s responsive, a pleasure to scroll through and sure looks a whole lot snazzier than what your competitors are pushing out on a regular basis. You know you’re getting traffic because comments are surfacing every now and again, “likes” are trickling from your social feeds – but all in all it’s not really converting to new business or opportunities.

What are you doing wrong?

20 Innovative Ways To Keep Your Employees Motivated And Ultimately More Productive

As the company owner, you have that entrepreneurial streak, that will to succeed. You can see the big picture and have a clear view of where you want the company to be in 5 years time.

The big problem comes when you can’t seem to translate that enthusiasm and drive to your team. They’re qualified and hardworking, but they just don’t really seem that fussed what happens to the company. You want them to be resilient, driven and – above all else – as motivated to succeed as you are.

How to sustain excellence in a new business

According to world-class athlete and Olympian Sally Gunnell, as well as adapting to change, sustaining excellence in a new business is one of the hardest parts of the journey. In both business and sport, people ask and expect you to consistently perform at a massively high level with challenging deadlines. Sally’s advice in this regard is to stay focused on your goals and remember that they can of course be tweaked when they’ve been achieved or part achieved.

This former Olympian shares how to succeed in sport and business

While the similarities between olympians and entrepreneurs may be few and far between, they do share one unifying cause: both strive for gold. Seeing the dedication of the athletes at this year’s Olympic Games in Rio reminds us of the long and hard path they forged to get to the Olympic arena.

For former Olympic athlete Michelle Roark, the transition from freestyle skiing to business owner was a no-brainer. Roark started skin and haircare company, Phia Lab, and with this came the realization the skills she had developed as a professional athlete were more than transferrable. Her inspiration for the brand was even inspired during training.

Take control of your business without losing sight of yourself

When you own a business, it’s easy to get caught up in the day-to-day: from ensuring jobs get done, to checking employees and customers are happy. That’s before we even factor in our families, let alone ourselves.

But when we don’t take care of ourselves too, it can take a toll on the quality we operate at, affecting business productivity and ultimately profitability.

Which Social Media Channel is Best for My Small Business?

Is your small business on social media yet? I’m sure you’ve heard of the great potential social media holds for marketing your company, so I won’t preach to the converted. Everyone knows about the 6 big players - Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Google+ and LinkedIn - but trust me, not all of them are right for your small business.

Get paid faster with these 6 invoice tips

No one likes late payments from their customers. Late payments have a negative effect on cash flow. Chasing customers for payment takes valuable time. Prevention is better than cure when it comes to getting your invoices paid on time. Here are some tips to make your invoices highly likely to get paid quickly.

Quiz: How Well Do You Know Sales Tax?

How much do you really know about sales tax? We made a quiz so you can test yourself

10 Examples of Outstanding Customer Service That Fuels Loyalty

You put a lot of work into gaining your customers.

So once you have them, you don’t want them to simply buy from you once, and then leave you to go out acquiring new customers.

That’s exactly what might happen if your customer has a bad experience with your customer service.

Following these rostering tips will help drive business efficiency

A robust rostering system is essential in any hospitality or retail business. Ensuring you have the right number of staff rostered on will keep your customers happy, and your wage cost looking great.

On the contrary, building rosters inefficiently can be a real time-waster. So, how do you get maximum results from your roster?

Spend time on your business: simple tips for strategic time management

As a small business owner, could getting too embroiled in the day-to-day work of your business harm its overall development?

Often, your time is spent working in the business and not on the business.

Yet, in order to grow from a small outfit to a successful, profitable company, and to make the transition from owner-worker to managing director or CEO, you need to invest time managing your business.

Below are a few tips to help you make the transition.

How to reduce staff no-shows

It’s Saturday night and dozens of people are starting to stream into your restaurant for a bite to eat. Your staff are ready and everyone’s looking sharp… except Dave, who was supposed to be there 15 minutes ago. Turns out he didn’t realise he was meant to be working and is away for an epic skiing weekend. Awesome for him – not so much for you.

3 things successful mobile service businesses do well

The major issues facing service businesses with a predominantly mobile workforce are universal. They tend to be all about controlling costs and effectively managing job schedules and staff.

The major issues facing service businesses with a predominantly mobile workforce are universal. They tend to be all about controlling costs and effectively managing job schedules and staff.

A recent US survey of 100 small- and medium-sized business managers showed that the biggest challenges when managing a mobile service workforce were keeping operational costs in line (25.7%), scheduling and dispatching (20.8%), managing workflow and processes (17.8%) and hiring and retention (11.9%).

Prevent the ‘lone wolf’ attitude

Many years ago, I was on lunch with two other techs when one asked, 'Have you seen Tom around lately?'

Tom was a bit of a 'lone wolf' so it wasn’t too strange that we hadn’t run into him, but our manager had also requested a few times that we take his service calls.

I decided to call Tom to find out why he had been MIA for the past few weeks.

It’s not me, it’s you: How (and when) to fire a bad customer

Some customers are simply not worth having – they cost you more than the revenue they bring in. They consume a disproportionate share of time and money, and create stress by paying late. They disrespect your people, complain often, and expect the earth, yesterday, and all at a rock-bottom price.

6 Celebs You Didn’t Know Were Business Owners

Think about the stars of Hollywood’s red carpets and you probably have in mind a certain sort of person. Someone who embodies the glamour of the silver screen, effortlessly suave, confident and full of panache… Or maybe you just see someone who’s made it lucky and never done a proper day’s work in their life.

Avoiding the awkward: How to talk to your customers about debt payment

From freelancers to fencers, techies to electricians, if you issue invoices as part of your day-to-day business, you will have experienced the frustration of not having those invoices paid on time.

And the part that really blows? The cringing follow-up phone call where you try to coax payment out of the client while not damaging your relationship.

Alternative Finance Options for Business

Since the recession in 2008, there have been many complaints that the banks aren’t lending to SMEs. As a result businesses are increasingly seeking out alternative finance routes to access funding.

10 Tips for Coming Up With a Killer Business Name

“A rose by any other name would smell as sweet.”

In one of Shakespeare's most famous lines, he reminds us that a name really is just... a name.

But is a name more when it comes to business?

Let’s for a moment look at some of the perks of a smart business name.

How apps can help you become the master of all trades in your business

If you’re a small business owner, it’s likely that time is one of your most precious commodities, especially if you’re taking on multiple roles within your business. You may be the CEO, bookkeeper, financial controller, chief marketing officer and sales manager all rolled into one.

The 3 positions you need to hire to take your company to the next level

There comes a time in every growing business where an entrepreneur has to make some key hires to ensure the health and longevity of their operations.

Our survey of 2000 small business owners showed successful small business owners don’t pretend to have all the answers. Instead, they establish a strong network of family, advisors, and mentors, including an accountant or financial advisor.

Tackling your tax in 2016

It's tax time again. Follow our top tax tips to make tax time a breeze.

Claiming the costs for your business website

Your business website costs may be claimed as a tax deduction...

Are you searching for an Australian Business Number (ABN)?

We’ve recently added an ABN search feature to the new business.gov.au. This feature is similar to the ABN search feature you may have used on our site previously.

Ladies Who Launch: successful entrepreneurs (who happen to be women)

Earlier this week, Square and Startup Week 2016 presented Ladies Who Launch: a panel featuring some of Australia’s inspiring business owners – who just happen to be women.

Around 200 of us gathered at 524 Flinders Street to hear from four successful founders: Sarah Hamilton ofBellabox, Simone Clark of Butterbing Cookie Sandwiches, Sheryl Thai of Cupcake Central + the League of Extraordinary Women, and Jacqui Bull of Sidekicker.

The panel was hosted Josh McNicol, Head of Marketing and Communications for Square Australia.

Home-based business owners: are you aware of these tax deductions?

Close to one million businesses in Australia are home-based – a significant portion of the nation’s business community.

Running a home-based business offers a number of advantages including flexibility, convenience, freedom and cost savings. And when it comes to tax time, operating a business at or from your home means you may be eligible for a number of tax deductions.

How to eliminate paper in your service business

Whiteboards took up half of Wendy Fallow’s office. The operations manager of Clear Concepts, a customised glass design business, said her working life consisted of sticking cellotaped magnets on pieces of paper and talking on the phone to her seven mobile installers and sales reps.

Build a business while still working full time

Starting and sustaining a small business requires a lot of time and dedication. It also requires money. For many people, the one thing holding them back is the capital required to start a business and endure a lean period when it is getting up and running. People fall into debt or end up giving up on their dream and returning to full-time work for a steady income.
However, it is possible to prevent this heartache by hanging on to your full-time job while your business gets off the ground. It will mean long hours that don’t end once you get home from work and the sacrifice of every minute of free time, but it can be the difference between having the security to forge ahead with your dream, or having to abandon it when you can’t sustain it any longer.

8 Simple Strategies for Measuring Productivity at Your Company

The world of business has entered the Age of Data. (It’s like the Age of Aquarius, except instead of a catchy song we have a smartphone app). Now, business owners can record, track, and report on every facet of their company.

How to attract, create and keep exceptional employees

Great employees are made up of two foundational elements: enthusiasm and teachability.

The former denotes a passionate individual, while the latter is one who wants to develop and progress, who is hungry to learn, and who evidences the trait of humility.

If you can find an individual with these two traits as well as highly developed skills, then you’re on to a winner. And, even if the skill levels are less than required, their rise to skill mastery will be much faster if they already have these two foundational traits.

Empowering your managers to create autonomy

If you’re seeking to achieve business growth and expansion, it’s likely you’ll look to leverage the passion and talent of your employees. This might mean looking to your star performers, and it might mean looking for new hires.

The ultimate outcome here is to create autonomy within your workforce – you’re seeking to create a capability that works as if you were controlling it but with little need for your input. Think about that for a moment.

4 easy tips for building a successful brand

Every successful company, large or small, has a strong brand. In fact, the most important and valuable asset of some of the largest companies in the world – Apple, Google and Coca-Cola – is their brand.
But you don’t need a massive marketing budget to build a successful brand. It can be done with just a few simple changes to the way you think about and operate your business.

5 Ways Retailers Can Increase Word of Mouth and Referrals

Word of mouth is one of the most powerful drivers of traffic and sales for retailers. According to McKinsey, it’s the primary factor behind 20 – 50% of all buying decisions and can influence purchases in ways that traditional advertising can’t.

Word of mouth is like the holy grail of marketing. And to help you tap into it, we’ve compiled some tips that you can put into action in your store.

Are you losing sleep over your business?

Dolphins can stay continuously alert for over two weeks at a time. They only sleep with half their brains turned off at a time. This helps prevent them being eaten by sharks. Entrepreneurs will no doubt find this fact hauntingly familiar.

Xero Gravity: Effective communication matters in small biz

You may walk the walk, but can you talk the talk? Public speaking, pitching, talking, listening. Communication is integral to every aspect of business ownership and is a skill that directly impacts success.

What makes your workplace culture fun?

“This is our breakout area. As you can see, we’ve got a pool table, an ironic Space Invaders machine, several broken Apple Macs hanging on the exposed brick wall, craft beer on tap, though I think the keg’s empty… Oh, and that khaki tent in the corner is for meetings. Of course, there’s nobody in here at the moment as we’re all so busy working.”

5 ways to speed up your invoicing

Do you spend a lot of time entering invoices? At Xero, they're committed to helping you shave hours off your invoicing workflow. Here’s a grab-bag of ways you can use Xero to speed up your invoicing. Some ways might not suit you, it’s a case of picking the ones that make sense for your business.

The Cheap Competition Conundrum: How To Stay Competitive In Your Industry

It’s an issue a lot of our customers face: being priced out of work by newer, shinier and yes, cheaper competition. If your business is losing clients this way, it’s time to assess what’s going on.


As any business grows, one of the biggest challenges is keeping costs to a minimum while bringing in more revenue and staying profitable. In others words: achieving business efficiency. So how can you go about doing this?

Top 5 reasons why small businesses should pick Xero

A few years ago, who would have thought you could be watching your kids play sports while keeping on top of your business’s finances? All from a phone in the palm of your hand? Or that you could be travelling – across town or across the world – and be able to login to your accounting software and see where your business stands at that precise moment in time?

Xero Gravity: Tesla paves road for small biz innovation

This week on Xero Gravity, Xero’s very own Rod Drury joins us to divulge what inspires him as a leader. Rod knows all about the importance of thinking globally. A Hi-Tech New Zealand Entrepreneur of the Year winner and stand-up paddleboard enthusiast, he joins Elizabeth Ü in studio to discuss the parallels between Tesla’s plan to make the world better, and how small businesses can innovate and grow beyond their community.

Safety And Security When Working Remotely

More people than ever work remotely, at least part of the week. Here at WorkflowMax, many of our users – and even some of our team – work remotely all across the globe. I myself work from my off-grid eco-home in rural New Zealand. Usually, this is a wonderful arrangement enabling staff the freedom to live and work wherever they want, and to facilitate a great work/life balance. But it comes at a cost.

Cloud technology is easing the pain of the toughest business year

The first year in business is often both the toughest and most rewarding time. It’s when you start to figure out who you are as a business owner, and whether there really are people out there who will pay for your product or service.

Why do I need a business plan?

Do you want to expand your business, be more competitive in your industry and achieve certain goals?

If you answered yes to any of the above, you need a business plan!

Whether you’ve just started out or you’ve been running your business for years, business planning can be the key to your success.

We’ve laid out three key reasons why you need to get started on your business plan today.

What Sheryl Sandberg really meant when she said “fail fast”

Sheryl Sandberg told startup founders to fail fast, she didn’t tell you to fail. It’s a subtle difference I’m calling out because there’s a trend starting to emerge, particularly in the Bay Area, that flat out failing is completely acceptable.

The 3 worst days you’ll face as a business owner and how to deal with them

As a small business owner, you’re going to have good days and bad days. Some days will be worse than others.

Part of coping with the darker days that come with managing your own operation is being primed and ready to handle them when they arrive.

This involves building a network of advisors around you, hiring the right team and implementing the right technology so you have all the resources to push through and come out the other side with a healthy and stable business.

In A Productivity Slump? Time Off Can Boost Your Performance

Every seven years, renowned graphic designer Stefan Sagmeister takes a year off. Unencumbered, unrestricted by the demands of his high-profile career, he has an opportunity to work for himself. The result is surprising, beautiful, provocative (check it out in his TED talk here) and comes from a place of authenticity and complete creative freedom.

Xero In: Building your collaborative A-team

“The people that embrace technology of course are the ones who are going ahead. The ones who see disruption not as disruption but as a challenge to develop new processes and new products.”
– Steve Vamos, non executive director, Telstra and Fletcher Building

Using the force to create a positive company culture

It seems, nowadays, that everywhere you look 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?

Get Ready for the Big Shifts in HR Tech

There are fundamental shifts taking place in HR. In these times of critical skills shortages, everyone has woken up to the fact that employees are the most important company asset. And using the right HR Tech will help you get the best out of them.

Late Payment of Invoices is Crushing Small Businesses. Who Are the Culprits?

You may be surprised to learn that the worst culprits for consistent late payment are not actually the massive corporate juggernauts or the mini mom-and-pop businesses out there… the latest payers are actually high street retailers.

How to Prevent and Handle Shoplifting in Your Retail Store

It goes without saying that shoplifting is a major problem in retail. A 2014 study by the National Retail Federation found that shoplifting accounts for 38% of shrinkage, and was costing retailers $32 billion a year. That’s a huge chunk of revenue. To help you keep the income you deserve, we’ve put together some tips for preventing and dealing with shoplifting.

Open this email! Please?… Email marketing 101

If you want a quick and low-cost strategy to get more jobs quickly, then email marketing is a must do. But how do you make it work?

How to come up with a name that suits your business

Some company names have interesting stories behind them. For example, Nike is named after the Greek goddess of victory. Yahoo! Is short for “Yet Another Hierarchical Officious Oracle.” Steve Jobs came up with the name Apple after a trip to an apple farm. He thought the name sounded “fun, spirited and not intimidating.”

Xero + Office 365 gives you a complete view of your contacts

How do you keep on top of your customer and supplier relationships? Look no further than your email.

For small businesses, email is a critical communications tool. With the advent of mobile technologies, small businesses in all industries can stay in touch with their business while working on the go. They use email to stay in touch with what’s happening with their customers and suppliers whenever it’s convenient.

4 ways to ensure your business survives

A few months back, Xero released the Make or Break report, which identified key traits of successful business owners. Surveying 2,000 small business owners across the US and the UK, we gathered data on the perfect ingredients a small business owner needs in his/her pantry to survive the hardships that come along with owning a business. As we are kicking off a new quarter, here are some of the tips on how Xero can help formulating the right recipe –

What mobile business owners need to know about the cloud

Mark Constantino Jr is on a mission – to convince small business operators and managers that there is nothing scary about cloud-based computing. “The cloud is just the internet,” says the US-based information technology expert and co-CEO of tech-help solutions company MyCloudCure. “It’s just the way that everything is interconnected from country to country, from continent to continent.”

How businesses are leading the wearable tech revolution

As we’ve mentioned, wearable tech for our everyday lives hasn’t exactly taken off. There are multiple reasons for this, mostly around cost, wearability and it’s lack of desirable functionality. However, those factors aren’t the same in the business world. They have vastly different budgets and needs, and let’s face it, when have work uniforms ever been fashionable? The wearable tech revolution isn’t going to be pioneered by hipsters living in Silicon Valley, it’s going to be ushered in by industries that can most benefit from the current technology.

What’s in an hour? Re-thinking your day for maximum productivity

Do you remember the last time you focused so deeply, so completely on something that it consumed you entirely? In the middle of writing this blog post I’ve already checked my mail (twice), flicked through a couple of articles on Medium, Forbes and Fast Company (my favourite research and inspiration hunting/stomping grounds) drafted an email to a customer and trawled through 76 responses from a user survey. I’m SUPPOSED to be writing an 1000+ word blog post, but more often than not I find my attention drifting to the million other things I need to get done during the day.

Put An End To Workplace Chaos: Feng Shui Inspired Tips For Your Office Space

We haven’t written a “Work Life” post in a while and I’m a firm believer that it’s a critical part of a productive work environment. So taking a break from all our “Work Smarter” posts, I hereby offer something on the lighter side. And hey, as April gains momentum in, it’s also a GREAT time to make some positive changes to start FY17 fresh!

Overestimating your ETA to boost customer satisfaction

In the early days of my field service career, I took over a territory from a tech who was… let’s just say, less than the ideal service rep.

My very first service call in his territory told me what I was in for. I called the customer to give an ETA and her response was, “Two hours? Yeah, right. I’ll see you tomorrow, if I’m lucky.”

I was shocked, so I had to ask, “Excuse me, but why do you say that?”

How To Use The Pomodoro Technique To Get Things Done

“I’ll just finish that email, oh look my friend is messaging me, oh and there’s someone knocking on the door of my office, and that report is due, and my phone is buzzing …”

Does this sound like you? Are you trying to do a million things at once and failing at them all?

Following these rostering tips will help drive business efficiency

A robust rostering system is essential in any hospitality or retail business. Ensuring you have the right number of staff rostered on will keep your customers happy, and your wage cost looking great.

Xero Gravity: How to hire your very first employee

When Fortune tabs you as the #5 Best Workplace in Retail for 2015, you’re on to something good.

This week Xero Gravity host Elizabeth Ü chats with Anthony Bucci, Founder & CEO of online motorcycle retailer RevZilla. Anthony’s passion for hiring the right person is undeniable. He shares his learnings from those first handful of hires made at RevZilla and offers invaluable insight into how to grow your best team.

Why you shouldn’t give up on the ‘slackers’ in your company: 5 ways to re-engage your staff

We’ve all worked with them at some point – the employees or coworkers who are chronically late for work but who are the first ones to head home at the end of the day.

When they’re on the job, they do the minimum that they can get by with without getting fired. Many label them as ‘lazy’ or ‘slackers’ and quickly write them off as a potential layoff candidate.

How to change your pricing without destroying your client relationship

It’s that time of the year again – the time when you’re looking over your books and seeing what worked and didn’t work. You’re thinking about goals for the year ahead and wondering how you can improve profit in your company. And one simple solution is staring you in the face: you can raise prices.

How Receipt Bank Will Make Your Business More Productive

Hands up if you recognise the process of; receiving an invoice, getting it to your bookkeeper, making sure it’s entered into your accounts, filing the invoice and then storing it for several years…

Avoid these 4 estimating errors to improve your profitability

The profitability of any job undertaken by a field services business can vary significantly from expectations at the time the estimate for that job was created. Removing this variability and delivering consistent profits should be the goal of every business owner.

Xero Gravity: Why digital marketing makes small biz better

Five customers from 100 leads is huge. But what about the other 95 that started out interested? The answers lay in digital marketing.

This week, Xero Gravity host Elizabeth Ü chats to Michael Mothner, Founder & CEO of online marketing firm WPromote. He’ll bust digital marketing myths and provide solutions that won’t burn a hole in your pocket. We’ll also explore questions like, “We created a website, what now?” and “I get business from world of mouth, why do I need digital too?”

What trades and services businesses must do to stand out and be trusted

There is one quality that every trades or services business needs to survive – trustworthiness. Without it, a company and all who sail in her are destined for a watery grave.

How to Define and Reach Your Target Audience

Understanding your target audience is vital for developing a marketing strategy that works. Without a particular ideal customer in mind, your efforts amount to little more than wishful thinking. There are very few niches where a business will be unopposed, and if you aren’t making efforts to refine your marketing focus to build better leads, you can be sure that your competition is. Having a great product is only part of the equation. Getting it in front of the right faces is as, if not more, important.

Be authentic, and discover what your customers really want

Over the last few years we’ve been able to get a pretty good handle on your biggest pain points as a business.

4 easy things you can do to drive customer engagement

One of the easiest ways to drive sales for your business is to have repeat and referral customers. But if you want a customer to keep coming back, or to refer you to their friends, you have to keep them engaged. This doesn’t mean hammering them with emails or making sure they’re following all your social media accounts. It means interacting with them in a meaningful way, a way that makes an impact.

A Retailer’s Guide to Corporate Social Responsibility: Why Giving Back is Good for Business

Corporate social responsibility (CSR) is becoming an increasingly popular concept in the retail world. More and more merchants are realizing that giving back doesn’t just make the world a better place, it’s also good for business.

Xero TaxTouch lets freelancers track their expenses with the swipe of a finger

Xero is launching a new product called Xero TaxTouch for freelancers working in the U.S.

INFOGRAPHIC: The anatomy of an on-demand worker

We’ve all heard about the rise of the on-demand gig economy. About one third of the United States workforce are freelancers. It signals a fundamental shift following the Global Financial Crisis where incomes stagnated and the size of the total labor pool contracted.

Streamline your workflow and interactions with Xero + Google Apps for Work

Keep tabs on your business relationships without fuss. Connect and collaborate seamlessly with your contacts. That’s what you get from the tighter integration of Xero and Google Apps for Work announced today.

Xero Gravity: SEO & The Network Effect

SEO. Many business owners make the mistake of thinking it’s a one-time thing. It turns out that investing in search engine optimization and content marketing is actually one of the most important facets of running your business. Long story short, if your business has a web presence, you need to know SEO.

This week on Xero Gravity, Rand Fishkin, SEO wizard and founder of Moz, talks about the importance of optimizing your website and how it’s changing with social and mobile.

Things small business owners need to know in tech this month

Keep up to date with the latest in the tech sector.

The Benefits of Inventory Management

Inventory management has been around for as long as there have been businesses that stock and sell products. Even in the bygone era of having main street village shops and trades, some kind of inventory management was used, even if it was only a brief daily stock take followed by simple restocking, manufacture and acquisitions.

No more ‘I reckons’ and other ways to improve your estimating skills

Determining the cost of a job accurately and efficiently can be challenging, overwhelming and fraught with risk. When you price a job right and win it, it can deliver instant improvements to your bottom line — but getting it wrong can be a very expensive mistake.

Growing it alone: expanding your solo operation

When my brother-in-law started his landscaping business in 2007, he didn’t expect his part-time operation to escalate to 50 hours of work per week within two months. And it was a big commitment for him to employ his first staff member six months in, but was necessary for him to meet demand. As soon as he was aware of the demand for the service he was offering, he prepared himself for growth and this planning quickly paid dividends.

Ask These 8 Questions To Overcome Roadblocks In Your Workflow

Project Workflows should just…flow, right? Even Google Images represents ‘workflow’ as a series of harmonious shapes neatly connected with arrows... But in the real world things RARELY go according to plan. Remember that client who defaulted on payment, the tensions that arose within project teams and of course that one time the budget got blown out…?

3 business owners share their advice on optimizing your business as you grow

Striking out on your own and starting a business is one of the hardest things you can do in your professional life, but the work isn’t over the second you open your shop. Once the business is up and running you constantly have to improve and optimize to stay ahead of the curve and, most importantly, to become — and stay — profitable.

10 Productivity Hacks To Make Your Life Easier

We love curating list posts, especially list posts that feature apps and tools to help you work smarter. We recently published a post on handy browser extensions to improve productivity and get more done. This is one landscape that’s always changing however and we’re always looking to provide the most up-to-date and helpful information to help you achieve more. A conversation with a colleague sparked this particular post, and I hope you find it helpful – I certainly have.

Workplace bullies and how not to be one

The issue of bullying at school is well-known and reasonably well understood. But workplace bullying is just as big a problem. In the US, for example, 27% of employees have experienced bullying, and managers are the main cause.
Wherever you find people who are driven, ambitious and strong-willed, there’s potential for bullying. Unfortunately, there’s a good chance that some of the people reading this are workplace bullies.