During the Christmas holiday season, businesses of many types employ seasonal or casual workers to meet extra demands. Often these workers are hard-working young people who have travelled from overseas, bringing with them their own language and culture. This international melting-pot makes for a fun and productive work environment, although it can also present challenges.
Have you ever considered selling private label products? If so, keep reading. For this post, we caught up with Sarah Ferrence, the founder of Mod. Merchant, a firm that helps retailers and wholesalers adapt and grow their businesses in the new era of retail.
Shifting data, systems and the inner workings of a business onto the cloud can be a big move. However, it’s hard to stay away from the cloud these days; the applications of cloud-based software are seemingly endless.
There were almost 5 million retail sales jobs in the U.S. in 2016. Those workers, both full- and part-time, represent a sizeable chunk of the workforce, and they’re also a key component to every growing retail business. (post by Alexandra Sheehan)
While there are many things that can affect the in-store experience (e.g. products, prices, store environment, etc.) customer service is always going to be one of the top factors that impact how shoppers perceive your brand.
Perhaps the most important part of retail is the moment of the transaction — when money transfers from the customer to the cashier. (post by Cara Wood)
When thinking about threats to your retail store, shoplifting is probably number one, right? The idea of someone swiping hundreds of dollars of products into a giant bag and walking out with them is horrifying, isn’t it? (post by Cara Wood)
Recruiting more women into roles within the technology sector continues to be to a major challenge for employers. In the UK technology sector, only 15% of people working in STEM roles are female, and women hold only 5% of tech leadership positions.
Conflicts are inevitable, even in the most engaged of workplaces. Regardless of the source of the conflict, if they are left unresolved, conflicts can quickly impact employee morale and productivity.
Customer Success is one of the most important strategic priorities at Spotlight Reporting. The more we learn about Customer Success principles, strategy and practice, the more we can see the powerful resonance this could have for accountants in practice.
Dealing with difficult customers can be… well, difficult, but it doesn’t have to be. With the right attitude and action steps, you can effectively navigate these tricky customer situations and emerge (hopefully) unscathed.
Free healthy meals at work, discounted travel, opportunities for personal development and study, flexible working, and paid time off for volunteering – these are just some of the compelling employee benefits that leading company’s offer.
Creating a highly-engaged workforce and a thriving workplace continues to be a major focus for all HR managers. And the reason is simple.
Training in the workplace is a very valuable and important component of running a successful business.
Many businesses in the building, civil and mining and professional services industries in particular, underestimate the benefit of a well-constructed employment contract.
So, you’re doing your homework on employee onboarding and preparing new starter kits infused with your company’s values. You also want to mastermind an onboarding process that even the tech giants would be proud of.
Workplace training is an important part of company work life which, as expensive as it may be, is a necessary means to a skilled workforce.
If the business you work in is anything like other small businesses, then your role of office manager means you handle just about anything!
As we mentioned in a previous post, putting on new staff comes with a mountain of onboarding paperwork. But, that certainly doesn’t mean your new starter’s first day should be all about filling in forms.
Dennis Yarrow began Yarrow Plumbing back in 2003. Before that, he cut his teeth in the plumbing industry working in Papua New Guinea where he learned how to manage a team of 50 (and some other life skills he hadn’t bargained for).
Aside from efficient inventory management, teamwork is an incredibly important component of the ‘successful business’ recipe and if left out, the result can be a real flop.
These days, managing HR in a growing business is a constant task. As an HR manager, you’re probably overloaded with work and you never seem to get to the bottom of it all.
Millennials – young people born between the 1980s and early 2000s – make up an increasingly large proportion of drinking-age customers. It’s important that good hospitality businesses understand that.
We have spoken to hundreds of business owners and thousands of their employees over the last twelve years.
No one ever starts a business with the intention of spending most of their time tied up in the administrative tasks that come with operating one.
Many small business owners don’t give a second thought about the need for clear communication.
The thing is, employee wellbeing and happiness isn’t just about nap rooms, onsite massages, and cafeterias serving healthy food and snacks (though that would be nice!)
Every business owner knows that as soon as you start hiring people, there’s a whole heap of important and must-do HR related tasks and compliance requirements that goes with them.
Remember the old (and slightly misogynistic) phrase Happy Wife, Happy Life! ? Well, it turns out there is a workplace equivalent: Happy workers, productive business! (and no – we couldn’t make it rhyme).
Staff training is one of the best investments you can make for the future success of your business.
Are you equipped to handle retail theft and robberies? Whether you answered yes or no to that question, keep reading.
Look at a company with a reputation for strong employee engagement and you’ll find a high performing business. We’re not making this up.
The idea of starting your own business and being your own boss has become more popular in recent years.
If you’re an accountant or professional advisor, take heed of a recent decision by the Federal Circuit Court. You may be at risk of accessorial liability for your clients’ breaches of the Fair Work Act.
Running a business is hard and it often feels like there aren’t enough hours in the day to get everything done that you want (or should) do. By the time you pay your bills, invoice customers, return calls, put the final touches on that big proposal, and get the stock order out, the day is over and it’s time to pick up the kids.
Firing employees is probably one of the hardest things you’ll ever have to do as a business owner. It’s also one of the most litigious.
I’ve heard it said that it’s a sales rep’s job to promise the moon to customers, and it’s a service rep’s duty to bring customers back to earth.
The Isle of Skye Candle Company’s first batch of candles was made in a converted croft on the Isle of Skye in 2006, and since then the company has been lighting up across Scotland and the UK.
Many small business owners start out with a good business idea but little concept of what it takes to manage and grow a business.
The good news is that you can definitely learn and improve your management skills as your business grows.
And while there isn’t a definitive list of skills, the ones we’ve listed below could help you to build your initial vision and develop your business to its full potential.
Struggling to keep on top of employee timesheets? Want to offer employees a simpler way to clock in and out? Keen to track remote workers’ location throughout the day? Eager to make payroll easier? TSheets, a mobile employee tracking software, is here to help.
Colour-coded job sheets on clipboards. Customer details stuffed in manila folders. Rooms full of grey filing cabinets overflowing with clip-lock files. Cardboard boxes bursting with service manuals arranged in rough alphabetical order. Handwritten notes, 8am sales meetings in sweaty city offices and well-thumbed street directories in company-car gloveboxes.
An efficient, hard-working and friendly team is often the making of a successful hospitality business. So it can be quite disruptive when employees need to take leave.
Staff turnover always seems to be a struggle for businesses in the hospitality industry.
By its nature, working in cafés, restaurants, and even take-away food outlets is a high-stress occupation. Add to this, relatively lower pay rates, long shifts, or erratic schedules, and it’s not surprising that many employees suffer burnout.
Learn more about the Encouraging Entrepreneurship and self-employment initiative!
Are you a young Australian with a great business idea? If so, our friends at the Department of Employment have launched the Encouraging Entrepreneurship and Self-Employment initiative to help young Australians start and run their own business!
In April 2016 the Government passed the Employment Relations Amendment Act 2016 which saw a number of changes in employment law, including legislating against the use of “Zero-hour” contracts in employment agreements.
Seven vehicles on the road. Ten electricians in the field. One business owner working overtime, all the time...
Such was the norm for L&L Electrical, a versatile electrical services company in Campbelltown, Victoria, and proud owner John Libroaperto.
Proud and successful owner he was, yes – but at a hefty cost in a most valuable currency: time.
Are you struggling to motivate your employees? Do you constantly chase after them to get their timesheets in on time or wonder why they aren’t more focused or driven? Is absenteeism, poor morale and failure to meet targets a common occurrence?
Do you feel like it might be time for a change in your office environment? Perhaps the productivity isn’t as good as it use to be or there are a handful of employees who just don’t seem to be performing at their best. Conducting a performance review can greatly help you manage your employees and make sure that your workplace stays strong, efficient, and goal driven.
Happy employees are engaged employees. It’s the HR holy grail. So gaining a measure of employee happiness in your business makes good sense. But all employee happiness surveys are not created equal. An employee happiness survey is only as good as the questions you ask and how you follow through on the responses.
You’ve had a hectic day at the office. A last minute crisis occurred and you worked 2 hours overtime to get everything done. When you finally arrive home you’re too exhausted to cook dinner (and substitute with greasy takeaways and a cheap bottle of wine).Your ‘quality time’ with your spouse consists of a few muttered sentences before doing the laundry and other crucial tasks, then rolling into bed exhausted.
As a manager, it’s important to do your best to keep your workplace from becoming an episode of the Real Housewives. Here are some tips for managing conflict.
A recent study focused on identifying the current issues and trends facing Australian SMEs has found that 38% of small businesses pick Marketing & Advertising as the primary strategy for growth.
With more than a third of small business competing in the open market it will mean that it’s going to be harder and harder for your prospective customers to differentiate your business to your competitors. This often means that with a limited budget, as an owner of a business you would rather hire new sales or marketing personnel than HR. Or invest time in prospecting new business rather than increasing employee engagement and other people management strategies.
Small businesses will often say that their number one goal is business growth. But where does business growth come from? An easy answer to this can be “attracting new customers”. But attracting new customers can come at a very high price. Marketing has become increasingly difficult with online advertising and social media offering. Competition is fierce. Every other small business is online competing for potential customers. On the other hand, you could rely on word-of-mouth, but that is going to be a very slow process.
Mention the word ‘millennial’ and the first thing that comes to mind for a lot of employers is ‘risky’. Today’s university graduates are looking to fast-track their career, and are not afraid of jumping from employer to employer to achieve advancement.
Are your staff turning up late, grouchy and stressed? Do they have a distant look in their eyes (like they’d rather be anywhere else)? Is your turnover rate on the rise?
Working with family members presents unique advantages, and unique challenges. If you've built up your own business, now might be the time to bring in other family members. Here’s how to avoid some of the pitfalls.
Several years ago, I had a customer who would glower at me as soon as I entered his department. He would say, ‘Fix it right this time, or get it out of here,’ no matter what the problem was.
If I was even one minute later than my ETA, he would be on the phone with my boss, complaining about the horrible service he was getting.
Because he would place a service call for the slightest imperfection or hiccup of the machine, I was going there almost every day.
Good managers can make or break a business. They're essential to developing a positive and productive workforce, which, in turn, improves employee retention levels and ensures everybody in the business is working in line with the company’s strategy and objectives.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
“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.”
“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
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
Over the last few years we’ve been able to get a pretty good handle on your biggest pain points as a 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.
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.
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.
When it comes to building rosters you want to be as accurate as possible when forecasting future staffing requirements. Time again, we’ve seen rosters being created based on instinct and manager experience.
Change. It is the one crucial element an organization needs to be able to execute if it wants to remain relevant and profitable in an increasingly dynamic and challenging global economy. It is also the one vital element that generates the greatest amount of resistance, and throws up the largest number of obstacles to success, than any other business necessity.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 don’t already work alongside Millennials, the chances are that you will soon. Allianz recently posted that are those born between 1980 and the early 2000s, the eldest Millennials are in the workplace now and by 2025 will make up 75 percent of the global workforce. While they’ve got the numbers in force, it’s easy to find negativity towards hiring Millennials, primarily due to their fickle nature when it comes to job-hopping. A greater understanding about what makes Millennials tick is an easy way to build a culture that’s likely to keep them engaged.