I am the product of a small business family. My dad started his first business the year I was born and by the time I left high school, he was running his third business. Right now, he’s on his fourth.
Being part of a small business family wasn’t always easy. There were good times, but there were also tough times. The hours were long and everyone had to contribute. Growing up, I started to notice the difference between our family and my friends’ families, where their parents had a regular, corporate job.
Today, I am nothing but grateful for what my dad has given me. In fact, I feel very lucky and privileged because I got to witness my dad doing what he loved. Like so many small business owners, he wouldn’t have been happy doing anything else.
There’s an old saying in business that states the customer is always right. I like to modify this to the right customer is always right. Many business owners spend an inordinate amount of time dealing with customers who are simply not the right ones for their business.
In fact, it’s my experience that the best way to get more customers of the type you want is to learn to say no to the wrong type of customer. Here are five tricky customer types you may encounter and some suggestions on how to deal with them.
Networking is a great tool for growing sales, particularly if your business works with other businesses. Networking with other business owners and managers can happen face-to-face or through social media. The mediums might be different, but many principles of networking are relevant to both. Here are some tips for making the most out of your networking opportunities.
In my view, most business owners do not read enough. I read approximately one book every fortnight. My reading choices include a mixture of business, sports, fiction and biographies, and I learn something from all of them. I particularly enjoy the odd fiction book, as they really help with creative thought — important for me, as my business role encompasses innovation and product development.
In our business, we have a monthly book club: each month, we rotate the ‘chair’, and the nominated team member chooses the next book. We allocate one of our weekly team meetings per month to ‘debrief’ on the book and, based on the ideas in the book, we pull together a concise action plan to implement in our business. I strongly recommend you consider doing the same thing (perhaps start quarterly).
If you ever need any indication that mobile payment adoption will pick up speed here, you only need to look at the number of new players entering the market over the last few months. It’s a hot topic in the payments industry right now, and for good reasons.
The ability to make and accept payments via a smartphone is potentially game changing, especially for tradies, consultants, field agents, mobile vendors and those who are always on the move. Businesses can accept card payments from any location with cell phone coverage – perfect for mobile businesses.
It’s safe to say that David Smith was always the ‘person most likely’ to stage an annual technology conference for accountants.
His love of all things geeky and techy started back in the 1960s. As a boy, he would huddle close to his shortwave radio to follow the conversations of astronauts and their adventures high above the earth. Today, David advises accountants Australia-wide on how to use technology to optimise the workflow and productivity of their practice, among other things.
The Accountants’ Technology Showcase Australia, or ATSA, was his brainchild and kicked off 7 years ago. ATSA is, in David’s words, ‘speed dating …
If you’re anything like me, you're probably skeptical when it comes to winning competitions. I mean, no one I know ever wins a thing. Oh sure, fifth division Lotto is still a win, but I mean the BIG prizes.
That’s why I was thrilled to interview the winner of the recent MYOB CompanyDocs competition. Debra Anderson of NSW firm Legally Counts was over the moon to be spending 6 nights in the south of France, with an opportunity to drive a Ferrari around the Côte d'Azur. The winner was picked from a ballot.
When trading conditions become difficult, successful small businesses are the ones that have the flexibility to transform poor performance into optimal growth and profit.
Sounds easy right? Well, it can be if you are willing to make the changes — and maybe even take some risks. The starting point is to understand the current business environment, its impact on your business operations, and then identify where improvements can be made. Here are ten tips you can look at to help you navigate through tough times:
1. Take stock
How financially healthy is your business? Look at profit and loss, balance sheet and cash flow statements and mea …
Being a sole trader or a freelancer can be a lonely reality. You’re essentially on your own, steering your own ship. Some people operate beautifully in this environment — I work predominantly with accounting firms, and I know of many sole practitioners who have come out of partnerships and would never go back.
But others struggle when there is no one to bounce ideas off. Whichever camp you fall into, one thing is for certain: If you love what you are doing, you’ll have a more fulfilling existence.
With the introduction of credit scores, the playing field around obtaining credit has changed dramatically in the last year here in Australia. Many people were concerned about the move — and possible restriction of credit — but a surprise outcome has been the ability for you to actually use your credit score to look for better deals for your loans and finance arrangements.
Small business people are among the most likely to seek credit (and unfortunately be refused) so the ability to review and actively manage your score is a great step forward. Until now people have only dealt with credit bureaus when they get rejected for credit. They …