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Top 6 Tips To Reduce End Of Financial Year Stress

As a time poor business owner the end of the financial year can be a stressful time for you. Here are my top six tips for reducing the end of financial year stress and getting your business off to a great start for the 2014/15 year:

1. Putting the best team in place
You are not alone. Putting a great team in place is a great way to relieve the stress and headaches around the end of the financial year. This does not mean you need to employ a lot of people, but can be putting together a team of independent professionals and outsource the function to them. Some professionals who should be on your team include your accountant, bookkeeper, business coach, marketing consultant & systems administrator. By outsourcing non-core functions in your business allows you to focus on the core activities of the business so you can work on the business rather than in the business
2. Review & Plan
Reviewing how your business has gone this year is important for two reasons – it allows you to celebrate your achievements in the past year and also to highlight the weaknesses and opportunities for the business. Review the areas of the business where you have seen the most growth in terms of sales. Reviewing the areas of the business that have not grown is equally important and putting in place actions steps to improve these. Doing a full review of your operating costs and identifying those costs that can be eliminated or reduced will improve profitability for the business.

Setting a financial budget along with a series of key performance indicators allows you to track the business’ performance on a monthly basis.
3. Get up to date with the […]

Your Information Hub – A Review of Highrise CRM

A customer database or customer relationship management (CRM) system is the information hub of any business (small, medium or large). Business owners who have a well-maintained CRM have an incredibly powerful tool for their business.

Keeping up with contacts can be the worst nightmare for a small business. Business owners recognize the importance of staying in touch with their customers and potential customers, but there really has never been any type of software that made this chore simple. 
In most cases, the process is cumbersome and only works well when an employee really stays on top of your database and keeps good records.  If you let a few weeks go by or forget to perform certain tasks, you can quickly lose track of things. The real trouble comes when you don’t have accurate records about when you last spoke with a customer and what you said. This can make your business seem small or unprofessional. 
So what does Highrise have to offer?
Highrise is a cloud based customer relationship management (CRM) system, which allows for the customer details to be updated via any device, which has an internet connection. Probably one of the greatest benefits is that your communication history can be shared within your company. This totally eliminates the problem of who spoke to this customer last and what did they tell them. The ability to set up tasks / follow ups is very easy to do straight from the contact page and the employee can receive a reminder of the task via email.
Each contact in your database gets their own contact page where all their personal information is listed. The page also shows comments and conversations, along with the date, time and employee’s name they spoke […]

By |December 13th, 2012|Software News|0 Comments

What’s in Your Business Toolbox for 2013?

The new year is right around the corner and with it comes fresh new beginnings for many. Regardless of what 2012 was like for your business, you’re no doubt interested in improving your products and services and reaping greater financial rewards during 2013.

Smart business owners have a full toolbox of items they use every day to get the job done. Those might include things like a streamlined workflow, solid marketing budget, and the latest equipment. Most business owners count great employees among their assets as well.
Streamlining for 2013
In order to compete in the workplace in the 21st century, you will also need a professional website and the latest computers, servers, software and other technology. This can give any business an edge over their competition.
With continuing economic woes comes a very pressing need to make certain that our toolbox of business tools and systems contains the right stuff to operate as efficiently as possible. Many businesses have scaled down in some areas and others have trimmed various budgets, while still others have had to let employees go to cut back on the cost of wages and benefits. 
Get Jobs Done Faster & More Efficiently
With fewer employees to get the job done, most business owners must search for methods that can get any job performed quicker and more efficiently. One area many business owners often forget to check is their desktop based applications. Sometimes we purchase one software program to deal with accounting, another to deal with inventory and still another to deal with payroll. By the end of the day, you may have a dozen different software programs that don’t really integrate well with one another.
The result can be that over a period of time, your […]

Streamline your inventory management with Unleashed

Remembering back to my first job working as a trainee in a small family owned business and being introduced to the stock card system. Paper cards which were used to track the in’s and out’s of the various stock items which the business held. This was the best practice system of the day.
Now imagine being able to use a tablet device like an iPad to review your stock levels, add new items and even perform a stocktake. This is all possible with a cloud based inventory management system – enter Unleashed.

Unleashed may be the most comprehensive inventory management software available today. Besides giving you powerful inventory management tools, Unleashed can also handle supply-chain, purchasing, and multi-channel sales.
Though the product is feature rich, it is very user friendly and makes short work of most tasks. Users can manage purchases, suppliers, shipments, locations, consignment stock, production (Bill of Materials), warehouses, and sales through multiple channels.  Businesses can use it alone or with Xero accounting software to create a complete business management system.
Unleashed features include:

Ability to handle inventory from multiple warehouses
Product & stock information updated across all sales & inventory channels
Perpetual inventory balances
Transact business in any currency with easy conversion options
Store an unlimited number of stock SKU’s
Detailed Product Masters

Unleashed gives you more than 40 description fields for products so that you can accurately keep track of each item. This type of detail is especially important for businesses that sell many varieties of the same item, such as screws, nuts and bolts. It offers an intuitive layout that makes working with a large stock file pretty simple.
Use Any Currency
The Multi Currency feature is a real plus for those companies that deal internationally. Unleashed will confirm that all foreign […]

By |December 6th, 2012|News|0 Comments

Is Your Business Recession Proof?

Recently, the Reserve Bank in Australia dropped its interest rates to 3%, which is the lowest in five years. The experts are saying that the economic recovery is slowing and that the economic climate at the moment is stagnant. This information has many business owners taking a hard look at their business practices. All the way from your small expenses like office supplies to those larger ones such as monthly lease payments, it’s critical now to make certain that your business is finely tuned.

Small businesses are especially vulnerable during economic downturns because they don’t have the cash reserves to sustain themselves for prolonged periods of time. Streamlining your business is actually healthy and should be done occasionally to ensure that you aren’t wasting money on things your business doesn’t really need.
Does Your Business Have the Right Mix of Products & Services?
One of your biggest expenses may be the regular items you purchase consistently. This is a great time to look at each vendor and make sure you’re getting the best deal on products, equipment and other items you normally order each month. Just because you’ve always ordered something from a vendor is no reason to continue doing so unless they are, in fact, giving you the very best price. Times are tough! Get tough with vendors and tell them that you’re taking your business elsewhere unless they give you a better discount. 
Normally, the experts will tell you to diversify during economic downturns. By adding products and services, you can reach more customers. While this is true, it can also prevent you from focusing on your core competencies. Don’t sacrifice quality and good customer service simply to add additional products and services to your line. […]

Vend Review: Retail Based Point of Sale Made Easy

The retail point of sale landscape has drastically changed during the past few years. The days of the old typewriter style cash register and the clacker style credit card machines are well and truly gone. Today’s cash registers are now electronic and bar code readers are used to transfer price information reducing data entry for the sales assistants.
Now imagine a time where a laptop computer or even an iPad will replace the cash register! Not possible, you scream – well it is very possible with the new breed of retail point of sale systems, which are internet or cloud-based. One of the leaders in this space is Vend, which is the feature of this week’s product review.

Integrates with Xero
Vend seamlessly integrates with Xero, a popular cloud-based accounting software, as well as Shopify, an online shopping cart and ecommerce program. Together with these programs, Vend gives Internet and traditional businesses every tool they need to run their business, manage inventory and handle accounting tasks.
So Many Features
One of the key features of Vend is that it works well with your current equipment. You won’t have to go out and purchase new barcode scanners and receipt printers. Another exciting feature is that it will continue to work even if your internet connection goes down. The next time you connect, your data is automatically synchronized. Data is completely secure and automatically backed up several times per day.
Just starting out in retail? Why not use your laptop or iPad as your cash register? Just add a receipt printer and a barcode scanner which can be added via USB connection and you are up and running. That is super cool!
Using the Quick Keys feature, you can easily access the most popular products right […]

By |November 29th, 2012|Software News|3 Comments

Top Five New Year’s Resolutions for your Business

Now that we’re all starting to think about the new year, it may be time to examine your 2013 strategies for growing your business. Though no one can see the future, there are certain events you can surely count on, especially concerning your business. For instance, you will probably want to expand, add clients and hire new employees. Just about all business owners have that in common.
Business owners constantly search for new and unique methods of cutting unnecessary expenses and streamlining their operations. This is a sure way to improve your bottom line profits. This year, don’t simply make your usual New Year’s Resolutions with no real plan for carrying them through. Begin with a clear analysis of what you need to do to improve the bottom line and exactly how this can be accomplished.

Operations, Systems & Processes
Now is not too early to begin to review your existing systems. Do some research on how to reduce your operating costs. Start with your most costly area. Which department has the highest overhead? Once you have completed a thorough review of each department, you can start working on those that are costing you the most to run. It may be an area of your manufacturing plant, the accounting department or some other area.
If you have trusted staff members, then call a meeting to discuss ways to trim expenses in these most costly areas. You might assign one employee to do the research to discover new methods of dealing with these tasks, such as outsourcing. Many companies today are outsourcing their payroll and taxes simply because these are so time consuming for regular employees.
Marketing, Social Media, Print, Advertising
Your company may employ a few bright young people […]

GeoOp Review: Mobile Workforce Management Made Easy

GeoOP is a whole new concept that is catching on quickly all over the world. It made news this past year by providing the volunteers of the Christchurch earthquake with some very helpful technology. GeoOp and others donated software, phones and data cards so that the 17,000 or so volunteers helping earthquake victims could stay connected. It provided the team leaders a quick, easy method of assigning new tasks to workers out in the field.
GeoOP was originally invented for use by companies who have workers out on the road all the time. These include trades people, freight delivery companies, maintenance crews, and others. Any business that has crews out each day working on the streets would be a good fit for the GeoOp system. It is scalable so whether you have hundreds of workers to manager or dozens, it can easily be adapted.
The program offers helpful features like:

GPS tracking
Advanced job dispatching
Daily management of work
Use on any platform (Web, iPhone, iPad, Android)
Integrates with Unleashed Online Inventory Management
Integrates with Xero, Cloud-based accounting software
Electronic signature capture

GeoOp offers a great combination of all the right stuff to get any job done. At the moment, approximately 15 industries utilize the convenience and power of this cloud-based programme, but the company, which is based in Auckland, NZ, is continually adding new industries. The Job2Txt feature lets the main office send job updates via text messages and is cheaper than a phone call.

One of the most time-saving features is the integration with Xero, which allows workers to record parts and labour into their iPhone or iPad for invoicing. Workers no longer have to wait till they get back to the office to record these items at the end of each work […]

By |November 23rd, 2012|Software News|1 Comment

Top Five Opportunities to Increase Profits for your Business in 2013

What will 2013 hold for your business? We all sometimes wish we could see the future. The fact is that all we can do is make sure we do our homework and prepare for whatever may come. The economies of the world may improve…all the indicators show that potential but some naysayers believe that things will continue to be tight for small business owners. Whichever way it goes, most businesses have actually found it refreshing to cut back on unneeded expenses and streamline their operations.

Operations, Systems & Processes
There are usually a number of ways to get any job done and do it right. The key thing here is to operate each area of your small business as efficiently as possible. Sometimes we all get in ruts though and don’t look for more efficient ways to run the various departments of our business. For instance, you may have your own accounting department that takes care of invoicing, paying bills and doing payroll each week, but have you compared the cost of that to outsourcing those tasks?
Large businesses have known this secret for a while. It’s usually cheaper to outsource certain everyday functions. Why not start 2013 by finding out your current costs of running each department, then get some bids on outsourcing these jobs. If you can save money, then consider making those changes.
Marketing, Social Media, Print, Advertising
This is an area that has seen explosive growth and change just over the last ten years. Are you taking full advantage of social media and mobile marketing? Many businesses aren’t. If you need to, hire a pro to manage your internet advertising including social media.
Some local businesses still enjoy advertising in community magazines and newspapers. Shoppers do […]

To Quote Or Not To Quote – How Quotient Can Help Your Business

If your business customarily needs to send quotes out to potential clients, then you probably understand all the frustrations of using older, outdated methods of providing quotes to customers. The simple logistics of keeping up with each quote can be a full time job. You have no way of easily checking each quote to see if it has been accepted or what its current status is.

This can make your business seem inefficient to potential customers. They ask for a quote, you send them one and then the follow up is slow and cumbersome. Today’s business owners and managers are just too busy to follow through with each and every quote to see where it’s at and whether some action needs to be taken. This is the old-fashioned way, but now there’s a new and better solution. 
How Does Quotient Solve This Problem?
Quotient changes all that. This internet based program allows you to create customised quotations in only moments. You can insert images into the body of the quote providing a more professional look. You can even include documents or URL links that offer additional information or showcase specific features.
One of the most exciting features of Quotient is that it seamlessly integrates with Xero, the world’s fastest growing Cloud-based accounting system. All information from the quote is efficiently transferred over to the invoice. This completely cuts out many of the steps needed in older methods of quoting and invoicing customers. At a glance, you can see the value of accepted quotes within a 30-day period with the amazing Statistics Tool.
Who is Quotient For?
If you are a business owner searching for a standalone quoting app that gives you visible control over the entire quote process, then Quotient […]

By |November 15th, 2012|Software News|0 Comments