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As much as we hate to admit it, the best business owners and executives can drop the ball on occasion. This is particularly true of the little things, which can be easily overlooked.  

When it comes to keeping track of business expenses, even the most attentive and mindful can fall behind. Physical receipts and invoices can easily be misplaced before you set foot back in the office. Hunting around for them causes headaches, wastes time and hurts productivity.

Read more…

Are you worried that your hard-earned money is not working hard enough for you? That your dream of your golden years spent on the golf course or with loved ones on the beach is fading fast?

Think you can do a better job yourself - by managing your own super?

You may be right. A Self-Managed Super Fund (SMSF) may provide an excellent opportunity to better build wealth for your retirement. But only if you get the right advice and set it up correctly.

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The world has changed. Work has changed. 

The possibilities provided by cloud and mobile technologies are beyond what most people would even have considered possible just a decade ago.

But have you adapted and updated your systems to keep up with - and take advantage of - these exciting and fast-moving changes? Or are you still determined to drive the steam engine?

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Disasters. They happen. In personal lives, and in business.

That's not being negative, that's being real.  Every day disasters affect families and businesses somewhere in the world, but it always seems to happen to someone else, doesn't it?

Touch wood.

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Still using spreadsheets for rosters, timesheets, and payroll?

The administrative load involved in efficiently rostering staff, preparing accurate timesheets, and ensuring that everyone is paid correctly can be a huge burden on a small business – especially if you are doing it all manually.

If your business involves shift work or hourly work in hospitality, retail, healthcare, construction, security, or similar fields it can be even more challenging.

Fortunately, if you're running Xero as your accounting software, like many small and medium-sized businesses, help is not too far away.

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When a prospective client asks you for a quote, it's a powerful opportunity to make a sale. In fact, with the right response you may be able to 'seal the deal' almost immediately.

But if you take your time to respond, provide wildly different quotes for similar work, or otherwise send bad signals about your business, you could easily lose that client. Which is a pity, because it seemed they really wanted to do business with you.

That quote (or proposal, which we'll get to in a moment) is where you can win the client over and get the sale.

Or lose them both.

Read more…

"Signing on the dotted line." It wasn't all that long ago that phrase meant signing pen-on-paper. Increasingly these days it can also mean signing on-screen with a stylus-or even with your finger tip!-or by using your computer and keyboard.

So why have many businesses moved to using electronic signatures? What are the advantages over using pen-on-paper for signatures on agreements?

In a word, efficiency. Electronic signatures provide efficiency gains at every point of the legal document process: from distribution, to storage, security and retrieval.

Why are businesses now finding the use of paper-based contracts and legal documents so inefficient?

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As much as you try to share skills, knowledge and information in your company, you probably have some people who are key to your business' success.

It might be a Director or the CEO, whose vision made it a success in the first place. It might be your star salesperson, or someone in your IT area who knows the system backwards. It could even be someone who doesn't create any revenue but does a fantastic job of boosting your company's reputation or perhaps running your admin and back office systems.

Now, what would happen if you suddenly lost one of those key people?

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Cloud computing and web-based apps have undoubtedly improved business efficiency. But once you and your team start using various online apps, one aspect quickly becomes inefficient (not to mention downright annoying): having to repeatedly enter usernames and passwords to log in.

It's bad enough having to enter a multitude of login credentials when you first open the apps each morning. But many apps automatically log you out if you haven't been using them for a few minutes. And while it's a nice security feature, it means you have to repeat the entire process whenever you take a breather.

Wouldn't it be great if a 'master control' app could automatically enter your username and password whenever an app asked for them? Of course, you'd have to log into the master control app first, and that login process would have to be very secure. But just imagine how much time and frustration it could save.

The good news is that, to quote an all-too-familiar phrase, "There's an app for that". In fact, there are quite a few password manager apps available.

Read more…

Debtors and late-payers: the bane of every business owner.

No matter how profitable your business is, it won't survive without good cash flow. If you can't pay your bills on time, you may end up trading while insolvent. And that's not just bad business-that's illegal.

But to do that, you need your clients to pay their bills on time. And that's something you can't always rely on. Sometimes they forget. Sometimes they don't have the money. And sometimes they just decide they don't want to.

Read more…

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