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The principles behind winning in business and winning in sport are similar in many ways.

Take tennis, for example. If you've ever watched a match on television, you'll know that along with all the hitting, running and grunting there are a lot of numbers involved.

And we're not just talking about the score here. Each player's performance can be measured in other ways-percentage of first serves in, points won at the net, number of unforced errors on forehand versus backhand, and so on.

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In a lot of situations, hiring a contractor to get a particular job done makes perfect sense. It may require expertise or skills none of your employees has. You may only need someone for a short timeframe to clear a backlog of work. Or maybe you just want to avoid having to go through a formal recruitment process.

But be careful. Even though you hired them as a contractor, the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) may actually see them as an employee. And the penalties for disguising an employee as an independent contractor (known as "sham contracting") can be up to $51,000 per instance. 

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"You need to work on your business, not just in your business."

Made popular by The E-Myth Revisited author Michael Gerber, it's advice I'm sure you've heard dozens of times over the years (I certainly have). But despite being told over and over again, many small business owners still don't seem to truly understand what it means.

Let's look at a common scenario.

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Think back to the days before you started your business, when you were working for a boss. Chances are you were rewarded for your hard work with a regular salary. It may not have always been the same amount, but it came through like clockwork. And for the next week, month or however often you got paid, you'd do your best to make it last.

But now you are the boss, and so you don't need to be restricted to a set salary, do you? You can simply draw money out of the business whenever you need it, right?

Wrong.

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Two things first up: (1) If you want to (or have to) work past the age of 55, you need to read this article; or (2) If you know someone else who that applies to, please forward them this article or a link to it.

They'll thank you for it.

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They say only two things are certain in life: death and taxes. For a lot of people, there's also a third certainty in life: the pain of keeping track of every receipt when it's time to do the taxes.

How many times has your bookkeeper or finance manager asked you for a receipt (that you swore you stuffed somewhere in the wad of receipts in your wallet) that you've then had to scramble and search everywhere to find?

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"The cloud" is a phrase that means something very different these days, due to the increasing use of cloud computing. But what exactly is cloud computing? And is it a good option for small businesses?

First, a quick definition. Without getting lost in 'geekspeak', cloud computing simply means both the software apps you use and your data are stored on remote servers on the Internet, rather than 'locally' on your computer's hard drive or your own server(s).

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As a business owner, there are plenty of things you need to manage, and two of the most important of these are assets and risks.

In other words, building your wealth and protecting your wealth.

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Time is running out.

If you want to take a few simple preventative measures to minimise or defer how much tax you will pay for this Financial Year, you need to do two things:

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Larger businesses have a Chief Financial Officer (CFO) on staff. But what can small and medium sized businesses do in this regard?

Clearly, larger businesses can afford an in-house CFO. But it goes beyond an affordability issue: Large, successful businesses also understand how crucial the CFO role is to their business performance.

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