Empower Your Business

Accounting is Just the Beginning

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8 Vital Things You Need To Know about Your Business – Each and Every Month

Just how much do you know about your business? No, not about what you sell, or how you make or deliver your products and services, I mean the really important things that determine whether you’re going to make it through to retirement or maybe even successfully selling your business.

These are my top eight favourite things each and every one of us business owners should know about our businesses: Read More

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Accounts and Tax Returns

At A+BAC we make life easier for you.

Accounts and Tax Returns.
Making it easy for you by getting it right on time, every time. No fuss or drama and more advice for your hard-earned money.  Contact us today: www.abac.co.nz or 0800 ASK NICK

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What to do when negativity catches you unawares

We all have an Achilles heel. Sadly, negativity can take us unawares. Negativity is productivity cancer. Heavy words but, in truth, it can hugely hinder success. It saps your energy and the team’s. It’s deadweight in all your dealings with customers. And if you never want to have a great idea again, negativity’s the way to do it. But by being mindful of negative thoughts, we can change our thinking and prevent the effect it has on how we operate.

Here are some of the biggest hindrances to our thought patterns. Read More

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Part 2 – Four Vital Things You Need To Know about Your Business

Last week I shared four of my eight vital things you need to know about business each and every month, here are the final four:

Rolling 12 Months Turnover. It’s no good keeping an eye on your monthly or weekly sales and comparing these with last year or the year before, nor your sales for the year to date, you need to monitor your sales over the last 12 months (or 52 weeks if you prefer) and compare with the previous year. Not only does this prevent you getting depressed in your down season when it’s easy to forget just how poor trade can be, but in addition, it irons out the seasonal kinks in your turnover and provides you with the real picture of how your business is tracking.

Your Sales Pipeline or the Number of Prospective Customers Thinking About Becoming Customers. No matter how busy you are, you still need to be thinking about next month’s, the next quarter’s or next year’s business and where it’s going to come from. Now some of my clients just get one-off jobs and it’s vital if you’re like them to think at least six months ahead about how you’re going to keep your sales pipeline topped-up. To find out more about your sales pipeline click here.

Read More

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How to get leverage in your life

Guest blog from Winston Marsh

There was an Italian fellow, Senor Vilfredo Pareto, an economist who was around at the end of the nineteenth century and one day he noticed that 20% of the pea pods in his vegetable garden yielded 80% of the peas; then he discovered that around 20% of his countrymen had 80% of the wealth. Investigating further he formulated the well known Pareto Principle or the “eighty-twenty rule” as you may better know it…

80% of your results come from 20% of your effort

Now this is what is known as a natural law because it applies universally… for example, 20% of car drivers will have 80% of the smashes, 20% of people have 80% of the illnesses and so on.

But think about this!

If 80% of your current results are coming from 20% of the effort you are putting in, what would happen if you put 100% of your efforts into those things that produce your results?

If you remember your basic algebra, if you multiply one side of an equation by 5, you multiply the other side by 5 too. So when you increase your effort 5 times you increase your results 5 times. Just doing the math shows that you can…

Increase your results by an incredible 400%!

Click here to read more

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Is your activity a business or hobby?

hobby or business, accountants Hastings

Albert makes (and sells) wooden toys from his home. He is running a business. Jill also makes (and sells) wooden toys from her home – but she does it as a hobby. This article explains the approach used by Inland Revenue (and the courts) when they are deciding if an activity is a business or a hobby.

It’s important to be able to tell the difference. If you’re running a business, your income is taxable and your business expenses are deductible. But if it’s a hobby, you don’t pay tax on your income and your expenses are not deductible. The “business or hobby” issue can be complex. This article gives you general information only. Each case must be decided on the facts, so if you have any questions about your own situation, please contact your tax advisor or Inland Revenue.

WHAT IS A BUSINESS?
The law says that a business: “includes any profession, trade, manufacture, or undertaking carried on for pecuniary profit…”

The courts have held that a person is probably running a business if:

  1. The activity is carried out in an organised and coherent way, and
  2. The person is intending to make a profit.

Note that “intending to make a profit” doesn’t mean you must make a profit – an activity can make a loss and still be a business – but the intention must be there. Establishing intention involves considering the person’s words and conduct.

Read more to find out what a hobby is, and how this can affect you.

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10 ways your accountant can help you increase your profit

If your business is not generating the amount of profit that you would like and deserve, then the first person you need to contact is your accountant. Let’s face it, accountants are the last trusted advisor and the cornerstone of the financial world. Your accountant should be the first person you call to help you grow all aspects of your business, especially your profit.

Often your accountant can see ways to improve your bottom line that you might miss because you are in the trenches every day fighting for profit and growth. From past experience, I have helped many business owners improve their profit, and more often than not it just from focusing on a few, fundamental areas in any business.

Read 10 ways your accountant can help you increase your business profit

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The R words: relationships, rapport, retention

Hastings accountants customer service
There is a saying that the best customers are the ones you already have. So once you’ve schmoozed and wooed someone into your client base, how do you go about keeping their business? Establishing trust and maintaining rapport in your business will be critical to building strong client relationships.

When you’re getting to know your clients, it’s important to identify common ground. The easiest way to start doing this is by listening. Learn about people by asking questions and from here you’ll soon find that there’s common ground you can talk about and use to build an element of rapport. You may have children of similar ages or like the same sorts of leisure activities. By asking questions, you’ll make your client feel welcome. That, in turn, will create a sense of ease, perhaps encouraging them to open up to you more. You may also find it increases your own enjoyment in your work and this will shine through to customers and colleagues.

It’s important to be open and honest. Let your clients get to know you, your hobbies, your pursuits and your interests. You may think people won’t care. Perhaps you’re right but, without realising it, your clients will gradually warm to you through this additional knowledge of you. This doesn’t mean you should randomly start to waffle on about yourself over a business meeting. If you have a Facebook business page, a monthly newsletter or an About Us page on your website, be sure to include personal and fun facts about yourself and your team, adding a human element and a face to your business.

Always make yourself approachable. Be positive, down to earth and always portray a ‘yes!’ attitude. As soon as you start to put up any sort of wall, it’s likely that clients will begin to back away. Make your clients feel important by personalising letters and emails and always using first names. Your interpersonal communication skills will improve as you focus in this way. Encourage your team to behave the same way in all aspects of client service to maintain this ethos across your company.

Ensure you respect your clients’ time because it – like yours – is valuable. Be prompt when returning phone calls and emails and, most importantly, be on time if you’re meeting in person. Unless your car breaks down or some other unforeseeable disaster strikes, there’s no excuse for tardiness. If you say you’re going to do something and you don’t do it, it’s not a good look. Even better, under promise and over deliver.

These are all things that help your business stand out, make people remember you. Try to make it a great experience for them to deal with you every time. It’s one more reason for them to tell their friends and colleagues about you. In successful businesses, great service stands beside great products. Great client relationships help you take your business forward so you can build your success into the long term.

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I am a small business getting big — How do I manage my growth?

cafe

Many successful small businesses get big without even realising they are no longer a small business. The most important thing is to recognise and accept that you are now bigger and can no longer run the business the way you used to. Then, and only then, can you take the necessary actions to manage your growth:

Seek help

Many small business owners are great at their own trade, service line or profession but just haven’t had any experience in running a bigger business or managing staff or finances. If that’s the case, it’s necessary to face this head-on by seeking help from experts in the areas where you are lacking. This may include a great accountant who is prepared to help beyond tax and accounting, a practical lawyer, employment specialist or a really useful business coach. Yes, this will cost money, but it’s better that than the consequences of getting it wrong or experiencing total business failure.

Get training

There are some great short courses in areas like financial awareness, corporate governance, systems and business planning — and some of these are subsidised by the taxpayer. These can be generic or tailored specifically to your needs, so take a few days away from your business and up-skill yourself in those all-too-important disciplines rather than remain in the dark.

Read more tips on how to manage growth here

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Increase Your Business Turnover and Monitor Your Performance in 2015

Accounting 2015

Every business owner needs reliable figures to regularly check on business performance. Collecting data is useful in setting realistic targets towards increasing your profitability in 2015, and gives a baseline for monitoring your business throughout the year.

Types of measurement data to collect:

  • Your annual customer numbers
  • Average sales
  • Number of customer visits

In a retail store, for example, (although this exercise is appropriate for other businesses), you need to collect the following data from the previous year:

  • Number of customers = x
  • Average sale per customer = y
  • Average number of transactions per customer = z

By multiplying the figures, x * y * z, you can calculate the business’ annual turnover. Ensure this figure equals the total sales for the year.

The next step is to use these figures to set specific targets for the following year and record this data in your business plan, for example:

  • Number of customers last year – plus targeted percentage increase
  • Average sale per customer last year – plus targeted percentage increase
  • Number of transactions with customers last year – plus targeted increase

Increasing your turnover
Small increases can make a significant difference to your turnover. The question is: HOW do you make those increases?

That’s where you need to think about implementing marketing strategies to increase your total number of customers, or to increase the number of transactions made by existing customers.

For example, you could: reward existing customers for referring new people to your business; encourage add-on sales; directly target your customers to inform them of special offers or new products/services soon to be available, or even to inform them of other products and services offered by your business that they may not be aware of.

Maybe your focus for one year will be to increase your customer base; the next, to increase the amount each customer spends on each visit; and so on. Whichever way you plan to raise the figures, the basic measurement data will help you determine the targeted, annual sales figures for the current year.

Converting prospects to customers
Recording the number of enquiries you get each day or week and comparing this to the number of sales made in the same period provides your sales conversion rate and is useful in monitoring your targeted annual sales for the year. In a retail business for example, record the number of people who enter the store (prospects), and the number of sales made each day. Then calculate the percentage of sales to prospects. Record this figure and make it available to your team on a regular basis.

If you make a conscious effort to improve on the conversion factor each day, i.e., increasing the number of prospects who buy, it could significantly enhance the bottom line performance of your business.