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Good record keeping practices

Starting your business with a good record keeping system can help you track your business performance, meet reporting responsibilities and access financial history with ease. Since different rules apply to different types of documents, the length of time that a business needs to retain documents depends on what the documents are. Some businesses may need to keep documents indefinitely.

The seven year principle is recommended as a base due to the fact that seven years is sufficient time for defending tax audits, lawsuits and potential claims. Government departments and organisations, such as the Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC) and The Fair Work Ombudsman (FWO), require company and employee records to be kept for seven years.

Owners should note that there are some circumstances where it may be required to keep documents for more than seven years. For example, documents relating to intellectual property rights, such as trademarks and copyright should be kept indefinitely by businesses. These documents should be retained for as long as the rights in the intellectual property exist.

Financial, legal, employee, policy and procedural records are the main categories of documents that a business will need to retain. Keeping good records can save you a lot of time and money when a situation arises as you may need to rely on these files if disputes or other issues appear in your business.

The general standards for record keeping in Australia are as follows, documents need to;

There are benefits and risks to storing files both on paper and electronically. The most important thing to remember, regardless of storage method, is to back up your records. A combination of both methods can ensure you have documents available when needed.

Posted on 18 June '19, under business. No Comments.

Building the right team for your business

While hiring the right staff is a key element when running a business, to be successful you will need to build a strong team. Here are some tips on turning a group of individuals into a cohesive, collaborative team that will help your business to reach its full potential.

Have a vision:
When starting a new business, defining what your motivations are can help you to visualise the type of organisation you want to create. This can help your staff to know what you are aiming for and understand the goals of the business. Don’t just focus on your products or services, outline the principles and characteristics you wish to build in your organisation. For example, some of your core goals may be to have outstanding customer service or to create a supportive workplace. Once you have outlined your vision, you can use it as a guideline for both you and your employees.

Involve your staff:
By getting your employees involved in the day-to-day operations of your organisation, it will allow them to use their strengths to integrate and develop into the business. Challenge your staff by giving them timelines or specific goals to strive for. If they have achieved these, acknowledge their success. This will motivate them to work hard if they know they are being recognised for their efforts. Consider team-building exercises or activities outside of work as a way to foster a friendly and positive environment. When your employees are happy and enjoy coming to work, this will reflect in your business.

Posted on 11 June '19, under business. No Comments.

Startup essentials to help your business succeed

Starting your own business can be as daunting as it is exciting. There are many aspects that need to be considered when making the change to becoming your own boss. Here are a few of the essentials to get you moving.

Plan:
Do not go into a business blindly, as a good idea can only get you so far. A business model shows possible investors that you are serious and gives you a blueprint for how to run the business going forward. Look at elements such as start-up costs, risk assessment, hiring and outsourcing when making your strategic, operational and financial plans.

Be in the know:
Having an idea is all well and good but if you do not have the industry knowledge to back it up, your dream may be over sooner than you think. Experiencing an industry firsthand will assist with practical knowledge whilst research can help on a technical side. When you’re creating your business plan, you need to honestly assess your own skills and expertise so you can identify where you could use assistance.

Protect yourself:
Insurance and trademarks are essential to protecting your property, both physical and intellectual. Though this may not be an exciting step when creating a new business, it is your responsibility as a new business owner to manage the risks associated with your business. Implementing the proper insurance ensures your company is protected in the event of disaster or litigation.

Posted on 3 June '19, under business. No Comments.

How to get the most out of business meetings

Conducting meetings is a regular way of communicating what needs to be done around the office, but if nothing gets accomplished it can be discouraging. When organised properly, however, business meetings can be effective and efficient.

Plan ahead:
Meetings need purpose. If they are not planned well then topics needed to be addressed may get missed. Before starting ask questions like, ‘is this meeting necessary?’, ‘What is the purpose of the meeting?’, or, ‘who needs to attend?’ This can give you a solid direction for the meeting. Topics that need discussing could be listed on the agenda. Try itemising each issue to give everyone a firm guideline of what is expected to be discussed.

Timing is everything:
Starting a meeting on time reinforces the idea that others will fall behind if they are late. Punctuality can help to ensure that adequate time is spent discussing each item properly. Timing also applies to the practicality of the items you wish to discuss. Having specific deadlines for your objectives to get accomplished can assist in keeping everyone on the same page.

Encourage participation:
Do not let a meeting be dominated by only a few people. Instead, create a friendly atmosphere where everyone feels comfortable, this can help others to speak up and express their opinions. Exploring the views of other people can give you valuable insights into who can handle certain responsibilities or whose ideas are worth implementing.

Posted on 27 May '19, under business. No Comments.

Choosing the right business location

When setting up your business, choosing a location can be a critical factor in its success. Unless you are completely home-based, you will need to decide where you will conduct your business either by leasing or buying premises. Each organisation has varying requirements, so it is necessary to consider your needs and priorities when deciding on a business premises that will best suit you.

Know your business:
The types of premises will depend on your business. Businesses that offer professional services may consider choosing long or short-term leasing options that will allow you to conduct customer and business meetings from a central location. If you run a retail or hospitality organisation it will involve deciding on the best location to sell your products while also being accessible to customers. For those that involve manufacturing, wholesaling or selling over the internet, then selecting a business location will not impact on attracting customers.

Identify customers:
Identifying who your customers are and how you can best meet their needs can also assist in choosing a location. Researching relevant information, such as where they live and work, and how far they will potentially travel to buy your products or services, can help you decide on a location that is practical for existing customers and attractive to new ones.

Assess the location:
Consider the external elements that can affect your business. Look at the traffic in the area and work out how it can support or hinder you and what services are in the area in which you choose to locate. You may consider asking other local business in your desired location for some advice on the best providers for services such as gas or electricity, water, phone and internet.

Remember your legal and environmental obligations when choosing a place to set up your business, and check with the local council for any planning and building restrictions if necessary. For example, you could consider how possible noise produced by your business would affect the local community. Before making any big decisions, consider seeking further legal or professional advice.

Posted on 24 May '19, under business. No Comments.

Choosing the right business location

When setting up your business, choosing a location can be a critical factor in its success. Each organisation has varying requirements, so it is necessary to consider your needs and priorities when deciding on a business premises that will best suit you.

Know your business:
The types of premises will depend on your business. Businesses that offer professional services may consider choosing long or short-term leasing options that will allow you to conduct customer and business meetings from a central location. If you run a retail or hospitality organisation it will involve deciding on the best location to sell your products while also being accessible to customers. For those that involve manufacturing, wholesaling or selling over the internet, then selecting a business location will not impact on attracting customers.

Identify customers:
Identifying who your customers are and how you can best meet their needs can also assist in choosing a location. Researching relevant information, such as where they live and work, and how far they will potentially travel to buy your products or services, can help you decide on a location that is practical for existing customers and attractive to new ones.

Assess the location:
Consider the external elements that can affect your business. Look at the traffic in the area and work out how it can support or hinder you and what services are in the area in which you choose to locate. You may consider asking other local business in your desired location for some advice on the best providers for services such as gas or electricity, water, phone and internet.

Posted on 20 May '19, under business. No Comments.

Common mistakes to avoid when launching a business

Starting a new business is an exciting time for many entrepreneurs. However, there are 5 common mistakes many new business owners make. By being aware of these mistakes, you will increase your chances of success and remove the risk of your new venture turning into a failure.

Being unprepared:
Organisation is key when it comes to running a small business. While it may be tedious, implementing a solid plan for your business will benefit your time management and goal setting by mapping out exactly how much time and money it will take you to grow your business. Plans you may consider include a business plan, a financial plan and a marketing plan.

Avoiding new technology:
Technology can provide new opportunities, help to do your work more efficiently and even help to save money in your small business. While new technology may seem intimidating and require more time initially to learn and understand, an unwillingness to adapt to new technologies may hurt your business in the long term.

Failure to delegate:
A new business owner may think they can take on all tasks at once. However, effective delegation can be a great way to build and grow your business. It can free up your time for business activities that may require your unique expertise, and help to build a strong team that can work together for collective success.

Ignoring market research:
Investing large amounts of time and money into a business idea where you have not researched the market can potentially lead to devastating outcomes. Test your products and services before you start your business, to identify what target market you are trying to reach and how they may respond to your marketing activities.

Running out of capital:
A new business that is running out of money is the quickest way for it to fail. You should plan in advance to ensure that you will have enough money to live on while your business is in its startup phase, as well as budgeting for the amount of capital you will require for the business to survive and grow.

Posted on 10 May '19, under business. No Comments.

Common mistakes to avoid when launching a business

Starting a new business is an exciting time for many entrepreneurs. However, there are 5 common mistakes many new business owners make. By being aware of these mistakes that may occur when starting a business, you will increase your chances of success and remove the risk of your new venture turning into a failure.

Being unprepared:
Organisation is key when it comes to running a small business. While it may be tedious, implementing a solid plan for your business will benefit your time management and goal setting by mapping out exactly how much time and money it will take you to grow your business.

Avoiding new technology:
While new technology may seem intimidating and require more time initially to learn and understand, an unwillingness to adapt to new technologies may hurt your business down the track.

Failure to delegate:
Effective delegation can be a great way to build and grow your business. It can free up your time for business activities that may require your unique expertise, and help to build a strong team that can work together for collective success.

Ignoring market research:
Test your products and services before you start your business, to identify what target market you are trying to reach and how they may respond to your marketing activities.

Running out of capital:
You should plan in advance to ensure that you will have enough money to live on while your business is in its startup phase, as well as budgeting for the amount of capital you will require for the business to survive and grow.

Posted on 10 May '19, under business. No Comments.

Handling negative feedback

Customer complaints are an inevitable part of running a business. How you handle negative feedback can help or hinder retaining existing customers. Complaints can be a great learning tool for businesses looking to improve their services, products, customer satisfaction and overall competitive edge.

Poorly handled complaints can see customers withdraw their business and encourage others to do so. When businesses take the time to listen and genuinely fix an issue, customers see value in the services they provide. Here are four tips to deal with complaints effectively:

Actively listen:
When an issue is presented, apologise promptly for the matter and don’t blame others. Be sure to thank the customer for raising the complaint and listen intently, asking questions and repeating back what they have said can help to demonstrate this.

Focus on solutions:
Discussing different options for working through the issue with the customer can help as it shows commitment to fixing their problem. Clarify what their desired outcome is and negotiate solutions that meet both parties’ needs.

Follow-up:
Communicating results with customers is a good practice to ensure they are satisfied with the progress or outcome and the way the complaint was handled. When businesses make any changes that are customer-based, it is important to keep customers who were part of the feedback process updated. This encourages customers to continue giving their input if they know they are being heard and are responsible for any positive changes. A business may want to ask for follow-up feedback, once customers have experienced the improvements, to gain more insight into what their customers want from them.

Have a dedicated staff member:
Assigning one staff member to manage complaints and responses can help processes to be thorough and consistent. By having a customer service role, with the appropriate training and skills to manage complaints, you also protect the business and the rest of the team who may not be as well equipped to handle negative feedback.

Posted on 6 May '19, under business. No Comments.

Handling negative feedback

Customer complaints are an inevitable part of running a business. How you handle negative feedback can help or hinder retaining existing customers. Complaints can be a great learning tool for businesses looking to improve their services, products, customer satisfaction and overall competitive edge.

Poorly handled complaints can see customers withdraw their business and encourage others to do so. When businesses take the time to listen and genuinely fix an issue, customers see value in the services they provide. Here are four tips to deal with complaints effectively:

Actively listen:
When an issue is presented, apologise promptly for the matter and don’t blame others. Be sure to thank the customer for raising the complaint and listen intently, asking questions and repeating back what they have said can help to demonstrate this.

Focus on solutions:
Discussing different options for working through the issue with the customer can help as it shows commitment to fixing their problem. Clarify what their desired outcome is and negotiate solutions that meet both parties needs.

Have a dedicated staff member:
Assigning one staff member to manage complaints and responses can help processes to be thorough and consistent. By having a customer service role, with the appropriate training and skills to manage complaints, you also protect the business and the rest of the team who may not be as well equipped to handle negative feedback.

Posted on 6 May '19, under business. No Comments.

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