SMALL TO MEDIUM BUSINESS MANAGEMENT INSIGHTS
Our business experts are here to help you or your small business get ahead of the curve
and make smarter business and technology decisions. Delve into best practice, how-to guides
and other handy information across a range of topics.
9 apps to help you get more done in less time
Are you plagued by mundane tasks that suck up valuable time? You probably know there’s an app for that, right? But you’re too busy to find out which ones work for you. That’s why we’ve done the donkey work for you…READ MORE
How big data helps big businesses think bigger
There’s a new business phrase doing the rounds: big data. It sounds impressive, complicated, even a bit mysterious. However, in many respects, big data is an evolution of previous buzzwords such as ‘business intelligence’ and good old-fashioned market research and analysis. Regardless, it’s the key to business success…READ MORE
The holiday bonus your employees really want
If you ask your staff what they want for Christmas, they will probably say cash, a pay rise or a promotion. And who can blame them? Unfortunately, in tough times that may not be on the cards. So how do we send them away with that warm fuzzy “I love my job” feeling that will see them through the inevitable holiday ruminations of “Is this really what I want to do with my life?” Here are a few ideas to get your staff to return to work all fired up for the year to come.READ MORE
Top five employee gifts
Gift giving to employees can be fraught with problems. What if they don’t like them, or feel they are too cheap or even meaningless? Do you give every employee the same gift to avoid jealously, or will that leave them feeling that you can’t be bothered individualising them?
Don’t worry. There are some ways around these problems.READ MORE
Six ways to spoil your clients this Christmas
Christmas is a great time to make an impression on your clients that can help to secure the relationship into the new year. It’s also one of the few times you can legitimately give something to your clients without being accused of graft, bribery or flattery. The trick is in getting the right gift – one that isn’t over the top but also isn’t seen as cheap. We want our clients to feel like we have taken the time to put some real thought into it, and that it reflects the value we place on our professional relationship with them.
The key is to make it personal and tailored. A gift doesn’t have to be expensive if it is meaningful to the client. However, if it’s a high-value client you might want to consider spending a little extra.READ MORE
Are you really ready to start a business?
Let's assume that you already know that going into business isn't a walk in the park and that most businesses fail within five years. There are still a few questions you should answer before trading in your current boss for that lunatic in the mirror.READ MORE
Common setbacks in small business (and how to avoid them)
Experiencing failure and disappointments when running a business is par for the course. Whether it's a poor return on a marketing investment, a partnership explosion or a financial hurdle, setbacks are inevitable. But they can also provide some of the biggest and best personal and professional breakthroughs, if you allow them.READ MORE
How to be a happy freelancer
Working for yourself. Working from home. Laptop on your pyjama-clad lap until lunchtime... It's the making of daydreams for many office workers. But once you're in the world of freelancing or consulting as a one-man operation, issues of flow start to arise and create stress. Work flow and cash flow being two of the most difficult to wrangle.READ MORE
Do you have what it takes to be a sole trader?
So you're sick and tired of working for the man and you're thinking you might go it alone. Fair enough, being your own boss has some real benefits to it. Whatever you make is all yours, you can enjoy greater flexibility, you take holidays when you want and no one is telling you what to do, right?READ MORE
Introducing modern practices into an old-fashioned business
The business world changed with the advent of the internet. For a long time, smaller operators have been able to continue without having to do too much, continuing to manage using invoice books and the yellow pages for marketing. Good service and old-fashioned business practices were sufficient.READ MORE
Why you need a five-year plan
Perhaps one of the most well-known sayings in business is "those who fail to plan are planning to fail". Business statistics would appear to support this idea, with nine out of 10 businesses closing within 10 years. Doing business without a plan is like going sailing without a chart and compass.READ MORE
Have you got what it takes to be a mumpreneur?
For thousands of years, mothers have run home-based businesses producing everything from cottage crafts to gourmet foods. Mums have been midwives, healers, butchers, fishmongers, grocers, tavern keepers, writers, artists and so much more. Being a 'mumpreneur' isn't new - it's just got a new name and a whole lot of new potential.READ MORE
When is it time to call in a consultant?
We all know calling in the consultants can be costly. The trick is in working out exactly when the time is right. However, figuring out when to make the call can be as simple as understanding the five reasons for calling in the big guns.READ MORE
Independent business vs. franchise: What are the pros and cons?
Do you buy an independent business or go down the franchise path? Here are the pros and cons. Owning a business is the dream of many Australians, but do you buy an independent one or go down the franchise path? Each type has its own pros and cons and what works best for you will depend largely on your personality and business goals.READ MORE
Do you go niche, or try to be a one-stop shop?
Should a business specialise in one particular product or service, or become a one-stop shop that offers the widest range? Here are the pros and cons.READ MORE
Customer service in the digital era
Customer service excellence is a moving target, particularly in the current digital era. The rate of change for all things in life and business is accelerating. So too are customer expectations. Achieving and maintaining customer satisfaction requires discipline, focus and a commitment to four key service fundamentals.READ MORE
Customer surveys: Beneficial or bothersome?
Customer surveys have been around for a long time. They are basically tools for measuring customer satisfaction. But in an age when customers blog, tweet and text about their experiences in real-time, these independent reviews, assessments and spontaneous protests serve as critical feedback for companies. The smart ones monitor what's said about them in social media and follow up with surveys.READ MORE
The key to building customer loyalty
Customer loyalty is the holy grail of business. A repeat customer saves business significant money on customer acquisition and service costs as well as being a powerful brand ambassador. Building customer loyalty simply comes down to service and rewards.READ MORE
Five ways to deal with pushy customers
Did you know that pushy customers can become your greatest brand ambassadors? Sure, they can be annoying, demanding, unreasonable and tiresome, but the key is in understanding what a pushy customer really wants and learning how to give it to them. Let's start with some 'pushy' psychology.READ MORE
Is the customer always right?
The idea that the customer is always right is responsible for the success of numerous businesses. So is the customer always right? Heck no, but don’t tell them that. The idea that the customer is always right has transcended time and is responsible for the success of numerous businesses, including the Ritz Hotel chain and Wanamaker's department stores, which revolutionised retail in the early 1800s. The phrase is most commonly attributed to Marshall Field, an American retailer who coined the principle 'give them what they want'.READ MORE
Developing a customer service strategy
How to create a customer service strategy that guides all employees in providing the best customer service possible. The truism that it takes months to find a customer and seconds to lose one has never been more accurate. Social media and online review sites can quickly amplify a single customer's bad customer service experience and inflict significant damage on your business. Major companies now emphasise the importance of their customer service strategies not only when marketing to customers, but also when speaking to investors, underlining the impact customer service can have on a company's bottom line.READ MORE
How to write a mission statement
Mission and vision statements might help clarify a company's strategy and purpose. But the problems start when the promise, often pinned up on walls and elevators in the workplace, fails to match the reality.READ MORE
How to be the world's best boss
An awesome employer is often the difference between a productivity powerhouse and a revolving-door workplace. Great bosses have higher staff retention, more innovative and productive teams, better business outcomes and they enjoy their work.READ MORE
The world’s coolest offices
Let's face it - the modern office is a byproduct of the industrial revolution, which saw people more as machines than living organisms. Tightly packed grey cubicles, harsh fluorescent lighting and a plastic pot plant are pretty much the norm. More likely to inspire anxiety than productivity!READ MORE
How to attract great employees (and keep them!)
There are many creative ways to help you compete to gain and keep the best. Many small-to-medium enterprises (SMEs) can offer the sort of work-life balance, flexibility, personal care and opportunities for growth and advancement that bigger businesses just can’t match. No way? Consider the following.READ MORE
Legal for start ups cutting through the red tape
Setting up your own business can be a daunting prospect and going through a stack of legal processes is no exception. Unfortunately in the rush to go to market, many business owners forget to tick off some crucial legal basics. Here are a few must-dos.READ MORE
Are business partnerships worth the legal stress?
Business partnerships are like marriages. You start out full of optimism, knowing that combining your skills and strengths will create a formidable team, 'till death do you part'. But partnerships can be fraught with tension, stress and financial problems, and sometimes you discover your goals are far apart. Which raises the question, are business partnerships worth the legal stress?READ MORE
Eight reasons why owning your own business is awesome!
When it comes to running your own small business, there are some very cool upsides to balance out the risks. Sure there are pitfalls to running your own business - no paid holidays, no overtime, high workplace stress, and the boss can be a real slave driver (that's you!). So why do people keep trying to become business owners, and why do those who have had their own businesses often go back to 'paid work' kicking and screaming?READ MORE
Open plan versus closed office space
The type of office you work in can be a reflection of your status within a company. When a stockbroker was filmed live on television looking at revealing pictures of model Miranda Kerr while his colleague was being interviewed, you can bet he wished he had his own private office rather than an open plan one. However, there are pros and cons of both.READ MORE
How to nurture leaders, not followers
How do you bring out leadership in your staff? Try these approaches for nurturing leaders, not followers. Let's face it, not every member of your staff is destined for high leadership positions. Most of them aren't. That doesn't mean that they aren't all leaders in their own right, or at least capable of it. The trick is to not fall into the trap of seeing people as either leaders or followers.READ MORE
Knowing how and when to push your staff
The trick is learning how to push with our staff and inspire them to push with us. Newton's third law of motion states, "To every action there is always an equal and opposite reaction." It's just as true with people. That doesn't mean we can't get more from our employees at those times when we really need it. The trick is learning how to push with our staff and inspire them to push with us.READ MORE
Why every employee needs a job description
Employment is a contract between you/your company and an individual. Most people wouldn't dream of entering into a contractual arrangement without a clearly written document that specifies the rights and responsibilities of all parties, yet this basic step is still overlooked by some employers. There are very good reasons why it shouldn't be.READ MORE
Why SMEs should embrace flexible working hours
It seems the concept of the nine-to-five workday has gone the way of the dinosaur in recent years, as technology has stretched the workplace beyond the traditional office environment.READ MORE
Destination burnout: Why you should book a holiday!
All work and no play can make Jack or Jill a basket case. Stress is the buzzword of modern times, and with good reason. Most people know that too much stress isn't good for us, but what might surprise you is that too little is also detrimental. Research indicates that most people perform at their best, and feel their best, when they are under some degree of pressure.READ MORE
Building an elite small-business team
The SAS (Special Air Service) is an elite team in the Australian Defence Force. Its motto is telling: Who Dares Wins. Team members constantly push the envelope; that is, they go beyond set parameters.READ MORE