17 ways to get repeat business

Q. I am finding it tough. Sales are slowing but I can’t figure out exactly why. No-one seems to be unhappy with what we do, and no competitor has entered the market.  People don’t repeat their purchases. They seem to be buying less often and in lower numbers. Your existing customers are your most valuable asset. Repeat business is easier and far less expensive to get an existing customer to…  Read more

10 Productivity Tools to Help You Do More at Work

In today’s fast-paced world, everyone wants to be more productive. Fortunately, there is an ever-increasing number of tools, many of them available online and across multiple devices, that promise to help us achieve our goals. The challenge then becomes how to know not just which tools will live up to their promise but which tools are right for our business. Choosing the best productivity tools depends on a number of factors,…  Read more

5 Cheaper Ways to Advertise Your Business

Advertising is an essential component of success for any business. Proper advertising ensures more sales, but if you choose the wrong options, it can be a very expensive proposition. Let’s look at five ways you can reduce your business’s advertising expenditure without affecting your results. Referrals A referral program encourages your current customers to send their friends to your site, and to earn rewards for their efforts. It’s a great…  Read more

3 Mistakes That Strangle Growing Businesses

Businesses want to grow and help a larger audience, but too many make mistakes that cripple their growth. Even worse, they keep repeating them! Don’t do the same; avoid the blunders outlined below. Mistake 1: Hiring Toxic Personalities Businesses hire more staff as they grow. But if they expand too quickly, they will feel pressure to fill positions on their team, even if the job candidates have a few personality…  Read more

Tips for choosing a business credit card

Why might you need to choose a business credit card? It can be a challenge for new business owners to find a bank that will approve them for even a small business loan. Most will see a young company as too high a risk to qualify for corporate lending. A credit card can serve as a short term solution for small scale financing, offering entrepreneurs a “foot in the door”…  Read more

Protect Yourself and Your Data – Proactive Steps for Living Safely in the Digital Age

How can you protect yourself in our digital world? These days your personal data is everywhere, and that information is valuable to marketers, hackers and everyone in between. If you want to prevent the unauthorized use of your personal information, you need to take a proactive approach to protecting yourself and your identity. You can no longer afford to be blasé about your data security – if you are not…  Read more

What to do if you get audited

No business owner looks forward to a letter from the taxman requesting a closer look at the books for an audit. If you’ve received an audit letter – an official request by the tax authority to review your accounts and confirm your taxes have been paid to date – don’t panic. Prepare. These four steps will help you get through the process with minimal stress and the best possible outcome.…  Read more

Is it better to buy or lease a company vehicle?

If you need a car to operate your business, you may wonder whether it makes more sense to buy or lease a company vehicle. On the one hand, if your business owns the car you’ll have a long-term asset and may qualify for more tax deductions. On the other hand, buying a car is a huge expense and monthly lease payments tend to be lower than car loan payments; they…  Read more

4 ways to make your business easier to sell

Perhaps you’d always planned to build a thriving business to eventually sell for a tidy sum – or maybe for unexpected personal reasons it’s best to let your company go sooner rather than later. No matter what the reason for selling your business, experts agree: it’s best to be prepared well in advance as it can take years to complete a successful sale. These four tips will help you get…  Read more

Is business insurance worthwhile?

If you’re like many small business owners, your business insurance might not be adequate in the case of a fire, flood, natural disaster, theft, or personal injury. Often home-based business owners assume they are covered under their homeowner’s policy. Other entrepreneurs, working long hours and pulled in too many directions, may never get around to talking to an insurance agent about their business. If you’ve been procrastinating on business insurance,…  Read more

Lean canvas – a new way to do business planning

Few business owners have extra time to devote to a lengthy business planning process. But every entrepreneur needs a solid blueprint to get their business successfully up and running. The Lean Canvas—designed by Sparks59 CEO and Running Lean author, Ash Maurya—is a simple, effective planning tool that helps entrepreneurs assess and test their ideas before investing too deeply in building a product. For the small business owner, the Lean Canvas…  Read more

Yellow pages vs Facebook ads – should you cancel your print listing?

If you’re a small business owner with a modest marketing budget, every dollar you spend has to be worth the investment. For decades—before the web, Google, and social media transformed the nature of marketing—buying an ad in the local Yellow Pages was a reliable way for people to find a business. The fact is, these days most consumers across the globe use the web and review sites like Yelp, TripAdvisor,…  Read more

Encouraging word of mouth

If you have any doubt that word-of-mouth referrals are important, consider these recent stats: According to Neilson, 92% of shoppers trust recommendations from friends and family more than traditional advertising 20% to 50% of consumer purchases are made because of a word of mouth recommendation 81% of buyers are influenced by their friends’ social media posts. So how can you encourage positive word of mouth for your small business? Try…  Read more

Wealth the Warren Buffett way – a short guide to value investing

Wealth through value investing is the stock selection strategy famously used by business magnate and third wealthiest person in the world, Warren Buffett, whose total net worth exceeds $91.5 billion. Developed in the 1930s by Columbia University professor and economist, Ben Graham, wealth through value investing involves screening securities to find stocks undervalued relative to peers and the market. Stocks are then assessed for their intrinsic value, determined by a…  Read more

Is technology making you less efficient?

“For a list of all the ways technology has failed to improve the quality of life, please press three.” Alice Kahn If you feel overwhelmed by the sheer volume of technological gadgets out there, never mind apps and other digital “solutions”, you’re not alone. Technology sprawl and the rabbit hole of more and more information, available all the time, is making productivity—and healthy downtime—a real challenge for many of us.…  Read more

Growing your business without borrowing

Taking out a business loan may be your first plan of action for financing business growth. But there are excellent reasons to consider other options for finding capital to expand your business. For one, it can be very difficult for a small business to secure financing, especially in the early days. You’ll need to prove to a lender that you aren’t a high risk, with financial documentation that shows your…  Read more

How to create an advisory board for your business

A company’s advisory board can contain a business leader’s most valuable mentors. Many remarkable entrepreneurs, including Warren Buffet, Sheryl Sandberg, and Richard Branson, have credited their success, in part, to the advice of their mentors. An advisory board is an informal group of mentors whose collective business expertise—and objectivity—can help you make better, more informed decisions, thereby accelerating growth. Unlike business consultants (whose fees may well exceed your budget), advisory…  Read more

Paying employees for leave

Working out what you need to remember when you are paying employees leave can be complicated — but with the right systems and processes in place, it doesn’t have to be difficult. Everyone wins when leave is done right Paid leave — your employees’ entitlements All employees are entitled to paid days off for: annual leave public holidays sick leave bereavement leave. You can decide whether or not to pay…  Read more

Short Term Rentals: What You Need to Know

If you’re thinking about making your home, rental property or holiday house available for short term rentals, make sure you know the rules on holiday rental agreements, claiming expenses, whether to declare it at tax time, and more. Holiday home rental needs to be done right Key things to consider for holiday rentals With the rise of online holiday accommodation websites like Airbnb and Bookabach, listing a property for short-term…  Read more

Claiming expenses on business trips – what’s tax deductible?

You can claim tax deductions for lots of daily expenses when you’re travelling for work. If you take a holiday as part of the same trip, you can only claim for the parts of the trip that were work-related. In general, when you’re away from home you can claim for: flights taxis, or mileage if you use your own car for business travel accommodation meals and snacks. Accommodation If you’re…  Read more

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