Archive for 'Business'
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:
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.
Professional help with accounting and financial decisions is useful at every stage of business. Accountants can assist with a variety of tasks during different periods of operation within your business to improve strategies for long term stability. Having a dedicated accountant gives you more freedom to concentrate on running other aspects of the company.
There are many elements that need to be considered when first starting a business. Having an accountant on board can help you make big decisions and direct your focus to areas you want to establish first. Determining the best business structure for your situation and assisting with the financial analysis in your business plans are some of the first steps an accountant can advise you on.
Day to day:
Once you have an established business, an accountant can assist with the maintenance of strategies implemented when first starting out. It can be simpler tasks such as explaining your financial statements or overseeing company payroll and payment processes, to bigger elements of business like closing out your books, creating financial reports at the end of the year, compiling and then submitting taxes and all necessary paperwork to the ATO. Having this support can ensure accurate accounts and let you focus on more day to day tasks.
In a market that is full of entrepreneurs and small businesses, collaborating with a business that complements yours can be a powerful tool to share your marketing budget and be introduced to new audiences. Regardless of what industry you are in, combining resources and efforts with another business can enable you to easily reach goals and builds mutually beneficial connections.
Grow your network:
Making lasting connections with a target audience is key to being successful. Partnering with other businesses can help expand your networks, introducing you to people that you may otherwise not have the opportunity to meet. Collaborating with others can enable expansion of your client portfolio and customer base, with each party benefiting from the other’s audience.
One of the biggest benefits of business collaboration is the opportunity for learning. Every interaction with a business different from your own can give you insight into something you may not have considered before. With two parties bringing different skill sets, perspectives and strengths to the table, there are many opportunities for mutual learning and growth.
It is also worth considering that while there are many potential benefits, a number of risks may come with business partnerships. For example, cultural differences or clashes in business philosophies could occur and create conflict. You should be considering processes carefully before going ahead, and consult a financial or business advisor if you need further assistance.
When an employer provides certain benefits for their staff, they are required to pay Fringe Benefits Tax (FBT). Employers pay FBT on the benefits they present to employees and their families or other associates. The benefit may be in addition to, or part of, an employee’s salary or wages package.
FBT is separate from income tax and is calculated on the taxable value of the benefits that have been provided to employees. The type of fringe benefits employers must pay FBT on include:
- Vehicles for private use: if an employer makes a car they own or lease available for the private use of an employee, they may have to provide a car fringe benefit.
- Loans: employers may have to provide a loan fringe benefit if they give their employees a loan, possibly at a discount, and charge no interest or a low rate of interest.
- Entertainment: this refers to situations such as providing entertainment in the form of free tickets to concerts. This provision can include providing food and drink, accommodation or travel in connection with the entertainment.
- Membership: paying an employee’s membership to a gym.
Businesses will need to assess their own tax liability within each FBT year, from 1 April to 31 March. Returns must be lodged before the due date on 21 May.
Advancements in technology continue to digitise our world, including financially. In recent years, more businesses and events are turning to cashless systems. Whilst cash still remains popular in businesses dealing in small purchases, such as cafes, if you run a business that handles larger transactions, changing to a cashless system could benefit you in many ways.
Managing your money through electronic payments helps you keep track of income and expenditure. If you use a digital system, you have extensive logs of where money came from or is going to, how much you have currently and what you are expected to receive or pay. To receive the best security and effectiveness with electronic payments, you could consider investing in technology that transfers money instantly whilst also tracking payments.
Running a cashless business also protects you from theft. Holding large amounts of cash can make you a target, with the time and expenses dedicated to ensuring your cash is secure being better used on more effective financial management systems. Whilst online methods come with their own risks, there are systems you can implement to protect you such as two-factor authentication, third-party data protection and cyber liability insurance packages.
Cashless business models are also time-saving. By cutting out cash handling, you can save time with your client interactions as well as cutting out end of day counts and lengthy trips to the bank to make deposits and changes. Whilst cashless systems are not right for everyone, if this is a viable option for your business you should consider consulting your accountant. If you decide to make the switch, give clients a grace period to be introduced to the new system and explain how it could benefit them.
Raising capital is a step that every startup faces. When a business is brand new, the question of how to get money must be addressed. If you intend to launch a business that needs significant capital expenditure, such as a retail business or a company that employs several other people, then you won’t get far without initial funding. Every investor has pro’s and con’s, and it is best to know what ways will work best for your business.
Friends or family investors:
Going to friends or family members can be the first point of contact to raise capital for your business. Investments from family and friends usually come in the form of loans, which you can arrange to pay back. It’s important to ensure that documents such as a formal business plan and legal agreements are drawn up professionally and to be transparent about expectations surrounding the investment.
Angel investors refer to wealthy individuals who enjoy helping entrepreneurs in their business ventures. They can be important to a new startup, investing their money in exchange for small ownership of part of the business in an equity investment. However, they can also provide loan investments in the same way as family and friend investors.
One of the most popular forms of startup funding is through venture capital, who are wealthy investors that support small businesses and startups by providing them with capital to grow and expand. Unlike family or friend investors, venture capitalists are generally equity investors with the expectation of a stake in the business.
Deciding to move on from your business can impact a lot of different people. When selling your business, you will need to consider the effects on all areas of operation from the actual transfer of ownership to the impact on day to day operations. While it is easy to get caught up in the price of a sale, you should take the time to reflect on what selling will really mean.
If you have decided that selling is the way you want to go, make sure everything is in the best possible condition for sale. Having all policies, contracts, finances and other relevant information well documented can help to transfer the business a lot smoother and quicker. This will also be appealing to potential buyers as they can look into all business dealings easily and make informed decisions.
Next, you should get a valuation of your business once all the elements are in order. Having a valuation done will help you decide on the right selling price. Getting professional advice for this process will help you get the most accurate figure for all your assets and a detailed look into the market value.
After all this, it is time to put your business on the market. Advertising will greatly help your sale and attract different types of buyers. For this reason, you should be strategic with your marketing, appealing to the buyers you want to sell to. While you have a had your business valued, negotiations will still be a big part of a sale. Prepare yourself with what elements of the sale you are willing to change and what elements are definitive, this will help to determine what negotiations are worth your time. Involving a professional business broker, settlement agent or lawyer in the sale of your business can help prevent problems and make sure the sale is valid.
Owning and running a small business comes with positives and negatives that maintain a balance. When the negative elements start to outweigh the positives, you have a problem. Every business will face challenges along the way, the trick is knowing what they are and how to deal with them.
Clients and customer service:
A business is nothing without its clients but that doesn’t mean they are necessarily easy to work with. In the digital age, everyone is heard, meaning good client relations are vital to having a positive business image. Growing your client base comes from well-planned marketing techniques and knowing what your audiences want from you. There needs to be a healthy balance between supporting your existing customers and sourcing new ones, you should not neglect either area.
With technology ever growing, some small businesses can find it hard to keep up. For a business to continue to thrive, it needs to be able to grow and adapt to the changing market. For this reason, many businesses hire younger workers to run their social media because they don’t understand it themselves and expect the younger generation does. While having a dedicated worker to look after areas you may not be familiar with, you should have a basic level of understanding about what this technology is actually doing to aid your business.
Without exposure, businesses would come and go very quickly. In this new digital age, there are even more options for how you want to advertise your business. There are a variety of resources, all priced differently so you can pay as much as you want or nothing at all. You will need to be aware of your target audience and what form of media would they consume the most.
Traditional media most commonly refers to print, radio or television advertising. Ads in magazines, newspapers, on the radio and the television, are how you would target an older audience. To optimise this advertising medium, have your ads displayed prominently or played at peak times.
New media refers to the internet and the various avenues on which you can advertise. Like traditional media, you can by ad space to appear on Google or other pages. Again this is monetarily based. The audience on social media, in particular, is younger and many services, such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, offer free business models that highlight all your relevant information for public consumption.
On a smaller scale, physical advertising in your area can boost visibility. Flyers or business cards are a good way to get locals to be aware of your presence in the community and can be fairly inexpensive. This form of advertising lets you reach an array of people as well as helping to establish yourself in your local area. If you have more money to spend, consider renting a billboard or a bus stop space for larger scale advertising.
Business culture is a reflection of what your company stands for, it’s your voice. Employee relations are what establishes this voice and can always be improved. A work environment that everyone enjoys can help to improve performance and productivity. Here are some ways you can help better the culture of your business
For a business culture to be established, as the employer you must first decide what that voice will be. Having a clear direction for your business practices is common but for community in the office, a vision for your business culture will help the process. It is your job to help guide your company toward your vision in every aspect of the business.
Lead by example:
Often business owners can be separated from the general culture of the workplace. It is important to show you adopt the values and productivity levels you are expecting of your employees. Integration on this level helps to establish what you expect out of the business and its everyday processes.
One of the most obvious points is communication, it is essential in running a business. Good communication is not only needed for basic tasks and management but also key to creating your business culture. If your vision for the business is not effectively communicated then the culture will reflect that.
If you foster an environment that encourages feedback, you get an everyday look into how the culture of your business is or has formed. Feedback to employees is important for their personal growth in the company and practices but when there is a mutual level of communication and trust, their feedback to you can help better your own idea of your business culture.