Four tips to keep your team motivated!

   Every small business needs to motivate their employees in order foe the
   team to work more efficiently and produce better results. Using
   monetary and other rewards to improve motivation is a simple idea, but
   doing it fairly and effectively can be challenging.
   Therefore the difficult question is ‘How can you create a compensation
   program that motivates employees, results in a more productive staff
   and is administered fairly and effectively?’ Here are some valuable


   1. Establish an action plan: Set realistic goals in your action plan.
       You must always reward top performance and must be as clear as
       possible in establishing realistic and fair goals. This is because
       effective communication is the key ingredient for the entire

    2. Be creative in determining rewards: Before you launch the plan,
       decide the reward. The reward need not always be cash. Recent
       studies have proven that non-cash rewards are more attractive and
       effective than cash rewards. Offering flexible working hours and
       the occasional Friday afternoon off have proven to be great
       rewards. If cash flow is a problem, then why not implement non cash
       rewards to motivate your staff!

    3. Group rewards may be appropriate, but don’t undermine individual
       initiative: Most businesses tend to reward the group and limit
       individual rewards as base pay to keep the simplicity of the
       program. However, that may result in lowerindividual initiative and
       innovation. It is important for individual contribution to be
       valued separately to the group when it is outstanding.

    4. Finally, it is important to keep motivation going:Once you have
       achieved success, don’t forget to celebrate! Keep thinking of
       creative ways to increase your motivational strategies, including
       making use of retreats, team-building exercises and travel where
       relevant. Always keep in mind that a motivated workforce will be
       happier, more productive and more profitable, and it ensures a fun
       place to work.


Self Managed Superannuation Funds (SMSF) and Lending

Has your SMSF loaned money? If so, make sure the loan terms comply with the law and are in the best interests of your retirement.

The ATO is concerned some trustees are lending money from their fund to people who provide advice or assist in the running of the fund. This may not be in the best interest of your SMSF, and may place your retirement savings at risk.
When a loan agreement is not in the best interest of your SMSF – for example, when you have given discount loan rates or favourable terms – this could have serious consequences. In addition to putting your member’s benefits at risk, your SMSF could be found to be non-complying and would, therefore, not qualify for concessional tax rates.


Before lending any money, you should consider your fund’s investment strategy.
If you still decide to go ahead and lend money from your SMSF, you should:
l  Put in place an appropriate loan agreement and have it signed by all the parties involved

l  Ensure the loan agreement specifies all the terms of the loan, such as

Ø  what the security for the loan is

Ø  the repayment period

Ø  when repayments will be paid

Ø  the amount of the repayments

Ø  the interest rate

l  Ensure the interest and repayments are received by the fund according to the loan agreement

l  Take appropriate action to protect the fund’s investment if the loan agreement is not followed

l  Ensure the loan is sensible and does not put the members’ benefits at risk

l  Ensure that the conditions of the loan agreement do not provide the borrower with favourable terms.
Remember that you are the one ultimately responsible for running your SMSF, and you must make sure you understand your duties, responsibilities and obligations.

Get ready For the Post-Christmas Cash Flow drought….7 ways to stay ahead!

The global financial crisis is squeezing credit and bank overdrafts and trade payments have been slowing. Therefore, small businesses should support themselves for an economic slowdown in the wake of chaos in international finance markets and a decrease in the value of the Australian dollar. They should be keeping a close watch on cash flow, considering the most appropriate finance options and improving administration processes. Here are some helpful tips to help your business survive and thrive in challenging market conditions!

1.       Get Organised – Keep summaries of all purchase and sales invoices and petty cash dockets. Importantly, keep your bank statements safe as they are a record of your payments and receipts.

2.       Always check the credit status of a new customer – Risks must not be underestimated in the eagerness of taking on new business. Credit checks can be done quickly and are relatively inexpensive.

3.       Chase overdue accounts regularly – take prompt action to follow up overdue accounts by telephone and check customers whether they have received invoices.

4.       Look for more flexible funding options – why not look into Debtor Finance or a line of credit.

5.       Review your suppliers – review the prices of all your suppliers are charging you. Are you too loyal to your suppliers for the wrong reasons? Think of the effect of 10% reduction in cost on your profits!

6.       Dusts off your business plan– try to reconstruct a winning business plan in 2012. Keep an electronic copy to make sure changes are easier to track.

7.       Call in a business consultant – A dedicated financial consultant can help you plan effectively and take advantage of opportunities on the horizon. If you would like more information on Business Consulting contact James Solomons on (02) 98683900 or 

Become a ‘Rainmaker’ in your business!

You may know what business to start, how to gather the resources; but if you do not know how to sell, then you might as well close the doors!

As much as you may dread of prospect of selling, your business needs customers, without which you are doomed. Regardless of whether you are a one person business or a big venture project, your goal needs to be to become a ‘rainmaker’ and attract new customers. Here are five useful steps to that can help you become a ‘rainmaker’:

1.       Find the WHY. Any business can sell a product/service and its benefits. To create a truly lasting relationship with your customers ask yourself why your business does what it does. Once you know communicate it. Apple sells ‘Think Differently’ – they just happen to make great computers and phones.

2.       Be well prepared and confident before you meet with a new customer or make a first sales call.

3.       Determine the competition. Know other ways your customer can get same kind of product or service that you offer. Find out as much as you can, including the price and benefits they are offering.

4.       State your benefits by listing down all the reasons why the customer should do business with you or buy your product such as reliability/durability of the product.

5.       Quantify the benefit. Determine what the benefit actually translates to for that individual or business.

Saving Tips For Xmas!

Christmas falls on December 25 every year and we all know it’s coming but some of us forget to tell our wallets! This time of year is a favourite among young and old, and the lights, decorations and the joy of being around those you love makes it all the more special.

But how about some tips to help make your season even merrier by saving some money? Here are a few ideas to make your holidays a little easier (and cheaper) to get through and allow you more relaxation time with family and friends.

Plan, Plan, Plan

Write out your plan listing everything you will need to buy and do this Christmas. Plan your food shopping list in advance, and check where you can get the cheapest ingredients and groceries. If you are doing the cooking, work out a menu plan, including everything you will eat and what groceries you need to buy.

Make Your List

Making a list assists you in determining a budget and can help you stick to it. Write down the names of those you will be buying presents for and what you plan on buying them. It’s not necessary to spend a small fortune on presents, choose to embrace a season of simplicity and go for handmade gifts and fun ideas that make Christmas more enjoyable anyway. Check out for some great handmade gifts!

Prepare your budget now

Work out how much Christmas will cost you and start putting aside the money for it each week. When you see something on special, buy it from your allocated Christmas money and do not go over budget. Don’t rely on credit cards; you don’t want to be still paying for Christmas into the New Year!

Stock up each week

If you have your Christmas plan and know what groceries you will need, stock up a little each week. It will reduce the stress and expense the closer it gets to Christmas as you will have absorbed the cost each week instead of doing one big Christmas shop. Save the perishables for last!

Look for the sales

There are sales going all the time for various things. Keep an eye out in your letterbox and newspapers for specials at your favourite stores. This way you will know when something on your Christmas list is a bargain and you can buy it at a reduced price. A little bit of saving here and there will add up and make your 2011 Christmas just that little bit easier on your pocket. HO HO HO !

What are your business’ values ….?

As published in the November edition of the Western Sydney Business Access magazine
Every business has a set of core values underpinning most, if not all of the actions and decisions that its owners and staff make on a daily basis (even if they don’t know what they are).
Successful businesses know what these core values are and have spent time developing them, modifying them and operating within them to maximize their chance of success.
Businesses that don’t know what their core values are, generally speaking are those businesses that have underperformed because their values are not aligned with the goals and objectives that they may or may not have set.
The ‘values’ and ‘practices’ in a business are what are defined as the culture of the business. Those businesses which have an adaptive culture which is shared and communicated between owners, staff and the public create an opportunity to give themselves a point of difference over their competitors.
So how do you turn a business’ values, practices and overriding culture into business success and more importantly for business owners, long lasting success and profits?
The key is to turn theory into practice. You can have the best set of corporate values written down on paper, but if these values aren’t followed they won’t transpire into a high performing culture.
It all starts with the owners. The owners of any business are the natural leaders of a business. Not all owners are the best ‘leaders’ however they still have to go about their day to day affairs using the values of the business as the framework for their decision making.
The owners will be responsible for defining the values of their business with or without input from their staff. The owners then need to communicate these values to the staff and make it very clear that these are the values of the business that have to be adhered to.
It is here however that many businesses fall down when non-conformity with these values is left unaddressed. Owners have to quickly deal with staff that don’t follow the values because it only takes one or two bad staff to bring the entire culture of the business down.
In comparison to non-conformity, adherence to the values can help to create a culture that encourages and inspires employees to take responsibility for the business and focus their efforts on achieving the shared goals of the organisation.
This is the beginning of the creation of a high performing culture, in part determined by the businesses values and can assist with reducing employee turnover which helps to improve a business’ profitability.
Taking a step back in the process the defining of the businesses values is an integral part of the planning process and is also a valuable marketing and reputation building tool.
I have talked in previous articles about risk management and the importance of business planning to give your business every chance of success. Well, defining the values by which you want to operate is really the first step in the planning process.
These values find their way into a SWOT Analysis….i.e. Strengths and Opportunities and how a strong set of business values can be a competitive advantage.
These values are part of risk management……i.e. What is the risk to the business if we don’t undertake our business dealings in line with our publicly communicated values? Client losses, revenue reductions, employee legal action? Lack of value conformity can result in all of these things occurring thanks to a dysfunctional corporate culture.
As a marketing tool, the communication of a business’ values to its clientele and stakeholders can be invaluable. Some clients or customers will chose to deal with a business which has similar values to them or values which they simply feel are honest and ethical.
The making of a business’ values public also makes a business, its owners and its employees accountable to stakeholders outside of the business for the following of these values. Thus ensuring these are not just mythical values created to follow a trend.
A businesses values and resultant culture will evolve over time. It is not an overnight sensation and in some cases for businesses which are using the creation of values as a change process will take a lot of effort and requires changes in the mindset of the organization to begin to work within these values
But as studies have shown that businesses which operate within a set of clearly defined, adaptive and positive values can outperform their competitors by sometimes 200% the short term and long term benefits both financial and non-financial are there to be had.

Cloud Computing: How it can help your business!

Cloud Computing – Practical Solutions

The new era in computing is here. A new way to minimise costs, maximise efficiency and best of all run an effective business. These may sound like dramatic claims, but ‘cloud’ computing is rapidly changing the way business is done. This is not just some fad for corporations with a huge budget either – it’s a cost effective solution that is coming to a small business near you!

What is Cloud Computing?

Essentially ‘cloud’ computing is utilising any subscription-based or pay-per-use service that, in real time over the Internet, completes essential or business related tasks for you. It’s outsourcing for the web generation. You don’t need to store your data locally or pay for expensive software licenses, with information instead being stored on secure servers in the ‘cloud’ that are accessible 24/7 wherever you are in the world. All you need is a computer or smart phone with an internet connection – it’s that simple. Data is always up to date so you can make important business decisions on the go.


The costs for cloud computing services vary, but in essence are much cheaper than traditional software services. Accounting software provider Xero (EFS Business Partner) starts at only $29 per month and allows much greater flexibility than locally stored software. The costs and dangers of storing information locally also mean that cloud computing is a logical choice for many businesses. Some cloud services are even free when supported by advertising!


The ‘cloud’ in action:

1)    Businesses can cut a big chunk out of their expenses by choosing to shift employees onto online call and communication services where businesses only required to pay minimal costs – from reduced rates for calls to even just the cost of broadband services or similar. Using technologies such as VoiP, people can talk face to face over the internet, making use of video and audio technology. This assists businesses to not only communicate easily and cheaply, but also makes it possible for people to have meetings with clients remotely which in turn drastically cuts down your businesses traveling costs as well as minimising the downtime of frequently travelling employees.
2)    Certain online tools can help you structure your day and keep track of what you are doing. ‘Toodledo’ is an online service allows you to organise and sort your tasks on a tiered model, enabling you to categorise things by priority. It is also fully optimised for mobile devices, helping you keep organised on the move. Google’s to-do list service also provides links directly to your Gmail account, providing easy access for any company that already uses Google’s services like YouTube, Adwords or even Analytics. The system is maintained on cloud servers, ensuring that it works quickly while data is stored in a safe environment.


Cloud computing offers businesses the opportunity to leverage services that used to cost a fortune and needed to be run in house. This means more time to focus on the things that matter – growing and developing your business.

For more information on using Xero Accounting Software to simplify your business and keep up to date with your finances please contact or visit