Business Improvement

Tips for Managing Remote Teams

Tips for Managing Remote Teams 1000 668 emily
So many business employees are now telecommuting, that companies around the world are restructuring their management practices to meet the challenges of remote collaboration. Because they tend to be more agile and open to change, small businesses are particularly well positioned to adapt to telecommuting. Increased productivity and happier employees who appreciate the added flexibility are just a few benefits winning over small business owners. But telecommuting also presents some challenges – in particular, two core issues: keeping track of what remote workers are doing and ensuring that remote and in-house teams form a cohesive unit. These tips can help you effectively manage and support your remote employees. Promote communication and accountability Defining expectations and setting up methods to track results are essential elements of remote team management. Here are a few ways to make sure your remote workers understand what is expected of them:
  • Set up a shareable daily work log your remote workers can use to report their progress on ongoing projects (Google Drive offers some good options).
  • Utilize a project management system to exchange messages, assign tasks and monitor projects rather than relying solely on email.
  • Determine key indicators for success for each remote worker and share these indicators with your employees (these might be daily, weekly or monthly goals).
  • Conduct regular reviews with remote workers to assess their performance.
  Include remote workers in office culture Positive work culture and employee engagement are quickly becoming top priorities for business managers who want to retain top talent. These tips will help your remote workers feel just as valued and validated as your in-house team.
  • If your in-house workers enjoy a monthly pizza party, don’t forget to include your remote workers. Invite them to attend, have a meal delivered to them or offer a gift certificate to a favorite restaurant.
  • Get to know and spend time with your remote workers, just as you would with in-house staff. Set aside a few moments each day to inquire about their families, personal interests, recent challenges and successes.
  • Consider pairing up remote workers to complete complex tasks. You’ll improve efficiency while helping remote workers feel like part of the team.
Ready to enjoy the benefits of remote staff? If the benefits of remote workers outweigh the risks in your view, try offering your staff a work day from home a week – then, if it works out, you can try hiring remote employees. Some small business owners hire a remote employee in another region – a great way to expand their market. If you trust your employees to work hard no matter where they’re located, the main thing to remember is fostering teamwork. A monthly on-site meeting that everyone is required to attend can encourage stronger relationships, allow opportunities to clear the air or discuss any challenges – and improve a sense of teamwork and camaraderie. Quantum Advisory is a business accounting and advisory firm that empowers family businesses to step up, scale up and sell up. Visit www.qagroup.com.au or call 1300 700 711 and start the journey.

7 Ways to Improve Workplace Productivity

7 Ways to Improve Workplace Productivity 1000 667 emily
The success of any business, large or small, depends largely on nurturing an efficient, productive workplace. While improving employee productivity should be always be a priority when the ultimate goal is a sustainable and profitable business, the process is easier said than done. Below are some of the most effective methods of managing a productive, happy workplace while increasing output. read more

4 tips for less stressful business travel

4 tips for less stressful business travel 4574 3049 emily
Business owners fall into two categories: those who love business travel and those who hate it. The love/hate dynamic may depend on how much you travel for work, but even if you love business travel there are stressful aspects to being out of town. Although we can’t guarantee that our travel tips will ensure a completely stress-free experience, here are four ways to lessen your hassle. If you’re someone who hates work-related travel, maybe these tips will help you love it. Make packing as automatic as possible One of the most frustrating aspects of travel—whether it’s for work or pleasure—is packing. Many people put packing off until the last minute, which means important items can easily be forgotten. One way to avoid this issue, especially if you travel for work frequently, is to keep a pack-and-go suitcase stocked with items you always need. Toiletries, personal care products, and haircare items can stay in your bag all the time. Buy duplicates of your favorite make-up or grooming items that you know you’ll want and keep those in the suitcase. Purchase travel sizes of some of the medications you take regularly. Then when it comes time to pack, you’ll be ahead of the game. If possible, take only a carry-on bag. Not checking your luggage frees up time because you won’t have to wait to claim your bags. If you can’t take only a small bag, take a carry-on that has everything you’ll need for the first 48 hours, in case anything happens to your suitcase. Plan for your absence at work Business travel is stressful enough without having to worry about how your business will operate while you’re away. Where possible, plan ahead for the days you’ll be gone. Make sure a trusted employee is trained to take over vital tasks while you’re away. Schedule meetings around the days you’re gone and make sure someone is delegated to deal with urgent situations. Write an “out of office” email that warns people you may not respond as quickly as usual and in that email include the contact information of a colleague who can be reached in case of emergency. Keep your routine If you travel for work regularly or tend to travel for long periods, keeping your home routine while away will help you feel normal. If you exercise daily at home, make sure you exercise in while you’re away. If you eat healthy at home, continue that habit. If you go to bed at the same time every night after reading a book for 20 minutes, keep that pattern while out of town. Make sure you have downtime Business travel tends to be frantic and stressful, and it often involves headache-causing meetings and small talk. Make sure you have time to yourself to debrief, think about what you learned during the day, and check in on how you’re feeling. Even 10 minutes of quiet reflection at the end of every day can go a long way to reducing your stress. Final thoughts Whether you love business travel or hate it, there’s a good chance you have to do it. Being prepared for those trips, keeping your routine, and finding downtime while you’re away will help you manage your stress while you’re gone.

The True Value of Networking

The True Value of Networking 5184 3888 emily
There are all kinds of groups dedicated to networking. Some are highly structured with performance requirements, exclusive membership, and the payment of dues. Others are free form, come as you please and no charge. Not every group is right for every kind of business. You will find that some groups may simply not have connections in the market you are seeking to attract. You will find some groups have rules that just don’t fit with how your business works. Yet there is one factor that is often overlooked when considering a networking group; does this group offer more long-term value, or short-term value? read more

Signs it’s time to upgrade systems

Signs it’s time to upgrade systems 1000 667 emily
Most small business owners can’t afford to think small. They always need to keep their mind on growth strategies to help them achieve long-term profitability. But becoming profitable in the first place often requires business owners to work long hours on a shoe-string budget. They don’t always have time to implement systems that will support them when they’re ready to scale. It’s not uncommon for entrepreneurs to use free or low-cost software solutions that can get them up and running, but hold them back as their needs evolve. Read on to learn if it’s time to upgrade your current systems to support your small business as it grows – and what to look for. 1. A growth spurt If you’ve noticed, month after month, your profits are continually increasing, it’s likely time your business takes steps to increase capacity. Beyond financial growth indicators, at this stage you may have already noticed a need for change. You may have experienced:
  • A spike in the number of buying customers, which has put stress on your current systems, resulting in service delays
  • Internal bottlenecks which have negatively impacted productivity or
  • Poor cash flow because you’ve fallen behind with outdated systems for creating invoices, billing customers and collecting.
If you’ve experienced any of these issues, it may be time to look at hiring more staff, implementing new systems – or both. 2. Increased errors Too many mistakes may be the direct result of capacity issues from sudden increased growth – or an indication your systems weren’t the right fit in the first place. Errors are a serious problem for any small business, and pose a big risk to the long-term sustainability of the company. A small business that frustrates its customers by losing orders or filling them incorrectly, makes poor decisions because its numbers are inaccurate or fails to maintain adequate inventory can quickly find itself closing its doors. If you notice consistent mistakes in one or more areas of your business, looking your systems is a good place to start. Then you can make appropriate upgrades to eliminate frustrating and costly errors, and increase overall efficiency. 3.  Tips for implementing new systems Change can be challenging for businesses, but without change, a company can’t reach its growth potential. The key is to stagger big changes over time and, whenever possible, overlap implementation of new systems to minimize service disruptions. Follow these tips when it’s time to upgrade your business systems:
  • Review your future plans for your business. Where do you hope to be in a year or two? How will you get there? Getting clear on what your business needs in the short and long term will help you decide on the right financial management, inventory, and customer relations management systems.
  • Shop around for simple to use all-in-one solutions that can handle more than one need – for instance, your online accounting system may also offer inventory management. Take care to choose systems that integrate easily with each other to maximize efficiency wherever possible.
  • Share plans to implement new systems early with your employees. Together discuss the problems a new system will solve so staff are eager to embrace the change – and learn how to make the most of any new system.
Is your business getting the most from its systems and processes? To find out, call 1300 700 711 for a free 30 min consultation with one of our business systems specialists. Quantum Advisory is a business accounting and advisory firm that empowers family businesses to step up, scale up and sell up. Visit www.qagroup.com.au or call 1300 700 711 and start the journey.

Strengthening your balance sheet

Strengthening your balance sheet 1000 670 emily
Your balance sheet (now more correctly called a Statement of Financial Position) reveals a great deal about your business, including the total value of your assets – the things you own; how much you owe to others – your liabilities; and the level of your solvency. These three aspects will be studied carefully by lenders and investors − and by buyers if you intend to sell your business. But they should also be important to you, because it’s important to be solvent at all times. In other words, you need to have more assets than liabilities available to pay your debts. If you can’t pay bills when they fall due, your business may be technically insolvent. Fortunately two simple tests can quickly reveal your solvency.
  1. The Current Ratio test
This test simply involves dividing your assets by your liabilities (you should find both figures on the balance sheet). For example, if a business has assets of $435,000 and liabilities of $180,000, the current ratio is 435,000 divided by 180,000 = 2.42. In other words, the business has $2.42 in assets for every $1 of debt. On the face of it, the business is solvent, as the minimum ratio most banks would regard as acceptable is $2 for every $1 of debt. But wait a minute. Your assets include stock (your inventory). What’s your stock really worth? If you had to sell it all tomorrow to pay off your debts, could you really get out the full amount shown on the balance sheet?
  1. The Quick Ratio test
Let’s try a tougher test – this time leaving out your stock. The aim here is to find out if your business has enough quick money (ready cash) to pay your bills if your creditors demanded repayment tomorrow. Let’s say the business has $325,000 in stock. Subtract this from the assets figure of $435,000 and the assets reduce to $110,000. Now for the Quick Ratio: $110,000 divided by $180,000 = 0.61. Hmm − the picture is no longer so rosy. The business has only 61 cents in ready cash for every dollar of debt, meaning it could not immediately pay its debts. Your aim should be to have at least $1 in assets available in quick cash for every $1 of debt, a ratio of 1:1. You’ll sleep better, and so will your bank manager. Strengthening your balance sheet A positive step to strengthen your balance sheet is to take a closer look at the quality of your inventory. If you had to sell all your stock in the next week or month to pay your debts, would you get the full amount shown on the balance sheet? In many businesses, the answer would be no. If you know you have obsolete or slow-moving inventory sitting on your shelves, talk to us about ways to get rid of it. We can discuss ways to reduce or get rid of obsolete stock, such as:
  • Holding a sale.
  • Bundling unwanted stock with more popular items as a ‘special offer’.
  • Choosing the most advantageous time of year to write it off if necessary.
We can also show you how to measure the stock turn rate in your business to improve stock management and profitability. In broad terms, the faster you turn over your stock, the more efficient your business. A fast turnover rate can also reflect more efficient inventory management. Closing tips
  1. Many business people find a balance sheet more difficult to read than a profit and loss account. If this applies to you, we can help you understand it better so you can gain more from the figures.
  2. Getting a balance sheet just once a year is certainly not enough! A balance sheet offers important insights into your business. With the right accounting software you can generate a balance sheet whenever you need one.
Quantum Advisory is a business accounting and advisory firm that empowers family businesses to step up, scale up and sell up. Visit www.qagroup.com.au or call 1300 700 711 and start the journey.

10 tips to reduce debtor days for small business owners

10 tips to reduce debtor days for small business owners 1000 667 emily
Steady, reliable cash flow is crucial for the survival of any small business – so taking steps to ensure your customers pay promptly should be a key priority. read more