“The most important thing in business – indeed in life – is to understand your purpose.” So said our first business coach, who urged me and my fellow founder, Robert Hadded, to document our business ‘purpose’ for The Practice – also called a mission statement. Now for two 24-year-old upstarts in their first year in business, it would have been easy to dismiss this as fluff. But we had our eyes on a bigger prize – building a business that transcended the two founders. We wanted a business that … [Read more...] about The Power of Purpose
I've found the big differentiator between a raging business success and one that just gets by ultimately comes down to taking action. Don't get me wrong - a robust strategy is the critical first step for any successful business. It ensures you stay focused on the actions needed to achieve your objectives. But if you don't execute on that strategy, it's a waste of time. In June this year I took 30 business owners on a business retreat in Fiji. It was life-changing stuff. Business owners get so … [Read more...] about You need to be held accountable
Most business owners don’t get an adequate reward for all their hard work, heartache and stress. Over the last 20 years, I’ve seen far too many business owners who simply don’t make enough money to make it all worthwhile. (In fact, the harsh truth is that some would be better off getting a job...) But we owners can’t help ourselves. We love being the boss and calling the shots. We want to make our mark in the world and build something bigger than us. But gee, it’d be nice to make … [Read more...] about Are you better off getting a job?
I had the privilege to take 30 business owners away for a powerful, challenging and inspiring business retreat in June. It was an amazing three days full of world-class content, actionable content, and the bonding that can only happen amongst fellow passionate and switched-on business owners. The feedback from attendees was so incredible, we’ve decided to run two major events every year – Fiji in June, and Noosa in November. ‘Have your cake and sell it too’ implementation retreat | … [Read more...] about Fiji retreat: “life-changing”
This is an extract from Jason Cunningham’s latest book, Have your cake and sell it too: the 7 key ingredients of business success. We’ve all been there: standing around the barbie, listening to someone bang on about how little tax they pay. But scratch the surface and you’ll often find these people are not paying tax for one primary reason: they’re not making any money. Paying tax is not necessarily a bad thing. For one, you get that warm inner glow from contributing to society. But more … [Read more...] about 3 reasons to do tax planning this year
(Photo: www.pexels.com; www.gratisography.com) I wrote recently about research that showed 66% of SME owners don't believe today’s education system gives children the skills they need to run a successful small business. Backing this up is the latest MYOB SME Snapshot survey: 38% of business owners said trial and error was the No. 1 method for gaining business skills in the start-up phase – ahead of other important information sources such as accounts and financial advisers (32 per cent) … [Read more...] about 9 steps to start-up success
What makes a great workplace? The people? The pay? The jobs you work on? We can’t all be like Google and give employees time off to work on pet projects, or provide free lunch and on-site barista around the clock like LinkedIn. But the latest MYOB SME Snapshot research highlights that smart SMEs are leveraging small business attributes – namely culture and employment flexibility – as selling points to attract talent. The research showed 38% of SMEs said employment flexibility was the key … [Read more...] about Attracting the best talent
Is a healthy work/life balance really attainable for SMEs? Depends on your definition of balance. Many people think balance means an even, equal, consistent separation of work and play. And for wage earners, it’s a reasonable expectation. But not for business owners. Unfortunately, business doesn’t conform to your gym class or school pick-up schedule. There will be peaks and troughs. Late nights and stressful times. It’s up to you to reclaim your ‘life’ when things level off. Now you’re … [Read more...] about Can your accountant improve your work/life balance?
I was alarmed to read in MYOB’s latest SME Snapshot that almost half of respondents had one credit card they use for both business and personal expenses. In my mind that’s a recipe for disaster. Too often I see business owners wondering why they can’t seem to get their cash flow flowing… only to find personal spending from the business account is to blame. The old adage the more we earn, the more we spend is central to many financial problems… this is magnified with credit cards, where you … [Read more...] about Business owners caught in the credit card trap
When I was at school, I was taught a lot about trigonometry, geography, Australian history, physics, chemistry… and not a single thing about managing money – let alone running a business. When asked in MYOB’s latest monthly SME Snapshot if today’s education system gave children the skills they need to run their own business, 66% of respondents disagreed (some strongly). Like most small business owners, my business lessons were learned at the school of life. On the job. The hard way. In … [Read more...] about 7 essential skills for small business owners
Remember the good old days? I started reminiscing about how far we’ve come as a profession after reading a blog on how artificial intelligence is changing the future of business. Ah… the good old days: When clients would only use their accountant as a bean-counter – begrudgingly engaging us to prepare documents only because they were required by law? (Not an ideal relationship) When clients would send you zipped up dat files (that you’d receive two days later by snail mail) just so you … [Read more...] about The changing role of accountants… for the better
After leadership rumblings that seemed to last longer than his just-shy-of-two-year term as PM, Tony Abbott has exited stage left. Whatever your take on the Abbott Government’s achievements, what seems clear from the sidelines is 1) if Tony had a clear vision for the country, he failed to let us in on it, and 2) his PM-ship seemed destabilised to the point of being terminal. Our 29th PM, Malcolm Turnbull, cited Abbott’s inability to provide ‘economic leadership’ and ‘the economic confidence … [Read more...] about What SMEs want from PM Malcolm
When the going gets tough, Aussie SMEs turn to their accountants first. That’s one of the findings of the most recent MYOB SME Snapshot survey. Not that this is surprising. I’ve seen first-hand how technology changes such as the rise of cloud accounting have helped businesses reduce administration tasks and increase cash flow. The flow-on effect, and the most profound impact of cloud accounting, has been to free up Accountants from a compliance focus so they can move from bean-counter to … [Read more...] about Accountants do it better
I gave up long ago on the dream of a totally paperless office. The predictions weren’t worth the paper they were printed, scanned, filed and archived offsite on. It’s simply a bridge too far for service industries like accounting and legal. Well, we’re one step closer. The relentless march of technology has struck another blow in the endless paper war. I’ve used electronic signatures for a while now – mostly for keynote presentation agreements – and they tick all the boxes: safe, … [Read more...] about New tools to fight the paper war
All businesses are fundamentally the same. If I've learned one thing from my 18 years in business working with hundreds of SME clients (and growing my own little business), it's that we owners all have the same challenges: Attracting and retaining the right team members who are great at what they do Attracting and retaining your ideal customers – people who pay on time, take your advice, and are a joy to work with Getting employees to consistently do the right things, at the right … [Read more...] about Is your business funding the lifestyle you want… or is your lifestyle supporting your business?
Why penalise someone for working hard? For me, that’s what the current debate around increasing the GST boils down to. My belief is simple: it’s far more effective, on a number of levels, to tax spending rather than taxing earning. The benefit of consumption taxes like the GST is the amount of tax you pay depends on how much you spend. This alone would be unfair on lower income households, as the percentage of tax they would pay compared to income would be higher. So any talk of a GST … [Read more...] about Should Australia get a second job?
Think back to those heady, exciting days when you first decided to take the plunge and seize control of your own destiny. What were the reasons you gave friends who were sceptical (or thought you were downright crazy)? “A better quality of life - more freedom and flexibility.” “To create something special, and make a difference.” “To be the boss and call the shots.” “To get a greater share of the profits for all my efforts.” So… how’s that working out for … [Read more...] about Why did you go into business?
From fridges to moisturiser, there are hundreds of surprising items that are tax deductible. Depending on your industry, here’s what you could claim. With the Federal Government’s recent renewed focus on supporting small business through tax relief in the Budget [link to Budget article], we take a look at some of the lesser-known existing exemptions that many business owners aren’t claiming. So strap in as we enter the weird, wacky and wonderful world of business tax exemptions. Note that … [Read more...] about Weird And Wonderful Business Tax Deductions You Probably Didn’t Know About
The pundits are divided about how much you need to retire on comfortably. One expert will say $1 million is enough, while others say you’ll need a fair bit more, particularly as the make-up of (and accessibility to) the aged pension is likely to change in the future. And crucially, which side of the fence you sit will depend greatly on your definition of ‘comfortably’. Many experts point to a retirement shortfall based on the longevity risk of outliving your super. There are varying … [Read more...] about Don’t be in denial about your retirement – fund the shortfall yourself
There are keys to success that every single business – whether a start-up or a thriving enterprise – needs to master. If you can set your business up with these in mind, you’re half way to building a brilliant business, argues Jason Cunningham. Know your business. The first thing I encourage all small business owners to do is to articulate your ‘why’ – the reason your business exists (and the real reason customers buy off you). Crucially, you need to communicate it to your key stakeholders: … [Read more...] about ‘Start me up’ – 8 keys to start-up success
Cash flow is the lifeblood of any business. The highest profile measures in the recent Federal Budget focus on providing cash flow relief while stimulating consumption. But there are other ways that small businesses can take advantage of the budget, such as the ability to ensure you have the correct structure in place. 1. CASH FLOW MEASURES There are some key budget measures that aim to increase cash flow for small businesses. Importantly, to maximise these opportunities, you should … [Read more...] about How business owners can take advantage of the Federal Budget
We’ve all been there. Standing around the barbie, listening to someone bang on about how little tax they pay. But when you scratch the surface, you often find out the reason they’re not paying tax isn’t due to clever fiscal management… it’s because they’re not making any money. Paying tax is not necessarily a bad thing. For one, you get that warm inner glow from contributing to society. But more importantly, it means you’re making money. Now let me be clear – as the late great Kerry … [Read more...] about EOFY Planning – Why spending money to save on tax doesn’t make sense
There’s been growing consternation among many retailers and hospitality business owners over the decision to designate Easter Sunday and Grand Final eve Friday as Public Holidays. Many shops, restaurants and bars hit customers with a surcharge of up to 15% on Easter weekend to cover the additional wage costs. Worse still, some closed their doors completely as they felt the additional penalty rates wouldn’t make it financially viable. So, not only did some customers cop higher prices to pay … [Read more...] about Penalty rates – who really gets penalised?
Negotiations have been in the sports pages a lot of late. ASADA is negotiating with players and clubs; the AFL is about to negotiate the next broadcast rights deal; and an ex-Geelong player is about to sue his former club over an injury. So I thought it was an opportune time to look at my tips for effective negotiation. First, there are two types of negotiations: where you want to retain the relationship where it’s a one-off, so you’re only interested in the best outcome for … [Read more...] about 4 tips for successful negotiating
The Ox and Mark Allen gave me a fair bit of ribbing (and rightly so) about a photo that recently surfaced of me in overalls as part of a ‘Men of all seasons’ calendar I did 20 years ago to help support Pascoe Vale Football Club where I played, and now help out the committee. The things we do to support our local sports clubs. All jokes aside, it highlights the lengths clubs have to go these days to keep up with the arms race that is attracting players to your club. This issue has … [Read more...] about Keeping local sports clubs afloat
Machu Pichu. Swimming with sharks. Nude skydiving. (I just made that last one up.) What's on your bucket list? A recent survey by REST Industry Super Fund of their members found that 1/3rd believed they wouldn't have the cash to fulfil their bucket list when they stop working (and finally have the time to tackle the list). Is it because of our massive mortgages? Are the things we want to do too extravagant? Maybe. But the fact remains we could all benefit by tipping a … [Read more...] about Will you have enough cash for your bucket list?
A revenue strategy is important, but it’s only one piece of the puzzle. If you don’t have a solid foundation for your business – understanding your People, your Processes, and your Customers – you might strike trouble regardless of your revenue. You can be the best salesperson in the world, and have healthy revenue… but if you don’t have your back end house in order, or you’re selling the wrong thing to the wrong people at the wrong time, your sales may take a hit – and your profit is … [Read more...] about Why you should focus on financials last
Buying a property has always been the Great Aussie Dream… so it’s a no-brainer that everyone should buy rather than rent. Right? Surprisingly, not according to many pundits. Some argue we’re paying too much for property – that affordability has gone out the renovated sunroom window. Others go further, suggesting we might be in a property bubble and that these high prices will eventually burst. Even the Reserve Bank has weighed into the debate, with a recent RBA study suggesting … [Read more...] about To rent or buy… that is the question
Your business financials are important… but I argue they should be the last things you focus on. I encourage all small businesses to take the Balanced Scorecard approach, focusing on the 4 pillars of every business: your People, your Processes, your Customers, and your Financials. This sounds controversial coming from an accountant... but business owners should first focus on the other 3 pillars of business: your People, your Processes, and your Customers. These three pillars drive the … [Read more...] about The first (and most important) thing small business owners should focus on
I read with interest (get it) a recent article in the Herald Sun, Superannuation funds climb by double digits in the 2013-14 financial year. While the median return on a balanced fund is estimated at about 13% for the 2013-14 financial year, some top funds should see returns of up to 16%. Coupled with a 15.6% return the previous year, it's an outstanding return in anyone’s language. Two years of double digit returns for super funds is great news for pretty much all working Australians, as we … [Read more...] about Good news you may have missed – two years of double-digit super returns
At my recent 'Secrets of business success' event, I challenged the audience with two simple questions: 1) Why did you go into business? (Usual - and perfectly valid - answers: more money, better/more flexible lifestyle, run my own show, answer to no one, make a difference, etc...) 2) So... how's that working out for you? (...awkward silence) This is a common issue facing business owners - one I've seen all too often in my 17 years of helping business owners grow their business … [Read more...] about Why did you go into business… and how’s that working out for you?
By Jason Cunningham - Director of The Practice Happy New Financial Year! We Accountants get very excited at this time of year. (It doesn’t take much.) But so should you, as it's a great opportunity to set yourself up financially. Just as we set personal goals when entering a new year, the end of financial year is the perfect time to revisit your money goals, see if you’re on track, and make new money resolutions to work towards. Setting New Financial Year resolutions is one thing… … [Read more...] about Tips for a prosperous New (Financial) Year
Thanks for requesting my eBook - you can download it here: Grow your business and profit with less stress. All the best on your business-building journey. Jason Cunningham … [Read more...] about eBook: Grow your business (and profits) with less stress