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    We have all heard the cliché that you should work smarter and not harder. Which generally revolves around not working yourself to death while you try to juggle small business, family and the real world. Despite the fact that this is really good advice, there isn’t usually much attention placed on being business smart.

    Why is that?

    We all need great business tips to make our businesses run smarter. So, we have put together our 5 favourite ways for being business smart. 

    New Zealand small business promotion

    New Zealand has a vast array of talented people who are excited and passionate about what they do.  Each month we select a few businesses to showcase in our Small Business Spotlights, and this month, we are also taking a look at the people BEHIND the businesses.  After all, Network NZ is all about connecting and growing people in business.

    Did you know that how you present yourself can impact on your branding? When you are the face of your business, all eyes are on you. What sort of representation are you giving with your personal branding?  Building your own personal brand is just as important as your business branding. Your business will struggle to reach its full potential unless it aligns with who you are and what you are passionate about.

    Nearly every business owner understands why it’s important to set your own business goals. However, not every business owner does. It may be that you don’t know how to set goals. Or you may be unsure about what goals to set. Perhaps you can’t find the time to set any. Today we’re going to share with you some great tips on how to set your own business goals for both short-term and long-term goals.

    As business owners, we’ve all experienced those awkward moments when business relationships go sour. Whether it’s a customer complaint with no grounding, a supplier charging you more than they charge your competitor or a client bad mouthing your business, it’s not a nice situation to be in. As a business owner, it’s your responsibility to always maintain a high degree of professionalism, even if you’re in the right. Today we’re going to discuss the ways you can rebuild damaged relationships with your clients, customers and suppliers.

    Bullying is no longer a thing that only happens to kids at school, it’s become an insidious part of our adult world too, occurring at home, in the work place and online. With the rise of social media it’s even easier for people to sit behind a computer behave in ways our parents would be ashamed of.

    You’ve been running your own business for a while. Having learnt as you go, you’re quickly realising that while you’ve learnt a lot, there’s a ton more you don’t know! You know you’ve got to grow your business, but should you continue to learn on the job or should you hire professionals to help? Today we’re going to walk through the pros and cons of both doing it yourself and working with a business professional.

    As scary as it sounds, over half of new businesses fail within the first three years of operation. It’s not the big businesses with multiple employees who are most at risk. Instead it is the sole operators or ones with less than five employees who are mostly likely to fail. It’s essential that you know the reasons why new businesses fail to stop your new small business heading down that path too.

    Turn on your smart phone, iPad or PC and chances are you’re going to connect to some form of social media. After all, it’s where you go to find out what’s happening and share what you’ve been doing. It’s also the most cost effective way small businesses have to market their products and services to customers like you. As a small business owner, using social media can skyrocket your brand recognition and sales for your business. That is, if you are using it correctly.

    Starting a new business in New Zealand is easy to do. Starting up a successful business is a bit trickier. Network NZ are experts in the field of setting up new businesses. Not only do we have the professional business experts ready to help you, but we also have this handy checklist for you to use. It contains all the questions you will need to answer, as well as all the jobs you will need to do before you start selling your products or services. Ready to start? Let’s go!

    Things are always changing in digital marketing, especially in paid search. Recently, Google introduced a revolutionary feature to the New Zealand market, designed to capture customers’ attention and take advantage of impulse buying - Product Listing Ads (PLAs). PLAs are cost per click search ads based on factors known to engage online shoppers: product images, price, promotions, discounts, reviews and locality.

    Most owners or managers are pretty good at watching the hard numbers - the key performance indicators (KPIs) of their business. 

    The problem with measuring the usual KPIs of turnover, gross profit, sales and debtor days is that they are historic data. To successfully forecast business growth, you also need to measure the competencies that drive your business.

    Have you ever been in the following scenario: You are working away at your desk for a couple of hours and you start to feel discomfort in your back. You feel restless and want to move away from your desk, and you are find it increasingly difficult to concentrate on the work you are undertaking. You leave your desk to have a walk around the office and then return but feel frustrated because you haven’t managed to achieve anything in the past few hours because of being distracted by your pain or discomfort.

    If you've been paying attention then you'll know that Brand Ambassadors are huge right now. Both small and large businesses are using Brand Ambassadors as a new way to advertise their products in use. If you want to be a Brand Ambassador or you think your business could use one, then you'll find this interview with New Zealand based Brand Ambassador, Siddy Pain full of helpful tips.

    'People must have access to all content on your website within three clicks or they'll simply leave.'

    Imagine if this rule applied to retail shops; 'you must be able to touch what you want to buy within three steps of walking into a shop or you will leave.' How hard would it be for any business to thrive?

    To put pen to paper and start writing this wasn't easy. I wanted to start writing, I intended to start writing, but something was stopping me from actually writing. In fact, the majority of things in my life that I have thus far intended to do have often been just that, an intention. Why? Not because I don’t have the ability to write, to create, to do what I intend to do, not because I don’t have the motivation or the will but, because of fear, anxiety and doubt.

    We live in a digital business world where skype-connectivity and mobile phones are the norm. Yet we still use written language – whether for Facebook, blogging, advertising copy, or just everyday emails. Each form of writing has its own appropriate tone and use of language. A business plan sent to your bank manager is unlikely to cut much ice if it’s written in a conversational style more suited to a Facebook post about hilarious dance-like-nobody’s-watching video fails. Enough said…

    Most of you know about ACC covering you for your medical expenses to treat you and help you recover from an accident. If you have had an accident you probably found this to be partially funded and you had to pay something towards the costs, depending on what you needed done, which is a little disappointing but medical expenses only go so far. 

    Are you like a high proportion of the population suffering from either mild or debilitating feelings of anxiousness, depression and/or fatigue? You could be suffering from ….. Fear! Yes that’s right anxiety is just fear in another guise. If we are in fear then all sorts of things can raise their ugly heads and bite us on the derriere.

    Knowledge is power!

    Social Media is a powerful way to get your business out there to the world. Or at least, to New Zealand. In my opinion, if you're not using Social Media, you are missing out on a great opportunity and a large chunk of a potential audience.

    Hi guys! My name is Sian Francis, I am the owner / operator of an online based clothing and accessories boutique. The majority of our trade is carried out online, however for the past 4 years we have been quite involved in markets, shows and expos. I have put together this wee blog in the hope that it might help you take the plunge and book your first market. I will also include a wee list of "dont forgets" that I have had to slowly figure out myself.

    We’ve all heard the saying “content is king” and about the magic that is content marketing. Whether you’re a blogger, videoblogger, podcaster or ebook writer, you will have spent hours researching your topics and writing killer content, and you’ve probably spent your hard earned dollars on copywriters and graphic designers too. But do you realise that what you’re creating is intellectual property? That’s right, content = valuable intellectual property.

    People often ask me to tell them how much money they should be putting aside to cover their GST and tax bills. I find this question difficult to answer because every business is different and I would hate for someone to be relying on something that didn’t fit for their particular business. However, it is such a common question that I’m going to take a stab at a rule of thumb answer. Please let me know whether this works for you if you try it. Please don’t shoot me if it doesn’t.

    Every month we're going to showcase a handful of Kiwi small businesses that we love! Be it excelling in social media, recognition for their achievements or innovation in design, we're on the look out for people who are killing it in business and doing what they are passionate about. Our first spotlight features ten creative small businesses that we think are amazing!