27 January 2016

“Is Your Head in the Cloud?” by Tina Zawila

In 2016 it’s fairly safe to say that “Cloud computing” is no longer a new ‘fad’ or even cutting edge technology.  However, it’s not uncommon to hear people say, “I don’t use or trust the cloud”, even though they have been using internet banking for years!
Quite simply, cloud is fast becoming the new normal in everyday life and certainly in business.
So what’s in it for you and your business?  Cloud computing offers:
·         Increased efficiency and productivity.  Your business can easily collaborate, communicate and share information with your employees, contractors, customers, suppliers and advisors. 

·         Flexibility – business owners (and even their employees) can access data from anywhere.  If you need access to your information while you are off-site, you can connect to your virtual office quickly and easily.

·         Disaster recovery – with your information in the cloud, you are not reliant on the hard drive in your computer or your server.  If your hardware fails, you can simply use another device to access your data.

  • Improved cash flow!  Cloud accounting software allows you to bill customers or clients from anywhere and encourages them to pay your invoices online with a click of a button.  And cloud technology could also save you money in terms of reducing your investment in computer hardware and data storage. 
So why is that people resist the cloud?  People fear what they do not understand. Therefore, many small businesses choose not to use the cloud due to lack of knowledge and awareness about the benefits and how to implement the platform properly. 
The other most common concern is security.  Remember that for a cloud storage provider, keeping data secure is what they do. They have access to experts, encryption protocols and physical security measures, that as individuals or small businesses we couldn’t dream of having.  Also keep in mind that if you currently only use your own onsite data storage ,all it takes is one disaster to lose everything.  Cloud storage enables the restoration of data, even if the entire office is destroyed.

Despite small businesses’ concerns about migrating to the cloud, the benefits outweigh the fears. If you want to know more about how the cloud can benefit your business, call the professional team at Sothertons Gladstone on 4972 1300.

19 January 2016

“What is your resolve this year?” by Steve Marsten

Happy New Year to you all! I have been reading the doom and gloom stories that are currently surrounding us and frankly there are so many of them dealing with stock market crashes; the China stumble; the oil price crash and the economic wind down right here in Australia, that it’s a wonder we’re not all curling up in a ball and rocking away in the corner. 2016 does look like it may be a little more difficult. That means we must be focused and committed to our resolutions.
I’ll admit I am a resolution setter. However I don’t beat myself up if everything isn’t ticked off. The goal is – “set some goals”! Last year I set myself 12 goals. They ranged from Business, Personal and Health. I wrote them down and looked at the sheet every day. Eight were achieved; two were progressed and I didn’t do as well as I would have liked on two others. Either time got away from me or I was not fully committed to them as I should have been.
So with that in mind, I wanted to touch on some business goals given that the economy is expected to be flatter this year. I always take stock of my business and determine how it can be improved. Focus on your or your business’ shortcomings. If you are not sure of what they are, ask a respected client or customer – they are usually quick to tell you. Of course receiving difficult feedback does not always sit well with many business owners, however I think if you are in the right mindset,  it should be taken as gold! Don’t try to defend yourself – the goal is to improve yourself and your business.
Feedback – good or bad, can be liberating because you have a chance to work on and hence improve services or products. Many people over the break cleaned out their shed or backroom or their drawers that were full of rubbish built up over the year – well the same can happen to your business. Problems can tend to build up rather than hit us in the face and hence we should use the quieter times in business to declutter and identify the areas that need addressing. The five areas that we will be encouraging clients to look at this year include cashflow; staffing; leads; marketing and automating your business. They may not sound new but that’s because they never go out of fashion.

Call us on 4972 1300 for a consultation to establish your New Year resolutions and commit to a profitable year!

12 January 2016

“Carrying Momentum and Intensity into 2016” by Tina Zawila

If your weeks or days leading into Christmas were anything like mine, it was a flurry of activity!  All the things that had to be done “before Christmas” – client projects both expected and unexpected;  gift buying, giving and receiving; administrative tasks like ensuring that the wages would be paid and the computer data backed up; family travel plans; and throw into the mix a little home renovating!
It’s amazing what can be achieved when there is a firm deadline in place that you are absolutely committed to meeting!
So what can we do to carry that momentum and intensity into our daily lives in 2016?  Imagine what we could achieve. 
The principles are simple and apply to any aspect of your life:
  • Set Goals – be specific and put them in writing, and make some of them what we call BHAG’s (Big Hairy Audacious Goals) that will stretch you out of your comfort zone. 
  • Set a Deadline to achieve each goal, and if they are long-term goals set yourself some progress check points along the way. 
  • Set Tasks - Identify what needs to be done (specific tasks or steps), to achieve your goals.
  • Allocate Time – Determine exactly when you will attend to the tasks or steps and lock it into your calendar.  Be realistic, but don’t allow yourself so much time that the task or step will lack urgency.
  • Be Accountable – Commit to doing what you said you were going to do, when you said you were going to do it.  Approach every aspect of the project or goal as if it absolutely must be done, when you said it had to be done (as if it’s Christmas Eve!).
Find a buddy to share your goals with, and ask them to ‘check in’ on your progress from time to time.  It’s easy to break a promise you make to yourself, it’s not as easy to tell someone else that you broke that promise.  Maybe you could return the favour and help keep them on track with their goals?  After all, it’s always fun to share the journey with someone.

If you would like to share your 2016 goals in business and life with our professional team, call Sothertons Gladstone on 4972 1300.