Financial basics for your business

Financial literacy is important for everyone but it’s essential if you’re in business.

Most businesses fail due to lack of cash, not profits

One definition of financial literacy is “The ability to make informed judgements and decisions regarding the use and management of money”.

For business, it is understanding where your money is coming from and where it is going. It’s also knowing how to use this information to make informed decisions, resulting in better outcomes. 

So, it’s crucial you understand your cash flow and keep an eye on it every day.

Our purpose at Xero is to help make life better for people in business. So I want to highlight three tips for new business owners.

Bank reconciliation

A bank reconciliation ensures all your bank transactions are recorded and categorised in your business’ accounting system. 

If performed daily, or at least weekly, you’ll have an accurate and timely view of your cash position. It also tells you how your money is being earned and spent. 

You can quickly gauge whether you can afford to pay your bills and employees. You can also produce financial reports to see what products and services are most profitable as well as what expenses need to be reigned in.

Budgeting

Set yourself financial goals for the business and write them down. Once you understand the ins and outs of your business, you can use this as a basis to build your budget. 

You can compare your actuals with your budget to help stay on track, and also make adjustments if your circumstances changeFor example, you could shop around at different suppliers to see who has deals or offer discounts to cut down on costs.

It’s a useful tool to keep your business moving forward and help with making informed decisions. – Read more

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3 Types of Cloud-Based Services and Their Applications

Remember, when people used to carry USBs, hard drives, and CDs to store their data? Well, that era is gone now.

Cloud-based services have changed the way businesses function. Cloud computing capitalizes on a single IT infrastructure shared across all departments in an organization. Cloud computing enables managers and their teams to manage challenging tasks and workload efficiently and faster from anywhere they are located through any device they are using, decreasing their capital and computing costs.

The on-demand flexibility, security, cost-reductions, increased efficiency, and improved IT functions are some of the many reasons why  businesses are flocking toward cloud-based services.

All cloud-based services are designed to provide businesses with a remote shared infrastructure, which is monitored, and managed by the cloud service providers. But if you’re planning to boost your business growth with cloud computing, you must be aware of its different types and the applications and benefits of each type.

Ahead, we’ve rounded up the three most commonly adopted types of cloud computing to help you make an informed decision.

IaaS – Infrastructure as a Service

Circuit board close up illustrating IaaS cloud computing

Infrastructure as a Service is the most versatile of all the cloud services. It offers a business with a full-fledged virtual infrastructure managed over a reliable internet connection. An IaaS cloud service provider is responsible for infrastructure’s hardware management, such as the data storage space, servers, and others in a data center. But they enable users or businesses to personalize those resources according to their unique needs.

With Infrastructure as a Service, the user can buy, implement, configure, and run any software they require. Companies that follow highly scalable business models only invest in the infrastructure they need. This allows them to scale their cloud requirements without the additional cost of capital to build an on-premises infrastructure.

It’s particularly ideal for small businesses and entrepreneurs who don’t have enough finances to invest in new hardware. It also takes the burden of handling computing or ERP infrastructure away from the organization’s IT department. Since the infrastructure as a Service model automatically updates itself with advanced with new software, it’s more convenient to install and run new applications and programs. IaaS offers advanced cybersecurity solutions and disaster recovery for enhanced reliability. – Read more

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3 Compelling Reasons to Employ AR & VR in CRM

In today’s fast-paced world, customer standards are rapidly changing. While great products and great service will always remain as the main priority of customers, other factors are also developing new customer preferences. Because of this, technology is adapting to meet customer satisfaction. Augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) are among the emerging tech poised to reshape how businesses interact with their customers.

So why should you invest in augmented reality and virtual reality for your customer relationship management (CRM)? Employing AR and VR can make your business more competitive by enhancing engagement with customers, revamping the customer experience, and equipping your team with more efficient tools.

The Difference Between AR and VR

Augmented reality and virtual reality may sound like two similar terms, but they are distinct from one another. Although these concepts sometimes bleed into one another, each treats your senses and how you experience the real world differently. VR technology cloaks your vision to take you somewhere else, while AR technology projects additional information over what you’re seeing in the real world.

Virtual reality “replaces” your reality by displaying a virtual space through a VR headset. This makes it seem like your surroundings have changed, even though these are just images replacing everything in your field of vision. This technology takes you to a different space entirely.

On the other hand, augmented reality merely adds a layer of information over what you can already see. For example, one of the most popular AR apps is the smartphone game Pokemon Go – where your phone’s camera tracks your surroundings and projects images over them.

Three Reasons to Employ AR and VR for CRM

While AR and VR are more commonly used by consumers for entertainment or gaming, these technologies may soon reshape the customer journey. Instead of stressful or lackluster customer experiences, AR and VR technology opens up a lot of possibilities for CRM.

Want to make troubleshooting products for customers easier? Or maybe you want to roll out a marketing initiative, but have limited means to execute it? Virtual reality and augmented reality can help you address these problems and push your creativity forward. Here are three reasons to employ AR and VR for CRM:

1. You can enhance engagement with your customers

It’s not easy to generate excitement among customers these days, but virtual reality and augmented reality can definitely keep customers engaged. Customer engagement is especially important when introducing new products or services, and this is where VR and AR tech really shine.

In 2017, Snapchat introduced the Lens Studio which allowed users to create and use their own Snapchat filters. A restaurant in Dubai called Bareburger took advantage of this feature by creating an augmented reality menu. With their Snapchat AR filter, customers can view menu items from every angle before they decide on an order. Not only was this effective in stimulating customer appetites, but it also made the interaction with the brand much more unforgettable.

Virtual reality tech is also a great way to bring customers and test out products in the right conditions, since they can be transported to a virtual world with 360-degree video and audio.

For example, the brand North Face experimented with VR to create the ideal environment for their McMurdo South Pole Experience campaign. In special booths, customers were asked to wear the new McMurdo North Face coat and an Oculus headset. The VR equipment let customers be immersed into images of the South Pole as huskies pulled their sled through the snow.

By appealing to emotions with AR or VR technology, you can engage with your clients on a whole new level.

2. Your team will have an efficient new tool to use

Augmented reality and virtual reality can help your customer service team out, whether it’s for internal training or even troubleshooting problems with users.

For coaching and training, AR provides virtual hands-on guidance for customer service reps. AR overlay can guide service reps through memorizing products, explaining processes, completing forms, orienting users, without needing to meet instructors face-to-face. You can also use AR to simulate training demos for real-life scenarios such as emergency response and sales interactions even on a mobile device.

Some companies also use AR to teach customers on how to manage a product. They bundle AR components with the use case in the apps so that customers can identify the parts and read operating instructions in real time.

On the other hand, VR can help your customer service team troubleshoot the problems the customer is facing. Instead of awkward chatbots, VR can assist customers and service reps solve the problem much faster since they can visualize what the other party is looking at. – Read more

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