A few months back, Xero released the Make or Break report, which identified key traits of successful business owners. Surveying 2,000 small business owners across the US and the UK, we gathered data on the perfect ingredients a small business owner needs in his/her pantry to survive the hardships that come along with owning a business. As we are kicking off a new quarter, here are some of the tips on how Xero can help formulating the right recipe –

2016_APR_ALL_XERO - 4 ways to ensure your business survives

1. Maintain a healthy work-life balance

In our survey, nearly six in ten respondents (58%) cite spending time with family in the evenings as crucial to their effectiveness as a business owner, and more than half (55%) say it’s important to keep their weekends free for loved ones.

How can Xero help?

One of the key aspects of maintaining a work-life balance is automating tedious tasks that takes hours of productivity away from you. Xero helps small business owners to automate repetitive and tedious tasks such as-

  • Bank reconciliation– Xero connects directly to your bank accounts. With automatic bank feeds, you get your bank statements imported and categorized in a few minutes. All you have to do is match statement lines from your bank account with transactions you create in Xero and just click OK to reconcile. It’s saves you hours, if not days of manual reconciliation work.
  • Chasing overdue invoices – Xero’s Invoice Reminder feature is magic! Small business owners spend hours chasing overdue invoices and having awkward conversations with your customers. Invoice reminders allow you to automatically send your customers email reminders about their invoice. You will be able to remind them before or after it’s due. And your message can be fully customized. Set it once and you will never have to think about it again.

2. Form a strong relationship with an advisor

In our study, 42% of successful business owners described their relationship with their advisor as “excellent,” compared to 27% of those whose business did not survive. Business advisors are key to small business success. It is important to understand how to make the best out of your relationship with your accountant or financial advisor. Rather than using your advisor for transactional tasks, use the time that you have to discuss business ideas and issues with them. They know your business finances in and out and will be able to offer you rich advice on areas of improvement.

How can Xero help?

  • Finding the right advisor – perhaps us?
  • Building a collaborative working relationship with your advisor – Xero is built for limitless collaboration. You and your advisor will be able to look at single source of truth, discuss and business data in real-time.

3. Make smart investments

Successful businesses understand that they need to make key investments on strategic initiatives. For instance, 49% of businesses spend on marketing campaigns (social media, advertising, PR), compared to 20% of those whose business failed. Another key area of investment is technology. Nearly 58% use software to manage their finances compared to a marginal 14% of failures.

How can Xero help?

By investing in Xero, you have already taken a key step in thinking about your business’ health and future. Xero gives you a full view of your business. With our advanced reporting, you can drill down to understand how you are spending money on areas like marketing or product. In your next meeting with your advisor, this may be a good topic to discuss.

4. Keep on top of your business finances

In our study, of the owners who cited a business issue as a reason for failure (as opposed to a personal issue), a whopping 65% blamed financial issues (cash flow visibility, access to capital). It is no secret that bottom line of any business health is the key to success.

How can Xero help?

While you are planning for the right investments, you need to understand your businesses’ key financial metrics. Xero provides hundreds of business reports including profit and loss statements, balance sheets, for you to drill down on important financial metrics. Use these reports to discuss business ideas and financial health of your business with your advisors. Xero also allows you to customize your reports so you can discuss topics that matter to you the most.

And last but not the least, keep a positive attitude. There will be times when you patience is tested, but just keep at it.

Bhavika Thakkar Xero

Xero is beautiful, easy to use online accounting software for small businesses and their advisors. Xero provides business owners with real-time visibility of their financial position in a way that’s simple, smart and secure.
Xero has over 600,000 customers in more than 180 countries around the world and is listed on the NZX and ASX.