Mark’s musings – If you think you can or you think you can’t

If you think you can or you think you can't, either way you are right.
If you think you can or you think you can’t, either way you are right.

I was speaking at a Mike Pero Real Estate conference in Rotorua several years ago and one of my favourite quotes that I shared with the conference attendees was Henry Fords “If you think you can, or if you think you can’t, either way you’re right”.

I told them, that it is a little known secret, that Henry Ford named his model T, by taking the letter T out of the word can’t and then I asked, “when you take the letter T out of the word can’t, what does it spell’?

Normally the answer is of course Can and the lesson to be learned, is that we need to develop a can do rather than a can’t do Attitude when it comes to setting goals to multiply the profitability, cash flow and value of a business.

On this particular day, a young lady who was sitting at the front of the room, called out “CAN apostrophe”, which got a great laugh from the rest of the audience including myself.

Her response made a real impression on me and got me thinking. What is the difference between a Can Do and a Can’t do Attitude? Is the answer, as simple as an apostrophe?

If you are struggling in your business, or know in your heart that it can do better, a lot better, what is holding you back?

What is your apostrophe, what is your BUT that you tell yourself when things may not be going as well as they could or should?

Dan Sullivan who owns a company in America called Strategic Coach, believes two mental habits account for this struggle, Perfectionism and Procrastination and he says that these habits always travel together.

He goes on to explain that ‘Perfectionism is an obsession with the ideal. Procrastination is a refusal to take action because an “ideal result” isn’t guaranteed. Dan has written a very interesting article on this topic which can be found on his Strategic Coach web site

Dan also co-hosts a fantastic free podcast series called 10Xtalks, along with a marketing genius called Joe Polish, and to date I have listened to all 51 episodes and I would highly recommend the series to you.

One of my favourite episodes so far has been episode #12 ‘The entrepreneur trap of Perfectionism and Procrastination

The solution that Dan suggests in both his article and podcast, is the ‘80% Approach, for Breakthrough Results’

Approaching a project or goal with a 100% focus is a sure way to blind yourself.
Aiming for 80% isn’t settling for mediocrity. Dan goes on to explain three reasons why:

  • 80% is better than nothing
  • You can have more than one 80%
  • There’s no such thing as 100%

How do you turn things around?
Motivational speaker Zig Ziglar (who sadly died recently), has an answer in his inspirational quote – “It’s your attitude not your aptitude that will determine your altitude”

Talking of Attitude, Altitude and turning things around, over the past year or so, we have been working on developing a new suite of add on products and services to work alongside Xero to help you better ‘Know Your Numbers to Grow Your Numbers’.

The purpose of the new product range is to help you Multiply the Profitability, Cash flow and Value of Your Business

Following a flying theme, we have branded the new product range as ‘UP – Your flight path to Business Success’ and we have created 3 offerings, UPSkill, UPGrade and UPLift.

To find out more about how we can help you grow your business, Paul Dawson and I will be running an event in late April to share with you ways to multiply the Profitability, Cash flow and Value of your business.  Details coming soon.

We hope you are able to join us.

Is that time of year again – time to set some goals for the new financial year

Xero Actual v Budget

With the new financial year upon us it is a great time to establish some financial targets and import them into Xero so you can compare your actual results versus your targets (or budget).

What we find, is that the understanding of the financial make-up of a business is enhanced significantly when you set targets and then report against those targets and get curious about the variances.  Some good tips for establishing your financial targets for the year are:

  1. Start with a review of the strategy of your business
  2. Set some targets around the key drivers for your business (eg no of customers, productivity)
  3. Use excel or another spread-sheeting program to “play” with your numbers and create some what-if scenarios
  4. Prepare a bottom up budget for your overheads (day to day running costs)
  5. Once this is done you can then easily import the targets into Xero
  6. Customise reports in Xero to optimise the reporting and the use of your financial goals
  7. Run reports each month and get curious about your variances

For a video on how to import budget data into Xero click here

We regulalrly run webinars to cover establishing targets and how to upload them into Xero.

To register your interest then please click here

Xero now includes Payroll

Xero Payroll

Xero have released the long awaited Payroll functionality for the NZ version ready for use from 1 April 2015.

Xero’s payroll functionality includes the standard features of payroll software in terms of calculating pays, managing leave etc but it also includes the ability for staff to login and view their leave balances, pay history and submit leave requests.  As you would expect from Xero the User Interface looks nice and it seems very easy to follow your nose.

Xero Payroll is not a payroll intermediary though which means it will not collect and pay PAYE to the IRD on your behalf and wont automatically submit your payroll returns to the IRD.  If this is a feature you would like then I recommend checking out one of the following Xero partners:

Thank You Payroll


Smart Payroll

If you wish to read more then check out the following information from Xero or contact Paul Dawson to discuss.

Xero Payroll Features

Upcoming webinars from Xero

Support for Families

support for families

Parental Tax Credit

For babies born on or after 1 April 2015, the Government will increase the parental tax credit from $150 a week to $220 a week, and extend the payment period from eight weeks to ten weeks. How much you receive also depends on:

  • your total family income before tax
  • the number of dependent children in your care and how old they are
  • the number of newborn children per year

You can either receive PTC or paid parental leave. You can’t receive both at the same time. And you can’t receive PTC if your family income for the full eight to ten weeks includes an income-tested benefit, NZ Super, a veteran’s pension, a student allowance, or accident compensation from ACC (unless you are receiving this for less than three months).

Changes to parental leave

The current 14 weeks’ of paid parental leave will be increased to 16 weeks for babies expected or born on or after 1 April 2015.

New requirements for Companies

New requirement for Companies

From 1 May 2015 new registration requirements come into force for applications to incorporate a New Zealand Limited Liability company. All New Zealand incorporated companies must have at least one director who lives in New Zealand or who lives in Australia and is a director of an Australian incorporated company. Existing companies on the companies register will have 180 days to comply with these New Zealand ‘resident director’ requirements. In addition, all directors must provide their place and date of birth and all companies must supply their ultimate holding company details (if applicable).

Contact us if you think you may be affected.

Risk and Reward – Employment Law Changes

Employment Law Changes

The government has made some major employment relations changes, effective from 6 March 2015. Changes target flexible working arrangements, rest and meal breaks, continuity of employment for vulnerable employees upon restructuring, the good faith provisions, collective bargaining, and how the Employment Relations Authority gives its determinations.

Flexible working arrangements

Up till now flexible working arrangements have only been available to caregivers who have been employed at their place of work for six months or more. From March, all employees will have the right to request flexible working arrangements from their first day on the job. There’s no longer a limit on the number of requests an employee can make in a year. When employers receive requests for flexible work arrangements, they must respond within one month, rather than three as before. The response must be in writing and, if a refusal, it must explain why.

Rest and meal breaks

Previously, provisions for rest and meal breaks were quite strict. They now seek to balance the importance of rest and breaks for employees with what is practical for the business. Essentially, employees are entitled to breaks and, if it’s not possible for the employer to ensure breaks for employees, the employer must offer reasonable compensation. Employees and employers can’t contract out of the right to rest and meal breaks though under some circumstances an employer might be exempt from giving breaks or may restrict breaks when the restrictions are reasonable. Key to the new provisions is that employers and employees agree on whatever arrangements are put in place and that arrangements are reasonable. If you are considering varying the arrangements around rest and meal breaks for your employees, touch base with your employment advisor to discuss your approach. As with other employment matters it is important to follow fair process and document any agreements made with employees so that, if required, you can show you have acted fairly and reasonably.

Continuity of employment

The changes to continuity of employment relate specifically to employees in situations where an employer is restructuring or selling a cleaning or catering business and employees are transferring to the new employer. A 2012 review found businesses have difficulty implementing the provisions in practical terms. The changes include set timeframes for employees to elect to move to a new employer; the outgoing employer’s obligation to provide the new employer with detailed information on employees and their entitlements; a way for the outgoing and incoming employers to share responsibility for employee entitlements if they can’t agree on it; protection for employers from unjustified increases in employment costs; and provision for SMEs to be exempt.

Good faith provisions and confidential information

Where the employer proposes to take a decision which will or is likely to affect that employee’s continued employment adversely, changes to the good faith provisions set out what confidential information an employer has to give an employee. The employer must give the employee confidential information where it relates to them but does not have to provide confidential information on anyone else if doing so would involve an unwarranted disclosure of their affairs. Nor are employers required to give confidential information that legally must stay confidential, or where there is a good reason to keep the information confidential (for example, to protect the business’ commercial position). Where allegations are made against an employee, the employee should still know the identity of their accuser and the nature of allegations made against them unless there is good reason to keep this information confidential.

Collective bargaining

The new collective bargaining framework includes provision that collective bargaining does not have to be concluded, though employers will not be able to end bargaining or refuse to enter into a collective agreement just because they object in principle to collective bargaining or collective agreements. A party to collective bargaining can apply to the Employment Relations Authority for a determination as to whether bargaining has concluded.

Employers will be able to opt out of multi-employer bargaining from the start. New employees who are non-union members are no longer covered by terms and conditions of a collective agreement for the first 30 days of their employment. Employers may respond to partial strikes by imposing proportionate pay reductions and unions must provide advanced written notice of any proposed strikes and lockouts.

ERA determinations

There are also changes to when and how the Employment Relations Authority must give preliminary findings and determinations following an investigation.