Firm Journal

Things to consider before rebranding your business

Rebranding your business can seem like a daunting task, as it can involve a range of arduous tasks such as changing designs, updating clients, retraining staff and changing your marketing strategies.

However, rebranding can be an option for many businesses if:

  • Your business is too similar to competitors.
  • Your designs and values are updated.
  • You want to outgrow a poor reputation.
  • Your business is growing and changing.
  • You want to tap into a new demographic.
  • The market is changing.

To make the task of rebranding seem less daunting, consider these tips before starting to help you in your process.

Evaluate your need for rebranding
Make sure that the reason for your rebranding is valid and don’t act on impulse decisions. Rebranding can take a lot of time and resources and can often decrease your business if not done successfully, so it is important that you evaluate if rebranding is right for your business and outline the reasons why. It can be helpful to talk to staff about it to get ideas from people who are also invested in the success of your business.

Plan a budget
Before you rush into rebranding your business, make sure you have the funds to do so. Research and estimate how many resources will go into different areas of rebranding, e.g. marketing, website design, training staff etc. and outline a budget that can help you manage your finances through the process.

Have a strategy
Before you start rebranding, plan out a strategy that will guide you in the process and can increase the chances of success. This will help the process run more smoothly and prevent unexpected challenges that could detriment your business.

Solidify your mission and values
Having a clear understanding of the mission and values you want your business to have going forward can help you make important branding decisions and help build the foundation for your new brand. Having you and your staff on the same page with the business mission and values can improve efficiency and motivation when working on the rebrand.

Posted on 13 February '20, under business. No Comments.

Tax implications of selling your home

When selling your home, there are many initial questions that will often come to mind – how much will you earn from it? Where are you going to move to? Is it ready to be put for sale? This makes it easy to forget about the tax implications that will affect you when selling your home.

If the property you’re selling is your main residence, then you pass the bright-line property rule, which is when you need to pay tax when you buy and sell a residential property within five years unless an exception applies. The exclusions to this rule are when:

  • The property is your main/family home.
  • You inherited the property.
  • You’re the executor or administrator of a deceased estate.

The person selling the property will decide if it counts as their main residence, based on the exclusion criteria. If you make a loss on the sale instead of a profit, then the losses would be ring-fenced.

The taxes you pay when selling property also depend on:

  • Your intent at the time of purchase: if the property has been bought with the intention of selling it again, you have to pay tax on any profit you make from the sale. This applies even if the intention to sell isn’t the only reason for buying.
  • Your history of buying and selling: If you have an evident history of buying and selling property, then you could count as a property dealer. If this is the case, you may have to pay tax when you sell a property, even if it’s your family home.
  • Whether you’re involved with the property industry: if you’re a dealer, developer or builder, you can be liable to pay tax on the profit you make from any property you sell that were bought as part of your property or building business.

Posted on 6 February '20, under tax. No Comments.

Keeping your virtual team on track

Managing a virtual team can offer challenges that you won’t experience in-person teamwork. It can be harder to schedule meetings, show demonstrations and build connections. However, having a virtual team offers convenience, opportunity and freedom for the team members, so here are some tips to help you make it work…

Define goals and roles
At the start of the project, outline the project goals and objectives so that everyone is working towards the same thing. Delegate roles and obligations to each team member to avoid confusion and overlap. This will keep the team on track despite not physically seeing what each other is up to.

Stay engaged
In-person teams have many opportunities to check in with each other and see each other’s progress. As a virtual manager, it is important to create opportunities to stay in touch with your team, such as having regular phone calls or checkpoint meetings. This will provide your team with regular reminders of work that will help keep them on track and meeting checkpoint deadlines.

Use online tools
While you’ll most likely already be using online messaging tools, there are plenty of other apps and platforms you can also use to improve organisation and productivity. You can search for collaborative tools for things like mind mapping, video calls, sketching, calendars, to-do lists and schedules. These online tools can help your team see each other’s ideas, progress and deadlines.

Create time for casual interactions
Building connections between team members can be difficult with exclusively online work. If appropriate, you can consider creating opportunities for your team to get to know each other on a more casual basis to improve moods and collaboration. If everyone in the team lives very remotely, you can have more relaxed video calls where everyone can introduce themselves and chat as well as work. If the team lives in the same city, consider having in-person meetings and outings.

Posted on 6 February '20, under business. No Comments.

Bad money habits that are getting in your way

How you spend your money determines how well you can save you money. Spending more than you have or buying unnecessarily can severely impact how efficiently you can save. Sometimes you aren’t even aware of the small habits that are actually limiting your savings capabilities. Here are a few bad money habits that are getting in your way.

Not having a budget:
Spending a substantial amount of money each month on purchases and experiences adds up. Not preparing and sticking to a budget is a common mistake, as many people believe that a budget isn’t necessary for their lifestyle and income. Regardless of how much you earn, individuals need budgets to know where their money goes and what needs to be set aside to achieve their goals.

Eating Out:
Dining in restaurants or grabbing take away most nights in the week is a good way to deplete your finances. Save money by eating out one or two nights and cooking the rest of your meals in bulk at home. Preparation of food will help on those nights when you don’t want to cook and stops you from ordering food.

Impulse Buying:
Purchasing items without a second thought is an easy way to lose money. A good way to avoid this can be to ask yourself if you are buying something because you ‘want’ it, rather than if you ‘need’ it? Learn how to recognise when you do the action and force yourself to wait. You can then consider if you have the extra money to spend on that item, giving you time to properly think about your decision.

Posted on 22 January '20, under money. No Comments.

Things to consider before hiring an intern

Hiring an intern can sound like a win-win situation; the intern gets an opportunity to learn and boost their career, you get some extra help generally at a lower wage rate than regular employees. However, it is important to first think about if an intern would be right for your company before you make the commitment.

Consider remuneration:
If an intern is hired in accordance with the law, then they do not always require compensation. Think about what kind of tasks they would do, how much they would work and their academic and professional experience to help you decide on appropriate remuneration. Many companies choose alternatives to regular payment, such as gift cards, free lunches, public transport remuneration or free company products.

Think about resources:
Do you have the time and resources to train and mentor an intern? Often, interns are part of educational programs which means they may also have to commit to their studies as well as the internship. This requires more flexibility as to which days they can work each week, as well as periods they wish to take off to study for exams. It is therefore important to think about if you have enough resources to not become dependant on the intern for certain tasks.

Posted on 22 January '20, under business. No Comments.

Introducing Better Later Life

Better Later Life – He Oranga Kaumātua 2019 to 2034 is the Government’s plan to provide older New Zealanders with a better quality of living. The strategy was launched on 1 November 2019.

Designed to ensure everyone gets the chance to live well as they get older and create opportunities for everyone to participate, contribute and be valued as they age, the Better Later Life strategy helps to prepare New Zealand for the aging population.

Better Later Life has five key areas for action, based on feedback from nationwide consultations. These areas are:

  • Achieving financial security and economic participation.
  • Promoting healthy ageing and improving access to services.
  • Creating diverse housing choices and options.
  • Enhancing opportunities for participation and social connection.
  • Making environments accessible.

Unlike the previous policy, The Positive Ageing Strategy 2001, Better Later Life also considers the next generation of older people aged 50-64.

Going forward, an action plan will be developed based on the strategy’s key areas. Changes are already being implemented to the SuperGold Card to stretch peoples’ income and the Residential Tenancy Act is being reformed, in addition to the creation of the Age-Friendly community programme.

This strategy has links to other strategies, such as Healthy Ageing Strategy 2016, New Zealand Disability Strategy 2016 and New Zealand Carers Strategy 2008.

Posted on 15 January '20, under super. No Comments.

Deducting holding costs for privately used land

Inland Revenue released a consultation document in October 2019 regarding the deductibility of holding costs for private uses. Holding costs are expenses including interest, insurance, repairs and maintenance.

The document proposes three options for the treatment of holding costs for periods when land is used privately:

  • Apportion the holding costs between private use and the taxable gain on sale, where only costs apportioned to the taxable gain on sale will be deducted.
  • Allow all deductions on holding costs, so that full deductions on holding costs can be claimed despite any private use. Deductibility will then be determined by whether the land has any taxable use, instead of whether the land is ever privately used.
  • Deny all deductions for holding costs for periods where land is used privately, regardless of whether there are still costs related to earning taxable income during private use periods. This is the Inland Revenue’s preferred option.

Aside from individual owners, the proposal to deny holding cost deductions for private use would also apply to other entities such as partnerships, trusts and look through-companies.

The proposal also considers the treatment of costs on vacancy periods, concluding that whether or not the land is used privately or for income, the tax treatment will depend on how the land is just for the majority of the time. If the land is always vacant, deductions of holding costs will only be available if the land was acquired with the purpose of earning income. Otherwise, the land is considered to be used for private purposes.

Posted on 9 January '20, under tax. No Comments.

Creating a successful work team

If you’ve never had a bad teamwork experience, then you’re often considered to be very lucky. Creating a successful team at work can be challenging as it forces people with a range of opinions, values, work styles, work goals and past experience to work together in proximity. To help build a successful team, certain measures can be considered:

Choose the right people:
Taking the time to deliberate and choose a group of people with the right skill set for the project can increase the team’s chances of success. Having the right amount of people doing a particular job in the team can help prevent there from being too many workers in one area with other areas failing to be completed. Choosing a diverse team can also provide a broader perspective on the project and allow for growth.

Encourage team-building exercises:
Allowing the team to spend time together before undertaking a collective project can be a good way for them to get to know each other without the pressures of work. This can strengthen relations and make it easier for team members to ask each other questions, ask for help and offer their opinion when the work begins. Having team-building exercises can also help identify who is suited for what role and who works well together.

Have a clear purpose:
Make sure that your team is all on the same page about their purpose and the short-term and long-term goals they should be working towards. It is helpful when these goals are specific and measurable to avoid arguments of what the team is working towards.

Outline performance expectations:
If the team is unsure of what is expected of them, they may get off track or not meet work standards. Outlining deadlines, work quality and work hours can help the team perform effectively. This can also prevent arguments and criticism about each others work performance.

Reward good teamwork:
If the team excels in an area of work, it can be motivating to show your recognition of their achievements. This can be as simple as verbally congratulating the team on their work, or can be more formal, such as a workplace announcement or a spot in the company’s internal newsletter.

Ongoing checkups:
While teams may feel uncomfortable with being micromanaged and feeling like they are under constant surveillance, having simple evaluations throughout the project can be helpful. The results from evaluations can show you if your team is on track as well as if there are any problems that may be arising. This can help the team be motivated to succeed and help you identify and resolve problems early.

Posted on 9 January '20, under General news. No Comments.

Closing the office for the holidays

As the holiday season approaches, the workplace often gets more relaxed as things wrap up. However, closing the business for the holidays usually isn’t as simple as turning the lights off and heading home for a few weeks. There is often a lot of preparation and work that needs to be done before everyone leaves the office.

Notify staff:
Giving your staff at least two to four weeks notice of business closing dates will allow them to prepare for the shutdown and organise their workload appropriately. Having reminders through announcements, in-office calendars, emails or signs on notice boards will allow employees to ensure their work is done on time and organise personal events.

Notify other stakeholders:
Important stakeholders such as customers, suppliers or vendors should also be informed in advance of when the business is closed for the holidays to ensure that any services or needs are completed prior to shutdown. Customers can be notified through your business’s website, emails, signs around the business or letters and phone calls for close clients.

Update your security:
If your business has a security team or service, make sure that they are kept updated about your closing dates, as well as an emergency contact list with the owner and key employee details so they know who to contact in the event of a security issue, even when the business is closed. It is also a good idea to ensure that all cybersecurity software is up to date before you leave to prevent hackers and viruses from damaging your assets while you’re away.

Backup data:
Backing up your servers will reduce the risk of losing crucial business assets to hackers, viruses or software malfunction while you’re away. By making backups of your data through tools such as cloud storage or hard drives, you don’t have to worry about coming back to a corrupted system.

Change automated greetings:
If you have an automated answering service for business dealings, consider recording a message letting people know that your business has closed for the holidays. It is also a good idea to detail what dates you will return.

Turn off equipment:
Don’t forget to shut down any equipment that won’t be used throughout the holidays, such as lighting, copiers, computers and kitchen supplies. However, be aware of equipment that shouldn’t be turned off, such as fax machines, security systems, servers and backup systems, and refrigeration units.

Posted on 9 January '20, under business. No Comments.

Doing market research for your business

Market research is key to developing relevant and effective business strategies as it helps you understand your industry, customers, competitors and market trends. Undertaking both primary and secondary market research can allow you to boost your business’ success if you utilise the information to improve your product/service and marketing strategies.

There are a variety of sources you can use to begin your research. To research areas such as your customers, competitors, industry and location, you can conduct primary research through things like:

  • Surveys (postal, online or face-to-face).
  • Focus groups.
  • Customer feedback.

Meanwhile, useful secondary research can be conducted through:

  • Academic journals and research.
  • Social media and websites.
  • Industry and trade publications.

Identify the best research methods for your goals and whether you will conduct the research yourself or if you will want to use a professional company. It is also important to consider the time frame and appropriate budget for your research. When conducting research questions and strategies, make sure that you are open-minded and don’t let your preconceived opinions or preferences affect your tactics.

Posted on 11 December '19, under business. No Comments.