I am often asked, “Why would you attend a conference about accounting software? Isn’t it boring? How much can there be to learn?”
The answer is I get huge value from attending conferences; they help me take my business to the next level!
Last week, the Centegrity team took a few days away from the office to do some professional development and networking at Xerocon, an annual two-day event bringing together professionals from the accounting, bookkeeping and financial industry. As well as being at the conference, I was lucky to attend Day Xero, which is a full day about leadership and recruitment.
How Xerocon Helped Our Business
This past year, as our business has evolved, I have implemented a lot of great lessons I have learned from attending the conference last year.
For example, last year Trent Innes (Managing Director of Xero) asked the audience, “What is your one thing that you would take away and implement?”
I chose to ‘define my purpose.’
This lead me on a journey that culminated in the rebranding of my business and the launch of “Centegrity” prior to Xerocon this year and it felt great to return knowing that I had achieved this goal of mine, inspired by Trent last year.
The 2019 Xerocon was full of great insights and takeaways for me as well. For those that couldn’t be there, I thought I’d share my top 7 insights in no particular order that I am sharing with my clients and my team.
Business & Personal Learnings from Xerocon 2019
1) Cash flow is the #1 cause of small business failure
Many people in business assume that sales matter the most when growing a business but the truth is that not managing the money you have can cause a greater issue. For example, only 54.6% of Australian small businesses were cash flow positive in July 2019*.
2) Importance of cybersecurity and knowing the risks
This was an eye-opener for me. So many businesses depend on their online tools, and without proper security they are at the mercy of being hacked. Not only can you lose valuable information due to identity theft, but also time and money as a result.
Take the time to learn what the current security standards are, and update everything at least once a quarter.
3) Payments between large and small businesses is a big problem
Late payments from larger businesses cause serious cash flow issues for Australian small and medium businesses (SMBs). An estimated $115 billion in payments from large businesses to SMBs are paid late each year. On average, large businesses were paying 23 days late. Long payment times may also have a domino effect across the economy: an SMB paid more slowly than average tends to pay its suppliers more than a week later than an SMB paid earlier.
If you are serving larger businesses, it is crucial to ensure you have thorough follow up processes and understand the typical payment times for your industry and customers.
4) Having a purpose at the core of a business is critical
Your mission statement and the clarity of purpose in your business will help guide you during the challenging times. Instead of getting overwhelmed by the challenges (which are an inevitable part of any business) always refer back to why you started your business and remember what you are trying to achieve. This restores your focus and helps you stay motivated.
5) The simple solution may be in front of you
We often chase new things looking for complex solutions. We assume that what’s new must be better than what is established. You see this a lot in the world of technology, but it’s very common in a lot of areas of business. Remember that a lot of the best solutions are already established in your business, and it’s a matter of following the fundamentals.
6) Improvement requires change
“If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always got.” This might sound contradictory to the previous point, but you must always be looking to improve. Take what you are doing well, and keep thinking about how it can be improved. Sometimes the change happens inside you, and sometimes it’s something in your business. Either way, change is needed if you want to get better.
7) If you look after yourself everything else will fall into place
Very often in business we take care of our customers, our team and our business, but we completely neglect ourselves. The reality is that if you want to run a business, you need to take care of YOU first. Without YOU the business cannot function very long, or very successfully. You are building your business to improve your life, so why not take care of yourself along the way.
These are just seven insights that stayed with me after the Xerocon event and I know that over the next year I will gain a lot more value from everything I learned. Although it was a few days out of the office, my team and I have returned inspired, motivated and much better prepared for the year ahead.
If you’re thinking about how you can improve your business then attending Xerocon might be an excellent first step.
* data is taken from Xero Small Business Insights research
Centegrity has over 13 years of experience helping businesses with bookkeeping and business mentoring. If you need assistance don’t hesitate to contact us or fill in the form below.