Business Tips for Success

Wage Subsidy, Reducing Wages and Restructuring best practices – LinkedIn Live 30th August 2021

An on topic discussion with our founder Catherine Cooke (née Sherwood) with Aimee Elia Claire Mansell, lawyers from Martelli McKegg and Lisa Mackay founder of HRToolkit.

Between our experts we discussed the cliff, the ambulance – how to avoid it and sometimes you can’t, what help is available.

Creating a Great Webinar

Webinars are a great way to connect with your customers and build relationship. However, there is a strategy for success. Check out a few tips on how to create a great webinar.

Become a member to access the full resource.

Skilled workers get a lower pay increase… and are happy!

I was working with a trucking company some years ago, negotiating with the Union to put in place a collective employment agreement. The company employed a number of well paid skilled drivers, and also a number of low skilled, off-siders who were mainly paid marginally above minimum wage, around $15 per hour at that time. They also provided free health insurance for all their staff at a total cost to the company of around $100,000 per annum.

Why work-from-home is a fad doomed to failure

My first day of work in the home office, I dressed for the part – work pants, shirt, shoes. I was starting my own business, and I kicked off that first day promptly at 8 am too. I just didn’t count on the lawnmowers ruining the mood: giant atmosphere killers, those lawnmower blokes.

Are you sure you can make that environmental claim?

It is often misunderstood that you can simply withdraw as much money as you want from the company’s bank account since it is your company and therefore, the company’s money is yours. Although this partially true, the company is a separate legal entity and withdrawing funds can lead to unintended tax consequences.

When are Payments to Family Members for Services Deductible?

To claim a tax deduction for payments to family members for services:
• The family member must actually provide services to your business;
• The amount paid must not be excessive; and
• Unless you run your business through a company, if the family member is your spouse or partner, you must have the IRD’s prior approval for a deduction

What’s in the forecast?

When we set out on a fishing trip or hike, we always check the weather forecast. It’s no different in business. The forecast tells us if there’s bad weather (poor cashflow) in store based on the direction we’re heading.

Tips when using Xero

As majority of our clients are using the Xero accounting system, we would like to take this opportunity to highlight some common issues that we come across.


As Christmas is almost upon us most businesses will be giving their employees, clients and sometimes charities, small team meals to extravagant Christmas functions for the whole family. When it comes to claiming these as tax deductions this Christmas there are certain rules that apply.  We have put together this quick guide about tax on Christmas entertainment and gifts to help you through the festive season.

Get it right before you windup your company

There comes a time when circumstances change and there maybe a number
of reasons you want to close your company. You may have sold your
business or a property and made a capital gain, or you may another reason
for wanting to close the company.

A couple of practical tips to do with creditor payments and job descriptions

Now that most creditor payments are done electronically, it is a good idea to regularly check that
the bank account details recorded in the accounting system are correct, particularly for those
creditors where the payments are significant.

How would you cope with self-isolation?

What would life be like if we were totally isolated, no contact with others plus we didn’t have the constant demands of the digital world to contend with? I think most of us would get a bit stir crazy after a couple of hours but I expect we would all benefit from the peace and quiet and the feelings of relaxation that came with it. Now I’m not stupid enough to advocate both physical and digital isolation for everyone! On the positive side it would really help us unwind and find our balance but I don’t think the government or your boss is going to pay for you to do that! I do however think that self-isolation isn’t as negative as some people suggest it might be.

Read more.

Adopt a Forward-Thinking Attitude

Before you plan out your business, start with a vision. Write the vision down. Use it as a map to create your business plan.

Even if you’ve already started your business, you can still look ahead and evolve your plan. What outcomes do you want for your business? Where would you like the company to be in the coming months and years?

To help you decide, your vision could include:

• Your mission statement;
• The products or services you will offer;
• Your business niche;
• Ways to find prospects;
• Marketing strategies;
• Problems you will solve;
• Ways to position yourself against your competitors.

The Engine’s Business Advisors are experts at coaching you to deliver a robust business plan.

Brand Protection: Protecting Your Organisation’s Value

Intellectual property and brand image are an SME’s most valuable assets. But how do you go about protecting your brand and enforcing your rights to preserve and grow it? Given the importance of brand protection, it’s well worth seeking expert professional help in both planning and executing brand IP strategies and trade mark applications. Wording classifications and gauging whether or not a mark is viable can save a lot of time and money.

Fact or Myth? Should You use Your Credit Card to Fund Your Business?

If you can be disciplined to treat the card like a loan and pay in full before the interest is due or factor interest on the purchase then you may well have a very good credit line for your business. Be business savvy – avoid fees where possible, ensure business partners are in agreement, get the highest credit line you can BUT ensure you are self-disciplined to manage this debt. Always show the credit card in your accounting system as a creditor.

Last golden rule :- consider whether any line of credit or credit card is warranted & always seek financial & legal advice before any borrowings.

Read on to see if considering using your card as a credit line facility is for you.

How NOT to Stuff Up a Company Restructure

A great company restructure design can improve your chances of success. However, the process requires you to think about what constitutes a good structure.  It also requires expertise to get it right.  Can you afford to get it wrong? 

Climbing a Mountain – The Ultimate Metaphor for Business Success!

A fundamental part of overcoming business failure is rooted in the mindset you have. Nearly every mountain in the world has been conquered and so there is a clear path to the top. Only he who can see the invisible can do the impossible. Man can believe the impossible, but man can never believe the improbable. 99 hair-raising turns and 999 ferocious steps standing between the Range Rover Sport Plug-In Hybrid and Heaven’s Gate on Tianmen Mountain, China. Impossible or possible?

Product Life Cycle

Each product has its own life cycle. A product will be ‘born’, it will ‘grow’, it will ‘mature’, provide a period of ‘saturation’ and, eventually, it will ‘decline/die’. Some products, like Tip Top, have retained their market position for a long time. Others may have their success undermined by falling market share or by competitors.

The product life cycle shows how sales of a product change over time. There are typically 4-5 stages of the life cycle of a product. Not all products follow these stages precisely and time periods for each stage will vary widely. Growth, for example, may take place over a few months or, as in the case of Tip-Top, over decades.

Meeting Customer’s Buying Needs

In a modern world of retailing consumers can have their needs met in a variety of ways such as local shopping centres, out of town shopping centres, and by direct delivery from Internet orders. Competition among retailers is increasingly getting tough. Differentiation is therefore the key to developing a compelling competitive advantage and winning loyal customers. Differentiation is the process of making your business stand out from rivals – making it different and better.
Marketing departments are therefore continually concerned with addressing the questions:

• Who are our customers? (A company needs to find out as much as possible about its customers in order to meet their needs.)
• Are we offering the right combination of choice, value and convenience?
• How can we create a compelling competitor advantage? (How is the company different from the competition?)
• How can we defend what business we already have and how can we grow?
• How do we effectively communicate to our customer base?

Most established companies are very strong, with a trusted brand focused on value, choice and convenience. Cosco Wholesale is a trusted retailer for bulk buying grocery; it has a major presence in many other markets including gardening, consumer electronics and furniture and a significant market share in jewellery and sports equipment.

Consumers at Cosco Wholesale are offered a multi-channel approach to shopping. New Zealand supermarkets have also been adapting the way they service customers. They also offer a multi-channel approach to buying including customers ordering online and having their groceries packed for collection or delivery. Most retailers are now thinking about consumer spending with the likes of different methods to pay and allowing the consumer the goods now with payment options of 6, 8, 10 weeks or 12-60 months – all interest free. A business has to be open minded to how they do business and meet the needs of an ever-changing customer purchasing market. The Engine’s Growth membership provides businesses the option of a Customer Satisfaction Survey.

Cashflow Management

Each organisation has to manage and monitor its cash flows carefully. Cash does not just arrive; it must be chased, recorded and managed. At all times, there must be enough cash to pay bills. For a retail business like The Warehouse, the main cash inflows or receipts will be from sales; the main cash outflows or payments will be for supplies and overheads associated with its stores, such as rents, rates, wages, power or transport.

If there is too much cash in any organisation, it needs to be put to work for instance, in a deposit account or investments where it will earn interest. If there is too little, the business needs to know how much it will have to borrow to cover the shortfall and for how long. Borrowing money also has costs which need to be managed. Good cash flow management requires good information, professional training and good management decision making.