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We believe in passing on knowledge.

Small businesses can grow in boom times as well as periods of difficulty by working smarter and taking advantage of opportunities. Put these following effective tips into practice to help grow your business.

1. Utilise new technology

Modern technology can save you time, improve productivity and reduce your operational costs. Make use of Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and other social media tools to market your business.

Dropbox is a cloud-based service that can be used for document creation and sharing, while Skype is commonly used for calling or video conferencing.

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These days your personal data is everywhere, and that information is valuable to marketers, hackers and everyone in between. If you want to prevent the unauthorized use of your personal information, you need to take a proactive approach to protecting yourself and your identity.

You can no longer afford to be blasé about your data security - if you are not taking proactive measures to prevent the use of your personal information, you are opening yourself up to all kinds of problems. Here are some tips you can use to protect yourself and your data in this age of data breaches.

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Further to the previous article about global sharing of offshore bank accounts and investments with the IRD (click here to read this), please be aware that banks and other financial institutions here and offshore are currently requesting that customers complete tax residency status declarations as part of this global initiative.

As we have been receiving many enquiries about these tax residency status declarations, we wanted to assure you that these are legitimate and further, they are now mandatory to complete. Failure to complete the declarations will result in you being brought to the attention of the relevant worldwide tax authorities.

This is a complex new area of international tax law, and if you have any concerns please contact us to make an appointment to come and see Paul.

Source: Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (NZ) www.business.govt.nz

Do you have overseas accounts and investments?

If you have an account with an offshore financial institution, including banks and accounts maintained with certain offshore trusts, upcoming changes will see information about your overseas investments being shared with the IRD.

What you need to know

New Zealand is one of 105 countries and territories that has committed to sharing financial account information to combat global tax evasion. These laws have been in place since 1 July 2017.

From August 2018, the government will receive information about New Zealand tax residents with offshore financial accounts from other countries' financial institutions.

If you have an account with an overseas financial institution (including certain offshore trusts) you'll be required to confirm and disclose your tax residence status and tax identification number (TIN) with the overseas financial institution. This financial account information will be exchanged and will help the IRD verify that everyone is paying the correct tax on these overseas investments.

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Paying down debt

Debt can be a crippling problem for small businesses wanting to grow or just break-even during difficult times. By reducing debt you'll improve the value of your business, its financial situation, and its ability to continue operating into the future.

Assess your debt situation

Take a detailed look at all of your debts – both current and long term. Evaluate which ones are more urgent and which can be parked until some progress is made.

The key determining factor should be the interest you're paying on your debts. For example, those with the highest levels of interest should be paid first.

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Is technology making you less efficient?

"For a list of all the ways technology has failed to improve the quality of life, please press three." ~ Alice Kahn

If you feel overwhelmed by the sheer volume of technological gadgets out there, never mind apps and other digital "solutions", you're not alone. Technology sprawl and the rabbit hole of more and more information, available all the time, is making productivity-and healthy downtime-a real challenge for many of us.

Although we may be quicker at completing redundant tasks, more time is wasted managing all our different apps and technologies-and more of us live in a near constant state of distraction.

10 Daily Habits of the Rich and Powerful

It's the little things that make up the big things. Here's a list of ten traits of some of the movers and shakers in the world today (and from the past).

1. They Stay Healthy
Health is make-or-break. If you have it, your life will take on meaning like you couldn't otherwise know; but if you don't have it, you will only accomplish a comparatively small percentage of what you otherwise would be able to. Like a dedicated runner who sees the need to count calories, log miles, and track their monthly progress when it comes to hitting the pavement, a good leader has to stay on top of their health to unlock those higher abilities to make good business decisions and wise choices. It all starts with managing your health. 

2. They Value Down Time
The greatest leaders have always known how to make time for themselves. They went home after work and enjoyed time with their families. They understood priorities being properly managed. They perfected the art of relaxation and were thus able to push forward much harder, despite their imperfections and vices. If you are constantly running out of steam, you won't be able to build a solid, long-lasting business.

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So you've got a great idea for your business, but you don't have the funds right now to get it off the ground.

You could try applying for a government grant, but it's often a long and arduous bureaucratic process of form filling and there are of course no guarantees you'll get the money. Some governments also offer tax incentives for research and development, but usually you need to spend the money before you can get it back.

And there are private investors-'business angels'-too, if you have the contacts and know how to structure and negotiate a good deal that you won't regret in the years to come.

'Bootstrapping' is the most common way that businesses fund their startup phase. This is where entrepreneurs fund the startup business out of their own savings and even from their credit card limits! High risk, but the bootstrapping advantage is that the founders don't have to give away equity or control to other investors. 

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 If a business owner said to you that they run their business without a budget, what would you think? You'd think they were incompetent. Or perhaps lazy? Or both?

But what do most families do?

When you think about it, a family is actually a mini business. There is income, there are expenses and there is, hopefully, something left over to invest and to enjoy.

So why don't most families operate to a budget?

After all, a personal budget helps you to see your financial direction and helps you stay (or get back!) on track. It's a great comfort.

One reason some people don't put together a budget is the feeling of being  overwhelmed, of being too busy, of feeling like life is too complex to keep track of all that.

Well the good news is we can handhold you through the process and make it easy for you.

But before we look at the 'how' aspects, let's consider 3 more reasons why a personal budget is such an important tool to help you achieve your financial goals and dreams.

  1. Most of your money is already spoken for long before you get it

The money you earn has already been promised to keep the electricity on, make the loan repayments and pay for the insurance. Most of what many people think of as budgeting is really honouring the commitments you have already have.

Now since we are all honest people and plan to pay these bills, the first step is to track these bills and see what is left over for your day-to-day living.

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Cloud computing and web-based apps have undoubtedly improved business efficiency. But once you and your team start using various online apps, one aspect quickly becomes inefficient (not to mention downright annoying): having to repeatedly enter usernames and passwords to log in.

It's bad enough having to enter a multitude of login credentials when you first open the apps each morning. But many apps automatically log you out if you haven't been using them for a few minutes. And while it's a nice security feature, it means you have to repeat the entire process whenever you take a breather.

Wouldn't it be great if a 'master control' app could automatically enter your username and password whenever an app asked for them? Of course, you'd have to log into the master control app first, and that login process would have to be very secure. But just imagine how much time and frustration it could save.

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