Tutbury Associates LtdTutbury Associates Ltd

By Kelly Tutbury

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.

Maintaining focus on the job is increasingly difficult in the era of social media, chat apps, games, and the ability to search anything at any time—whether related to the task at hand or not.

Recent research shows that on average office workers switch between tasks roughly every three minutes. Half of those “task switches” were not because the phone rang or someone stopped by with a question—they were self-interruptions.

The same study showed that when an interruption is related to the primary task, it isn’t a problem for the worker to maintain focus when the interruption ends. But when people have to “shift their cognitive resources” to a new task, it takes longer to remember where they were, refocus, and regain momentum.

Online multitasking

Another source of distraction that costs workers time and energy is task switching on their computers. A University of California, Irvine study found that people who work at their computers switch between applications about 400 times per day.

If your team isn’t working across the same devices, platforms, and apps, imagine the increased inefficiency as workers waste more time dealing with incompatibility issues. For anyone moving between a number of decentralized apps during the work day the cost is mental exhaustion—which can lead to increased lack of focus and even less productivity. If you need help working on which apps are essential please contact us on http://tutburyassociates.co.nz/contact/ we will certainly help point you in the right direction.


The fact is, no matter how much we’d like to improve our productivity, multitasking is a myth; most humans can only perform one task well at a time.

If you must use a computer at work, to help minimize the temptation to check Facebook or random search, give ShotClock, a monotasking app a try—or Freedom, an app that blocks all digital distractions so you can focus on just what’s in front of you.

Another tip is to batch email rather than reading and responding to messages continually. Sending email twice a day—once in the morning and again in the afternoon—will train people not to expect to hear from you instantly, creating more reasonable (and sane) expectations. For our own personal and collective wellbeing, no one can or should be available to work around the clock.

Perhaps most important of all, be sure to unplug and rest your mind each day. And be good to yourself by taking a health break each year. A week or two of time off, away from work email and other stress-inducing distractions, will do more to increase your productivity than any app.

By Kelly Tutbury

So you’ve launched your business – now what?

Good news for small business owners: according to the US Small Business Administration, nearly 80% of small businesses survive their first year.

However, that number begins to drop as time rolls on. Only half of small businesses pass the five year mark, and a mere third celebrate their tenth anniversary.

Taking steps to create a good foundation in the early days of your business is essential for a sustainable and profitable future. Here’s how.

Keep your eyes on the numbers

If you’re just starting out, you may be surprised by just how quickly those day to day expenses add up. It’s important to make sure, right from day one, that you consistently track your spending, file your receipts, and monitor your income and expenses with an easy, reliable accounting system.

Cloud based accounting software (like www.xero.co.nz ) can help you know exactly where your finances stand in real time—with secure access to accurate, up to date financial data anywhere, anytime.

In addition to being able to collaborate more efficiently with your bookkeeper and accountant so you can get advice whenever you need it, you’ll avoid the stress and hassle come tax time—and be empowered every day to make better, smarter business decisions.

Don’t neglect marketing
All entrepreneurs are incredibly busy, and it can be a real challenge to find the time to promote your business. The other challenge for new businesses is money—but every small business needs to invest in marketing activities that will bring in more sales and keep the cash flow flowing.

It’s wise to be wary of costly large-scale marketing strategies when you’re just starting out. The best use of your time in the early days is to really get to know your customers and how they tick, so you can design (or hire an expert to mastermind) highly appealing, cost-effective campaigns.

And don’t turn a blind eye to what you’re competitors are up to. Monitor how they attract new customers and think about how you can improve on what they’re doing—or take a completely different approach to promoting your business that will help your young brand stand apart.

Touch base with a business advisor
Every successful entrepreneur learns from experience—not to mention failure, which can be the greatest of all teachers.

While it’s true that “you don’t know what you don’t know”, you can shrink your learning curve by reaching out to experienced mentors for guidance.

Consider working with a small business consultant who can provide personalized advice to help you make it through the first year—and an ongoing objective perspective on your business, industry, and market going forward.

 

Final thoughts
It’s been said many times that a business is like a baby—and it can be incredibly difficult for entrepreneurs to trust someone enough to hand over any aspect of it. Many business owners work themselves to exhaustion because they can’t let themselves to take a weekend off. They neglect their most important relationships and never get to enjoy their successes because there’s always more to do.  Contact www.tutburyassociates.co.nz/contact for some advice on way to streamline to save you time.

The most successful entrepreneurs know they can’t do it all—nor should they—and build in time for rest so they can be more productive at work. Train someone early on to run the business in your absence so you can take a rejuvenating vacation, and enjoy the freedom you likely dreamed off when you first imagined going into business for yourself.

By Kelly Tutbury

Employee V Contractor. Whats the difference?

There are a lot of business owners that are unsure whether they should hire employees or a contractor. Below we’ve tried to simplify the difference between the two.

So what defines a contractor? And how is this different to an employee?

The basics are:

What is an independent contractor?

Independent contractors are self-employed people who control what work they do and how it’s done and are responsible for their own tax payments.

  • They decide how they do the work
    –       When they take their holidays
    –       When, where and what hours they work
    –       How much they get paid and how
  • They are responsible for:
    –       GST returns and payment if applicable
    –       Terminal and Provisional Tax and filing their own tax returns, ACC and Professional Indemnity Insurance
  • They are responsible for getting the work done
    –       Can get other people to fill in for them. Potentially without permission.
    –       Pay those people from their own funds
    –       Are free to work for other people
    –       Advertise their own business
    –       If they can’t do the job (e.g. sick) then they can organise a replacement
    –       Must correct unsatisfactory work in their own time at their own expense.

How is this different to an employee?

An employee:

–       Does the work themselves
–       Can be told at any time what to do on the job, or when and how to do it
–       Is paid at a set rate (for example, hourly weekly, monthly)
–       Can get overtime pay
–       Works set hours, or a given number of hours a week or month
–       Has someone else who sets the standards for the amount and quality of their sales or output
–       Works at the premises of the employer they are working for, or somewhere that employer decides
–       Does the same sort of job as other people who are treated as employees
–       Is under an employment contract, or any law that says how their relationship with their “employer” should be run
–       Is prevented from doing work for anyone else
–       Has to follow the rules or procedures of the employer they are working for.

However there is nothing totally black and white and the lines can be blurred between employee and contractor.

Inland Revenue publishes guidelines in this area so have a look at www.ird.govt.nz or feel free to contact the office www.tutburyassociates.co.nz/contact

Your responsibility when using contractors

Your self-employed contractors are responsible for their own tax so you don’t usually have to worry about PAYE and other deductions.

However, in some circumstances you are required to deduct ‘tax on schedular payments’ from payments to contractors and pay these amounts to

Inland Revenue unless they hold a Certificate of Exemption.

Self-employed contractors are not covered by the Employment Relations Act (2000) or the Holidays Act (2003), which deals with annual leave,

public holidays, sick leave or bereavement leave.

They are however protected by the terms of their signed contract – meaning you can still be legally liable if you break the terms of any of the contracts signed.

The above is a brief rundown on the differences. If you want to find out what category you fall into or what the advantages/disadvantages are more in detail.

Please contact us  www.tutburyassociates.co.nz/contact

 

Is technology making you less efficient?
So you’ve launched your business – now what?
Employee V Contractor. Whats the difference?