A couple of weeks ago, we had the pleasure of attending Xerocon, the world’s largest cloud accounting conference. In the same way that we’re more than just number crunchers at A4G, Xerocon was more than just about showcasing the software; helping small businesses to thrive was at the heart of the 3 day conference that featured inspiring talks from Sir Ranulph Fiennes OBE, Johnathon MacDonald of the Thought Expansion Network and Dave Coplin, Chief Envisioning Officer of Microsoft, just to name a few. Not forgetting the brains behind Xero himself, Rod Drury.

After some reflection, we’ve sat down with a cuppa and noted down some of the key points we took away from the experience:

Franklin wasn’t joking when he said “If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail”

Xerocon gave us a timely reminder as to the critical importance of small business to the UK economy. In fact, small businesses make up 99% of all UK businesses, contributing to 60% of UK employment and 47% of UK turnover. However, many of these businesses are not helping themselves. A large proportion have no business plan, don’t consult experts or even use technology. Without these, it is impossible for a business to improve and grow – if anything, it is more likely to stagnate, or go backwards, facing a constant battle for survival. Interestingly 88% of businesses using Xero survive 5 years, compared to the national average of 41%.

We’re no exception, click here to take a step back in time and see how technology has helped us to grow. 

Get acquainted with your customer of the future

70% of the 600,000 new businesses starting up in and around London next year will be set up by 18-34 year olds. Not all of them will prosper, but we just learnt that if they’re using Xero, 88% will be in business for 5 years or more. So what does this mean for existing businesses? You will inevitably be planning how you can compete – but more importantly, consider what you could be doing in your own marketing efforts to appeal to this demographic.  How do you make them a customer? We’re not suggesting you go out and sign up to every social media platform tomorrow, but do keep up to date with the way this age group communicate. How might blog posts drive more traffic to your site? Could you integrate more video content? Ensure that your marketing strategy includes this group, and you’ll be sharing in their success.

“When the winds are blowing, some build a wall, some build a windmill”

Are you sensing a theme yet? This year Xerocon honed in on the effects of change, with an emphasis on up-to-date Real Time Information. We were fortunate to hear from Brigid McBride, OBE of HMRC, on her strategic move to make tax digital by 2020, and Charles Counsell, Executive Director at The Pensions Regulator regarding Auto-Enrolment and the provisions small businesses should be making to deal with pension changes. The conference hammered home the initiative being used by Xero to allow all businesses, using the right tools, to prosper from change, reinforcing the key theme that changing one aspect of the way you do business can affect your business as a whole. Technology is changing at a rapid pace and eventually we will succumb to it one way or another. Don’t withstand it, embrace it.

If you need assistance in the process of preparing for auto-enrolment, we have a dedicated team to help. Click here to see what you need to do next.

*We haven’t gone into the nitty gritty of all the features and add-ons Xero can provide for you in this post, but we do have experts in-house to tailor this software to your business needs. Give us a call at 01474 853856 for a more in-depth chat.

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Josh Curties

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Partner & Principal Adviser

01474 853856

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