Xero In

Xero In


Xero In helps business leaders realise their dreams with practical insights and growth strategies that work. Co-hosts Jeanne-Vida Douglas and Xero evangelist Rob Stone host this weekly podcast for Australian and New Zealand small business leaders who aren’t content with ordinary. Join them to discover practical insights that help you stay in control, find new customers and keep your accounting books in order. Each week you’ll hear interviews with the best minds in small business, covering topics from world-class accounting practices to digital marketing, cashflow management, and business strategy. Check us out at xero.com/podcasts


Ep: 34 - Overcoming tax paralysis: How to talk to the tax office  

Tax season could easily be a small business owner’s most dreaded time of year. So how do you set yourself up ahead of time to avoid tax paralysis? And how do you overcome it when it does set in?

This week on Xero In Rob Stone and JV Douglas are joined once more by Peter Strong, CEO at the Council for Small Business Australia (COSBOA) and a strong advocate for small businesses when it comes to getting through the tax season.

“A small business is a person,” Peter told Rob and JV. “And most of the time if there’s a problem with a small business it’s because of confusion or they’re going through some life crisis or some business crisis, but it’s certainly not dishonesty that causes the problem.”

Tune in to find out what you need to know when it comes to working with the tax office, and how to prepare your business ahead of time.

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Ep: 33 - Chain reaction: Everything you need to know about franchising  

Good business idea? Check. Great sales record? Check. Plans for world domination? Check. In this episode of Xero In we track the process from good idea to franchise success, and what it takes to get there.

This week on the show, Rob and JV are joined by franchising expert and founder of the Franchise Relationships Institute, Greg Nathan. With experience on both sides of the table, Greg debunks some of the myths around what it takes to build a thriving franchise empire.

“At the end of it all, if the franchisees are not profitable then you’ve got to ask yourself, ‘Why would I want to invest a whole lot of money in a business concept and barely make a wage out of it?’ I might as well go and get a job.”

Tune in to find out whether franchising could be the right fit for you.

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Ep: 32 - Needle in a haystack: The secret to recruiting a great team  

Advertisement, application, interviewing – it’s the tried and tested method for recruiting based on education and experience. But how do you measure potential employees for cultural fit? And how can you update your recruitment process to make sure you find the perfect person for the job, every single time?

This week on Xero In, hosts Rob Stone and JV Douglas are joined by Dr Glyn Brokensha, founder of Expr3ss and all-round expert when it comes to recruiting the right people for the right roles.

“The first thing you have to do is turn the whole recruitment thing on its head and say to yourself who cannot possibly do this job? Ask yourself, ‘Who doesn’t have the essential criteria that we actually must have for this job,’” Glyn said.

Tune in to find out how you can improve your recruitment process today.

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Ep: 31 - To hire, to fire: Building your collaborative A-team  

Hiring, firing: They’re two of the most dreaded words among leadership teams everywhere – and rightly so. What exactly should you look for when you’re building your dream team? And how do you know when it’s time to let employees go?

This week on Xero In, Rob and JV are joined once more by Steve Vamos to talk about building a collaborative work culture that will last. With many decades of experience in leadership and management roles, Steve shares insights that will help you when it comes to the recruitment and HR process.

“I think that probably the biggest thing you can do in hiring people is spend time with the person you’re about to hire and find a way to get them to help you on a project,” Steve said.

Tune in to discover how to build, and keep, your ultimate collaborative team.

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Ep: 30 - Small business, disrupt thyself: How to make disruption work for you  

Disruption is a fact of small business, but how do you ride the wave when you don’t see it coming? What can you do to keep your small business going strong in an industry that’s failing?

This week on Xero In, we speak to Peter Strong, CEO at COSBOA and former bookstore owner, about his many successful years in retail and overcoming the downturn in printed book sales.

“The people that embrace technology of course are the ones who are going ahead,” Peter said. “The ones who see disruption not as disruption but as a challenge to develop new processes and new products, they’re the ones who are going ahead.”

Tune in for tips on embracing disruption to make your small business thrive.

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Ep: 29 - Future cubicle: what's next for the work space?  

We’ve come a long way since the days of the office with four walls, a door and a desk. So what does the office of the future look like? And will architecture alone get us there?

This week Xero In hosts Rob Stone and JV Douglas are joined by Justin Kabbani, managing director and owner of Hardhat Digital, a creative agency that is pioneering the way forward in office design.

“One of the things we like to say at Hardhat is that our office is our temple. The office is the body of the company and everything that comes in here should follow the same kind of guidelines that you would about diet,” Justin told Rob and JV.

Tune in to find out how office design is key to fostering innovation and creativity in the workplace.

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Ep: 28 - The perfect pair: When innovative design meets social enterprise  

We live in a world of great creativity, innovation and social enterprise – an entrepreneurs dream. So how do you go about creating something that’s never existed before? And is uniqueness alone enough to get people talking?

This week the founder and owner of Frank Green, Ben Young, joins Xero In hosts Rob Stone and JV Douglas to talk about building and marketing a unique business empire.

“You’ve just got to believe in your purpose and just also celebrate your milestones of success,” Ben said. “I think it’s really important, getting your first product in the market or just getting it designed, then getting it manufactured and getting your brand right.”

Tune in to discover how to create a unique business, and what it is that has made Frank Green such a success story.

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Ep: 27 - If you build it, they will come: Success in the construction industry  

With the rapid pace of change and increasing access to technology, it’s vital that all industries evolve. So what technology is the construction industry embracing in order to build success?

This week on Xero In, hosts Rob and JV speak to the founder of TradiePad, Clinton Cowan about how to be resilient in the construction industry. With more paperwork now than ever before, Clinton shares his insider tips on how tradies can reduce costs, save time and embrace technology.

“Instead of seeing a tradie jot something down on a wall or on a bit of a paper or on a bit of wood, we’re starting to see people using the technology to actually create a job, an appointment, and they get reminders about these things, things that the business world has had for decades,” Clinton said.

Listen in to find out how the construction industry is changing with the times.

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Ep: 26 - People first: The importance of people management  

People. They’re at the centre of everything you do in small business, which is why people management and culture building should be a top priority for any leader or manager.

This week Steve Vamos joins Xero In hosts Rob Stone and JV Douglas to share insights from his three decades of experience in leadership roles across companies including IBM, Apple, Microsoft and Ninemsn.

"The mindset of leaders, the way that leaders think and the people around them think defines an organisation’s fate," Steve said.

Tune in to find out how to frame your leadership approach for the current, turbulent times, and why people management should always come first.

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Ep: 25 - Growing old disgracefully: Succession planning and exit strategies  

You’ve built a successful small business and it’s going well - but over the horizon comes retirement, a new venture, or a family concern. So how do you plan for your exit?

In this week’s episode of Xero In, we speak to business broker Kev Ryan about the many options available to small business owners when planning their exit, as well as what new business owners should look for when deciding to invest in an existing business.

“There’s skill involved, but if you give yourself plenty of time like any strategy, time is the key. Start early and work out where and how this is all going to transpire,” says Kev.

If you’re thinking about selling up, getting out, moving in or investing, this is the episode for you. Tune in to hear tips and stories from Kev’s two decades of experience as a business broker.

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Ep: 24 - Google is the new landlord  

With the increasing convergence of bricks-and-mortar and online retail, it’s now more pertinent than ever to think about how your location might be impacting your business - for better or worse.

This week Xero In hosts Rob Stone and JV Douglas chat to James Stevens, founder of Roses Only. James sheds light on his experience, moving from the world of physical shopfronts to the internet to eventually building a successful, global ecommerce brand.

“The biggest online landlord now would have to be Google,” James said. “I look for media where my brand is going to stand out, we haven't put a whole bunch of flower shops next to each other in a shopping centre called Google.”
So is Google the new landlord? And what are the alternative locations businesses should think about in order to remain relevant in an increasingly online world? Tune in to find out.

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Ep: 23 - Creating and maintaining culture  

Creating culture is easy in the early, heady days of your business. When you're making all the decisions and sharing them directly with staff, your culture is often improvised and ad hoc. The challenge comes when you need to choose those elements of culture you want to pass on.

In this episode of Xero In, We speak to Angus Kennard, non executive director and third generation leader of Kennards Hire, about how to distill those values, and the mechanisms that pass them indirectly on to others.

“We have this reverse pyramid that we talk about with our people, where our customers sit on the top of the pyramid and the family and the Board actually sit at the bottom of that pyramid,” Angus said.

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Ep: 22 - Special episode: Why it’s important to quit, fail and make mistakes  

Disrupt or be disrupted. It’s the mantra of the modern workforce. But what’s it really like to quit your day job? How do you know when the timing is right? And what happens if you make mistakes or your business fails?

In this special episode of Xero In, JV and Rob head to Sydney fintech hub Stone & Chalk to talk to some of Australia’s leading entrepreneurs about their business journey from corporate career to start-up.

“It wasn't my intention to launch a start-up, or to do something on my own. Something happened to me, and it wasn't life changing but it was so exciting, and it led to me thinking that to follow this, I’d have to step outside my corporate role,” says Katherine McConnell, CEO and founder at Brighte.

Tune in as we delve deep into the world of starting out with a range of guests, who share their stories of success, failure and taking that overwhelming first step.

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Ep: 21 - Get tech savvy: 5 things to think about in 2016  

Smartphones. You’re probably listening to this podcast on one right now. But are you maximising your favourite pocket gadget for your business? There’s so much new tech out there that it’s difficult to know where to begin.

In this episode of Xero In, hosts Rob Stone and JV Douglas are joined by one of Australia’s top technology journalists and industry commentators, Angus Kidman. Together, they launch headfirst into the world of mobile tech, discussing the top trends for the year ahead and sharing tips on how you too can unlock your inner tech-nerd.

“I don't think you have to start by thinking about apps - the cultural decision is important too,” Angus said. “Ask yourself, what are your staff used to? Do they want major retraining?”

Angus shares tips for small business owners about staying on top of mobile tech trends and maximising the technology you’ve already got.

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Ep: 20 - Better with friends: why mentors are important  

For most of the paths we walk, there’s someone who has walked them before us. But where do you find your very own business Yoda - and how can they help on your quest?

In this episode, hosts Rob Stone and JV Douglas talk to Jo Burston, MD at Job Capital and Rare Birds, about her journey from mentee to mentor, author and entrepreneur.

“I think for me the gold nugget moment was that I saw someone who I identified with personally,” Jo says. “I can say that with hand on heart probably would not have been as successful without a mentor.”

Jo explains how her business success led to a wider realisation about the power of mentoring and spurred her on to form the entrepreneurial movement Inspiring Rare Birds. We find out how she’s encouraging up and coming entrepreneurs to find out exactly who it is that they want to become - and how.  

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Ep: 19 - Sharing is caring: Is co-working for you?  

Being a sole operator or a budding entrepreneur can be a lonely, if exciting, life. So where do you turn when you need a social fix, someone to brainstorm with, or a bit of peer advice?

According to Christopher Kirk, hub manager at Stone & Chalk, a co-working space could be for you. He talks to hosts JV Douglas and Rob Stone about the differences between co-working, accelerators, hubs and incubators, and how each can help small business.

We have a bell that people ring, not just when they succeed, but when they fail too,” he says of their Sydney shared space. “It's a roller-coaster, but the big benefit of working in a co-working space is everyone's on the ride.”

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Ep: 18 - How brand is key to retail success  

It’s gone from scones and doilies to crazy and creative, but giving tea a retail makeover hasn’t all been smooth sailing. So how do you go from surviving to thriving in retail?

Maryanne Shearer, founder of T2, has been answering this questions with increasing confidence for two decades. With T2 stores surviving the global financial crisis, and now going global, Maryanne shares her insights into creating a retail experience, inspiring brand love, and keeping your course during tough times.

Maryanne chats with Xero In hosts RS and JV Douglas about her journey from failed homewares business to international buyout, and the value of a good cup of tea.

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Ep: 17 - Advice you wish your accountant could give you  

Once upon a time your relationship with your accountant was mostly about tax returns. But small businesses today want much more, making tax the least interesting part of what a great accountant can do for you.

Business technology journalist Sholto Macpherson says a combination of new technology, improved customer service and niche services has changed the shape of the modern accountancy practice. More than ever before, great accountants are offering coaching services to help grow your business, and acknowledging that your success is theirs, too.

Sholto talks to Xero In about the intimate relationship small business owners can have with a great accountant, and how it can propel you further, faster. He gives us an insight into the skillset of the modern accountant, and the three key questions you should ask before getting involved.

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Ep: 16 - Here, there and everywhere with a distributed team  

In the years since the explosion of cloud based platforms, small companies have been enabled to expand and operate like large companies, giving them access to flexible work practices and a massively expanded talent pool.

While you may have gained deeper understanding about how to add flexibility to your operations, have you been paying as much attention to the subtle and not-so-subtle changes this brings to your management style?  

We speak to Xero CEO Rod Drury about how this conversation has evolved, and what cultural changes will take small business to the next level of productivity.

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Ep: 15 - Quenching the entrepreneurial thirst  

The entrepreneurial thirst is a crucial driving component of many successful small businesses. So how do you harness that thirst for constant knowledge and improvement and make it work for you?

When she launched her magazine back in 2013, Lisa Messenger found herself surrounded by sceptics. Today, with a rapidly expanding empire and a print magazine that is now sold across 37 countries, the founder of The Collective Hub is living the entrepreneurial dream.

In this episode, Lisa chats with Xero In hosts Rob Stone and Jeanne-Vida Douglas about her journey from horse riding instructor to queen of a growing business empire, what drives her, and the importance of entrepreneurial thirst.

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