Grab yourself a Revive and a BSC bar because this blog is a little like a super circuit …
Xerocon is the largest conference for bookkeepers and accountants in the southern hemisphere and they never disappoint – liken it to the Australian Fitness Show! With over 3000 attendees from 19 countries here are my 4 top takeaways, which you can relate back to your own business.
If you’re not in the cloud you should be
The way you run your fitness business today is undoubtedly different to the way it would have been run 10 years ago, or even 5 years ago. Technology has improved the way you can deliver your sessions, connect with your community, develop your personal brand, manage your memberships and payments, and sell your merchandise. Consider even how the likes of Fitbit, Garmin, and MyFitnessPal are playing in the cloud!
It’s the same story with your accounts. Gone are the days of waiting until the end of the financial year to get your shiny new CD with your annual updates. Xero released over 1500 updates in the past 12 months. They were all done behind the scenes with little or no disruption to the way we work.
Being in the cloud means real time data, which means quicker and better informed decisions for your business. Imagine having to wait for your monthly bank statement in the mail to find out how your account has been tracking – instead of logging into internet banking and finding out immediately. Imagine having to purchase your music from Sanity – instead of live streaming it straight to your studio. In our instant gratification world, with so much information at our fingertips, we have access to it now. It shouldn’t be any different with your business information.
Don’t be afraid of the cloud – it’s the way of the future. “Because we’ve always done it that way” isn’t a good enough reason not to move your business to the cloud and embrace all the possibilities that come with that. You can be better connected to everything when you and your business are operating in the cloud.
It’s all about creating a great culture
There’s nothing much worse than joining a gym and constantly feeling like the new guy, not knowing how the machines work and not feeling comfortable to ask anybody, or feeling like the fat slow girl. The bootcamp I go to definitely doesn’t make me feel that way because they’ve created an amazing family culture. If I’m not there, they check up on me; if I’m struggling, they help and encourage me; if I’m feeling flat and discouraged, they remind me how far I’ve come.
Xero is just like that. For many businesses, Xero is everything that you need to run your business beautifully – just like the fully equipped gym. For others who need something a little more personalised, Xero has a whole eco-system where you can connect as many apps to your file as you need to really create that individualised experience for your business. Whether you’re looking for project management, customer relationship management, e-commerce, point of sale, inventory management and stock control, payroll and HR solutions, or something a little more specific, Xero have the app partner to help. These solutions really improve your business workflows and make your whole way of doing business more beautiful.
Don’t be afraid of Artificial Intelligence
Artificial intelligence, or machine learning, can instil a sense of unease for some. But it doesn’t have to. Look at how our world has changed through development – the car you drive compared to the car your grandparents drove; the phone you use now compared to the phone of the ‘80s; the way we communicate with others compared to how we did it 20 years ago, or even 5 years ago! Even my 4-weekly body scan at bootcamp – it can analyse my whole body composition including water, muscle, fat and weight. Gone are the days of jumping on the bathroom scales and only seeing my weight. The world is a constantly evolving place, and AI is the next evolution.
Artificial intelligence brings efficiency, automation and monitoring. But we still need the human element – such as the conversation with my trainer after my scan, or the conversation you have with your bookkeeper at the end of the month. Our humanity brings inspiration, purpose, and empathy. So take a breath, and go for the AI ride!
It’s okay to get out of your comfort zone
Okay, a bit of personal now. If you know me I can seem confident and together – don’t we all? But put me in a different setting, something that’s a little out of my comfort zone, then my social anxiety goes through the roof and I’m scoping the exits as I arrive or hoping for a sink hole to appear and swallow me whole. I think deep down many of us have felt like this at some point. I put off joining bootcamp for 2 years because of my unwillingness to drag myself out of my comfort zone. I realise now I’m an idiot! I love, love, love bootcamp; it’s my new addiction; and kick myself about where I could be now if I’d only gone sooner!
My plan for Xerocon was to go to the event and speak to the people who spoke to me, go back to the hotel in the evening to catch up on my emails, leave for the airport as soon as the conference was over – which is exactly what I did at my first Xerocon (I say again, I’m an idiot!). But this year I made a conscious decision to put myself out there (so glad I did). This is how I did it:
- As soon as I sat down for each session I introduced myself to the person sitting next to me – who knows, they could have been feeling as socially vulnerable as I was. Then, even in a sea of 3000+ attendees, I ran into those people throughout the event and could confidently smile, say hello, or strike up a conversation.
- I introduced myself to people who I know through my social media circles but hadn’t met in person. My normal thought process would have been, “why would they want to talk to me when there are so many other people here for them to talk to.” But reaching out and making those connections made me more confident to do it again, I met some wonderful people, and created opportunities that I wouldn’t otherwise have had.
- I attended networking events and dinners, and changed my flight home so I could attend the wrap-up party. I met some amazing people, had an awesome time, and learned that Xero really know how to throw a party and you don’t want to miss it!
So to wrap it up, I had an amazing time at Xerocon this year and can’t wait to do it all over again next year. Between now and then I’ve got a lot of ideas to implement to make my contribution to your business more valuable than it was yesterday. I’ve learned that I love Xero the product, and Xero the philosophy, and am really excited about the improvements I can make to your fitness business over the next 12 months and beyond. And it’s totally a burpee-free zone, so watch this space!