Monthly Archives: March, 2017

9 tips for a successful partnership

March 29th, 2017 Posted by Smart business tips No Comment yet

Did you know at least 50% of partnerships fail in the first 2-3 years?

This statistic alone may scare you into staying solo, but we have the insight to keep your partnership rock solid.

A partnership venture starts out as a brilliant idea between at least two entities. You agree it’s a good idea, you sign the agreement, get started and things may be great for a while. But then the cracks start to show.

Based on conversations with business owners who’ve experienced partnership failures, here’s a list of 9 tips to give your next partnership the best shot at survival.

1. Complementing skill sets. Partnerships have been instrumental to many successful start-ups and the reasons are simple: complementing skill sets and a collaborative approach. But often partners with similar skills gravitate to each other. This may seem attractive for growing market presence, but it doesn’t create enough diversity, which is where many partnerships fall over. Ensure you have a mix of diverse and complementing skills to avoid too many cooks in the kitchen.

2. Similar values and vision. Many of your partner’s values will impact the outcome of your venture – will they be willing to put in the work, and how will they respond in a stressful situation? Do they do what they can to keep going in a crisis, or will they pack up? Sharing similar values is imperative. You can agree to disagree in different areas of the business, but at the end of the day partners should also share a similar vision. One partner may be reliant on carrying out the next commission, whilst the other is thinking big picture and building the customer base. These differences may quickly become a deal breaker to make your partnership unstick.

3. Balance effort. Sometimes one partner alleges to be putting in more time and energy than the other(s), which may be the case, agreed or not. Much of this comes down to the perceived value of the partnership venture and the time and resources available. So explore the value of the partnership, the return on investment, commitment, and resource requirements at the start. Then deal with any conflict more rationally via the terms of the agreement.

4. Transparency. Openness and honesty is critical to every successful partnership. As one entrepreneur stated after three acrimonious partnership failures, “whoever controls the money, holds the power”. Whilst conjecture, this viewpoint represents that of many partners on the receiving end of poor transparency. Partners bringing hidden debts and agendas to the venture has also seen many partnerships crumble so ensure yours is transparent.

5. Communicate. When communication breaks down, at least there is some recourse to figure out what went wrong, but a lack of communication is a symptom of lack of planning – who does what, reporting and accountability. So plan every step, variable and worst case scenario to prevent your partnership unravelling and always keep your partner in the loop.

6. Don’t move faster than you can manage. A new partnership can move very fast and that’s a great thing. But a partnership that moves too quickly without inclusion of key personnel is heading for trouble. Without a good plan, change gets bogged down in resistance compounded by fear. Having an inclusive strategy which incorporates a change management plan is more likely to assist success.

7. Have a dispute and exit plan in place. Peace of mind is knowing you have a feasible exit plan. An exit clause in your agreement defines what happens to intellectual property, profits, debts, clients and other considerations, in the event of, or when, the partnership venture ceases. This is particularly important if partners bring assets to a new venture which they wish to retain. Add a sound and clear dispute resolution clause into the formal partnership agreement and seek a mediator if necessary.

8. Evolve. The business world moves quickly and the reasons for entering a partnership six months ago may no longer be relevant. Evolving your partnership and adjusting to stay relevant and feasible is key.

9. One last thought, do you really need a partner? Consider why you are entering a partnership, and explore if there is an alternative to achieving what you want. A partnership should create something mutually beneficial for both parties which is greater than the sum of its parts combined. If you don’t see this value perhaps you should consider other options.

If you’re involved in a partnership, whether it’s a strategic alliance, joint venture, partnership in law, or anything in between, getting your business model and systems right are essential for success.

A partnership venture is one example of a business strategy for growth. Others include coaching and mentoring programs, outsourcing (e.g. virtual assistants and IT specialists), strategy development, IP advice and services, marketing, grant writing and financial modeling. Bartercard is a network that provides easy access to the business support services your company needs. Check out the directory in MYBC for services locally and across the USA.

Pat Grosse is the CEO of The Community Entrepreneur, providing marketing and business services support to not-for-profits and business enterprises. She specializes in grant writing services, project management and partnerships. Pat has been working with partnerships for over 20 years. At one point she was employed by a consortium of 10 universities.

Visit Partnership Toolbox for more information.

Written by Pat Grosse on Jan 18, 2017
From http://blog.bartercard.com.au/9-tips-for-a-successful-partnership
For more information contact
Pat Grosse
Executive Manager
The Community Entrepreneur
Tel: +61 3 9005 5889 | e-mail: pat@thecommunityentrepreneur.com |
www.thecommunityentrepreneur.com | facebook |

Bartercard Top Trading Tips

March 22nd, 2017 Posted by Bartercard, Smart business tips No Comment yet

Ever wonder how Bartercard’s most successful members trade?  In this week’s blog, we have the most creative deals and road-tested tips from Bartercard’s top traders.

Rising to the top with Bartercard

Whether you like your bread savory, sweet, crusty, classic or artisanal, Bakers Delight has been baking it since 1980. One franchisee of the popular bread brand has created a partnership with Bartercard to maximize sales. “We need to make a high volume of sales every day to stay viable. Bartercard has helped me grow my customer base and sell excess products, leaving me with less bread wasted at the end of each day,” said Ryan Kirkham, owner of Bakers Delight franchises in Kawana and Maroochydore, Queensland, Australia. “Bartercard really fits in with our ‘baked fresh daily’ approach. On average our sales have jumped by approximately $40,000 per year with Bartercard – that’s a lot of loaves!

Bartercard lands electrical business its biggest cash job

In a competitive male-orientated industry, Sharyn Watson is crushing stereotypes as the only female operator of an electrical business on the Gold Coast. She recently landed her biggest cash job when a Bartercard contract led to a referral at a resort on the Gold Coast.

“It’s our biggest cash job to date and now we have a continual supply agreement to maintain the resort’s electricals and air-conditioning,” said Sharyn. She said the three most important things to customers is showing up, cleaning up and following up which the company sticks to rain, hail or shine. She uses Bartercard to cash convert, spending T$25,000 for light fittings in Bartercard trade dollars and selling them for $25,000 cash.

In exchange for trade dollars, Sharyn has prepaid out her office telephones and internet for two years, a big cash saving in her pocket. She’s also building a house and conserving $50,000 in cash by using trade dollars to pay for trades. Her tip is to treat Bartercard customers just like cash-paying clientele. “Putting Bartercard and cash clients into different categories can come at a cost,” she said. “Always treat clients equally and the results will speak for themselves.”

Cashless Uber investment

Here’s a smart trading tip to keep up your sleeve. One Bartercard member has capitalized on Uber, the ride sharing service which has swept Australia. The business owner bought a car on Bartercard’s online trading platform MYBC, listed it on Gumtree as an Uber rental vehicle for a set cash amount per week and the car is paying for itself – not a bad extra revenue stream!

Buying a block of land with the press of a button

Sean Levy, the owner of Sub Zero Vending and distributor of vending machines nationally recently purchased a block of land through Bartercard’s trading platform MYBC with the press of a button on his smartphone. “The land is in Townsville and was selling at a distress rate of $15,000,” said Sean. “My Trade Broker told me about the deal which was listed on MYBC, where you can trade 24/7. I bought the property on trade and then hired a lawyer on Bartercard to complete all the paperwork.”

Couran Cove splashes out

Couran Cove Island Resort is a piece of paradise on the Gold Coast which has used one small card to turn empty rooms into cash. Asserting that one of the biggest challenges in any resort is filling room nights, Couran Cove director, Lachlan McIntosh said he’s used Bartercard to maximize bookings and revenue. “Couran Cove has 350 rooms and whether they’re filled or empty we still have the fixed expenses of running a resort,” he said.

“Bartercard helps us fill those empty rooms at un-discounted rates paid in an alternative currency of trade dollars. We then use those trade dollars to purchase wine through Bartercard which we sell to visitors for cash – so suddenly an empty room becomes $200 in revenue.”

 

From an article on bartercard.com.au
By Klara Vida, Nov 23, 2016

2017 Means Marketing

March 15th, 2017 Posted by Marketing, Online Business, Smart business tips No Comment yet

This week Alan Thompson of Stingray Branding explains why now is the perfect time to think about your 2017 marketing strategy.

Do you go get the yellow pages when you need a plumber or photographer? No?! Well surprise, neither do your clients. While we always want word of mouth to be a large part of our marketing strategy and hope to count on it forever, it is not the only form of marketing, nor should it be the only marketing you put all of your future in the hands of.website design, marketing, web design, development.
But I have a website, why would I need to do anything else?
Our firm hears this half question, half answer a lot, and the answer is no. Simply having a website is not enough and certainly never will be. Most business owners feel that because they have a website, even if it ranks on the first page of Google search results their marketing is perfect and it’ll stay that way. Well, Google makes changes every day to how they rank websites in their search results, and a website that is not making proactive and reactive changes to adjust with them will not stay on the first page.
So what are some of the big changes I haven’t thought of?
Have you heard of cyber security and all the breaches the past couple of years? Well, they are kind of a big deal and Google doesn’t take it lightly. Therefore, a major change coming is any site that does not have a security certificate installed will have a notice displayed by Google saying the site is not secure. Do you think your clients will want to buy when Google starts saying their connection isn’t secure? Of course SSL’s have helped your website rank better in searches for years, but this is a big move to make it even more important. I’m sure you know your site has to be mobile responsive for user friendliness. Did you know that if isn’t your website will also reduce in ranking results.
Ok, so a website and social media must be the end-all, be-all right?
Unfortunately, no. Marketing in 2017 is so much more than just posting on Social Media and having a nice, effective, and resourceful website. As marketing becomes more competitive and your competition gets better at it, you have to step up your game too. If you don’t have an effective inbound marketing strategy with at least 3-4 inbound marketing techniques, our team can help you create your 2017 marketing strategy. Effectively implementing a blogging program, a newsletter follow up, relationship marketing, and a digital strategy are all marketing methods you should have working for you and that you know how well they work.
What does this all mean for you?
Simple, NOW is the time to make a plan to implement new marketing strategies, refine your current marketing platforms, and review the analytics from your 2016 marketing efforts (if you don’t have them, make a plan to start tracking in 2017).

If the thought of all this marketing stuff is overwhelming, or maybe you just don’t have time…. Call, E-Mail, or Book an Appointment with the Stingray Branding team today and pay using your Trade Dollars!

 

About the Author
Alan Thompson got into marketing for the same reason you are reading this article – he had to market and didn’t know how. Several years, a college education, and thousands of hours of experience later, a Marketing Guru has been developed. Outside of marketing and networking, you’ll typically find Alan spending time with his kids and family, at a Gators game, or on a surfboard.

Alan Thompson, Marketing Guru for Stingray Branding
Toll Free: (844) 239-8467 | Local: (843) 480-4476
info@stingraybranding.com | Book an Appointment
www.stingraybranding.com

How to buy a business on Bartercard

March 8th, 2017 Posted by Bartercard, Smart business tips No Comment yet

Showing just how many great ways there are to spend trade dollars, one Bartercard member in Australia got his start in a new business with a franchise he purchased on Bartercard.

When Sydney businessman Claude Spinelli left the restaurant industry, he started looking for his next venture. He had successfully used Bartercard while managing his restaurant, and wanted to use his trade dollars and Bartercard interest-free line of credit to make the most of his capital. 

As a part-time DJ, he was attracted to a Sydney-based audio visual franchise called Light Sound that was advertised for sale on Bartercard. After purchasing the franchise, he moved the business to Wollongong and rebranded it to Pro Sound and Lighting. 

He’s since used Bartercard to maximize cash flow, attract new customers and minimize expenses – a triple boost to his new business.

Reducing business costs
Claude said purchasing a business on Bartercard and using trade dollars to partly or fully cover the cost (he paid used trade dollars to cover 80 per cent of the peripheral costs) can assist business owners to reduce their cash borrowings from the bank, reduce interest and invest more money into their venture.

“Using Bartercard to purchase my business was a no-brainer,” said Claude. “It was the right fit and meant I didn’t need to take out a bank loan for working capital which relieved a lot of stress in start-up. It allowed me to focus on building a client base without having to worry about cash flow.”


The many ways to use Bartercard
Claude’s expertise in hospitality gave him experience in using Bartercard to boost customers. Yet, Claude believes that many members have yet to discover what they can do with the card.

“Bartercard is a great fit in the restaurant industry,” he said. “Members would book during slower periods which would fill the restaurant. I would always seat Bartercard customers near the windows and at the front of the restaurant so it looked full in quiet times – and a crowd attracts a crowd.  If I go to a restaurant on a Thursday night and ask how business is and they say it’s tough, I point out that if they have empty tables they could be filling them up through Bartercard.”

To maximize cash flow and reduce waste in his current business, Claude trades stock that he has accumulated or discontinued.

“Bartercard is business you wouldn’t have in the cash world,” he points out. “For example, a member may ring me looking for a data projector. I explain to that customer that I don’t sell brand new projectors, but that I do have ex-rentals which I replace every 12 months.”

He said he also wins a lot of installation contracts by having Bartercard.

“Schools, churches and nightclubs may ring when they’re doing a refurbish and have a lot of stage lighting and speakers that they want to upgrade. I’ll provide a quote, and it might be $10,000. But then I take all their pre-used equipment and deduct $2,000 from the bill. I sell all this equipment on Bartercard’s trading website MYBC.”

Claude admits that his outgoing and friendly personality makes Bartercard a natural fit, just like his business.

“I’m easy-going, I’m very streetwise and I think I’m a good negotiator,” he laughs. “Ever since I was a kid I’ve worked in retail – Harvey Norman, Retravision – plus I love trading; I’m the go-to-guy in my family whenever anyone’s looking for a deal. My wife doesn’t pay cash for her haircuts and nail treatments – I cut her credit card in half and gave her a Bartercard instead. If she wants to go out to dinner, we find a restaurant on Bartercard and go there.”

He added that before he pays cash, he always looks at options on Bartercard first. “Why use cash or credit when you can pay with your products or services instead?”
Adapted from a blogpost Written by Bartercard Australia.

Five Habits to Make You More Efficient Today

March 1st, 2017 Posted by Smart business tips No Comment yet

From time to time, we find ourselves on a virtual treadmill of progress.  As we may appear to be traveling 20 miles an hour, we continue to find ourselves in the same place.  There are several ways to improve your efficiency, leaving more time for what’s important.

  1. WRITE A REALISTIC DAILY TASK LIST:  Drivers typically have their daily travel route mapped out in advance of any departure.  A task list is a great way to accomplish this very important first step to being productive.  Write a list of three things that you absolutely need to accomplish today, and the steps you must take today to meet these goals.  Keep the task list realistic.  Stay away from including items on your task list that take several days to accomplish.  The task list is simply the “parts” to the whole goal.  If you meet a few of your tasks today, you will meet the ultimate goal in no time at all.
  1. MAKE TIME FOR DISTRACTIONS: Distractions are just as the word suggests…. unscheduled and unannounced situations that typically prevent us from doing the task at hand.  If something comes up that takes you away from what you must accomplish today, don’t be afraid to delegate to another qualified associate or employee, making way for you to focus on what is most important.
  1. COMMUNICATE VERY CLEARLY:  Whether it’s giving instructions or pitching a potential customer, one of the best ways to ensure that you will have to “redo” what you have already done is to fail to communicate clearly.  Make it a habit of writing down and rehearsing what you wish to communicate.  The more accurate and consistent your communication is, the less you will be forced to have to repeat it.  Let people know exactly what to expect and you’ll take less time out of your busy schedule to readdress issues.
  1. KEEP YOUR EMOTIONS IN CHECK: No matter what you do for a living, one of the best ways to avoid distractions and breaks in efficient productivity is to be overly emotional.  Things come up every day that will surely make your blood boil.  Likewise, you may be having a slow sales week which will inevitably deplete your spirits if you let it.  No matter what action comes your way, if you practice strong coping mechanisms like taking a deep breath before you react, you will spend more time being productive and less time working your emotions back to a manageable level.  Having a moderate disposition when adversity strikes will go a long way in maintaining your level of efficiency.
  1. TAKE TIME FOR YOURSELF:  Often, we sit down to the start of a workday without having taken care of our most basic needs.  Exercise of any kind is pivotal to physical health, which lends to efficiency in work.  In addition, taking the time to eat lunch at the same time (if possible) goes a long way in staying efficient.  Working these important personal items into your daily routine will make you much more productive, because the body feeds the mind.

None of these habits require major life adjustments.  These simple steps are just a few habits to work into your schedule today to make you a happier, and more efficient person.