Monthly Archives: July, 2017

7 Efficiency Tips for Small Creative Businesses

July 25th, 2017 Posted by Smart business tips No Comment yet

Working in a small business can feel like an overload of stress, logistics and administrative tasks that can cramp the creative flow. But creativity-killing responsibilities are a reality for every SME owner, so what can you do to counter the daily grind? These 7 tips can help you switch hats while keeping your craft strong.

1. Recognize that creativity and running a business are two separate things
Running an SME or start-up takes constant energy and attention while creativity requires space, so this is a conflict point for many creatives. Switching time and tasks to segment admin from creativity is vital. Reflect on where you are spending the most time, and question if there‘s a faster or more efficient way of doing things to free up more hours in the day.

2. See where you can automate and outsource
The future is automation, so start automating repetitive tasks like planning out work trips. Apps like ‘Badger’ plan the most optimized route to see customers in an area and even finds nearby leads. Think about the routine tasks you do and chances are there’s an app for it. More SME owners are today taking up virtual assistants which ticks off organization, efficiency and output whilst keeping costs down.

3. Maximize technology
Software can be used every day without using its full functionality. Google shortcuts to see if there’s a quicker way of doing something. Alternatively read what 5 apps every business owner should have.

4. Plan ahead
Whether it’s a small or large project, try not to panic and jump in, but plan first. Understand what precisely needs to be done and how, who will do the work and set deadlines. Failing to do this will inevitably lead to confusion, mistakes and wasted time redoing work.

5. Spend a day in different parts of your business 
In small business there’s a lot of freedom and autonomy given to each employee to carry out their role, which usually involves managing a whole function of the business. Because each person has their own way of doing things and performs them day in, day out, they may not feel there’s any reason to change. Learn their process and be open to sharing thoughts and ideas – i.e. tips and tricks to reduce time.

6. Make your team feel appreciated
It’s amazing to see the change and difference in an appreciated employees becoming re-energized, inspired and empowered. Allocate time in weekly meetings for meaningful activities. Welcome everyone’s ideas to build up a successful business. Build a team with a mindset of not only getting the job done but continuously aspiring to refine and improve. Bartercard lets you reward you team without dipping into your budget.

7. Document processes
Use a workflow web app like Asana to document correct processes across the organization. A documented workflow is great if someone’s on leave, there’s new staff, or to serve as a reminder for less-frequent tasks such as monthly reporting. This way, there’s no second guessing what needs to be done and how.

Instead of getting lost in administration, leverage technology and processes to boost efficiency. Find systems that offer the most streamlined way of getting a task done. If the programs you are using don’t offer automated functions, then consider options to shave time and costs off the tasks you undertake.

Working smarter not harder is easier than ever. And you can get back to doing what you do best.

Written by Veronica Rillo
Author Bio:  Veronica Rillo is working as a Finance and Process Manager for greeting card and gift company, La La Land. She has a Bachelor of Business and is a CPA, and has been working in the industry for ten years across small, medium and large businesses including her own.

Small business franchising: The easiest way to grow your company?

July 17th, 2017 Posted by Smart business tips No Comment yet

Philip Ciniglio, CEO of Bartercard UK, discusses the small business franchising opportunity and what company owners should be aware of.

Small business franchising could be considered a sector of business rather than an industry and is really a method of distribution.

Franchising is held under an agreement between parties which can also be termed as a license agreement. However, a franchise agreement usually involves a combination of fees paid to the franchisor, systems and methods of operation, branding and a fixed term.

About franchising

There are a few myths surrounding small business franchising that should be dispelled.

There are still many people that have a perception of franchising being a dirty word. Going back to the 1950’s the unsavoury reputation started when not so ethical operators tried to get in on the boom of fast food concepts that were taking on the world and expanding at unprecedented growth rates. There were back yard operators trying to make money out of simply selling an idea without much substance behind the concept. However there were many more operators that were franchising for the right reasons but in those days franchising was going through a steep learning curve.

Let’s dispel the myths; franchising is here to stay and it has proven itself with the test of time. It is not a matter of whether franchising is a good or bad thing, it is simply a matter of, is franchising the right strategy to suit your business?

Why is franchising a much safer place today?

There are several points that prove that franchising is a safe environment today for investors.

Because of the growth rate within the franchise sector, governments are paying attention due to the growing employment levels and increasing number of voters representing the sector.

It is estimated according to statistics gathered from the International Franchise Centre that the United Kingdom has over 900 franchised concepts with 44,200 franchisee outlets employing 620,000 people. This UK sector contributes around £15.1 billion to the GDP.

Many countries are embracing laws governing franchising thus making it a far safer place with government departments monitoring and policing franchise activities.

In Australia, a highly-populated franchise community with over 1,200 franchise systems, there has been a Franchise Code of Conduct in place since 1998. This had an extremely positive affect on the ethical growth of franchised companies and cleaned up the unscrupulous element.

The failure rate of small business franchising is very low compared to stand alone SMEs. You can check with most government statistics and find a similar statement of non-franchised SME business failure, which typically ranges between 70 and 80 per cent failure within the first five years.

There has been some research conducted on franchised business failure by universities and on average between 20 to 30% of franchisees in a franchised company are struggling or failing. However, the failure rate can be as low as 1 per cent owing to the Franchisor rescuing or assisting the struggling businesses. From my own involvement in research undertaken to benchmark over 70 franchise companies the findings were not dissimilar to that of the universities.

The result is clear, it is far safer for the average person or family to invest in a reputable franchised organisation than go it alone.

What businesses can be franchised?

Most businesses can be franchised, the difference being two main criteria. Does small business franchising suit your particular industry or business concept and the one thing that many people would not recognise without consultation is, does franchising suit your culture?

Do you have what it takes to be a small business franchise?

After 15 years of building over 35 franchised concepts it occurred to me that certain people and their culture are just not suited to franchising.

There are quite specific ways to be able to grow, recruit and manage franchisees and you need to have an absolute resolve to undergo the right process. Most franchise companies have been founded by quite unique entrepreneurs and most of them are either completely passionate about what they have created and/or suffer from very large egos.

A franchisor that creates a successful franchise company quite often thinks that the success is because of ‘ME’ and live in the fantasy world that everything they turn their hand to will be successful. This is usually quite the opposite and I have witnessed many franchisors that turn their hands to other businesses and they have failed. The truth is that not one of them have grown the business without a team of people to help make it successful. It is always about the right team of people not the one individual.

Regardless of this, there has to be a leader and visionary but in franchising that leader needs to empower people and know the right time to step out of the business operations.

Why would you decide to franchise your company?

In today’s world small business franchising is definitely a choice that you can make and it is a safe environment to develop your business and as described it is more a matter of deciding is it right for you?

The clear benefit of franchising is the faster growth with less capital expenditure. In other words you are using other people’s money to fund your growth, it is for this very reason that it is important that your business model can provide an opportunity for franchisees to prosper and that you have a proven concept before entering the franchise sector.

The down side to franchising is that your earnings are less than if you set up your own network. Agreed, it is a larger outlay of working capital but you receive all the profit, with a franchise network you receive only a percentage of revenue.

A franchise network relies on franchisee investors that have put cash into the business and therefore have motivation to grow the business as large as possible for better returns, whereas an employee may not have quite the same incentive to grow your business.

Finally the relationship between you, the franchisor, and the franchisee is unique and you need to treat the franchisee as a business partner, not a customer and certainly not in a dictatorial management style.

Whereas, with a company employee your management style might be different, you can simply issue directives, not that I would agree with that kind of dictatorial style of management, but it is your choice and may suit your particular business model.

Here are seven tips if you do decide to franchise.

  1. Seek advice from an experienced franchise business specialist FIRST. But be aware of companies making claims of experience without credentials.
  2. Seek advice from a specialist franchise lawyer and franchise accountant.
  3. Create a financial model to make sure that you and your franchisees can make a great return.
  4. Make sure your royalties will adequately fund you to give proper support to your franchisees.
  5. Consider whether you have the right culture to manage franchisees rather than employees.
  6. Research the market to identify your potential growth.
  7. Do not enter the franchise sector on a shoestring budget, this is a formula for failure. Identify your working capital necessary to build your systems.

 

Click here to discover why Bartercard USA is the once-in-a-generation franchise opportunity an astute entrepreneur shouldn’t trade for anything. franchising with Bartercard.

 

Philip Ciniglio is CEO of Bartercard UK.

Article first published on SmallBusiness.co.uk on 26 May, 2017

5 apps every small business owner should have

July 12th, 2017 Posted by Bartercard, Marketing, Online Business, Smart business tips No Comment yet

In a fast-paced business world where everything is constantly evolving, scaling, minimizing and customizing to the consumer, technology is essential to stay on top.

Whether you’re a start-up or established brand staying relevant, these apps can cut time, let you work on the go and support you in the 1 million things to think about every day.

 

Consider adding these free apps to you smartphone.

  1. Tired of collecting paper receipts in shoeboxes? Genius Scan lets you scan receipts on your smartphone and export them as PDF files later.  Apps like Xero also let you snap and file paper receipts to save time and space.
  2. Lose the pen and paper – Evernote is a digital notebook that lets you capture, create and organise notes and tasks from anywhere.  Sync Evernote across devices to find everything instantly.
  3. Invoice2Go lets you create professional invoices and quotes anytime, anywhere so you can work away and still stay on top of jobs and payments.
  4. Assigning a task to a graphic designer can take time, but Canva is lets anyone design instantly through its simple drag-and-drop artwork creation. Facilitating 52 million DYI designs, Canva lets you pick from over one million layouts, photos, illustrations and fonts plus upload logos to create customised on-brand designs.
  5. Find Bartercard businesses around you, pay an invoice, process a sale and view your available balance using the Bartercard mobile app. You can download the mobile app from the Apple App StoreGoogle Play or Microsoft.

 

Adapted from an article written by Bartercard Australia on Jun 15, 2017

Want more loyal customers?

July 10th, 2017 Posted by Bartercard, Marketing, Smart business tips No Comment yet

A smarter alternative to discounting and vouchers

Every business owner wants to attract new customers, but this is why discounting and vouchers aren’t the best approach.

New customers are essential for every business to grow and flourish.

In order to attract new customers, a business owner could typically hire additional sales people, advertise, create incentives, reduce prices or discount, or sell online deals or vouchers.

What are you currently doing to attract customers to your business?

Attracting customers in the current economy can be a lot of work, especially when competitors are undercutting prices and advertising irresistible deals.  Whilst approaches like reducing and discounting might appeal to short term customers, it’s not only expensive for your business, but will compromise the integrity of your brand and reduce the price expectation for your market.  Dropping the price too low will almost always certainly devalue your business, and impact your reputation.  These approaches also don’t attract long-term customers…

Whilst they do attract clientele who will spend with you when you discount, you want customers who will purchase from you all year round to create consistency and even out cash flow.  Don’t be afraid to charge the full price when you have Bartercard.

Bartercard is network of 24,000 businesses world-wide that facilitates new business introductions, attracts a unique market of customers and provides a smarter way to reduce the costs in your business.  It allows you to attract new customers without reducing your prices.

Members of Bartercard are using the network to attract long-term customers and retain existing ones by…

  1. Joining a unique marketplace and a network of 24,000 business owners world-wide looking to spend
  2. Advertising their business to new national and international markets through Bartercard’s online directory, and using the services of their local Bartercard office to promote their business.
  3. Selling their products and services through Bartercard’s online trading platform MYBC which facilitates $600 million in transactions world-wide each year, offers a unique shopping experience and promotes business locally, nationally and globally.
  4. Selling at Trade shows.
  5. Obtaining leads/referrals at business to business networking events.
  6. Spending the Bartercard trade dollars they’ve earned from additional sales on advertising, sponsorship and public relations to attract customers and keep more cash in their business.
  7. Engaging the services of training and coaching organizations on Bartercard, without spending cash, to up-skill their staff.
  8. Packaging their goods or services with those purchased on Bartercard to create value and added benefits for their customers.
  9. Expanding their product line by purchasing new stock from Bartercard wholesalers to attract customers.
  10. Engaging in sponsorship using Bartercard trade dollars to promote their business within the local community. New customers create a busy environment and word-of-mouth referrals which will attract more business.

To attract new customers and feel energized by your business, talk to Bartercard about the solutions they provide.

 

Author: Klara Vida, Bartercard Australia

What is that discount really costing you?

July 5th, 2017 Posted by Marketing No Comment yet

As a consumer we all love a great sale, but what is that discount really costing your business?  Is discounting the right answer to attracting customers?

With so much competition in the marketplace and savvy consumers who price compare on-the-go, it is not surprising the number of businesses that turn to sites such as GroupOn or LivingSocial to promote their businesses.  But these discounts are costing you money.

For Example:

If your margin is 40% and you were to reduce your prices by 10%, your sales volume must increase by 33%.  That is a high increase to achieve, especially when you add the cost of advertising on these platforms in to the equation. These deals can result in so many customers that it will end up costing you money.

Discounting can also have a negative affect on your business, as customers may be a ‘one-time customer’.  Customers seeking discounts are unlikely to purchase your product or service at full price so in their eyes you are devaluing your product.

Bartercard is not a discount service and while there are fees associated with being a member, the fees are based upon the amount your business trades within the network.  Bartercard can help you grow your business by 5-15% in the first year … without discounting!  Contact Bartercard now to find out how we can bring you new customers and help clear your excess inventory.

Bartercard launches in France

July 3rd, 2017 Posted by Bartercard No Comment yet

BPS Technology’s (ASX: BPS) latest Bartercard licensee in France has launched, starting the company’s next stage of expansion in Europe.

Bartercard International CEO Brian Hall said the latest addition to Bartercard’s global business network presents new scope to trade world-wide and in France, where there are currently over 3 million SMEs.

“France is the second Bartercard licensee in Europe following in the steps of the UK and these are really exciting times as we break new ground and grow into different parts of the world,” he said.

The new master franchisee is Mr Marc-William Attie, based in Paris, who’s working to make France the most successful Bartercard marketplace yet.

Attie is the owner of BNI (Business Network International) France, the world’s largest business networking and business referral organization which has approximately 18,000 members with over 200 Chapters.

Brian added that Attie’s global B2B company, BNI, will be a great fit within the Bartercard system.

“Bartercard is a B2B trade exchange so already having the network and the structures in place; well, so much of the ground work is already done,” he said.

Arnaud Alacir, General Manager Bartercard France has expressed equal excitement about the new license.

“Bartercard is a new way to do business in France and with a population of 65 million people, there are so many opportunities available.”

“We have a goal of achieving large growth in a short period through a targeted plan of membership aiming at tourism, the wine industry and other key sectors.”

“We will aim to grow the Paris region initially and then look to open other offices under our control throughout France.”

Brian added that Bartercard’s expanding global network shows that trading, or cashless transactions in the modernized version of barter, is universal.

“Starting out in 1991, I am pleased of where we’ve come today and counting France as the ninth country in our global network is truly exciting.”

“Trading has turned into a viable economy of scale that Bartercard is spearheading, assisting members all over the world to conserve cash, move excess stock, fill downtime and increase their customer base.”

He added that licensees are planned to launch in new countries, but at this point, everything is still under wraps.

bartercard france first member Bartercard launches in France, growing its countries to nine!  From left to right Bartercard France General Manager Arnaud Alacir, Bartercard International General Manager Andrew Barker and Bartercard France’s first signed member, Olivia Lafond, Director at international language school The French Touch.