Posts in Smart business tips

Bartercard Myths: Setting the Record Straight

April 30th, 2018 Posted by Bartercard, Marketing, Smart business tips No Comment yet

It’s a simple concept of exchanging products and services, yet there are still misconceptions when it comes to Bartercard. This week’s blog sets the record straight and dispels the most common Bartercard myths, whether you are already a member, or a small or medium-sized business looking to join.

Myth: I won’t be able to spend my trade dollars

dining_restaurant.jpgThis is one of the biggest objections to joining Bartercard. When you join Bartercard’s business marketplace, a comprehensive business analysis is conducted so we can identify potential suppliers already available.

If there are insufficient suppliers available to suit your specific business requirements, we will work with you to bring on additional new suppliers to satisfy your needs. Many of Bartercard’s top trading members have successfully improved their business profitability by proactively recommending and referring new suppliers.

We don’t claim to be able to provide all members with everything they need. But we do find that when members (small businesses or medium-sized businesses) are engaged and communicate with their Bartercard Trade Broker, appropriate spends can be identified.

Bartercard is also seen as an excellent way to reward high performing staff. Some businesses even give staff their own Bartercard cards, which are credited each quarter based on performance. It’s a great approach to staff rewards and to make your staff to feel valued. They can make a range of lifestyle purchases like accommodation at destinations world-wide, dining and massage.

 

Myth: I can’t get my core spends using trade dollars

This one has some truth to it.  Certain expenses like utilities, rent and wages do require cash payment, so it’s not realistic for a business to run entirely on Bartercard without cash. We always suggest Bartercard is in addition, or a supplement, to your existing cash business (and not a replacement), and should make up approximately 10-15 percent of your business. A dedicated Trade Broker will work with you in identifying opportunities to spend, and help you source products and services on trade.

 

Myth: Trade dollars aren’t equal value to cash 

One trade dollar has the value of $1 USD and members should price their products and services accordingly. From an accounting and tax perspective, Bartercard income should be viewed as you would your cash income. You can read more about Trade Dollars and tax here.

 

Myth: The fees are too high

Bartercard charges a minimal monthly marketing and support fee. A fee is also charged on all transactions. The average Bartercard transaction fee is 6.5 percent (which is low in comparison to daily deal websites and discount sites who charge approx. 15-20 percent of the sale price and stipulate the offer must be at least 50 percent of the original sale price). The fees cover provision of a dedicated Trade Broker, full e-commerce capabilities, proactive marketing of the member business to businesses nationally, online monthly statements and an interest-free line of credit.

Top reasons why SMEs run out of cash

April 25th, 2018 Posted by Bartercard, Smart business tips No Comment yet

More than half of all new businesses close in their first year and making it that far doesn’t make you fail proof.

Small and medium-sized businesses don’t have the deep pockets or backing that large enterprises do, which is why even short-term cash flow problems can sink a business with an otherwise promising future.

Quick takeaways if you’re in a hurry

  • SMEs work on tighter budgets than large companies, and that means even small financial problems can sink an unprepared business.
  • The most common problems that can sink otherwise good SMEs are: unsustainable growth, clients who pay late and a sudden loss of credit.
  • These issues can’t be completely avoided, so every SME requires a plan or prearranged facilities which allow them to manage these kinds of cash flow hurdles when they occur.

How can a business unexpectedly run out of cash?
There are a lot of different reasons why your business could suddenly run into liquidity issues, but let’s take a look at a few of the most common.

Unsustainable growth
Surprisingly, too much success too quickly can wreak havoc on your finances. High demand for your products can overextend your ability to provide services, which means you need to build up your business’ infrastructure – more employees, tools, materials and management support.

If, for example, a long-standing client suddenly wants to scale up their service by an order of magnitude, you might end up trying to scale your operations up part-way (as your budget allows), only to lose the client entirely because the service from your lagging infrastructure no longer meets their expectations. You won’t be able to recover the investment you made in the time you had planned, and your revenue is now even lower than before you made the investment.

Clients who pay late
Every business owner is familiar with clients paying late. It’s so common that entire industries are built collecting those overdue debts. Unfortunately, most SMEs don’t have time to wait for collection agencies to do the work. Businesses need reliable revenue to cover operational costs. When a small business doesn’t get paid, things go downhill fast. Tools break and don’t get repaired, materials run out, payrolls fail and employees leave.

Sudden loss of credit
Sometimes everything will be fine, until you get a letter in the mail letting you know that your bank is closing your line of credit. This essentially pulls the safety net out from under your business. If you were counting on this facility to cover any expenses due to another issue (like a late payment from a client), find another backup quickly.

These issues pose massive risks for SMEs all over the world, and the most critical way to avoid them is by understanding and making use of the financial tools available to SMEs.

What can an SME do avoid cash flow problems?
There are a variety of different financial arrangements that SMEs can make with business finance firms to protect themselves from these common cash flow problems:

Bartercard
Bartercard is a business marketplace where members exchange products and services without the use of cash to attract new customers, boost cash flow and increase profits.

Bartercard continues to work effectively in communities where members exchange everything from a hamburger to real estate, capitalizing on spare capacity and slow-moving stock.  See what expenses you can instantly move across to Bartercard to conserve cash in these areas.  Every member who joins Bartercard receives an interest-free line of credit to start spending straight away.

Small business loan
Access to working capital is critical in every business – whether it’s continual cash flow or a vital cash injection to take your business up a notch.

Business overdraft
This is a line of credit containing flexible payment options letting you withdraw money up to a pre-set limit when required and make deposits when your business receives payments.  Many have flexible terms and competitive rates – speak to a business banker to find out more.

The threat of depleted cash flow is a concern for many business owners but having the right resources in place can keep you covered in just a few steps.  If you take out a loan always ensure you are credit smart and have a plan around spending and repayment so you can continue to access capital into the future to strategically expand.

 

Written by Bartercard Australia

Spring Cleaning Your Business

March 28th, 2018 Posted by Smart business tips No Comment yet

The first day of Spring has officially happened and even though a chunk of the country is still experiencing snow, that means one thing; spring cleaning! Most people think it’s just for cleaning their homes, but business owners should be thinking about doing some business clean up too!

Spring cleaning is more than just physical clean up. It’s about reviewing routine processes that have become habitual so you can see if there is room for improvement. For most modern businesses, here are three areas in which you can look at to spring clean your business.

hands on keyboard 393312226.jpgWebsite & Social Media
Open all your social media sites where you have an account and your website. Take a look around and take stock of what your online presence looks like. Is your branding up to date and being represented as effectively as possible? Do you need to update your copy? Take the time to fix all your little details. Check things like your address, correct services are listed, your logo is sized properly, cross check your links and that you have a consistent graphic scheme. These small things don’t take a ton of time to unify but they make a big impact on your audience.

Operations
Part of your spring cleaning should also be an evaluation of the operation of the business. Ask your employees what’s working and what isn’t working. You see your business from the owner’s chair, you may not know the pain points of your employees. Make sure that you are ready to hear this critique before jumping in and let your staff know that you are welcoming the information.

Part of your daily operations are your expenses like supplies, services and utilities. Take a few minutes to review what you are spending and see if there are any opportunities to get better pricing.

Once you know where you want to improve your operations, make a business plan. You don’t have to change everything overnight! Set a timeline of goals for the business to have new processes in place.

Customer Relations
Much like you just asked your employees for a review, ask your customers! Ask your customers to take a customer satisfaction survey. If they don’t like something, they are more likely to just find a new place to shop rather than let you know. So find out how you’re doing and see where you might strengthen operations. This is also a great time to reward your customers for taking the time out of their day for providing feedback. Offer them a special coupon or promo and when they use it, make sure to thank them again so they know you are genuine.

Spring cleaning isn’t always about the physical cleaning that you can do. It’s the opportunity to dust off old habits and tune into how your business can be better.

 

Written by Stacy Werner, Bartercard Buffalo.

Top Ways to Attract New Customers

March 22nd, 2018 Posted by Marketing, Smart business tips No Comment yet

The world is forever changing and standing out in a market that’s louder, faster and where customers are more discerning can be harder than ever.  Follow these tips to re-think your approach and attract new customers to your business every day.

Change the status quo
A killer business idea starts by recognizing a problem and finding a solution, but changing the status quo takes a concept to the next level by completely altering the way we do things.  It’s one of the hardest things to do, but pays off when it’s done well – consider CD stores (iTunes), libraries (Google), DVD rentals (Netflix), department stores (eBay), and restaurants (UberEats).  What could you be doing to change the status quo in your industry?

Content marketing and SEObusiness owner on iPad.jpg
The best efforts in building a brand takes a combination of direct advertising and inbound methods – content marketing and SEO. While advertising continues to be at the core of selling a brand, customers research everything online so companies have shifted the way they reach their markets.

In the past, content was the articles in newspapers or stories in magazines.  Today it’s the copy on your website, blog posts, articles, videos, social and ebooks; anything your viewers read, download or watch.

Posting relevant and reliable content will boost your search engine ranking (SEO) and let customers find you more easily online.  So it’s critical to ingrain content marketing into your SEO strategy to attract new customers.

Content marketing shouldn’t be centered on advertising your business – it’s about conveying valuable information to your target market to build trust and credibility which eventually creates longstanding customers.  This could be cooking hacks or expert tips from the chef, inside vision or little-known facts behind a brand.

Build an online community
Although a shift online certainly isn’t new, a strategic approach combining in-store (or in-restaurant) and digital is. Consumer trends are seeing more bookings resulting directly from a combination of customers interacting at a digital level and coming into the establishment.  So creating a consistent and high-level dining experience that integrates a digital is a must.  A few tips to reach customers through Instagram when it comes to hospitality: launch new foods or signature beverages, post Instagram videos straight from the kitchen and create limited menu items which stand out on screens.

Many brands on Instagram include a link in their bio that allows followers to purchase items in their Instagram feed, so spending is inextricably linked to the platform and will attract more consumers to come in.  If you have a service-based business, do you sell anything in addition to complement your brand?

Want more tips like these? 
Download our FREE ebook – 8 ways to attract new customers below. 

 

Written by Bartercard Australia, March 21, 2018

Finding Work Life Balance

March 7th, 2018 Posted by Smart business tips No Comment yet

Finding your own sense of work-life balance can be a daunting task. Depending on your current circumstance, the ability to find a real balance can be hard.

Is work-life balance a destination or a decision?

Much has been written about this elusive notion of real balance between your job and your personal life. How does family tie to work? And vice versa. Do you find yourself living a dual personality; one at work, the other at home?

Pressures of a fast-paced work world can certainly impact your ability to find this delicate balance. The problem I see is that too many of us think about work-life balance as something to achieve. Like a destination. “I’m going to get there” I hear people say.

True balance in your life is more about choices and decisions rather than final destinations. If you could “arrive” at a perfect balance, how long would it last? What other factors might tip the balance once you achieve it?

No, work-life balance is a continuing sense of equilibrium you can experience by making better, more consistent choices in what you do.

Work-life balance means something different to every individual. These days, work-life balance can seem like an impossible feat. Technology makes workers accessible around the clock. Fears of job loss make us work longer hours.

In fact, a whopping 94% of working professionals reported working more than 50 hours per week and nearly half said they worked more than 65 hours per week in a Harvard Business School survey. Experts agree: the compounding stress from the never-ending workday is damaging. It can hurt relationships, health, and overall happiness.

Here are some quick tips to help ease the bad choices you might be making.

Let go of Perfectionism

A lot of overachievers develop perfectionist tendencies at a young age when demands on their time are limited to school, hobbies and maybe an after-school job. It’s easier to maintain that perfectionist habit as a kid, but as you grow up, life gets more complicated.

As you climb the ladder at work and as your family grows, your responsibilities mushroom. Perfectionism becomes out of reach, and if that habit is left unchecked, it can become destructive, says executive coach Marilyn Puder-York, PhD, who wrote The Office Survival Guide.

Unplug

From telecommuting to programs that make work easier, technology has helped our lives in many ways. But it has also created expectations of constant accessibility. The workday never seems to end. “There are times when you should just shut your phone off and enjoy the moment,” says Robert Brooks, a professor of psychology at Harvard Medical School and co-author of The Power of Resilience: Achieving Balance, Confidence and Personal Strength in Your Life.

Brooks says that phone notifications interrupt your off time and inject an undercurrent of stress in your system. So don’t text at your kid’s soccer game and don’t send work emails while you’re hanging out with family, Brooks advises. Make quality time true quality time.

Exercise and Meditate

Even when we’re busy, we make time for the crucial things in life. We eat. We go to the bathroom. We sleep. And yet one of our most crucial needs – exercise – is often the first thing to go when our calendars fill up.

Exercise is an effective stress reducer. It pumps feel-good endorphins through your body. It helps lift your mood and can even serve a one-two punch by also putting you in a meditative state, according to the Mayo Clinic.

Limit those Time-Wasting Activities

First, identify what’s most important in your life. This list will differ for everyone, so make sure it truly reflects your priorities, not someone else’s. Next, draw firm boundaries so you can devote quality time to these high-priority people and activities.

From there, it will be easier to determine what needs to be trimmed from the schedule. If email or internet surfing sends you into a time-wasting spiral, establish rules to keep you on task. That may mean turning off email notifications and replying in batches during limited times each day. If you’re mindlessly surfing Facebook or cat blogs when you should be getting work done, try using productivity software like Freedom, LeechBlock or RescueTime.

And if you find your time being gobbled up by less constructive people, find ways to diplomatically limit these interactions. Cornered every morning by the office chatterbox? Politely excuse yourself. Drinks with the work gang the night before a busy, important day? Bow out and get a good night sleep. Focus on the people and activities that reward you the most.

Change the Structure of Your Life

Sometimes we fall into a rut and assume our habits are set in stone. Take a birds-eye view of your life and ask yourself: What changes could make life easier?

Instead of trying to do it all, focus on activities you specialize in and value most. Delegate or outsource everything else. Delegating can be a win-win situation, says Stewart Freidman, a management professor at the University of Pennsylvania Wharton School and author of Leading the Life You Want: Skills for Integrating Work and Life. Freidman recommends talking to the “key stakeholders” in different areas of your life, which could include employees or colleagues at work, a spouse or a partner in a community project.

Start Small

These ideas may seem too large to tackle all at once. Start small. Make simple changes toward better choices.

Record your “wins”! I see too many high achievers who never celebrate a win. Our sense of knowing we’re winning helps build momentum in this life. Get it going in the right direction by recognizing the small wins in your day. Keep a journal if you need to. Write nothing but the wins you experience in a day. Enjoy the journey!

Make a difference for yourself. You can start today.

 

Written by Doug Thorpe. Read more blogposts by Doug Thorpe here.

How To Network Like A Pro

February 28th, 2018 Posted by Smart business tips No Comment yet

“It’s not always what you know, it’s who you know.” A famous quote about business that is totally true. I’m sure as a business owner you have been told countless times that networking is the key to success.

Networking with the right people can gain you new opportunities and new business. But how do you even get started? Here are a few tips to get you networking like a pro.

Always Be Ready
It doesn’t matter if you are going to a specific networking event or just the grocery store, always be ready to network. Carry business cards and be ready to brag a little. There’s nothing wrong with talking about the accomplishments of you, or your company to get others interested. On the flip side, remember that networking is about the exchange of information between two people. Make sure whoever you are conversing with is engaged and interested so that it’s not just a one-sided conversation.

Be Friendly & Talk With Everyonecommunication bubbles.jpg
One of the first rules of networking is something your mother probably taught you when you started school. Be nice to others. It doesn’t matter if you never talk to this person again, first impressions are everything. That person may have the opportunity to give a recommendation about your business based on that one interaction you had at the grocery store.

Be Memorable & Remember Others
Good networkers are friendly and talk with everyone, great networkers also are memorable and remember those they talk to. Stand out by wearing a signature color, jewelry, or even company branded shirts.

Now that you stand out, make sure you practice remembering others. This one small thing can really impress people and make them feel special that you remembered them. Look for their signature item, or try word games and mnemonics to remember names.

Network Online & In Person
Networking online is easy to do. You can do it anywhere, anytime. Make sure that you area making meaningful connections by interacting with others in your industry. Post meaningful content regularly so others can see you but also comment and engage with your connections.

Online networking is great but don’t underestimate the power of a face to face connection. Attend industry and community events to just meet people. Don’t be afraid to get out of the house and promote your business.

No matter where you start, remember the point of networking is to promote your business and nobody knows your business better than you. Be confident, excited and engage with your audience. You never know where your next big opportunity may come from.

 

Blogpost written by Stacy Werner, Bartercard Buffalo

Leaders: Want to Up-level Your Communication?

February 21st, 2018 Posted by Smart business tips No Comment yet

Managers face a constant struggle to improve communication within their work teams. Besides being able to accurately articulate any technical aspects about thework (every industry has its key phrases, terms, and buzz words), business leaders have to be ever-mindful of some very basic principles of effective communication.

We usually think about communication as a two part/two person transaction. You speak, I speak, we hear and we act. This is the way most adults perceive the process of communication. When we need to talk to our teams, we usually just think about crafting a message as though it is being addressed to one person.

I submit to you that there are really four stages of communication. Being an effective communicator requires a laser focus to insure the parts are working to their maximum potential.

The four stages are:

1. What You Mean to Say –  Your communication as a manager must first be grounded in the thoughts you develop as facts and circumstances come together. When you process all of the information at hand, SOME kind of thought process should lead you to a decision. A message to the team begins with the thoughts that you will have. Sometimes the thoughts are significant and profound. At other times they are pretty simple. Your thoughts become the root of your message.

Be sure your mental checklist is functioning clearly before you start talking to the team. Be clear about what you mean to say.

2. What You Actually Say –  You have your thought, but then words must be applied to express that thought. Numbers 1 and 2 here are very closely tied together but are just different enough to cause a potential problem.

Let’s face it, most of us have had a moment where an idea pops into our head, but we cannot find the perfect words to explain the essence of that idea. Our words fail us. This phase is especially troublesome when you have to communicate ‘on the fly’, meaning impromptu communication.

When you have a chance to write a speech, you get more time to process your thoughts and formulate the words. Great speechwriters make careers doing this for politicians and celebrities. However, managers on the front line seldom have that luxury. As events unfold at work, you are required to respond quickly. Your words can easily become muddled.

If words fail you, it is possible you will be sending a message that is different from your original intent. Also, words that have double meanings can confuse the message. Tone and positioning of words can impact the meaning. There are numerous ways that the words you DO choose to express may send a message different from what you intend.

communication.jpg

3. What the Listener Hears –  When we think of translating a message from one language to another, we often hear about ‘something getting lost in translation’. Unfortunately, that can happen with communication within the same language. You can take a perfectly structured thought (Item #1) that is represented well by the words you choose (Item #2) but still have trouble getting your message across.

Clearly, the responsibility to correctly hear a message falls on your listener. Any form of translation that changes the message corrupts it. The risk at this stage is that word meanings can vary from person to person. As the manager, if you make a statement “I am concerned about this _______”, some may hear the message as saying “I am mad, but just not telling you”.

4. What the Listener Now Feels – Whether the translation being heard is correct or not, there is still one last hurdle to overcome. How does your message make the listener feel? The content of what you meant versus the listener’s conclusion after processing your words may spawn a surprising reaction.

For some, there are trigger words that spark bad feelings. For others, there are words that inspire and motivate. The listener’s initial feeling about the message will have a direct impact on the success of the communication. If the effort ends poorly, the manager must essentially start over with this entire 4 stage process.

We’ve discussed the four stages of communication. What is a manager to do?

In situations where people have solid, effective relationships, there is a history that can smooth any of the rough edges stemming from a breakdown of any of these four parts. When people have worked together for some time, they can (and should) develop a sense of understanding that helps to bridge the communication gap. Keywords and phrases take on meanings of their own and become the go-to way to express a topic.

Yet, when someone new joins the team, communication bridges are not yet available, so the manager’s message needs to stick to the basics until the history can be accumulated. The latter is also true when new topics are introduced to the team.

As the Manager, it is your responsibility to watch for breaks in all four of these stages. Better communication can be achieved by effectively using all elements. Find ways to let your team know that for their benefit you want to be a good communicator. Let them provide feedback, too. Iron out phrases and words that miss the mark or generate the wrong conclusions.

 

Originally posted on DougThorpe.com

Cash flow in SMEs: Tips to keep the cash coming in

February 14th, 2018 Posted by Bartercard, Smart business tips No Comment yet

For small business owners in particular, maintaining a decent cash flow is fundamental to staying afloat. It’s a simple equation really: no cash = no business, and so keeping on top of your cash flow has to be a top priority. Bartercard knows small business inside out, and in this article we share some tips on how you can maximize the cash flow in your SME.

1. Invoice quickly

Sounds obvious but it’s amazing how many companies are slack at sending the invoice once they’ve completed a job. It should come as no surprise that if you don’t send through your invoice until two weeks after you’ve completed the work, that payment isn’t forthcoming until another two weeks at least. Get in the habit of preparing and sending invoices straightaway. What’s more, send them by email and that way they will get to the relevant person immediately. And while you’re at it make it easy for the customer to pay the invoice by providing your online banking details.

2. Set clear payment terms

Make it clear to customers what your payment terms are. And although large corporates often have 30 day payment terms, this can be too long for some SMEs who can’t afford to be quite so generous with their terms. A more reasonable timeframe for the average small business could be 14 days. Whatever terms you plump for, set clear expectations for your clients.

3. Use technology to help you track cash flow florist on computer.jpg

Technology, especially cloud-based accounting, has made it much easier to manage cash flow. Investing in reliable accounting software will be a great time saver and will allow you to focus your energies on other important tasks. What’s more, saving your accounts to the cloud means that you won’t have to worry about backing up your data and you will be able to view your accounts at any time, whether you on the road or working from home.

4. Focus on cash flow not profits

Many SMEs have made the mistake of focusing too much on profit projections. The truth is if your cash flow is in order, then it follows on that your profit will also be in order. The opposite, however, is not true. Even profitable businesses need to have cash flowing through them to survive in the long term.

5. Consider introducing incentives or fixed rate payment packages

If late payers are a big problem in your business, then another way to keep cash flowing is to introduce incentives for customers to pay on time. You could perhaps offer a deduction off the total for full payment or a week free – whatever makes sense in your business.

Alternatively, how about offering fixed rate payment packages? And so, if a client pays for a whole year’s worth of services or product upfront, they get one month free. This way you’ll be getting paid in advance rather than in arrears and the extra cash can help you explore opportunities and grow your business more easily.

6. Use Bartercard

Bartercard is a valuable way to conserve cash flow by sourcing products and services without opening your wallet. Use your trade dollars instead of cash to pay for services like bookkeeping and accounting, setting up your e-commerce store, printing, advertising, website, graphic design and SEO – even beauty, massage and hairdressing to look the part. Source products like office furniture, equipment and supplies.

At Bartercard there are endless ways to conserve the cash flow essential in business – members visit mybc.bartercard.com to start shopping or speak to your Trade Broker. New to Bartercard? Call 1855 UTRADE2 (887 2332) to see how you can boost cash flow in business, every day.

Effective cash flow management is critical to the success of your enterprise. Give your business the best possible chance by using these tips and keeping on top of cash flow.

 

Read the Bartercard Australia article here.

2018 Top Food and Hospitality Trends

February 7th, 2018 Posted by Smart business tips No Comment yet

The food and hospitality scene is a competitive space. From concept dining to the latest technology shaping menus and fit outs, these top food and dining trends will keep you in the loop and dining outside the box.

Food

Table Tech

Being too tired to cook or pick up dinner is creating a multi-billion dollar industry – apps like UberEats are bringing food straight to customers’ doorsteps from a curated list of local restaurants. It’s a crowded market where a spate of new apps are on the rise, and whilst not all venues are on board, restaurateurs should consider the space and requirements to manage pickups. Tech’s also found on more tables where customers are ordering food and drinks off apps at their convenience. Meanwhile UK outfit DelivAir is using drones, GPS and smartphone signals to bring food straight to customers.

Reservations are back

Table for two? Get in the queue – is the route many restaurateurs have taken in a no reservations, walk-in approach, seating customers on a first come basis. Alternatively restaurants like Momofuku do small-scale seating without waiting lists which, when five star reviews are added, skyrockets demand. But in 2018 reservations are coming back to make restaurants more accessible. This is thanks in part to Google who’ve just launched insights into wait times and peak visiting periods, giving customers more control of bookings and how long they wait.

Cashless Dining

More eateries and bars are integrating technology that lets customers transact without cash or cards. Apps like Apple Pay lets users make payments using an iPhone, Apple Watch or iPad and similarly Samsung Pay lets customers transact and access member discounts without the plastic.

Watch out for these additional food trends taking off in 2018: creative use of upcycled surrounds, high-end, no-alcoholic drinks and farm-to-shaker cocktails.

Hotels

Co-living spaces

While Airbnb is the alternative to hotels, hotel brands are starting a new version of accommodation through co-living spaces.  Visitors can choose the level of privacy or community they want to experience like at AccorHotels’ brand Jo&Joe where a new ‘open house’ category includes open-plan, collaborative kitchens, a bar for locals and guests, a ‘happy house’ creating a ‘home-like’ experience and dormitory-style bedrooms. The brand is also doing out-of-the-ordinary (OOO!) accommodation like mud huts and beach shacks.  Time will tell whether this approach takes off, but it does cater to a market of travelers who want a radically different experience to the everyday hotel stay.

Pop-up vacations

Individually designed rooms are already in place and pop-up restaurants are a thing, but the next step is pop-up hotels in a variety of places.  700,000 Heures, a newly launched hotel group, is calling itself the first wandering hotel in the world where locations at private residences change every six months.  The average life expectancy of a person is 700,000 hours and the world is too rich to take trips which look alike – is the concept underpinning a new iteration of accommodation letting guests enjoy tailored experiences and explore places like a local.

More combinations

Hospitality is a competitive space, third-party booking sites are curbing prices and the industry is looking at new ways to reach and engage customers.  Hotels/cafes and hotels/galleries are common combinations but one upcoming concept is the hotel/perfumery. Hotels, restaurants and shops are already creating their own scents, next is creating spaces where guests can test out and take them home.  In New York, The Mark Hotel is launching ‘Le Shop’ online which sells branded clothing, there are hotels where you can purchase their customized brand of beds, and in Tokyo Hotel Koe is adding a bakery and clothing store on each of its three floors.

Bartercard – helping restaurants and hotels succeed for 27 years

Bartercard is a business marketplace where members exchange products and services without the use of cash – boosting cash flow to fund business expansion, attracting new customers and increasing profits along the way.  We know small business inside out and can put your restaurant or hotel brand ahead of the curve.

Improve your lifestyle with Bartercard

We have hundreds of restaurants, hotels and resorts where you can spend trade dollars instead of cash.  Enjoy a night out or take the break you’ve always wanted.

Speak to your Trade Broker about ways Bartercard can improve your lifestyle.

 

 

Adapted from a Bartercard Australia Blogpost.

4 tips to take your business further in 2018

January 24th, 2018 Posted by Smart business tips No Comment yet

2018.  We can’t believe it’s already arrived. To set you up for success, this week’s blog breaks down just what sets successful, innovative businesses apart from the rest – the latest research from marketing expert Dr George Day at the University of Pennsylvania.


1. Investing in talent

Leading companies put talent at the top of their list and invest time and money into scouting and attracting expertise to lead transformative initiatives. Continued success will foster success which is why companies like Apple and Samsung have stayed on top for so long. Everyone wants to be part of a winning formula so it’s much easier for these top-performing companies to attract and retain the best talent in the market.  But on a smaller scale, businesses will attest to the fact that exceptional talent can exponentially enhance a company and attract new clientele.


2. Look outwards

The most successful companies look outside for ideas – turning to customers, data, industry and experts. Top businesses invest heavily in customer experience maps (a map of every touch point a consumer will experience from lead to customer), analysis and research to continually adjust, adapt and reshape their business. Collect the customer data you already have and analyze it to make strategic business decisions.  If you don’t yet have data, start collecting – targeted social media campaigns, competitions and newsletters are places you can start.


3. Take risks

You can’t get ahead without taking calculated risks. Research suggests that many companies are following the lead of start-ups and venture capitalists – encouraging risk-taking in their businesses through rapid prototyping and implementation of lean start-up methodologies. Companies like General Electric encourage employees to think up concepts and develop the most standout ideas. It’s a catalyst to encourage creativity, freethinking and innovation, develop talent and enhance employee engagement.


4. Automate

We added this point as it’s such a pertinent aspect of successful business at the present. Automate as many tasks as you can so you don’t have to do them manually, opening up time and space to focus on taking your business to new places. Tools like MailChimp (automated newsletters), Buffer (scheduling social media posts) and Quickbooks (keeping track of expenses) can make processes cheaper, more efficient and effective. You can find a suite of automation programs here. Marketing is at the core of every successful business and the marketing automation space is full of tools. Platforms like Infusionsoft can manage your leads and build campaigns in a few simple steps, triggering when they are sent at every step of the customer journey from the first point of contact. It also tracks activity from first visit to latest purchase and captures and calculates user metrics so you can refine and adjust based on what works most successfully.

Growth and innovation are things that don’t just happen in an organization – they have to be nurtured, encouraged and sustained. Take a lead from the top-performing businesses and use these ideas to develop innovation and business growth in your company.

 

Article adapted from a Bartercard Australia blogpost.