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Top 5 Financial Planning Tips for Business Owners

Spring is officially here. March 20 is the first day of spring, we’ve changed the clocks to daylight savings time, and Tax Day is in four weeks. This year, taxes are due on April 18.

As a business owner, this is a good time to take stock in your organization and determine future success. While you should always know where you are financially, this is an optimal time to consider the big picture and make sure your business “house” is in order. While you’re gathering and organizing your information to file your taxes, take the time to reflect on how to best run your business so it is not only profitable for you each year but a possible lifetime investment.

Here are a five financial planning tips that new and seasoned business owners should consider:

1.    Develop a plan that takes into account your personal financial goals as well as your business goals. These should complement each other and help you build your business for personal success. Select a legal structure that suits your long-term needs. There are many options available from an LLC to a full-fledged corporation. Discuss the best option with your attorney. Which leads us to the next tip …

2.    Hire professionals. Using your cousin to do your taxes might save some money but is only a good idea if she’s a CPA. The same goes for the person setting up your company. An attorney will set up your company properly as well as help you when other contracts and paperwork are needed. Having a “team” of professional working for you might sound expensive but could save you money in the long run. It will also provide a business owner with peace of mind.

3.    Learn how to control costs and understand cash flow. Look for ways to reduce overhead and administrative costs. Also, know when your company’s cash flow may fluctuate. Your business may experience seasonal sales swings that you can anticipate and plan for. Learning about options, such as barter, can also help you sell inventory, fill appointments, and save cash during those times.

4.    Manage your taxes. Don’t let small business taxes get the better of you. Make sure you meet deadlines, make payments in full, and stay ahead of quarterly taxes to avoid paying late fees and penalties.

5.    Plan for succession. This is an important focus as businesses grow and mature. Someday, you might want to take a smaller role at your company but allow it to keep growing. Have an idea of who could run the company for you. If you don’t have anyone currently, identify someone who could grow into the position or look to hire someone who meets those qualifications. This is also a good idea in case of illness, extended vacations, or emergency family situations.

Make the time to keep your finances organized to help your business run smoothly both now and in the future. Plan accordingly and your company could provide you with solid financial performance for many years to come.

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Survey Says: Local Businesses Expecting Growth in 2017

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Every year, The Barter Company conducts a client satisfaction survey. It’s an important part of our customer service; to make sure we’re doing what we can to keep our clients happy with our services. In this year’s survey, we asked about business growth. Specifically, “do you expect your business to grow in 2017?” The result was that nearly 81% expected their business to grow “somewhat” or at a “high rate” in 2017. About 10 percent said they didn’t expect any change.

 

Such optimism is great news for business owners. And, is echoed in a recent national survey by the National Federation of Independent Businesses Research Foundation. In its December 2016, Small Business Optimism Index, the NFIB reported “a stratospheric 38-point jump in the number of owners who expect better business conditions.” (Click here for the NFIB’s complete report on economic trends.)

 

“Such optimism is contagious,” said Ric Zampatti, Founder and CEO of The Barter Company. “Positive financial indicators and the promise of less government regulation has provided business owners with a sense of good financial times ahead. We work with small business owners every day and they’re excited about 2017 and what it will bring in terms of new customers and growth.”

 

However, optimism should always be tempered with good business practices. Even in a time of growth and expanded opportunities, we should remain focused on running our businesses efficiently. Here are a few reminders:

 

  • Make sure customers are happy with your product and services, look for ways to improve or expand when it makes sense and will serve your customers.

 

  • Use technology to assist your business but don’t allow it to eliminate the personal touch. Customers still want the option for human interaction when needed.

 

  • Identify and work with other aligned companies to help grow your business and theirs.

 

Finally, use every cash management tool available, including barter of course, to help your business flourish, use up excess inventory, and save your cash for other business needs.

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The Barter Company Announces Newest Million Dollar Club Member

The Barter Company, a recognized leader in the barter industry, announced today that one of its clients, The Mad Hatter, has reached the company’s million dollar club level.

To reach the million dollar club level, a barter client must exchange goods and/or services worth at least $1 million within the 2,500-client network. The Mad Hatter has grown in to one of the largest family owned air duct and chimney service companies in the United States. The company services all of Metro Atlanta and also has a retail division that carries a full line of top quality fireplacesgrills, and gas logs.

About The Barter Company

The Barter Company (TBC) has established itself as the leading force in the barter industry throughout the Southeast with offices in Georgia and Florida. TBC provides businesses with an alternative currency network by using barter dollars instead of cash to handle transactions. The company acts as a third-party records keeper, providing clients with monthly statements that reflect all barter purchases, sales, and current barter dollar balance. For more information, visit The Barter Company’s website.

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Keeping Employees Healthy Helps Keep Businesses Healthy

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The New Year is almost upon us with new resolutions for a better 2017. For many, that means a resolution to be healthier and business owners are smart to help their employees with this goal. Studies have shown that healthy employees are, in general, happier and more productive at work (Source: Business News Daily 2013).

 

In the past, providing such benefits has become nearly impossible for small to mid-sized business owners. Now, there is a solution. The Barter Company is offering a new product to its clients called BarterCo Health. The BarterCo Health card is purchased by business owners using barter dollars instead of cash. The card can then be offered to the company’s employees as a health benefit.

 

From allergy testing to yoga, The Barter Company’s BarterCo Health program offers a wide variety of health care options for business owners to offer their employees. Healthier employees mean a healthier business with fewer sick days and increased productivity as well as increased retention among employees. For more information on how this program can benefit you or your business, click here.

 

Here are some other tips for a healthier company in 2017:

 

  • Stock the breakroom with health snack alternatives and water. Healthy snacks not only help with weight control but they can increase an employees’ intake of essential vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.

 

  • Encourage your sedentary employees to take stretch and walk breaks. A good stretch, breath of fresh air, and a walk around the block can do wonders for energy and productivity.

 

  • Offer incentives to those employees who want to lose weight, including health club memberships or a financial reward to those who meet their weight-loss goals.

 

Most of all, be supportive of employees who want to get or stay healthy. In the long run, it benefits your business as well as the individual.

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Ways to Give Thanks for a Good Year

Ways to Give Thanks for a Good Year

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As we start wrapping up the year, November is a good time to take stock and give thanks. At The Barter Company, we have a lot to be thankful for in 2016. We marked our 20th year in business which we couldn’t have accomplished without the wonderful clients we have. We also received recognition from the Cobb Chamber of Commerce as one of their Top 25 Small Businesses of the Year. An award for which we are very grateful.

 

Especially this year, The Barter Company is also thankful for our staff, vendors, family and friends. Having a strong network of people helps every business succeed. We count on our staff to work hard each day assisting our barter clients. They always take on new challenges and help clients find what they need on barter – no matter how tall the order!

 

Take the time this holiday season to thank your network for their support this year. No business can do it alone without lots of commitment from others. Most importantly, make sure your clients feel appreciated. Studies show that a thoughtful gift along with a hand-written note is one of the best ways to show a client you care. If you have too many customers to do this, make sure you at least send a thank you message either in an email, newsletter or card.

 

Here are a few other ways for business owners to show some “love” to their customers:

  • Feature a customer of the day on your social media. You’re thanking them and they will likely share the experience with their friends and family. This will also help you get the word out about your business.
  • Start a loyalty program for your extra special customers. Make it easy for them to earn offers and free products from your company.
  • Donate to a charity on behalf of your customers. Tie it to what they buy and donate a portion of the proceeds. This can help your business with sales as well as benefitting the charity.

 

If you’re looking to send a special gift this holiday season, The Barter Company has all kinds of gifts available for your clients and staff – even your family and friends. Our Holiday Showroom opens 10 am and will stay open until 3 pm on December 3,10, and 17. For business owners, you can even give a barter gift card to your employees to shop for themselves and families at the Holiday Showroom. It’s a great way to say thank you.

 

The Barter Company is extremely grateful to everyone who helped us have an outstanding 2016. We can’t wait to see what the New Year holds for our company, our clients, staff, family, and friends.

 

Thank you!

 

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2016 Holiday Barter Show Recap

TBC’s 2016 Holiday Barter Show was held on Saturday, November 5th at The Metropolitan Club.
It was our first time holding the event at The Metropolitan Club, but the venue proved to be a huge success!
Thank you to all our vendors and clients and those who attended!

Our Showroom will be open Saturday December 3rd, 10th, and 17th from 10am – 2pm for your shopping pleasure.

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  See you in 2017!

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We Paid The Invoice With Our Specialty Burger. That’s How Barter Works.

Barter is Smarter than you think…

Imagine running your business and paying bills with trade in-stead of cash. Many businesses right here in North Fulton are doing just that, including Houck’s Grille in Roswell.

I’ve been in the restaurant business for many years and during much of that time, I’ve used barter,” said Bill Houck, owner of Houck’s Grille. “Most recently, The Barter Company helped us with the opening of our newest restaurant. They provided a sprinkler system, window tinting, fire extinguishers, janitorial cleaning, exterminating service, and hood cleaning to make sure we hit our opening date looking great. The customer service at The Barter Company is fantastic! They’re aware of our needs and have great follow up. We couldn’t be happier!

Houcks-Mockup-10-29-15The Barter Company has established itself as the leading force in the barter industry throughout the Southeast. They pro-vide businesses with an alternative currency network by using barter dollars instead of cash to handle transactions. The Barter Company actively manages the network to make the barter experience simple and smooth.

Houck said: “Barter not only helps us save cash, it’s also a great way to connect with other business people. We’ve formed some great relationships through The Barter Company that have become long-lasting customers.”

Are you ready to see how barter can work for your company? Contact The Barter Company today. Visit their website at thebartercompany.com or call (770) 591-4343. 

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The Barter Company’s 2016 Holiday Barter Show

Businesses Use Barter Trade Show to Complete Holiday Shopping and Reward Employees

It’s that time of year again when companies are deciding what to do for the Holidays. Like many other business owners, you probably have a long list of gifts to buy for clients, friends, employees, and vendors. Employees might also be expecting a year-end or holiday bonus. The Barter Company’s annual trade show is the solution for all your Holiday gift and bonus needs.

 

Each year, The Barter Company hosts a Holiday Trade Show for its entire network of clients. In 2016, the show moves to a new location at the Metropolitan Club at 5895 Windward Parkway in Alpharetta on Saturday, November 5 from 10 to 3. This year’s show will feature a select group of barter clients that will help you complete your “to do” list for the Holidays. Find the gifts you need at the show and provide your employees with a barter gift card to shop the show themselves as a great bonus idea.

 

The show is open to barter clients only. For more information, please contact The Barter Company’s office at 770-591-4343. Plan to come to the Holiday Trade Show and enjoy shopping, food, fun, and entertainment and you won’t spend any cash … it’s all on barter!

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November 5th, 2016

5895 Windward Pkwy, Alpharetta, GA 30005

The 2016 Holiday Barter Show is quickly approaching! Join TBC at the beautiful Metropolitan Club.

This year will feature a live/silent auction, booths, delicious food samples, and a visit from Santa Claus.

If you have a unique item you want to sell at the Barter Show or put on the auction, contact your broker ASAP.
Ask for a booth form to secure your spot!

*Come to the Barter Show to try and win these great items at our Silent/Live Auction*

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Becoming the “Best” Through Excellent Customer Service

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Every few months, a new survey is released revealing which companies are rated the best. These surveys use different methods of measuring which company is number one, including growth, trust, and employee satisfaction. However, all the “top” companies seem to have one factor in common — excellent customer service.

 

What these companies have learned is that customer service doesn’t belong in just one department. It’s a company-wide effort. Every employee should be trained on how to handle customers so the experience is seamless regardless of who the customer comes in contact with. Exceeding customer expectations then becomes a part of the company brand and identity.

 

Here are a few other ways to make customer service a “top” priority in your organization:

 

  • Listen to your customers – use surveys, focus groups, and product reviews to provide customers the opportunity to give feedback. Really listen to what your customers need. Seeing the experience through the customers’ perspective is important. This allows you to identify any frustrating parts of your organization’s buying and support process and gives you the chance to improve. These customer “listening” opportunities also reveal the temperature of your customers. Are they hot, lukewarm, or cold about your company?

 

  • Use technology – social media, apps, live chats, and automation can be effective in providing customers new ways to communicate with a company. However, make sure to offer other ways to contact you. Keep open the phone lines and email for those who want to take that option. Always make sure you have a way for customers to receive a quick response and allow them to feel like they’re talking to a real person.

 

  • Be creative — At The Barter Company, we have anonymous individuals who act as secret shoppers that “police” our system and notify us when clients are charging cash, inflating their barter pricing and/or any other activity that goes against our ethics. Many businesses can do the same by monitoring the sales and service process through the eyes of the customer.

 

Go above and beyond. Exceed customer expectations. A major hotel chain once went through great lengths to return a beloved stuffed animal to a customer’s child. Not only did that customer become a strong advocate of the hotel, it also set an example to all staff of just how much they need to do to support customers with an outstanding level of service.

 

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Interview on Business RadioX

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Our own Billy Gazdik was featured on North Fulton Business Radio this Tuesday!

He spoke of the benefits of barter and how it exists to help our clients prosper and have the best, most beneficial experience in the barter industry.

Listen to the interview here: Link to the Interview

Billy Gazdik with The Barter Company, Diane Lasorda with Preferred Administrative Solutions, and David Bacigalupi with Welcomemat Services of North Atlanta

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Thank you for having us!

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