Blog

outdoor laptop work

Tips on How to Prep Your Business for a Summertime Slowdown

While the public at large enjoys the sunshine of summer, many entrepreneurs absolutely dread the “summertime slump.”

We may not be able to point the finger at a single reason why many businesses both online and off tend to move at a snail’s pace as the weather heats up, but some symptoms of the summertime slowdown include:

  • Holidays and vacations break up the traditional flow of the workweek for your workers and customers alike.
  • Many businesses, especially retailers, focus on the fall and winter months as their bread and butter for sales, versus the spring and summer.
  • The general laid-back attitude of summer often means less stringent deadlines, fewer new projects and a lighter workload.

All that being said, summertime doesn’t necessarily have to spell gloom and doom for businesses. Whether you’re a web-based entrepreneur or currently handle a team face-to-face, consider the following four ways to ensure that your business survives the summertime slump. With a bit of luck and some creativity, you might even benefit from it.

Talk with your team.

It doesn’t matter whether you’re working with dedicated employees, freelancers or remote workers: you need to outline crystal-clear expectations for your team during the summer months.

For example, if anyone’s not going to be available for an extended period of time, you should strive to know as far in advance as possible (at least two weeks), so you’re not caught understaffed. By knowing in advance when your team members will and won’t be shuffled around, you can plan out essential meetings and deadlines accordingly.

Bear in mind also that the summer represents a prime time to reflect on hiring. Typically, businesses hire fewer workers over the summer: As such, it’s certainly not the ideal time of year to cut talent loose. However, take a moment to assess your own team members and their performance, as you’ve reached the halfway point of the year to start thinking about what your staff needs in the coming months.

Hold off on huge projects.

Unless you work in an industry which thrives during the summer (think: hospitality or tourism), it’s probably best to press the pause button on any new product launches or marketing campaigns. Not only will holding off effectively keep more money in the bank, but will also allow you to wait until your team’s heads are 100 percent in the game.

Some critics may argue that timing is overrated in terms of launches, and they’re not necessarily wrong. After all, the launch that happens at all is often much better than one that never got off the ground, right? Besides, not all startup ideas rely on a particular “season” or time of year to gain traction.

However, starting early on your biggest projects affords you some wiggle room with your budget and resources. When in doubt, you’ll find that it’s better to allocate an extra month or two of prep time, versus churning out something that simply isn’t ready.

Don’t use the slow months as an excuse to slack, either. Use this time to look toward the future and think about the bigger picture of your business and its next major project.

Reassess your spending habits.

Much as you might want to rethink your team at the midway point of the year, the summer months are a great time to slash any needless expenses.

Perhaps you’ve realized that your latest social campaign is a complete bust, or that that freelancer you hired to take care of your marketing content just isn’t cutting it. Even the seemingly smallest cuts can add up over time and help grow your nest egg during the off-season.

Although you don’t necessarily have to start pinching pennies over the summer, erring on the side of caution with your business’s budget is always a safe bet.

Rethink your products and services.

Here’s the elephant in the room for many small businesses that struggle over the summer: Why do you have an off-season in the first place?

Sure, it’s easy to blame your industry, but what if there were steps you could take to strengthen your bottom line year-round? Savvy entrepreneurs should constantly look for new opportunities to sell without reinventing the wheel or investing too much initial capital. Consider strategies such as:

  • Monetizing your company blog, via offers and affiliates, to create an additional stream of revenue
  • Creating subscription-based products that guarantee steady payments month after month
  • Using your expertise to your advantage, selling your knowledge in the form of informational products (think: ebooks, online courses, webinars) or consulting services

While you aren’t expected to roll out these additional opportunities tomorrow, they’re definitely something you can start thinking about during your downtime.

Rather than allow your business to fall prey to the summertime slump, do everything in your power to be proactive. Don’t worry about “what-if’s” or the possibilities of your bottom line falling behind. Instead, think about how you can use the slower months to actually bolster your business in the long run.

Read more
21 Years Ribbon Anniversary

Tammy celebrates 21 years with TBC!

Tammy has been with TBC since 1997, and is celebrating 21 years this June! She works as a senior broker and travel manager in the TBC office.  Congratulations Tammy on a successful career and thank you for all you do for our team and our clients! You are very loved!

You can reach her at (770) 591-4343 or by emailing tammy@barterco.comCheck out a few fun facts about Tammy below! 

tammyWhat’s your favorite thing about working at TBC? My favorite thing is working with all of the staff we have a great team and we all get along very well.

If given a chance, who would you like to be for a day? One of our office cats, they get to sleep all day.

Do you have any hidden talents?  I was a Jazzercise instructor for years and love to workout. 

If you had to eat one meal, every day for the rest of your life, what would it be? It would be some sort of an Italian dish, I love anything Italian!

Read more
summer businesstips

5 Summer Tips for Small Business Owners

(courtesy of Constant Contact)

For some small businesses, the summer is the busiest time of year. For others, it’s the slow season. Regardless of what time of year it is for you, there are things all small business owners can do this summer to be proactive and productive.

And whether you’re taking advantage of the extra foot traffic in your store or a quiet space in time to reflect and think about your future goals, these tips can help you make the most out of the next few months. Tomorrow’s success really does start today, so it’s important that no matter what season you’re in, you are thinking ahead and getting ready.

We asked our Marketing and Communications experts here at Constant Contact what their summer tips were. Here’s a list of our top 5:

Tip 1: Snap away

“Take or collect fun pictures of your customers or members enjoying the summer weather. Then, share those pictures on your social networks during the cold days of winter to give them something to remember fondly of or look forward to. You’ll have fun doing it and create some great engagement with your loyal followers.”

– Dennis Nations, Senior Content Strategist

Tip 2: Discover something new

“Take advantage of the potentially slower summer months and try out one of the ‘hot’ visual social media platforms like Instagram, Vine or Pinterest. Set a reasonable goal for yourself (i.e. upload 2 new photos a week) then, in September, decide if you want to continue to grow your presence on that channel.

You could also experiment with a new type of social media post. Consider trying a Facebook quiz/trivia question, a caption contest, an ‘if you could…’ question or feature a customer story.

Definitely change your Facebook cover photo to an image that reflects summer and your brand too!”

– Danielle Cormier, Corporate Community Manager

Tip 3: Boost your website and deals

“When adding an email sign-up to your website, be sure to have the “Join My Mailing List” feature at or near the top of each page of your website.

When offering a local deal, don’t discount too deeply and set a limit to the total number that could be bought.”

– Justin Tryon, Education Development Specialist

Tip 4: Grow your list

“Summer is a great time to grow your email list, especially if the summer months are the busiest of the year. Something as simple as a paper sign-up sheet can go a long way in helping you stay in touch with people after they visit your store, eat in your restaurant, or come into your office.

It’s also a great chance for you to personalize your sign-up experience a little more than you may have in the past. In addition to asking for their name and email address, you could also ask for their hometown to find out whether or not your new contacts are local or discovered your business while on vacation. You can use that information to better target your messages throughout the entire year.”

– Ryan Pinkham, Content Developer

Tip 5: Take advantage of Yelp

“People rely on Yelp reviews and trust them just as they would a personal recommendation. This summer, take advantage of Yelp, especially if these next few months are busy.

Setup a Yelp page and then simply put a sign near your cash register that gives customers a discount if they write a Yelp review for your business on the spot. This is a great way to boost your visibility on Yelp in just a few short months.”

– Leanne Kennis, Content Editor/Writer

Keep these 5 tips in mind this summer and you’ll reach new customers, continue to engage existing customers, and just have a little extra fun!

Read more
schools-out-716x260

School is almost out which means it’s time for some fun!

School’s out this week, which means it’s time to keep the kids entertained this Summer! What better way to do that than by saving cash in the meantime?? Here are some fun things to do this Summer on barter that puts cash back in your wallet:

The Bounce House

Aquatots Swim Lessons

Sycamore Place Gallery Art Camps and Lessons

Splatters Pottery Painting and Art Studio

World of Gymnastics

Boat Rentals

Sycamore Art Gallery

Circus Camp

JumpStart

Fairy Tale Friends (for parties)

Grand Slam Sports Center

Whirly Ball & Laser Tag

Gorilla Jumper

Tennessee Tri-Passes – $55

Segway Tours

Zipline Tours

White Water Rafting

Six flags

White water

Adventure Air Sports

Atlanta Movie Tours

Stars and Strikes.

Helicopter Tours

Lake Winnepesaukah park & water park – $34

 

Area 51 – mini golf

World of Gymnastics & Cheer

Boat Rentals at Lake Alatoona

For more info, or to purchase passes, call our office at (770) 591-4343.

Read more
staycation2

Kick Back, Relax and Enjoy a Staycation at Home

New trends in vacationing are helping families achieve a much-needed break from reality while also not breaking the bank. Instead of expensive airline tickets and hotel stays, people have been substituting cheaper alternatives:  waiting for special travel deals online, driving to see relatives, having friends and relatives come to see them, etc.  But an increasingly popular and fun vacation is the stay-at-home-vacation, or the “staycation.”  The beginning of summer is coming so here are some fun ideas to help you plan a great “stay-cation”. (Courtesy of Real Simpler Magazine)

Put the World On Hold

  • Take time out—literally. Eliminating reminders of time helps wipe away the stress of the daily grind. Gather up all the clocks in your house and stash them in a dresser drawer. Throw your watch in next to them. Leave them there for the whole day (or two, or five).
  • Turn off the ringers on your phones and mute the answering machine. Check messages only when you want to, keeping in mind that “not at all” is always an option.
  • Do an “out of the office” message for your e-mail (even if your office is a corner of the playroom). Say you won’t be checking your e-mail till you’re back from vacation. Then power down the computer and throw a towel over it.
  • Skip the news—and maybe even stop the mail—for a week. When you banish the source of stress, the stress itself may follow. The earth will continue to turn even if you’re not reading all about it every morning at 7:30 sharp, and sadly, the bills will still be there when your vacation is over.

Have It Done for You

  • Bring a destination home for dinner. Can’t make it to your favorite coastal spot? Order in from your favorite new seafood place and make a romantic night of it at home.
  • Get your house cleaned from top to bottom. Part of the pleasure of a vacation is having the bed-making, dusting, and order-restoring consigned to someone else while you dedicate yourself to the task of lolling about. Why shouldn’t it be this way at home―for one brief, shining week, anyway? Hire a maid service for the week and enjoy!
  • Have dinner delivered every night. Place a stack of your favorite take-out menus next to the phone, and follow where your fancy leads you, from Chicago-style pizza one night to a Thai buffet the next.
  • Organize a babysitting trade-off with two or three friends or neighbors. Have all the kids report to a designated house for an evening of organized fun―pizza, games, Toy Story DVDs―leaving the other parents free to enjoy a date night (while saving money on sitters). Another night, rotate houses and repeat.

Set the Mood

  • Roll up and stash your rugs so your naked feet can enjoy that beach-house feeling of walking on cool wooden floors.
  • Play a vacation sound track. As any self-respecting escapist can tell you, the next best thing to being there is grooving around the house to the music you’d be listening to if you were there.
  • Relax outside by candlelight. If there’s nothing on your evening agenda but zoning out to good music and enjoying good company―your own, perhaps?―set out dozens of tealights, or line the edge of the patio with large pillar candles on plates. Your favorite songs, or simply the natural harmonies of a summer evening, will sound even sweeter when your senses are more attuned to them.

Have Fun

  • Indulge in a vacation-reading binge. An armchair journey is a trip, too, when taken in the company of an evocative writer. First, create an ideal setting: Pick your most comfortable chair (or a chaise longue outside), making sure that you’ll have all the light you need. Then furnish it with the necessary props: a throw for when it gets chilly; reading glasses, if you wear them; a tall glass of your beverage of choice; a dictionary for words that make you go “hmm“; a notebook and a pen for jotting down phrases that make you go “aah.” Tackle a classic you never got around to in college, or if that feels too much like homework, try a summer blockbuster.
  • Take a camping trip in your own backyard. Borrow or buy a tent. Pack drinks in thermoses and snacks in Ziploc bags. Bring sleeping bags or blankets, flashlights, and mosquito repellent for everyone. And arm yourself with enough ghost stories to keep little ones up thrillingly past their bedtimes.
  • Decorate your fantasy home. Head to your town’s best newsstand and select the glossiest decorating magazines you can find. Then curl up with a pen and Post-its and start shopping. Money’s no object: If you love that five-zillion-dollar castle in Belgium, excellent. Mark it, then furnish it from your cache of glossies. Revisit it occasionally, and congratulate yourself on your impeccable taste.
  • Have your own three-day film festival. Pick a theme then bump them to the top of your Netflix queue or check for them at your local library. Lay in a supply of your favorite movie snacks, however trans-fatty and decadent. (Reminder: It’s your vacation, and it’s only a few days.) Turn off all the phones, turn out the lights, and slip away.
  • Declare Water-Game Day. Buy or borrow a kiddie pool, turn on the sprinkler, unravel the hose, and commandeer as many spray bottles, buckets, tubs, and water pistols as possible. Decree a compulsory all-day uniform of swimsuit and bare feet. Says actor John Lithgow, a devoted dad and the author of Lithgow Party Paloozas!, “All parents have to do is provide the props and initial ideas for games. The kids will take over and beget their own fun.”

Bring the Spa to You

  • Turn your bathroom into an aromatherapy spa. Stop in at a health-food store to pick out a selection of essential oils in scents you like (calming lavender, rose oil, or chamomile; energizing peppermint or lemon verbena). Then draw a warm bath, sink into it, and let Mother Nature do her botanical best for you.
  • Make staying hydrated a beautiful thing. Fill your prettiest pitchers with ice water and slices of lemon, orange, or cucumber. Place them (each with a glass) at various strategic points around the house and in a shady spot outside. Then, as you go about your day, stop often to take a long, cool, flavorful pull.
  • Hire a massage therapist who makes house calls. Ask friends for recommendations, or do a bit of Web research. Most good day spas will dispatch a therapist for a home visit; 20 percent is the standard gratuity for house calls. If your terrace or yard is relatively private (and shady), consider having your rubdown in the great outdoors.

Stretch Your Muscles

  • Try a DIY back massage. Here’s how: Lie on your back on an exercise mat or a carpeted floor. Position tennis balls under points where you have pain or tension—above your pelvis, at your bra strap, between your shoulder blades. Roll gently up and down and side to side for 5 to 10 minutes as your body weight helps massage the stress away. (Note: Massage therapists say that only those without injuries or other back problems should try this self-treatment and that you should heed your body’s advice and stop if it hurts.)
  • Take a yoga retreat in your living room. Strike images of painful contortions from your mind: “Restorative yoga poses are variations of lying on your back, but with extra support in key places, so you release muscular and nervous tension even more profoundly than when you’re sleeping,” says Cyndi Lee, the director of New York City’s OM yoga center. All you need is a couple of blankets or towels and the right instructional DVD or book.
  • Give yourself a relaxing foot massage. Put a tennis, squash, or golf ball on a hard floor and roll the sole of each foot back and forth over it, concentrating on the instep and the ball of the foot, just below the big toe, where lots of tension can gather. Do this for five minutes while you read or just gaze out the window.

Indulge in Luxury-Hotel Amenities

  • Buy yourself a plush white cotton or terry robe, the kind you itch to tuck into your suitcase when you check out. Slip into it when you wake up, sit with a mug of your morning brew―perhaps delivered on a tray by room service (a.k.a. your partner)―and savor that pampered feeling.
  • Sleep on ultra-high-thread-count sheets—or just the pillowcases. Cases in 600-count Egyptian cotton will feel like your oldest kitten-soft shirt against your cheek. At $50 per set, they run a fraction of the cost of a night at the Four Seasons―and are yours forever.
  • Have nightly turndown service. Buy a box of beautifully wrapped chocolates or caramels. Then dispatch a different family member each evening to fold back blankets, smooth sheets, and leave a sweet or two on each pillow.

Take your “stay-cation” to another level and save cash completely! The Barter Company offers more than 2,500 services in the Metro area on trade. For more information, call (770) 591-4343 or visit www.barterco.com. Start saving money today!

Read more
fathersday

Father’s Day is Sunday 17th – Let us Help You Make Dad Feel Loved!

Father’s Day is just around the corner and we are here to help you make dad feel loved! Come shop our showrooms and pick up certificates in our office. Don’t forget, Father’s Day is June 17th!  Call (770) 591-4343 to purchase and to speak to a trade coordinator about more great ways to celebrate Dad.

  • Watches
  • Sunglasses
  • Golf Memberships & Passes
  • Cookie Bouquets
  • Massage Certificates
  • Segway Tour Certificates
  • Zipline Passes
  • White Water Rafting Certificates

What can you do to make this Father’s Day special? Check out these tips from Parents.com:

1. Eliminate the pressure. What Dad wants most is to have a day free from any pressure. Even the pressure of having a “perfect day.” Dad would really appreciate no deadlines, no hassles, no chores, no having to fix anything, and no rushing about on this special day. Let him really relax so he can enjoy his second wish…

2. Spend time together. Enjoying each other’s company as a family in relative harmony seems simple. But it’s so easy to get sidetracked from your time together when you get caught up in cooking, taking a quick run to the store, or the temptation to finish up a project. Get away from the house if you must, but take this day to focus on spending time together as a family. Go for a walk, have a picnic, lie in a hammock together, share stories and dreams together. Now that’s a day Dad will really remember!

3. Make romance. Father’s Day is not just a day to celebrate Dad as provider and caregiver for the children. It’s a day to honor your partner as your lover and friend. Make him feel special by telling him how much he means to you, dressing up for him, treating him to a massage. Give him a sexy surprise in the morning or steal a few moments during the day to show him how much you love him.

4. Focus on him. Instead of planning everything out for him, give him the gift of freedom and choice. Let him make decisions about what to do and how to spend the day. If he’s a sports fan, accompany him to see a favorite team play. Is fishing his passion? Even if you’re not so keen on bait, go along with him if he wants you to. If he wants a few hours to himself, indulge him. He deserves it!

5. Bring on the praise. Fathers want to be appreciated. Tell him how much you need him. Show him how you feel by writing him a thank-you note detailing the ways he contributes to the family, how he gives moral and emotional support, what makes him a great parent and partner. If writing is not your forte, consider making a short family video for him, or making a big banner in his honor. You don’t have to spend a lot of money on extravagant gifts; your gratitude and love are the greatest gifts you can give him this Father’s Day.

Read more
support small biz

Why Celebrating Small Businesses is Important Every Day

This year, the Small Business Administration (SBA) has designated its annual Small Business Week from April 29 – May 5, 2018. During this week, the SBA recognizes outstanding entrepreneurs and small business owners through the United States. They’re also offering a virtual conference on May 1 along with Hackathons, Twitter chats, awards, and a bus tour throughout the Southeast.

Why all this attention just for small businesses? The answer is easy: more than half of all Americans either own or work for a small business, and small businesses create two out of every three new jobs in the U.S. each year.

In Georgia, the figures are equally impressive. According to the Georgia Department of Economic Development, small business in Georgia is booming. Here are some distinctions:

  • The state ranks #10 in Growth Entrepreneurship (Kauffman Foundation,2015).
  • The state also scores an “A” and ranks in the top 5 for small business friendliness (Thumbtack,2016).

Georgia has also maintained its number one standing in the nation in which to do business for five years in a row according to Site Selection Magazine – for businesses large and small.

Small businesses are also important because most provide products and/or services that larger organizations can’t or won’t produce. For example, a family-owned farmer can sell products directly to customers at a local farmers market without incurring shipping charges. The customer not only gets the produce they want at a good price, the quality tends to be better. Or, a CPA provides accounting and tax services at her small firm. Because the CPA firm is small in scale, the accountants and staff have the flexibility to spend more time with clients and develop relationships that are rare at larger firms.

As a fellow small business, The Barter Company celebrates these important companies during the SBA Small Business Week. And, if you’re interested in seeing how barter can help your small business grow, please let us know. We’re here to help you succeed.

Read more
moms day

Mother’s Day is May 13th!

Mother’s Day is just around the corner and everyone’s thinking what gift to give their mothers. It’s that time of the year again when people search for items that their mothers will love as they celebrate this special occasion. The Barter Company makes it easy to find the perfect gift to make mom feel special! Come shop our showroom and pick up certificates!

For more ideas, call (770) 591-4343.

  • Jewelry
  • Clothing
  • Sunglasses
  • Massage Certificates
  • Salon & Spa Certificates
  • Home Decor
Read more
dry cleaning

We Paid the Bill with Dry Cleaning. That’s How Barter Works.

Imagine running your business and paying bills with trade instead of cash. Many businesses in your area are doing just that, including the Mr. Cleaners stores in Acworth and Kennesaw.

“We’ve been trading with The Barter Company for 20 years now,” said Rami Darwiche, owner of both Mr. Cleaners locations. “I couldn’t be happier!”

“Dry cleaning is a competitive business, so I need every advantage available. By working with The Barter Compa-ny, I not only gain new customers through trade but those customers tell their friends who then come in as cash customers. Word of mouth through barter has helped me reach more people and increase my sales. We trade for the maintenance services and supplies I need to run my stores and we’ve taken some nice vacations!”

Mr. Cleaners is a full-service dry cleaning and laundry op-eration that offers free home and office pick up and de-livery in their service area. With more than 28 years of experience, they can handle any type of dry cleaning needs.

The Barter Company has established itself as the leading force in the barter industry throughout the Southeast. They provide businesses with an alternative currency network by using barter dollars instead of cash to handle transactions.

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

Read more