Archives for Business Sense


Start the New Year Right

Most of us make personal resolutions for the New Year so why not make them as business owners too? What would make your company better? One area that many offices can benefit from is to be better organized and January is a great time to tackle this effort. With the start of a New Year, there’s a spirit of wanting to start new, refresh, and clear out. Here are some tips to get started:

  1. It’s hard not to keep everything because it might be important. But most of us keep way too much paper. Begin by sorting through past years and decide what can be shredded. If you have a lot to shred, there are companies that will come to your office and shred onsite. Also purge computer files. Backup anything that needs saving but delete what doesn’t. Invest in a shared cloud storage system that can be accessed by the staff but doesn’t take up space on individual computers. You may not become a completely paperless office, but less paper makes for less clutter and less stress.
  1. Create an area for files that staff members need to reach that is easily accessible. Tidy up the office, donate old electronics, and make sure that break room is a pleasant place for staff.
  1. It could be time for you to update your accounting systems. There are many services and software systems that will automatically invoice, track payments, and record expenses. Not only will this help with organization, it could free up staff time to focus on other projects.
  1. Review if there are any documents that need to be updated or put in order, including local and state licenses or tax information. When in doubt, consult your accountant or attorney to make sure you’re current.

If this seems like an overwhelming task, get your staff involved. Create a casual “clean up” day and bring in pizza. If it’s still too much to handle, contact a professional organizer to help. There are companies and services that specialize in office organization, shredding, and IT updates. However, you accomplish it, having a more organized office to start the New Year will help get everyone on track and productive.

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Keeping Employees Healthy Helps Keep Businesses Healthy

Large diverse group of hospital doctors, surgeons, and nurses

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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Beating Out the Big Box

Beating Out the Big Box


Your business is going along well – you have satisfied customers, sales are coming in, and you’re managing overhead. Then suddenly, a sign goes up across the street from your company that says something like “coming soon – big box store.” Immediately, you break out into a cold sweat thinking about how you will compete with one of the large national chains. Will your customers leave and shop there instead?


Before the big box store becomes a reality, take some time to examine your business operations. Here are a few key questions to help you prepare for this new competition:


  • What can your company offer customers that the big box can’t? Maybe you have the ability to locate one-of-a-kind items or produce custom-made products. The big box store will struggle to offer anything unique or hand-crafted.


  • Are you recognized for having great customer service? If not, now is the time to focus your efforts on making sure each and every customer is happy with your company. And, help them tell others about their positive experiences through online review services and social media. Most big box stores are notorious for having poor customer service.


  • What’s your USP (unique selling proposition)? This is what differentiates you from the competition – both large and small. What’s your secret weapon? It doesn’t have to be about product or price. Maybe your organization is passionate about a particular charity or you have a really cool story to tell about how your business was founded.


Don’t think you can match a big box store just on price. However, effectively managing costs and cash flow is now more important than ever. Make sure you keep an eye on administrative costs and look for ways to save money. Don’t forget how barter can help you pay for business expenses without outlaying cash. It might just help you knock that big box down a few notches!


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Going for the Gold – As an Athlete and in Business

Olympic medal

The Summer Games are here once again as all eyes turn toward Brazil to watch world-class athletes seemingly do the impossible. Some will fail but many will achieve glory – all of their stories will capture the attention of the World and inspire us.


Going for a top medal means not only being your best but challenging yourself and others on your team. Many athletes and their coaches will attest that achieving greatness in sports also transfers to greatness in the business world. There are many of the same key ingredients to success, including: focus, dedication, and teamwork.


According to a Wall Street Journal article, rowers are the athletes most likely to succeed in business after leaving the sport. The article says that the sport “requires intense teamwork which often means sacrificing personal glory and adapting to the style of others in order to achieve a final goal.” (Source: WSJ August 12, 2012)


As a leader within your company, here are a few tips on how to help bring “Athletic Glory” into your organization:

  • Identify your business goals and communicate them to everyone on the team. Make sure all team members know what the goals are and how they impact their day-to-day work.
  • Is your team dedicated to the company’s goals? If not, find ways to build loyalty. Celebrate successes and milestones. The more the team feels like they’re contributing the more they will be invested in the overall success of the organization.
  • Emphasize the importance of being part of the team – from the mailroom to the boardroom. Even with a star player, members of a team have to work together, pass the ball, and help each other to achieve success.


Here at The Barter Company, we’re celebrating our own “Glory” in 2016 as we mark our 20th Anniversary. Another milestone we achieved this year was our selection as one of the Top 25 Small Businesses in Cobb County by the Chamber of Commerce. We strive every day to focus on our clients, dedicate ourselves to providing great service, and work together to be the best we can be. It’s our way of bringing home the “Gold” to our clients. So enjoy watching the Summer Games and Go Team USA!


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10 Habits of Highly Successful Small Business Owners


What differentiates those that fail from those that become raging successes?

The unfortunate reality is that a lot of businesses fail. What differentiates those that fail from those that become raging successes?

Certain traits and habits help business owners beat the odds and build highly successful companies. Here’s a look at the top 10:

1. They dream big. Successful business owners are dreamers. “Business owners often create something out of nothing,” says Anita Campbell, founder and chief executive of, an online community for business owners. They wholeheartedly believe they can turn those dreams into reality, she says. “You have to see your business in your mind’s eye. You must have complete faith and belief in this vision of what your business can become from the very start, even when there’s hardly anything tangible yet.”

2. They spot opportunities. Today’s most popular products and companies seemed like rather unlikely or even bizarre concepts when they were first introduced (think Twitter). But successful entrepreneurs are willing and able to think outside the box and see potential in ideas where other people don’t.

3. They know how to execute. Lots of people have ideas. Taking an idea and figuring out how to bring it to market – and then getting people to actually buy it – is a completely different thing. It is this ability to execute that separates successful entrepreneurs from mere dreamers. The reason Facebook was able to beat out other social-networking sites such as MySpace is because Mark Zuckerberg and his team figured out how to win over consumers young and old and ultimately dominate their competitors.

4. They take small steps. Even if their ideas are big, business owners know they aren’t able to achieve everything at once, Campbell says. “You never have enough. Never enough money. Never enough people. Never enough time in the day.” So they know how to prioritize and achieve things by taking small steps forward. They engage in incremental progress. “Over time, those daily steps will add up and eventually you will find they build into your big dream,” she adds.

5. They ask for help. Many of today’s most famous business leaders have mentors, and most high-growth companies weren’t started by one person alone. That’s because even smart people need a sounding board. They look for people who have experience in their industry and find business partners that complement – not duplicate – their own skills.

6. They’re nimble. Like everyone, successful business owners make lots of mistakes. The difference, however, is that they are willing to learn from and accept those mistakes and change course – sometimes quickly. No one is going to care about stumbles along the way if the venture was a success at the end of the day.

7. They’re confident. They don’t let self-doubt or naysayers get in their way. Their persistence pushes them forward and keeps them focused, even when things don’t always work out.

8. They’re not afraid to fail. Fear of failure prevents many people from starting businesses or trying new things. Successful entrepreneurs understand the risks and try to mitigate them, but don’t let risks stop them from pursuing their goals.

9. They build strong teams. As companies start to grow and hire more people, owners know they can’t take that too lightly. Their employees and managers are the backbone of the business. Successful companies spend a lot of time figuring out what traits and skills – both hard and soft – they want in employees and then determine how they will find those people. The ability to hire well – as well as fire – is crucial.

10. They delegate. It’s often hard for business owners to let go. They built their companies from the ground up, after all. But the most successful ones know they can’t do everything, especially as their business grows. After they hire the right people, they let them do their jobs so they can focus on what they do best.


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