Little business swaps that can make a big difference
Some minor changes can have a massive impact. See whether any of these low-hanging fruit are within reach for your business.
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Margins are tight for every business, but what if you could find a way to make a real impact without investing too much time or energy?
Well, we've got 10 ways. Yep, we asked business owners and experts to share their advice on small business swaps that can make a big difference – without any of the legwork.
Okay, there might be some legwork, but we're talking a gentle stroll rather than the Sydney Marathon.
Let's take a look at some swaps that are straight from the horse's mouth.
1. Your EFTPOS
All EFTPOS machines are the same, right? Wrong.
Businesses often stick with the EFTPOS machine provided by whichever bank they're with. But comparing options could bring a whole host of benefits to your business.
Ben Cleary-Corradini, co-owner of Gnocchi Gnocchi Brothers found this out firsthand when he became dissatisfied with his provider and started looking elsewhere.
After talking to other hospitality businesses, Cleary-Corradini opted for Tyro, a business-only bank that offers tailored EFTPOS solutions, business lending and banking products. He soon noticed an increase in transaction speed, making the entire payment process easier for staff and customers.
"We've got about two hours to make money and to transact," he told Finder. "In that time, we want to punch through as many orders and as many transactions as possible."
According to Cleary-Corradini, Tyro helps the team do that thanks to the speed at which it talks to the point of sale (POS) system.
"That system works incredibly fast, particularly for those hours that we need it to work and it's never failed. Thank God," he said. "We also don't just do face-to-face transactions, we do MOTO payments over the phone and Tyro helps us there. It integrates very nicely with our accounting system as well so it's really the full package."
Cleary-Corradini also found that Tyro's ancillary benefits made a huge impact - particularly its app.
"With the Tyro app, you can log in and see transactions on-the-go, anytime,' he said. "You can even see how different locations are performing on a minute by minute basis. I found that was awesome, particularly when we've got multiple stores."
2. Business bank account
While we're talking about banking, have you ever considered swapping your business bank account to one which suits you better?
Paula Glynn, director of digital marketing agency Pixelstorm, says it's essential that her business bank account has low fees.
"A lot of the payments made are subscription-based in US dollars," she told Finder. "So every time there is a charge, we pay not only bank fees, but also the bank's exchange rates."
According to Glynn, businesses should keep their eyes peeled for bonuses such as credit cards that allow for points collection, low limits or no limit at all on international transaction fees and transparent fee structures.
3. Your packaging
For ecommerce businesses, packaging is not only a significant expense but also a key part of the customer experience and brand recognition.
Aida Rejzovic, founder of all-natural ecommerce store Sassy Organics, swapped her packaging back in 2020, moving from Australia Post satchels to recyclable cardboard boxes.
"By sending parcels via satchels, we were creating a problem for our customers where they were required to dispose of plastic that we created in the first place," she said.
"With this small change, we have been able to save over 100kg in plastic, therefore sending less plastic to our landfills and reducing our footprint," Rejzovic told Finder. Not to mention eliminating the problem for customers!
4. Your meetings
Sick of meetings ruining the flow of your day? Brittany Bennett, director of Bennett PR, swapped her chaotic meeting schedule for a more streamlined approach.
Now, Bennet books all face-to-face meetings for the same day, so she can focus on her clients' needs without stressing about the work she has to do.
The swap was prompted after Bennett began returning to in-person meetings post-COVID, but wanted to maintain the better work-life balance she's achieved during lockdown.
"Lockdowns gave me a lot of time back, allowing me to finish work on time each day," she told Finder. "I wasn't ready to give my free time up so this was my best solution. It has been great for my productivity and I have been way less tired as I do less overtime."
5. Your services
As the owner of business advisory Evolve to Grow, Tristan Wright loves swapping business services with other business owners as they can be an economical way to meet goals and develop a strong professional network.
"As with most things in life, communication is the absolute key when it comes to any service swap," he told Finder.
"Before you get started, make sure you are crystal clear on what you can offer, how it will be delivered and what you expect in return. When you do this, you dramatically increase your chances of creating a long-term and sustainable relationship."
6. Your social media
If you aren't scheduling your social media posts in advance, you're missing a trick. That's the advice from Amy Flanagan, owner of booking agency Spill District.
"Whether you're just starting out or your business has a dedicated social media manager, you should be using a scheduling system for social media posts," she told Finder.
"Consistent posts are key for anyone looking to build an online presence and pre-scheduling posts means less work for you but a better experience for clients and prospective customers."
Many scheduling platforms also allow for visual planning and post-analysis, so it's easier for businesses to create a cohesive social media presence and make informed decisions about the content that is working best for their brand.
7. Your diary
It's not just social media that can be automated. Liz Nable, owner of Xtend Barre, has been on an automation mission and says she saw a big impact when she switched to an automated calendar system.
"I'm using scheduling software to manage my meetings, so I can just send someone a link and they book in when I'm available," she told Finder.
"It frees up my time for deep work and strategy that I need to do to lead the business, instead of wasting hours and hours on admin or hiring someone."
8. Interest rates
Speculation around interest rates rising is rife and borrowing costs could soon increase. Financial advisor Helen Baker says this should be motivation alone for businesses to consider swapping their finance provider for one with a better interest rate.
"Even if the RBA waits until 2023 or 2024, lenders have already been moving in recent months and that may continue," she told Finder. "Get on the front foot now and look to negotiate at the lowest rates you can before it's too late. Lower interest rates mean lower costs and higher profit."
9. Your workspace
For business owners who have had to navigate working from home throughout the pandemic, small environmental swaps can pay off with better mental wellbeing and productivity.
"I've found scheduling a change in workspaces during the week can be a gift for the brain," said self-employed photographer Sophie Joyce.
Joyce also encouraged other business owners to create clear boundaries between workspaces and rest spaces.
"I find it far less claustrophobic and distracting with 2 separate zones and I'm more likely to actually unwind afterwards," she told Finder.
10. Your bookkeeping
You might be used to overseeing your finances, but switching to a trusted bookkeeper can free up more of your time to focus on things you're good at.
Ben Lucas, director of fitness studio Flow Athletic, outsourced the majority of his day-to-day invoicing and bookkeeping when lockdown hit.
"The lockdowns were particularly tough on my industry, which meant all hands had to be on board to be creative with pivoting and ensuring members were still getting a world-class service," he told Finder.
While he still checks in on finances every few weeks, Lucas is now free to focus on service delivery and keeping customers happy – rather than getting bogged down in finance.