<![CDATA[TRADESCOUNTER.COM.AU - Blog - Crunchie The Calculator]]>Thu, 17 Sep 2020 09:44:11 +1000Weebly<![CDATA[The Challenges Facing Hospitality]]>Sat, 12 Sep 2020 02:15:46 GMThttp://tradescounter.com.au/blog-crunchie-the-calculator/the-challenges-facing-hospitality PictureWe weren't joking about the eggs, they are amazing!
Hi all,

I realise it's been a while since we have posted anything of note but worry not, we're still alive and have almost finished building the world's greatest coffee table. Yep, we've acquired some shiny new tools, and yes friends, one of them is a Makita Belt Sander and the other is an old Hitachi Drop Saw with no safety features, and the saw is exactly as dangerous as it sounds.

While I still have all my limbs and digits attached, I thought we could use this as chance to move over to talking about an amazing Cafe, around the corner from us and the challenges they've faced and how they keep battling on. The Cafe in question is called Mister and Missus, they're based at 135 Melville Road, Brunswick West, and are run by Husband/Wife team Rodney and Jess.

Here's a link to their facebook page, so you can actively stalk them and plot your next visit! 

They opened up around the time we moved to Brunswick in 2016 and have slowly become renowned throughout Brunswick for their 65 degree perfect poached eggs, Toasties and just in general amazing Brunch, which they fire out of a very small kitchen at an insane pace. Rodney has a background as a fine dining chef and before opening up, ran a tidy kitchen called Rockpool, that some of you might have heard of (for people outside of Melbourne, apparently they're good for a steak, or two, should you have some cash to spend).

Occasionally, Mister and Missus will run a very intimate fine dining night in the summer months, and if they do, book immediately! You will not regret it, they are absolutely amazing and sell out seats rapidly. My wife and I went to one a couple of years ago and the meal we had was insane, it was hands down some of the best food we've ever had, and all came out of a kitchen not much bigger than the average family bathroom.

Anyway, I think I've hyped them up enough, ultimately my recommendation here is go and visit them when Melbourne opens up a bit more, as for once, I can assure you, you are definitely missing out! 

Before you all worry or not, that this is has turned into a food blog... which I have no objections to running, if people want to send me to places and I get to eat, sadly it hasn't and Rodney very kindly sat down (socially distanced and via email) and explained to us what he and Jess have learned about running a cafe over the past 4 years and a little bit about how Covid has changed their world.

So without further ado, here's Rodney in his own words about what's running a cafe is really like, and for anyone thinking about opening one in the future, heed his advice and your future culinary empire, might just happen! 

Question 1. How did you come up with the idea or concept for Mister and Missus M?

It was always a dream of mine to open my own business, I am very fortunate to have my wife Jess to help and realise my dream, she is such an integral part of the business and my life.  It was Jess who came up with the name Mister & Missus M.
Question 2. What made you decide that Brunswick was the right area to set up the business in?

It was all by chance, we stumbled across the cafe on realcommercial.com one morning, when we went to have a look at the cafe we really enjoyed the feel of the area and the potential it had for our business.  It had a real down to earth and family atmosphere.
Question 3. What are your top 3 do’s and don’ts in running a hospitality business?

3 Do's 

1. believe in what you want to do, don't start something you're only gonna put half an effort in.
2. the age old- 'use the best possible product you can afford'.
3. being polite, using manners and generally friendly and hospitable goes a long way
3 Dont's

1. assume you are above the customer, 
2. think you're gonna make it rich straight away
3. be a non listener, listening to criticism is your best tool.
Question 4. If someone was starting out in a hospitality business, what advice would you give them?

Do your homework, hospitality like any industry can be very unforgiving if you don't have any background in it, I have been fortunate enough to have worked alongside some of the worlds greatest chefs and with like minded career workers in hospo, if you don't understand the industry properly it will eat you up (literally) 
Question 5. What’s been the biggest Covid-19 challenge that the business has faced?

Just the unknown week to week, I came up with the notion to just stick with takeaway for the rest of the year from the beginning to eliminate that part of the unknown, so we could just focus on the task at hand and it worked.
Question 6. How did you adapt and what did you learn?

When I spoke to Jess and told her we should just do takeaway until everything calms down, with that clarity I was able to stand back and reassess what our little business was doing.  What was working what wasn't, what the industry was going to look like and what our cafe was capable of under all the new laws and rules, we adapted and embraced the takeaway law, we are now focused on becoming a little food store takeaway showcasing what our friends in the industry have to offer.
Question 7. As restrictions ease, what can customers do to make yours and other hospitality professionals lives easier?

Its all about supporting local businesses and each other, money is tight everywhere and there are new rules coming in with every stage, people just need to be patient aware with what owners are having to do just to stay open.
Question 8. Outside of Covid 19, what’s been the biggest challenge Mister and Missus M has had to face?

Definitely the last two years has seen us drop about 30% in sales and the industry has seen this across the board, trying to juggle expenses, staff wages, and also our 'at home expenses' has been a major challenge, we made the decision that if we wanted to stay ahead of the game and be able keep our main long term goal, that one of us would have to back to full time work, after almost heading to Vietnam, Thailand, Phillipines or even Queensland, Jess managed to to get poached as a venue manager for a up market city cafe. (it has since been closed due to the current climate)
Question 9. What do you think has made Mister and Missus M, so successful?

Hard work, Focus, Fun, love for the industry and respect for what we do, and I think above all, Honesty. Jess and I have never tried to be someone that we aren't, and I think its what our customers come back for time and time again.
Question 10. What would you love to do with the café in the future?

To be able to keep it as long as we can, and see it fulfil its full potential, (I don't think we are there yet) but from what I have learnt thus far in being a business owner is that you can plan for the long term, but be ready for what the short term holds, whatever that might be.

Fine Dining - I was in a food coma/my happy place, after this evening out at Mister and Missus.
<![CDATA[Recession, and how we can all do our part to help Small Businesses]]>Thu, 02 Jul 2020 00:30:41 GMThttp://tradescounter.com.au/blog-crunchie-the-calculator/recession-and-how-we-can-all-do-our-part-to-help-small-businesses

At the moment, a lot of businesses are doing it tough around Australia and around the Globe in general. 

The theory goes, that bigger businesses should be better placed to absorb the financial and operational shocks of the current economic situation but as we're starting to see, that's not necessarily true and they're just as affected by the same issues that have been troubling Small/Medium sized organisations to date.

Some of the Common issues for businesses, that we've been hearing about are:

- Cashflow management
reduced product and service demand
- External forces such as restrictions on supply, and movement of people
- Low Foot Traffic
- Reduced Access to Finance and Support 

The purpose of this article is to focus on what these issues look like to Small Businesses and their owners, and what they're living with day to day.

We've been very fortunate, to be able to interview 3 business owners, that operate in different industries, States, and business environments and they have kindly provided valuable insight into what they're facing and what they've been through so far.

We hope their experiences resonate with you, and please remember to do what you can to support Small Businesses and shop local, as much as you can. Otherwise the message is clear, a lot of wonderful community driven businesses will disappear, and you as a consumer will have a lot less choice in the future.

Please feel free to let us know your thoughts on this article in the comments section below. 

Also, just a special thank you to Andrew, Dotan and Sarit for giving up their time and contributing to this article, thanks so much guys, we really appreciate your help with writing this piece and we wish you all the best for the future :)

P.s. Below the blog is a group of company's logo which links through to each participating businesses website, so please go and have a look, and they're all awesome at what they do, so if you, or anyone else you know, is in need of their services, make sure you reach out and help spread the word! 

Company: Excel Support
Website: www.excelsupport.com.au
Business Owner: Andrew Kavanagh
Location: Thornbury, Victoria

Question 1. Could you tell us a little bit about your business, industry, what you do and where you are located?

My business is called Excel Support. We specialise in helping businesses in all things Microsoft Excel, from the simple things like fixing up, or writing formulas to making custom tools in Excel, to more complex tasks such as automating processes and make businesses run more efficiently.

We're located in Thornbury, VIC.

Question 2. How did you come up with the idea or concept for your business?

I came up with the idea for the business by accident. A mate on my soccer team put a post on Facebook asking could someone help him with an Excel matter, I responded and that evolved into a biggish task for the business he worked for, his director said that a lot of companies needed this help so the next day I registered a business and domain name

Question 3. What are your top 3 do’s and don’ts in running a business in your industry?

1. Be honest, personable and understanding to your clients needs and wants. Go that extra mile for them and most importantly listen to them.
2. Get help with SEO and Business Development
3. Try spread the word as much as possible

Pretty much the opposite of the above!
Question 4. When did you start to realise that Covid-19 was going to impact your business and what was your general feeling towards the issue at the time?

Fairly quickly when a few jobs I had the go ahead on cancelled/put them on hold. I had planned on going ahead with my own work both personally and professionally so understood where people were coming from and had no issues with the cancellations, we all needed to band together and support each other to get through it. I was disappointed to see other businesses not have a similar point of view.
Question 5. What has been the biggest Covid-19 related challenge that the business has had to face and adapt to in the current climate?

Pretty simple, lack of business and getting new business. When no one wants to spend its hard for them to justify implementing new processes and procedures but in a way we can really help in this scenario as with no money to pay employees we can create something for a client that can go some way to making up the shortfall

Question 6. If someone were starting out in a business, within your industry in the current climate, what advice would you give them?

Getting a sales/marketing experts advice on how to approach things from the start. If you can pay an expert to do it even better but generally with small business this is a luxury you don’t have. Join some online groups for small business-like Small Business Owners Australia on Facebook. There’s a wealth of information on these groups, with people from all industries/backgrounds
Question 7. As restrictions start to ease, what would you say customers can do to help aid the recovery of small businesses?

Be patient, some Businesses are made up of one or two people who have gone through immense hardship over the last few months. Invest in small businesses, buy local where you can and take a trip to a county town and spend there. Don’t forget the bushfires happened, businesses in those areas have been hit twice this year. We are in it together and all need to give each other support to dig out.

Company: Oxygem Pool Care
Website: https://oxygempoolcare.com.au/
Business Owner: Dotan Kamm
Location: Sydney, New South Wales
Question 1. Could you tell us a little bit about your business, industry, what you do and where you are located?

We’re a Pool business that Specialises in Ionisation/ low chemical systems and overall pool maintenance & installations.
Question 2. How did you come up with the idea or concept for your business?

My Father created the business as his background is in Engineering & was he was the head Coach of a swimming team, that had a squad of swimmers achieving multiple age records.

He wanted to find a low chemical & chlorine free alternative chlorine & salt chlorinated pools.

Question 3. What are your top 3 do’s and don’t's in running a business in your industry?

1. Know your Products & Services.
2. Have a goal you want to achieve (our aim is to help the environment & people with Allergies to be able to swim.
3. Use your brain!
1. Get overconfident, there is always someone better than you!
2. Disregard reviews (unbelievably important)
3.  Have rubbish accounting practices.
Question 4. When did you start to realise that Covid-19 was going to impact your business and what was your general feeling towards the issue at the time?

Covid has not really affected us whatsoever. It has helped us.
Question 5. If someone were starting out in a business, within your industry in the current climate, what advice would you give them?

You would struggle to start in the current climate (In Spring, potentially yes). Though Customers tend to go to businesses they trust and have a relationship with.
If you do take the challenge, make sure you know your products and services.
Question 6. As restrictions start to ease, what would you say customers can do to help aid the recovery of small businesses?

My advice would be to Stop buying online from large providers. These businesses only care about sales and that’s about it.

If people care about small business, then contact local businesses and don’t just say "I can buy online for less", otherwise they will disappear and you won’t have the choice.

Company: Custom Feet Australia
Website: www.customfeetinsoles.com.au
Business Owner: Sarit Baruch
Location: Gold Coast, Queensland
Question 1. Could you tell us a little bit about your business, industry, what you do and where you are located?

We are located on the GC. We specialise in custom made orthotic insoles, direct to the public and for an affordable price.
Question 2. How did you come up with the idea or concept for your business?

We focused on Research and innovation to come up with our products.
Question 3. What are your top 3 do’s and don’ts in running a business in your industry?
1. Invest in training
Focus on finding the best location
3. Hire the right people

1. sign a lease on a property with no foot traffic
2. sign a long lease before you do a trial
3. be overstocked  

Question 4. When did you start to realise that Covid-19 was going to impact your business and what was your general feeling towards the issue at the time?

Beginning of February - everything was stressful and uncertain for us.
Question 5. What has been the biggest Covid-19 related challenge that the business has had to face and adapt to in the current climate?

We had to shut down completely, we didn’t know if our retail stores would bounce back, we are trying to revive them now, but it’s not been easy.
Question 6. If someone were starting out in a business, within your industry in the current climate, what advice would you give them?

Less commitment, more hard work and choose your location wisely
Question 7. As restrictions start to ease, what would you say customers can do to help aid the recovery of small businesses?

Please spend you’re hard earned money with small business rather than the big brands, as it can make such a difference.

<![CDATA[The importance of networking and making lots of friends!]]>Thu, 18 Jun 2020 07:39:31 GMThttp://tradescounter.com.au/blog-crunchie-the-calculator/the-importance-of-networking-and-making-lots-of-friends
Average chap on the street!
PictureIf you have Linkedin's networking budget, why not hire a bus!
If you ask the average chap on the street (Think bush man!) what their biggest concern would be on moving countries, cities or even neighbourhood's, most of them would highlight money, finding a place to live and meeting or getting to know people inside their top 5.

​Running a business is no different, and of those 3 mentioned above, you'll find networking and finding that next sale or meaningful customer connection vying for top spot. Couple that with Covid 19 and you'll start to see, why most folk out there who are trying to start a business are finding it pretty hard.

Networking is an art-form in itself and is vital to keep a business running and attracting new customers. Because if you don't find new customers, you'll soon realise that Cash-flow becomes a major issue and that in turn, can ruin the crop that you're trying so hard to grow. 

​So how do you grow a network remotely?

Traditionally, networking for a startup usually takes the form of tapping friends and family on the shoulder and trying to sign as many of them up to embrace your products and get their help in spreading the word. Even remotely, this is still a great place to start and whether it's by email, video chat, or by that trusty old method of picking up a telephone, it can still reap rewards and is worth pursuing to start to get yourself out there.

Ok, let's say you're a bit further along than just starting out and customer orders have taken a bit of a hit. How do you turn that around through networking?

Simple, it's all about making yourself stand out and appeal to people through various channels of media. Don't be afraid to chat to other people in an internet forum or ask questions. Ultimately, the more you engage with people, the greater range of people become aware of who you are, what you do and what you sell. There's some great communication platforms out there, that are either free or cost very little to get yourself set up on.

1. Facebook - Business Page & Groups - Setting up a business page and joining groups is a great way to meet people and start to enhance your reputation. One word of advice here is to be mindful of the terms & conditions on some groups, as a lot of them don't want you direct selling and will kick you out for doing so. However, you can pose questions and respond to other folks posts. This is a great way to get yourself noticed and also as a passive strategy, start to syphon interest from people into what your passionate about - your business. 

2. Linkedin - Professional Groups​ - Linkedin will provide you with similar opportunities to Facebook in setting up a business page and joining groups. However, it has one strong advantage over Facebook with Networking and that's it's professional group networking. This platform enables you to join groups within your industry and target client markets, so that you can connect with customers more directly. It also is a great way of opening up to a whole raft of business owners that you may not realise operate very close to you and can build localised relationships with. 

3. Local Council Networking Groups - hosted on Zoom - If your operating locally, getting connected with these guys is critical, you can open up doors chatting to people in a forum who are going through exactly what you are and they can help shape perspective and form a support mechanism during tough times too. Most council websites will list their selection of business networking platforms and when they're running their next event. 

Honourable mentions:

- Twitter - Good place to cultivate a following by posting interesting discussion topics.

- Industry and product/service forums - Being an active member on forums can be a great way of attracting passive customers that know, you know what you're talking about as your responses of good advice will be endorsed by other members.
- Slack - Slack is a great tool to meet industry professionals and like minded business owners and entrepreneurs of all shapes and sizes.  

To all the new business owners out there, good luck, we hope this article helps you with the current challenges of networking and remember, as restrictions ease, make sure you have a batch of business cards and sanitiser at the ready, to fire off to the rest of humanity :)

Sanitiser dowsed humans at the ready!
<![CDATA[Business Environment Changes Post Covid-19]]>Sat, 23 May 2020 14:00:00 GMThttp://tradescounter.com.au/blog-crunchie-the-calculator/business-environment-changes-post-covid-19Picture
With the announcement of easing various restrictions at a federal and state level over the next few weeks, I thought this would be a good time to discuss what the operational business environment is going to look like for a lot of organisations, both small and large within Australia, and further afield come the end of the isolation period.

I also thought this would be a great way of sharing on to others what you can do, both at home and in the workplace to try and help keep people safe.

I suppose the first question to ask and try to answer for a lot of business owners is around "what can I do to make my work environment safe for staff and customers and still ensure its functional?"

The good news is you can do quite a lot, but the critical focus needs to be on ensuring basic hygiene and social distancing is followed to help stop the spread and reduce the risk of contaminating others.

What's been said by the Experts?
The World Health Organisation has released an abundance of advice on how to help business owners be able to reduce risks. As the old saying goes, prevention is always better than the cure. Below is a list of some of their recommendations and also a link to their guides.
  • Regular cleaning of all work surfaces i.e. desks and tables, phones and keyboards with Disinfectant, at the beginning and end of the working day.
  • Making available disinfectant dispensers around the workplace for employee's to use and refill regularly.
  • Display posters around benefits of hand washing around workplace and ensure they are visible for employees to see. 
  • Make available clean washbasins and soap for use (where possible).
  • Promote good respiratory hygiene by making tissue boxes and masks available to staff (where possible), to use and provide rubbish bins in accessible areas.
  • Further to all the above, seating employees away from each other at a minimum distance of 1.5 metres apart is a great way to maintain Social Distancing (where possible, extending this to Lunch rooms is helpful too)


From an employee perspective, the second question is; "what will I be able to do and not do at my workplace?"

That question really depends on the workplace. For example, based on what I've been hearing from managers & leaders in larger corporate office based environments, the general consensus is that most of the facilities they do have, such as showers, gyms and prayer rooms, will be kept off limits to employees for the time being. There is the view to keeping employee's working from home until around the end of June 2020 and then start a trickle based return to work.

It's also being touted that employee's will be divided between two or three groups initially. The idea is if you're in Group 1, you will work in the office on a given week, and then rotate out for 2 weeks while Group 2 and Group 3 rotate through. This means hot-desking will probably come back into vogue in order to assist with the safe social distancing of employee's too.

Lunchrooms and shared communal kitchens look set to suffer a significant upheaval too. The view seems to lean towards removal of cutlery, plates and cups and glasses. Also, businesses have plans in place to remove cupboard doors and remove kettles, Coffee and other vending machine facilities. No more than two people to a lunch table (where possible it'll be just one) and rubbish bins being left with no lids on and microwaves and refrigerators being removed too.

Bathrooms are also set to be affected (for those of you, who use them as fortress of solitude, sad news my friends). I've been advised by a few businesses that they will be removing entrance doors and having cleaners rotate through them every couple of hours, with a full deep cleanse being performed upwards of 3 times a day (if you have an office of 400+ people, you can start to see the logistical nightmare this presents). 

While this all may seem drastic, the ideas driving it makes total sense and they're just as applicable to smaller organisations too (overhead costs to even a small business with a couple of employee's will unfortunately head higher, as a result). Looking at it from a strategy based ,  it's all about reducing physical touch-points for employees and getting everyone to make a conscious effort to spend, as little time in the office as possible while still being able to function and kick goals. 

While smaller organisations don't have the resources to make this happen the same way a large corporate can, it's definitely worth seeing what you can apply from the above suggestions to make it easier for staff to transition back to your workplace and support them in trying to make the best of a bad situation.

I would certainly love to hear from business owners, managers and employees about what their own experiences are of this process, and what they've learned so far.

So please feel feel free to fire away in the comments section and as long as I haven't taken a siesta, I'll jump in too.

<![CDATA[Covid-19, trying to run, and trying to run a Business]]>Thu, 30 Apr 2020 06:05:51 GMThttp://tradescounter.com.au/blog-crunchie-the-calculator/covid-19-trying-to-run-and-trying-to-run-a-business
This is my first rambling post, so apologies in advance if this one seems a little random.

Tradescounter, started out as an idea around 18 months ago, with the plan initially being to give me something to do, and to stop driving my wife up the wall. Roughly, around the same time, we took up running as a hobby and to this day, I still have no idea why (I mean I get that she thought I was fat but I argue, what's wrong with having a relaxed six pack? - I still to this day haven't received an answer to that question).

Anyway, the business was meant to take off in around July 2019, but due to getting distracted and spending way too much time with the X-box, campaigning to get my cousin's boat out of my garage (yeah, you know who you are, and 2 years that bloody thing was in there!) and I guess running. Against all odds I somehow, managed to put the whole operation on Ice. 

Then Covid-19, entered the picture and turned everyone's worlds upside down.

Actually, now I think about this... traditionally, the rest of the world has always seen Australia as upside down, so does that mean: We're now the right-side up and that the toilets flush the correct way? (mental note - after publishing, check whether we're now located in the northern hemisphere)

Sorry, back to Covid-19. That delightful virus, has caused a complete global economic meltdown that's hit Australia and the rest of the world in a way, that most of us were just not prepared for. On a more domestic front, it's sadly put a lot of people and businesses on struggle street and it looks like the restrictions that are in place, will be with us for a while.

So as a way to try help out the community, I've now launched the business with the critical focus being on helping individuals who run a business but can't go and see their accountant for assistance. I realised cost is a big stumbling block for a lot of folk at the moment too, so I'm running a one-off offer of 3 months for $99.00* per month. There's no strings attached, or subscription follow on. So for $99.00 each month, you get my support and me moaning about training for marathons... (I realise that the last bit is a great bonus).

In all seriousness, the below is what you actually get but if you do want me to complain about marathon's let me know. Also the promotion code to put on your enquiry submission is:  TC-99  

Tradescounter.com.au: TC-99 Offer:

1. 3 hours of time per month, on all Bookkeeping Services.
2. Access to Debtor Support.
3. Access to Payroll Support.
4. Access to Creditor Support.
5. Guidance on Support with the ATO. 
6. Budgeting and Forecasting

​*Promotion is available for use as a one-off and runs between 1st of May and 30th of November 2020. Months have to be used concurrently and prepayment is required to access promotion.