The retail businesses are getting right into the thick of it during episode three of the Kochie’s Business Builders docuseries Bricks and Clicks on Channel 7. They had an action packed day – covering everything from making their products pop online to tackling cash flow management.
Xero was very excited to have one of our own accounting partners, Jason Robinson of RBK Advisory, appear to provide some very important cash flow management and payments advice. But first, the episode dug deeper into the retailers’ personal stories to provide a window into their passions and motivations.
Kicking things off was Sue McCormack, founder of My Little Dream Co, who encountered a series of difficult personal circumstances that motivated her to start a business. The name is inspired by her favourite childhood book Little Dream, where a character called Little Dream runs around working hard for all of the bigger dreams in the ‘Land of Nod’.
Having spent her whole life working for big businesses, Sue says she very much saw herself in Little Dream – all of which made starting something for herself a chance to make her own dream a reality.
Next, was Fleurie Arthouse owner Anna Small, whose husband was instrumental in creating their beautiful gallery space within a Mclaren Vale winery. As sculptors themselves, they are both heavily involved in the arts community, and are passionate about promoting the wonderful Adelaide Fleurie artists to the world.
Finally, we got more of an insight into Ray Herman, owner of Herman’s Interiors. Ray is extremely dedicated to Horsham, where he has lived his whole life. He has a rich history within the local community, with his parents having met there after immigrating from the Netherlands post-World War Two.
Ray’s father started the family business in retail out of necessity so he could find a job in the small town, and Ray is now leading the charge. “The great thing about owning a small business in a small town is that you’re providing a service that people would otherwise have to travel far for. I’m really enthusiastic about the business and making it sustainable in a rural area,” Ray said.
This week’s episode featured several fantastic mentors and experts who shared their tips on online merchandising, online brand and cash flow management:
- Irene Falcone – Founder and Owner, Nourished Life
- Basil Karam – Co-Founder and Owner, Life Interiors
- Jason Robinson – Co-Founder and Owner, RBK Advisory
Key takeaways from this week’s episode
- Don’t aim for perfection straight away – just get started.
Irene Falcone said: “My number one piece of advice is that you only have to get about 70% right. Actually, when it comes to digital, I didn’t even manage that – I only had about 40% right. But the great thing about digital is that if it doesn’t work, you just delete it and start again.” Irene’s success story was very much due to the fact that she got something out there, saw what worked and then found that it “accidentally took off”.
- Be true to who you are and it will all flow from there.
It’s easy to get caught up in what you aspire to be as a brand but, as Irene explained, people respond really well when you’re true to yourself. She told the story of how she wanted to be the “Rolls Royce of cosmetics” but, in truth, she considered herself to be a total dag. As she said on Facebook, “It was too hard to fake”.
- Good copy and strong imagery make products pop.
“Start small, but make sure you start,” Basil Karem told the small businesses on setting up their online merchandising. Rather than trying to do everything right away, he encouraged the owners to first focus on the items they sell the most of. In doing so, he explained that it’s important to make sure the copy and imagery are strong and can be leveraged further across social media and blogs in later months (reposting as needed). His chief takeaway? “Don’t get caught up in perfection.”
- Make it easy for customers to pay you.
Over 60% of small businesses fail in their first year and cash flow is one of the biggest reasons for that failure. Expert Xero accounting partner Jason Robinson spoke to the small businesses about ensuring they remove any hurdles that make it difficult for customers to pay by ensuring they have multiple payment methods available. “We don’t want to give customers any objective to not pay as quickly as possible,” Jason said.
- Streamline your accounting processes.
Jason also encouraged the retailers to look at the big picture when setting up their POS systems to ensure it will bolt together with their accounting software and flow. This helps save time by streamlining processes, as well as potentially saving on unnecessary additional costs.
Missed episode three? Catch up here.
Are you a small business that wants to transform your business from bricks to clicks, and kick goals in the online retail market? The online e-learning platform designed to help local Australian businesses is free. Get started at the Bricks and Clicks website now.