Buy local first this festive season

Broadening your supply chain and buying local dramatically lowers your risk when things get tough.

If you’re a small business who is dependent on a single supplier for your materials, you will have probably noticed just how hard it is to source what you need during a pandemic.

During our first nationwide lockdown, importing materials from overseas was a squeeze, with restrictions placed on goods moving across borders. And when panic buyers caused some product lines to sell out, cascading surges in demand for inputs meant that certain materials were simply impossible to get your hands on. In turn, production couldn’t ramp up quickly enough to meet the volumes required.

Diversifying to lower your risk

To avoid risk, many businesses are now reducing their dependency on single suppliers, especially those located overseas. Whilst international suppliers may have delivered cost savings for your business in the past, the possibility of disruptions in the future might now cause you to think twice.

In response, a trend towards near-shoring is emerging as a replacement for off-shoring. By looking for Australian manufacturers where possible, you not only reduce the chances of interrupted supply, but also cut your transportation costs. Plus, lining up multiple homegrown suppliers helps to keep the local economy thriving.

Using the buy local trend for good

Customers are also embracing the buy-local trend, supporting their neighbourhood businesses and buying Australian-made goods.

Increasingly, they are planning to holiday locally as well. Australian travel routes are now set to reignite well before global ones, meaning people will be venturing interstate and exploring our own backyard first – and needing the services of local businesses along the journey.

Ultimately, the local-first trend is positive for both small businesses and their customers. Why? Because reducing the risk of supply shortages while supporting your neighbourhood favourites is a win-win. As customers continue to buy local, your business can too, all the while reaping the rewards of a more stable supply of materials.

Consider your customer

What locally sourced products are your customers demanding most?

What does ‘local’ mean for your customer – does it mean from their neighbourhood, from their home state, or from Australia?

How can you support your customers’ desire to travel domestically in the short to medium term?

Consider your business

Can you diversify the range of suppliers you rely on and support more suppliers who are local?

Can you rapidly source extra components if demand surges?

Have you got access to back-up stockpiles if shortages emerge?

Are offshore providers suitable for your back-of- house operations or should they be run locally?

Tips

  • Review your list of suppliers with an eye to reducing your risk. Check that they can ensure continuity of supply and quick boosts to production if needed.
  • Proudly highlight local sourcing in your product descriptions.
  • Tell your customers the stories of how their food came to be on the plate, or how you are supporting other small businesses in the neighbourhood.
  • Pivot your attention temporarily from incoming international tourists to domestic holiday-makers.
  • Embrace the challenge of selling in your own community – build your local profile and connect with neighbours.

Notch Above Bookkeeping is a team of Platinum Certified Xero bookkeepers and BAS Agents. Based in Brisbane we help small business clients right across Australia prepare their BAS returns and streamline their bookkeeping processes, payroll and accounting records. Call us to find out how on 1300 015 130 today.

Source: Xero

Continuity planning

In uncertain times, having a business continuity plan is more important than ever

One of the big lessons of 2020 has been the need to have a robust business continuity plan in place.

This learning has become all the more pertinent in light of the fast-moving nature of lockdown restrictions, which could change from one week to the next.

For many business owners, the impact of a succession of multiple shocks has made for anxious times. Bushfires, smoke pollution, wild storms, a global pandemic and economic shutdown have taught us that businesses need the capacity to withstand a range of challenging scenarios.

Nobody could have expected this chain of events, and it’s forced small business owners to entirely rethink their approach to planning.

Understanding business continuity plans

A business continuity plan is an outline of the steps you’ll take to help your business be prepared for events that could cause disruption. It’s a strategy to keep you strong in the face of a range of potential future scenarios, whether that’s natural disasters, equipment failure, or a cyber attack. In a crisis, people feel compelled to focus on immediate pressures – the here and now.

As we move through phases of recovery and growth, it can be easy to remain stuck in that mindset, and lose sight of the medium to longer term.

While you work through the current challenges facing your business, it’s a good idea to also keep an eye on future goals and the risks on the horizon. That’s where a business continuity plan can help.

Building a plan that’s right for you

Working with your team, think through which disruptions your business is most likely to face, and which would have the biggest impact. Then write down the actions you’ll take to avoid damage, maintain productivity, and recover. Importantly, your plan should include steps you can take now to prevent business disruption, as well as response strategies that would only be used in the event of an emergency. You might also incorporate the lessons you’ve learnt from the pandemic.

Whichever way you look at it, building some advance planning into the ongoing core work of your business is smart thinking. It provides that little extra peace of mind, knowing that your team has the strength and resilience to keep things moving, even if emergencies arise in the future.

Consider your customer

How will you communicate and connect with your customers during a crisis?

How can your customers best access your products or services during different types of disruptions?

Are there ways you can help your customers meet their urgent needs during future emergencies?

Consider your business

Do you have a way to enter ‘hibernation mode’ and recover afterwards

Are there opportunities to partner with other businesses during a future crisis to ensure mutual survival?

How can you build in time to evaluate and adapt your plan and your regular business reporting as you learn more about the new operating environment?

Tips

  • Develop contingency plans to deal with the most likely risks and those that would have the most impact.
  • Review and update your plans regularly to ensure they remain current.
  • Rehearse how you would handle the most probable threats, so that your team is clear on how they can help should the need arise.
  • Reach out to your network to learn from the experiences, insights and advice of other small business owners who have faced disruption before.

Notch Above Bookkeeping is a team of Platinum Certified Xero bookkeepers and BAS Agents. Based in Brisbane we help small business clients right across Australia prepare their BAS returns and streamline their bookkeeping processes, payroll and accounting records. Call us to find out how on 1300 015 130 today.

Source: Xero

online account

Watch out for online shopping scams this holiday season

Losses to online shopping scams have increased 42 per cent this year

Scamwatch is warning Australians to be careful when buying gifts this holiday season.

Scamwatch has received over 12,000 reports of online shopping scams so far this year, with almost $7 million in reported losses.

“More people have been shopping online this year due to COVID-19 restrictions and scammers are now targeting people doing their Christmas shopping, including in the Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales,” ACCC Deputy Chair Delia Rickard said.

“Scammers create fake websites that look like genuine online stores, offering products at very low prices and victims will either receive a fake item or nothing at all.”

“They also post fake ads on classified websites, often claiming they are travelling and someone else will deliver the goods, but the item never arrives and the victim can no longer contact the seller.”

Losses on classified websites, such as Facebook Marketplace and Gumtree, have increased by 60 per cent this year, to $4.5 million.

Reports of online shopping scams involving consumer goods, such as shoes, phones, computers and toys, continue to be high. But the most common thing people were trying to buy when they were scammed was puppies and other pets.

People aged 24 and under-reported the highest number of scams involving phones and computers.

“Watch out for popular products being sold at prices much lower than on other websites and sellers requesting payment through direct bank transfer or cryptocurrency,” Ms Rickard said.

“Take the time to consider who you are dealing with and don’t be pressured by special offers.”

“Do your research by checking independent reviews of online stores or the seller’s history on classified websites.”

Another scam to be aware of if you have made recent purchases online is fake parcel delivery notifications via text message or email.

“Australia Post will never ask you to click a link to enter your personal details, nor will they ask for credit card details or a fee to deliver your packages,” Ms Rickard said.

“If you have been the victim of a scam, contact your bank as soon as possible and contact the platform on which you were scammed to inform them of the circumstances.”

Most financial institutions offer a chargeback service for credit cards and will dispute a credit transaction with the merchant if they still exist.

More information on scams is available on the Scamwatch website, including how to make a report and where to get help.

Also follow @scamwatch_gov on Twitter and subscribe to Scamwatch radar alerts.