Tower Blog

A blog about smart POS software for independent small businesses.

Category: Social Responsibility (page 1 of 9)

Helping small business retailers embrace the covid pivot opportunity

Every day we are engaging with new opportunities to embrace the covid pivot opportunity with small business retailers in Australia and New Zealand.

The covid pivot is where a business embraces a change outside of what has been usual for the business – new products, new services, new business methods – in pursuit of new shoppers and that it does this in response to the covid challenge and opportunity of 2020. Hence, the term the covid pivot. It is real.

It is important to understand what the covid pivot it not. It is not made out of fear or desperation. It is not a last stand. It is not a retreat. No, the covid pivot is a confident move a business makes to pursue new opportunities, new customers, to expand the reach of the business. This is the pivot part. the covid part is that the virus provides opportunity, encouragement and cover, if necessary.

We are grateful to serve more than 3,000 small business retailers in our POS software community, and to be growing this daily as more join with us. Within our current community and without we are helping retailers in their covid pivot journey to find new shoppers, to expand their reach and to being new life and opportunity to their businesses.

While we get that 2020 is challenging, early on, back in march tis year, we decided to focus on walking  forward, turning here and there, expanding the business and the businesses of our customers. We think it is too easy to get caught up ion the doom and gloom of some in the media, the negativity. That’s not for us. It’s a mug’s game. That’s not us.

Opportunities abound for finding new customers in retail as well as in our space of being a small business POS software company.

In our focus on the covid pivot opportunity we are doing this here ourselves, in retail businesses we own and with plenty of our partner retailers. This is a 2020 good new story. We call it the covid pivot as something to celebrate, while not forgetting the health and personal harm and suffering that covid itself ha=s brought to so many.

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Financial help for small business retailers

This is an up to date (as at July 13, 2020) list of state and territory government Covid related grants. There are some new opportunities in this mix. Click on the state / territory name for their landing page. Then, where possible, I have links to specific current grants.

Do your research as to eligibility. If you are eligible, do it now as waiting could see you miss out and there will be no point complaining then.

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Sunday!

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What is the best POS system for your retail business?

  • How do you choose POS software for your business?
  • What is the best POS system?
  • What is the right POS system for your business?
  • What makes a POS soften better than another?

These are all valid questions. The answers are subjective. That is, the answers depend first on your business needs. Choosing the right POS system for your business is all about your business. It starts with you and your business needs because the best POS system for your business is the one that best serves your business needs.

No one can tell you this but you.

All POS software company sales people can do is to show you what their software does, to answer your questions, to listen to your needs and to use their POS software to show you how their software serves your needs.

The best POS software for your business is the software you consider to be the best based on your experience seeing the software and assessing it for yourself.

It’s a journey, challenging, hard work. But it is worth it. It is worth you actively choosing a POS system based on your needs. The key is being clear about your business needs and pursuing them as this is what really matters about the business, what really matters about achieving what is best for your business.

Tower Systems will work with you. Our people will demonstrate our POS software as much as you want, as often as you want and in as much detail as you want. It is important to us that you make an informed business decision. We are there to help you do this, at your pace and at your preferred level of technical engagement.

So, what is the best POS system for your business? It is up to us. It could be Tower Systems or it could be another POS software product. What we hope is that you do find what you are looking for. We will respect your decisions and encourage you to be independent in making these.

Things change and over time, the decision you make may need to be revised. We will be here when you need us, when you think we could be the best POS software for your business.

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Business as usual for our Victorian based POS software co in lockdown 2.0

As Victoria heads into lockdown, again, tonight, here at Tower Systems it will be business as usual.

While our head office is in Melbourne and most of our team live in Victoria, we have been operating remotely since March this year. So, in short, no change for us from the start of lockdown.

At our office we have a skeleton team because there are some things that can only be done at the office in a business like ours. Those here all live close to the office.

The office itself is safe and secure. We have not accepted visitors since March.

Our new VoIP phone system has been terrific. It has given is seamless flexibility. Our commercial Zoom account has been terrific too as it offers secure access for video calls. Our regular customer Zoom meetings are working a treat.

Internally, Microsoft Teams helps us keep connected with each other as well as other platforms we are using in different parts of the business for specialty needs.

From a business perspective, we have a full schedule of new customers to bring on as plenty of business are joining our user community, for which we are sincerely grateful. Our installation specialists started doing remote installations, installations where they work from home and customer businesses could be in another state or country, over a year ago. The process has been finessed and is working well.

In lockdown, retailers seek to pivot. We are well placed to help with this – by helping businesses get online, helping them to make data based decisions into allied product categories, by stopping doing what is not working and by backing more certain winners.

At the start of Covid we told our customers that some things that had a charge previously would now be free, that a any price increases planned for 2020 would not proceed and that some products would be free – to help people have a more flexible approach to doing business.

We are energised and well-resourced to help small business retailers in this unusual 2020. While a second lockdown is frustrating and disappointing, it is what it is and we are help to help small business retailers take steps forward … a step at a time, a day at a time.

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How Aussie small business retailers have helped Aussies through COVID-19

Australian small business retailers have served their Australian communities well through COVID-19. They have provided certainty in challenging situations, helping to keep people fed, clothed, entertained and encouraged.  Many Aussie small businesses have kept local people employed.

Small business retailers were quick to adopt safe shopping protocols so locals could shop locally with certainty around cleanliness, health and safety. For example, the installation of perspex screens at the counter, encouraging tap and go and providing social distancing guidance are all moves that we saw early in small business retail.

Since they are locally owned and run and they employ local people, local small business retailers are closely connected with their local communities. What we have seen is that local communities have turned to their local small businesses through COVID-19.

We know of small business retailers who have adjusted their business offerings to bring to local shoppers products in demand. For example, the local newsagent offering cost-effective work from home furniture, the toy shop offering in-home fitness products, the gift shop offering calming and personally nourishing products, the pet shop offering dog training online, the garden centre offering advice and help to people creating their own veggie patches and produce businesses offering drop off.

Then, there are the new services for many small business retailers, to provide safer shopping options, services like click and collect, curbside pickup, ready to go shopping packages and home delivery in situations where none of these were offered previously.

Small business retailers have served Australians well through COVID-19. While hospitality businesses have been challenged because of the regulations, small businesses permitted to be open have been open, delivering shopping opportunities to their local communities.

Without wanting to sound inappropriate, COVID-19 has provided plenty of small business retailers an opportunity to demonstrate the value they offer their local communities, and they have shined through this.

While, for sure, some big businesses have been serving Australians through COVID-19. Plenty of big businesses, however, closed early and stayed closed for a long time, leaving small businesses to step in.

The other trend through COVID-19 has been people fleeing shopping malls for shopping on the high street. This is good for small business retailers in that on the high street you are more likely to find small business retailers.

The last four months have demonstrated to Australians the importance of small business retail as a core offering for local communities. Well done small business retailers!

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Storytime: stories from a local Aussie retail business … humanising the retail experience

We are a POS software company that owns and runs shops. We bought our first retail business in February 1996. Every day, the experience is valuable and appreciated.

Recently on social media, we have been sharing stories from our own experiences. These stories for a local Aussie shop have resonated. Here are some of them:

Storytime. Joe is 89 years old. He lives in a nursing home. When he moved there, he was limited as to what he could bring. The old shoebox with the collection of cards he’d received was the first thing he chose.

In that box are cards from his time as a local community Aussie rules coach. Parents and players had written cards over the years and Joe had kept them. “Each card is a memory”, he says with a smile, looking through his collection.

The oldest card Joe has is from 40 years ago from a player grateful for Joe’s help. Here it is so many years on, making Joe’s day.

Greeting cards hold the most wonderful memories.

 

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Storytime. Not long after Jeff, Deidre’s husband of 35 years, passed away, she received a card in her letterbox. It was from a Sam. It told the story of gratitude for the time Jeff helped Sam when he was down on his luck, by giving him a job. Sam explained that Jeff created the job for hem, to help him out. He told Deidre how that gesture from Jeff changed his life, that he owes his life to Jeff.

While Jeff passed away 10 years ago, Deidre has the card on her bedside table and looks at it every night. She is grateful for Sam and the card he sent.

Greeting cards give us the most wonderful memories.

 

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Storytime. Olivia turned 10 years old last month. The big birthday party planned could not happen, of course. With her family living in a flat, a drive-by honking or horns was not practical. The mum of a friend organised for everyone to send Olivia a birthday card.

Olivia received more than 50 cards, more than for any other birthday. The cards meant the world to her, especially those from her friends. The notes they wrote to her warmed her heart more than any gift. She wrote back to everyone. It took 2 days.

Olivia still has the cards on a shelf in her bedroom. She looks at them every day as each card is a friend or loved-one.

Greeting cards give us the most wonderful memories.

 

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Storytime. When Nick’s dad died, he didn’t know what to say to his mum. They were not close, Nick had not seen the family for many years since he walked out at 17 years old. Now 32, on hearing of the passing of his father, Nick wanted to reach out to his mum, but he was too scared to call or visit. He chose a gentle and respectful sympathy card. He shared a happy memory of his dad and explained how he had, finally, sorted out his life. He mentioned that even though he left, and that he never forgot and that his dad’s patience is something he eventually learned for himself.

The card opened a door and Nick and his family are reuniting.

 

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Storytime. “Sorry, it’s just a card, no money for a gift this year.” That’s how Chris signed off the card to Jules, her friend of more than 20 years, since they were in high school together. Swapping birthday gifts with a card and a note were a tradition. Since they lived on opposite sides of the country, they’d usually include a note with the card and gift each year.

Jules wrote back: “your card and note mean the world to me, every year. While I may have, possibly but please don’t judge me, re-gifted the odd gift from you, I have kept every card, every single card from you. I have 23. They the story of us. They are a perfect gift. Thank you.”

The card we send today can provide heart-warming memories for many years to come.

 

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Storytime. Jack opened the plain envelope that came in the post with the morning’s mail and was surprised to find an old card he vaguely recognised from years ago. The handwritten note on the back of the card was from Pattie, who used to be the receptionist at Jack’s work. Many years ago Pattie was going through a rough patch with her health and Jack had written her a card of encouragement.

Jack, Pattie wrote on the back of the card, I heard you have sold the business and are retiring. I am returning this card you gave me as a reminder of the difference you made. The card was the right message at the right time for me. It made a difference. It told me I was not alone. I kept it all these years as a reminder of the importance of simple kindness. I hope you treasure it as much as I have Jack.

Jack sat there and shook his head that a simple card could have meant to much.

 

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Storytime. Ethan’s school assignment asked that he write about his earliest memory. That’s easy, he said, it was the first letter I ever received. It was a birthday card from grandma. I was 4 and she posted me a birthday card with a tiger on it and it came in the mail. That’s the first memory I have. I still have card, and the envelope. Mum got them framed for me.

The card created in Ethan an interest in mail and letters more specifically. Now, 6 years on, every couple of weeks Ethan will write to a relative in the hope of receiving a response in the mail. And it all started with that birthday card, which remains his first memory.

Cards give us memories and stories long after they are received.

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Challenges for suppliers of products sourced from China

Shoppers are keen for Australian made – more so now than at any time we can recall. Our advice to suppliers and retailers is consistent: If your products are Australian made, make sure you are bold in pitching that on the products.

Since COVID hit and more so in recent weeks as tensions with China have escalated in Australia and in recent weeks as democracy in Hong Kong has come under attack from Beijing, shoppers and retailers are more wary of China sourced product. And more recent still is the attack on the international student business.

Is sourcing products from China a long term concern? It’s hard to say. It is, however, enough of a concern in our view that we expect some suppliers are actively working on adjustments to their supply chain so as to not be impacted by anti China sentiments.

We have been discussing the situation internally and with our retailer partners and we feel that it is Beijing’s moves against Hong Kong and the recent war of words from China against Australia that represent the most significant risk to the commercial viability of China sourced products.

Does this mean retailers don’t want to source products from China? No. However, it does mean that it is on the minds of retailers and that they do talk about it with us.

In our own retail businesses, yes, we are a POS software company with our own shops selling gifts and homewares as test sites for our software, we are concerned about the source of what we sell. Where possible we preference locally made, ethically sourced.

What’s happening in Hong Kong showcases suppression of democracy and at some point we anticipate the world will respond to that. What’s being published by state owned news outlets in China against Australia also indicates the challenges and risks ahead for the supply chain.

These are reasons why we hope suppliers have alternatives in development so that supply is not impacted.

As a POS software company we became involved in our customer businesses in many ways. We have written about this topic today as it has come up in several retailer forums we have hosted.

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How our Australian POS software company helps Australian small business retailers to ethically pitch shop local

Shop local is a common pitch from small business retailers. You see it on social media as well as on signs in front of shops. It’;s usually an emotive pitch without substance.

We think such pitches, while well intentioned, fall flat as they offer little evidence of what shop local looks like.

Small business retailers who pitch shop local need to, themselves, look at where they shop for products and for infrastructure. The shop local pitch can fall flat if the business clearly sells products primarily sourced from overseas.

For businesses sourcing products locally, we can help in our POS software with opportunities and tools through which the local Australian made message can be pitched and reinforced, to help shoppers see and feel the local connection at the transaction and product level.

In our Australian made and supported POS software we can help small business local retailers practically and consistently advise customers about locally made products – in-store as well as online. We can help retailers to do this in a way that demonstrates their actions speaking louder than words. We think this approach will have more valuable impact than a social media post calling for people to shop locally.

Sharing information on receipts and through other platforms about locally made product can be the difference in winning a sale or not. Doing it with consistency across the inventory fleet is critical. It can be systemised for consistency of delivery and of wording itself. This is where our Aussie POS software can help small business retailers be smart in their shop local and buy Australian pitch.

We’d love to see more retailers being smarter in their shop local pitches. Of course, it is locally made and supported software that will do best at this for Aussie small business retailers. Our goals are more likely to be your goals when it comes to what is good for Australia and Australians. Yes, this is out pitch to you for POS software – buy locally made and ask what it can do for you to pitch shop local and shop Australian.

Here at Tower Systems we can help with this. Indeed, we’d love to help you with this. We live and breathe shop local.

The more we work together the strong our local communities, the stronger our country.

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Small business retail health and safety advice: coming out of lockdown

As Australia takes steps out of COVID-19 lockdown, small business retailers are confronted with challenges to provide a safe and healthy workplace while maintaining a commercially viable business.

As we have been doing since late January, we have shared advice with our customers on steps that can be taken in retail businesses in this evolving post COVID-19 lockdown world.

Here is some of the recent advice we have published to our customers. This list will evolve over time as we discover new resources. As it evolves, we will share updates with our POS software customers.

  1. Coronacast. The latest episode of this excellent podcast, released May 11, 2020, is about what we need to do in this lockdown easing situation. It’s about keeping you, your team and your family safe and healthy.
  2. Social distancing. Reprint and replace your posters. Use this poster from the federal government. It is the one recommended. Consistent messaging is key. Place this at the entrance as well as in-store.
  3. In-store advice. Click here to access up to date post lockdown advice for retailers from the Business resource Council of then UK. I have included this as I found some points to be interesting and relevant to Aussie retailers.
  4. Refresh floor markings to show distance.
  5. Maintain counter measures of distance at the counter.
  6. Maintain good supply of hand sanitiser at the store entrance and the counter.
  7. Reinforce hand washing and hand sanitising at the counter.
  8. Maintain a regime of surface cleaning.
  9. Out of store messaging. Use social media to rem ind your community what you are doing to keep them safe.
  10. Home delivery. The vulnerable cohorts are as vulnerable as ever. Maintain home delivery and curbside pickup services.

We think it is critical for everyone to realise that nothing has changed from when the novel coronavirus was first discovered. There is no vaccine. It is highly contagious. It can be lethal to several cohorts of the community. The best was to deal with it is to reduce infections rates. The best way to achieve this is through personal hygiene and social distancing. Doing this in an environment of easing of lockdown is challenging.

We hope that our advice for small business retailers is useful.

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Lest we forget

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We support small business retailers in their push for 3 months rent free for their retail tenancies

We urge small business retailers and their suppliers to send the text below, or their own version of it, to politicians to drive maximum interest in a 3 months rent free campaign, to achieve for others what was achieved yesterday in WA. Here is the suggested text:

I am a small business retailer and retailers like me need your help. Thanks to strong leadership, federal and state / territory governments have flattened the COVID-19 curve. A consequence has been an extraordinary drop in retail foot traffic.

While we appreciate the 25% rent waiver we can negotiate with our landlord thanks to the mandatory code, it will not help. There are retailers like us who can’t cover wages let alone the 75% of usual rent. JobKeeper helps employees, not in paying rent.

We urge you to advocate for an immediate 3 month waiver of all rent, funded by government. Without this we think many independent local shops will close, families will lose their homes and demands on Centrelink dramatically increase.

This is urgent. Please help. Small businesses need you.


Here are email addresses you could use in addition to other state and federal politician email addresses you find – especially state leaders in your area.

senator.cormann@aph.gov.au
senator.cash@aph.gov.au
josh.frydenberg.mp@aph.gov.au
attorney@ag.gov.au
Christian.Porter.MP@aph.gov.au
department@treasury.gov.au
Peter.Dutton.MP@aph.gov.au
Karen.Andrews.MP@aph.gov.au
Chris.Bowen.MP@aph.gov.au
jim.chalmers.mp@aph.gov.au
mark.dreyfus.mp@aph.gov.au
senator.katy.gallagher@aph.gov.au
Brendan.O’Connor.MP@aph.gov.au

For the Prime Minister, use a feedback form on his website.

The more retailers and their suppliers engage with this campaign the better.

We emailed 1,700 newsagents about this yesterday morning. We have also engaged with our own customers about this and they have been engaging with politicians, sending the email far and wide.

This is an important lobbying campaign by our channel. Even if your business is not down in revenue, you have colleagues who are and they need your support. The email have been written with that in mind.

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We support small business retailers in their fight for just and fair rent relief in this COVID-19 world

Here is a list of information requested by some retail tenancy landlords, including some shopping centre landlords where tenants have registered for JobKeeper, advised they qualify for JobKeeper and provided retail turnover data (in the usual format supplied to the landlord) showing declines of between 30% and 75%. Landlords have asked for information prior to opening discussions on rent.

Note: the list is not from the one landlord.

  1. Business bank statements for the last 2 years.
  2. Personal bank statements for the last 2 years for all business owners.
  3. Tax returns for the last 2 years, certified by your accountant.
  4. BAS statements for the last 2 years.
  5. A personal assets list for each owner or shareholder for the business.
  6. A full stock listing showing age and value of all stock.
  7. A list of all other businesses you own.
  8. A list of all other retail tenancies you have.
  9. Details of all state and federal government COVID-19 related funding and or grants you have applied for.

In my view, landlords have no right to this information. The CODE OF CONDUCT agreed by the national cabinet is clear. If a business applies and meets the criteria for JobKeeper, their lease falls within the details of the code.

The only data points that matters are comparative revenue. This can be provided in the form that has been used for years with most landlords. Their request for it in a different form is not part of the done. Indeed, I suggest that any such request is outside the good faith  goals of the code.

I think it is critical that retailers advise state and federal politicians when their landlords seek information outside the code, like any of the information on the above list. At the time of advising politicians, I also suggest advising the office of federal small business and family enterprise ombudsman, the shopping centre council of Australia, the treasurer, prime minister, premier / chief minister, local small business commissioner as well as your local council.

Landlords and tenants have clear obligations under the code. From what I am seeing, too many landlords are misbehaving in their requests for information. I doubt this is due to ignorance. I think it is to create a barrier to providing financial relief to tenants. If it continues, more retail businesses will close for good.

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Thank you

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Why the national cabinet position is not sufficient help for retailers – SME retailers need a 100% rent subsidy for 3 months

While the decision of the national cabinet over a week ago on a mandatory code for retail tenancies of small to medium enterprises is welcome, it gets nowhere near addressing the urgent and dire financial challenges facing many small business retailers.

Having talked with many retailers in a range of channels since the adoption of the code, the biggest challenges are being faced by those in larger centres. Whereas many, not all but many, high street and independent landlords are agreeing deals that are usually considerably better than forecast in the code, shopping centre landlords are slow to negotiate and demonstrating no willingness to go beyond the code.

The code allows for a rent reduction based on the quantum of reduction in revenue. In one business I know of with base rent at $16,000 a month, turnover is down 50%. The code suggests a rent reduction of 50% on the basis of the revenue decline, with half of the reduction being waiver and half being a deferral.

The retailer in our example could expect a waiver of $4,000 a month and a deferral, to be paid later, of $4,000 a month. That is if their landlord is fair in their approach.

The decline hit the retailer from early March. The landlord says the code will not apply until April.

Prior to COVID-19, the business had annual revenue of $1,130,000. It’s average GP% then was 35%. Out of the $395,500 GP it paid $192,000 in rent, $143,000 in wages and $42,000 in overheads, leaving $18,000 in profit – in broad terms.

Revenue is now down 50% and is likely to fall further. In addition to the decline in revenue has been a shift in what shoppers purchase. The average GP% has fallen to 29%.

Here is what an average month looks like. This example does not allow for retail peaks and troughs, like winter. Revenue: $47,500. GP: $13,775. Rent: $8,000. Wages: $5,000 with hours significantly cut. Overheads: $2,800 with all possible cuts made. The business is in the hole for $2,025 a month. However, in the rent number in this example, I have not factored that half of the reduction, $4,000 is deferred, not waived. This makes the hole worse.

The owners are at maximum borrowings. They have no fixed assets against which to borrow.

The question the owners have is – do we continue to trade and lose $2,025 a month plus the $4,000 a month deferral and in six months and be at least $36,150 worse off? … knowing that realistically, the loss will be closer to $80,000 based on the current trajectory.

Talking to the owners their position is the government regulations on social distancing are what have stopped people shopping. They created the situation where our business is now no longer viable. While we support what they have done, they have left us with a financial obligation that we are considering not accepting. We think going into administration now is the best option for us, to not extend our personal exposure.

This scenario is not uncommon. It demonstrates the inadequacy of the SME retail tenancy code of conduct.

We accept it is a complex issue to address. We think that state and federal governments need to immediately agree to themselves fund 100% of occupancy costs, rent, outgoings, marketing, for 3 months from April, with a goal of a better plan being developed prior to the end of June.

That move would keep landlords and retail businesses afloat. The downstream benefit would be cash in the economy, people in jobs, fewer businesses collapsing and, I suspect, lives saved.

Note: this example is not one of our retail  businesses and is not a newsXpress business.

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Small business retailer COVID-19 meeting: what are you discovering

We are facilitating a free meeting for any small business retailer for tomorrow, Friday, to discuss COVID-19 and specifically what you are discovering through this.

No need to book fr this free interactive online session:

Topic: Retailer COVID-19: what are we discovering?
Time: Apr 17, 2020 10:30 AM Canberra, Melbourne, Sydney

Join Zoom Meeting
https://zoom.us/j/92874302487?pwd=di9tQnNlWXpzNU0zN2NxeHBFT1dRUT09

Meeting ID: 928 7430 2487 Password: 518937

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Terrific safety screens for retail

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State and territory support for small businesses in this COVID-19 world

Newsagency marketing group newsXpress, of which I am a Director, in its daily support email to members, included this list of financial support from state and territory governments, which you may find useful:

State government support packages.
Here are links to state / territory government support packages announced to help businesses through the COVID-19 situation. While each state has different rules, some will allow the packages to be used for useful things such as website development and other activities that support the operation of the business. Please click on the appropriate link for your location and read up what you may be able to tap into. The text for each state is from the government websites.

  1. Victoria. $10,000 grant that could be used for business improvement including web development or similar.
  2. ACT: Earlier in the month, the government released a recovery plan, including a $20 million business improvement scheme. Under the scheme, businesses will be eligible for grants of $10,000 for improving business premises. This can include new equipment, new fit-outs and physical changes to attract customers. It is not currently clear what is required for eligibility. If they can also contribute $10,000 of their own, they will receive an additional $10,000, for a total of $30,000 funding.
  3. NT: $20 million All Territory businesses will be able to access a $10,000 grant, followed by an additional $10,000 grant if they contribute $10,000 of their own.
  4. Western Australia: No grants as such, other than the Lotterywest announcement from Monday. However: The WA Government will waive rental payments for small businesses and not-for-profit groups in State Government-owned buildings for six months. One-off $2,500 credit on electricity bills for small businesses that consume less than 50MWh per annum.
  5. Queensland. Nothing substantial for small business here.
  6. Tasmania. Several grants available, somewhat limited in scope and subject to eligibility.
  7. New South Wales. Several options available, somewhat limited in scope and subject to eligibility.
  8. South Australia. Nothing specific yet.

Our advice is that you carefully read the information for your location and that you then apply for every thing you could possibly be eligible for.

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How our POS software company is supporting small business retailers through COVID-19

We are grateful to our 3,000+ small business retail customers for their support.

Today at Tower Systems it is business as usual with the majority of our retailers open for business as essential services. Farm supply, produce, garden (veggie) centres, fishing and newsagency businesses are all providing healthy, safe and appreciated services to local.

To help them in unique times we have:

  1. Make our Retailer Roam portable POS software free.
  2. Made it free to relocate to a home office.
  3. Free extra licences for an additional location.
  4. Frozen support fees.
  5. Maintained full help desk services.
  6. Introduces a fast track service for POS software connected websites.
  7. Started delivering even more free online training.
  8. Moved our operations to team member homes for maximum safety.
  9. Guided retailers on ways to work on their business during a slow time.
  10. Hosting live small business retailer meetings – enabling retailers to connect with each other as a mental health support.
  11. Offering more personal support to indie retailers.

All of these things and more help our small business retailer community and right now there world is depending on small business retailers, they are genuinely the backbone of the economy, providing work, produce and other necessary items for sustenance – physically and emotionally.

We are helping in other ways, too. For exam please, we are working with several retailers on their covid pivot opportunity – pursuing new traffic opportunities through online, leveraging product categories that are new to their businesses.

Thanks to our advanced remote support and training services we are thrilled to be installing new rooftops through this, expanding our customer base as retailers select software made for their type of business. Our experts can train people in our software using smart tools – we have been doing this for years.

2020 is the year of small business. While big businesses are shutting, small business retailers are trading with safety and certainty. They are doing this as a community service first. Not profiting. Not being greedy., many are doing it with the owners themselves running the businesses. This is what small business owners do – they serve their communities in times of need.

Safety is the key. We see small business retailers being careful about customer contact in-store. Many are offering curbside pickup or home delivery – our software works a treat supporting this.

To our customers and our team members, thank you. All of us in small business are helping many people in our communities.

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Helping retailers with messaging for social distancing

In our own shops we have encountered seniors who refuse to follow social distancing requirements. So, we put this on our social media pages yesterday:

There is no seniors discount with social distancing.
We’re all in this thing together, keen to get out the other side healthy and happy. This is why we are asking all customers to respect social distancing. Our floors are marked to show the required distance and we are limiting how many come into our shops.

We have had several older people say the rules don’t apply to them or that we don’t have to worry about them because they are okay or that they like to shop together with the grandkids. The coronavirus is not aware of age. The rules apply to everyone. The rule is 1 person per 4sqm. The distance from you to the person in front is 1.5m.

We love serving seniors and we want to serve you for years to come. So we can continue, please know and follow the government rules. Thank you. Stay safe. Stay healthy. #SafeShopping #KeepYourDistance #NoSeniorsDistanceForSocialDistancing

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Online user forum brings together small business retail POS software users

Today we are hosting an online user forum for independent small business retailers across Australia and New Zealand to talk business.

This free ranging and open forum is another enamour series of facilitating opportunities for small business retailers to talk to each other. That it is online makes it easier for these retailers to connect without a cost or disruption of travel.

Today’s online forum will include discussion on:

  1. Life after the bushfires.
  2. The economy and its impact on local small retail businesses.
  3. The Coronavirus challenge.
  4. Ideas for stimulating your retail business.
  5. The single most effective tool in the POS software to drive sales.
  6. Free POS software training.

Open to any retailer using our software, the meeting will be recorded and made available to all Tower Systems customers.

We are grateful to all who will participate as it is contributions from everyday retailers that makes meetings like this useful for all.

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Small business retailers help local communities deal with the challenges of bushfires

Small business retailers across Australia have demonstrated the value and commitment of their businesses in local and regional communities through the challenging time of the bushfires this year.

With most small businesses locally owned and staffed, they have been well placed to offer the practical support and comfort to other locals impacted by the bushfires.

We have seen small business retailers through their businesses open to local support groups, be collection points for practical assistance, be refuges and be places through with local stories can be heard in the broader Australian community and, indeed, around the world.

While big businesses that operate in regional Australia do employ locally, it is the small businesses where owners live and engage locally that carry the local stories and the local community. This is small business in action. It is why government support of small business is vital and more efficient in that a dollar into a local business is far more likely to benefit the local community than a dollar into a big business that is owned in the city or offshore.

Tower Systems only sells its POS software to small businesses, local businesses, independent businesses. This is our community and we are grateful to have seen first hand the good work done by this community through the 2019/20  bushfire season which, we add, is not over yet.

We see many glib marketing pitches about shopping local, so many that we tend to ignore them. It is the actions speaking louder than words that really matters as this is small local businesses serving their local communities, staying open, creating work and enabling local communities of have a semblance of normality. Seeing this is what matters most in fire ravaged areas – a semblance of normality as much as is possible and practical.

It is critical for Australians to shop small business first, to shop local first as much as possible in 2020 to facilitate rebuilding of communities across Australia. This has to be our goal and it can only be achieved through grass roots engagement of all Australians.

Spending local in small local businesses can be as beneficial as donating money to a recovery charity.

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Grateful

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Small business retail advice: how to cut the insurance overhead

Insurance is a must-have business overhead. It is critical to have the right level of coverage with a respected insurer.

As retailers, we often look at our overheads. We recently re-negotiated insurance coverage for our 3 retail shops and achieved a 30% cut in insurance costs. We reviewed the needs of each specific retail business and set about discussing these with our insurance broker, the same broker we have used for years.

We went into the discussions armed with facts about the business, accurate stock value data and accurate fixed asset value data.

Here are some of the changes we made to our insurance coverage:

  1. Property Cover – Annual Turnover adjusted to reflect trading, Contents including Re-Fit Costs adjusted, & Stock On Hand levels adjusted; These had drifted over time, adding to our costs inappropriately.
  2. Business Interruption –  Gross Profit levels adjusted; This is high cost coverage.
  3. Money Cover – Level reduced from $20K blanket cover per store to $5K (lower limit); We bank daily so there is minimal cash on hand. Also, more and more over the counter payments are non cash so the level of cash cover was too high.
  4. Glass Cover – Removed for for one store as there now is no glass window as well as no internal/external glass;
  5. POS Equipment Breakdown – Removed; We looked at the actual costs and considered that we had not claimed in our 23 years in retail and then determined that we effectively cover ourselves through the saving.
  6. Excesses – Increased from $500 per claim to $1,000 per claim since we have not claimed, ever.

The critical factor for us was that in all our years in retail we have never made a claim on insurance. Then one time our shop was flooded, we claimed against the builder for the landlord for disruption and inventory damage.

The renegotiation process took an hour. Time well spent for the 30% cut in insurance costs saving achieved.

We willingly share with our POS software customers details of our own experiences like this, in more specific detail than at this blog. We are glad to be able to help our customers in this practical way as every dollar shaved from business overheads is worth considerable more than you consider retail margins.

Yes, insurance cover is important. However, pay for what you actually need.

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Our own support for the bushfire appeal

We are running this donation offer in the shops we own and run. We’ve been doing it since the start of this week.

It costs our customers nothing. The donation comes 100% from us.

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