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September 1, 2015

Written by Bob Meyer, Editor of BarterNews

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From the desk of Bob Meyer... 09/01/2015

All back issues of "From the Desk..." can be accessed by clicking here.

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BPS Technology Exceeds Earnings Forecast

BPS Technology Limited (ASX: BPS), a public company traded in Australia, had an exceptional first year as a listed company. Here are the results as reported by CEO Trevor Dietz:
FY15 was a milestone year for BPS Technology:

  • Revenue of $48.1m

  • EBITDA of $10.1m, exceeding Prospectus forecast of $9.9m

  • NPAT of $7.9m, exceeding Prospectus forecast of $6.5m by 22%

  • EPS of 13.5 cents, exceeding Prospectus forecast of 11.11 cents by 22%

  • Strong balance sheet with net cash of $2.7m and undrawn debt facilities of $4m
    New international licences for Bartercard in China, India and South Africa poised to provide future revenue streams and trading opportunities

  • Declared a final unfranked dividend of 3.25 cps taking the full year dividend to 5.5 cps

Commenting on the results, BPS Technology's Chief Executive Officer Trevor Dietz, said "This is a very pleasing result for BPS in its first year as a listed company. The result reflects continued growth of our Bartercard business, which now operates in eight countries. In addition, management has had a strong focus on cost control which has helped it exceed the profit forecast."
The Directors have declared a final unfranked dividend of 3.25-cents per share, taking the full year dividend to 5.5-cents per share.
For more information contact Mr. Dietz at or mobile +61 7 5561 9111.

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13 Essentials You Won't Learn in Business School

"The truth is, entrepreneurs can be made — you don't have to be born with that entrepreneurial gift (in fact, most successful businesspeople weren't)," says Michael Houlihan, coauthor along with Bonnie Harvey of the New York Times bestseller The Barefoot Spirit: How Hardship, Hustle, and Heart Built America’s #1 Wine Brand.
"It all comes down to foundational knowledge and hard work. And if you're open minded and willing to listen to the voice of experience, you can learn the guiding principles that play a role in building successful businesses — and have a major advantage over many of your peers."
Read on to learn about 13 foundational habits that (along with a healthy work ethic) will help you to become successful as an entrepreneur:
Always ask yourself: How would I like this? When you start your own business, you'll quickly learn that there's no class, book, case study, or industry standard that always gives you a clear answer to one big question: Will this choice sustain and grow my business? However, there is a simple formula that rarely steers you wrong — How would you like it?"
"It's quite simple: Would you like to be on the receiving end of your actions?" Houlihan asks. "Would you work for you? Would you extend credit to you? Would you like selling to you if you were a vendor? As a consumer, would you buy from you?
By putting yourself in the other person's shoes, you’ll get an objective view of your business practices and how they might need to change in order for you to build a brand you'd be loyal to. Too often, entrepreneurs limit their success by allowing fear, greed, or the way other businesses do things to guide their decisions."
Pinpoint your strengths and weaknesses. We all tend to think that we can do more than we actually can. As a result, we're overscheduled, overtired, over-stimulated, and overwhelmed. In the business world, this tendency causes us to blow our skill sets, our capabilities, and even our products and services out of proportion. That's why the authors recommend that you work with a third party who knows you very well.
"One of the keys to success is understanding what you have an abundance of and what you need more of — and a trusted friend or mentor can help you make those distinctions,” Harvey points out. “This person can help you determine how much time you have to commit to your venture and how much money you can safely spend, for example.
"He or she can also keep you honest about what you do and don't excel at, how you handle stress, and when you need to delegate tasks and call in help. It will be harder to make false claims knowing you are being held accountable."
Always keep in mind why you’re in business. Before you open your doors for the first time, get clear on your values and goals as an entrepreneur. Ask yourself questions like: Why do I want to build this business? Is it simply to create a job for myself? Is it to create a legacy, or to build brand value that I can monetize at some point? What are my beliefs on how employees and customers should be treated? What lines do I never want to cross?
"Consider writing the answers to these questions down and looking back at them from time to time. The reasons behind why you want to start a business in the first place will influence how you run it day to day. It's important to stay connected to your values, making sure that time and momentum don't move you too far away from them."

Become a leader in your own category. Today, Harvey and Houlihan encourage entrepreneurship students to create their own terms, define their own niches, and be leaders in their own new categories. Doing so can distinguish your company and lead your product to success.
"What is your new term for defining your product or service?" Harvey asks. "It just might catch on. Don't be afraid to name your own tune! And don't let initial resistance or skepticism stop you. Believe me, Barefoot Wines caught a lot of flak from the traditional and conservative wine industry when we began to use terms like 'personal house wine,' and 'velocity price point.' But today, those terms have caught on  — and are now used throughout the industry."
Always over-deliver. As a (probably cash-strapped) entrepreneur, at times you may be tempted to cut corners in order to save a minute, a hassle, or a buck. Don't. Remember, most consumers look for products and services that provide good value for the price. If you want to gain your customers’ loyalty, you have to offer them exactly that — and you need to make sure that they have consistently positive experiences with your company.
"When products meet or exceed customers' expectations, they are more likely to remain loyal and recommend your brand to friends, family, and associates," Houlihan confirms. "At Barefoot, we always strove to over-deliver by meeting and exceeding customers' expectations in quality, quantity, and customer service.
"We validated the consumer's decision to choose our brand by publicizing all of our awards, accolades, and endorsements. And we took every opportunity to get feedback on what people liked about our wines, and how they thought we could make it better."
Know the difference between customer service and complaint resolution. These days, most companies have anything ranging from one person to a whole department dedicated to customer service. But in reality, many of these departments should be called "complaint resolution," because that's what happens: Customers express their displeasure, representatives try to resolve the problem as soon as possible (often relying on a script), then move on.
"Instead of handling complaints formulaically and trying to sweep them under the rug, see customer service as a way for your company to get real and timely feedback about your goods and services from the people who are using them," Harvey recommends. "Remember, for every customer who chooses to engage with you about your product or service, many more may be quietly taking their business elsewhere!
"Treat each customer on an individual basis," he continues. "Ask about the customer's experience with your product and really listen to the answers. Pass helpful insights and ideas on to production and marketing. And most importantly, stand behind your product. Don't rest until the customer has something good to say about your company."
Don't treat your employees like commodities. Rarely is employee turnover talked about in business schools — and you won’t see it as a line item on a business plan, either — but it has the potential to be one of the biggest costs for your business. When a member of your team leaves, you don’t just lose that employee; you lose her hours of training, her institutional knowledge, her relationships outside the company, and (in the case of salespeople) you can lose customers who are more loyal to your former employee than the product she represented.
"It's simple: How you treat your employees directly correlates to how successful your business will be," Houlihan states. "If you treat them like a commodity — if you’re stingy with pay, recognition, and benefits — they'll do only the bare minimum to keep their jobs, and eventually they'll leave.
"Never forget that people work primarily for income, recognition, personal time, and security," he adds. “"When Barefoot began paying for performance (monetarily, as well as with days off, publicly recognizing employee achievements, and more) rather than attendance, we found our best people didn't leave because they benefited from their own production. Those who were less productive were paid less and could not afford to stay.

(Continued next week.)


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