We asked six small business owners for their top small business tips. Here’s what they said.
1. Invest in an eCommerce platform with integration options
Your website should provide a great experience for your customers, but also make it easy for you to run your business. Artisanale Chocolate and online candle company The Scent Lab say they chose a website platform that easily integrates with MyPost Business through a plugin. And that saves them hours on exporting orders and printing labels each week.
“MyPost Business is just so efficient. It saves us at least an hour every day,” Adam Kerrins from The Scent Lab says.
2. Tune in to what customers say
Customer feedback can be a fantastic source of inspiration for your future business direction – from new product ideas to ways you can remove friction in processes.
“Listen to your customers, they are a great source of new ideas,” says Rashid Roumani, co-founder at barista-quality coffee pod retailer Pod Co. His chai latte and intense flavours came directly from customer requests.
3. Don’t compete on price
It’s important to stand behind the quality of your product. “Price your products fairly, and don’t compete on price or you’ll end up on a major downward spiral,” says Tony from iconic ugg boot manufacturer, Mortels Sheepskin Factory.
Rather than discounting which can affect perceptions of the quality of your product, think about how you can pass on My Post Business savings1 by offering free shipping or express upgrades to customers.
4. Work with a delivery partner you can depend on
“It’s so important to work with a delivery partner you can trust. You need to remove any friction for your customers with a seamless service. Tracking notifications2 and parcel redirection3 with MyPost Business helps us do that,” Rashid from Pod Co says.
Adam from The Scent Lab thinks of Australia Post as an extension of his customer service. “One bad experience could damage your brand, but partnering with Australia Post helps prevent that,” he says.
5. Think about packaging
TABOO co-founder Eloise Hall says talking to their Australia Post representative has helped them learn about more ways to make packaging more cost-effective. “For example, we still make our own recycled boxes for product delivery,” Eloise says. That may be environmentally sustainable, but as order volumes continue to grow it’s just not scalable.
“We’re working with the team at Australia Post to find a sustainable, branded packaging alternative,” she says.
6. Create a community
Social media and eCommerce can work together to amplify your online presence. With over 200,000 Instagram followers, Steph Pase from Steph Pase Planners says her strong community is her best sales tool.
“I always find that when our first planners go out, customers show their friends and family, and then we get another wave of orders,” she says. “We support that with our own Facebook community, where everyone can share what they’re doing that week – ideas for their challenges and goals.”
7. Be ready for global interest
Building an online business means you have the opportunity to take your products to the world. But you need some systems in place first.
Steph Pase ships her Aussie planners to New Zealand, the US, UK, and even Paris, and says it was easy to manage in the same system. She decided to upgrade all her international parcels to express shipping for Christmas. “It was super easy to do that with Australia Post,” Steph notes.
Pod Co’s market is also growing in New Zealand. “When we launched our chai latte pod, we started getting enquiries from New Zealand. And we realised how easy it was to make that happen with MyPost Business,” co-founder Ammar Roumani says.
8. Use data to test and learn
Every business and every market is different so keep experimenting on a small scale to avoid overinvesting. Rebecca says she’s still learning what works for Artisanale Chocolate’s social media marketing.
“We're still tiny compared to other chocolate players in the market, so the challenge is always promoting ourselves. There's so much in the analytics, so when you launch an ad, look at how it performs and use that to shape your next one.”
9. Build a strong relationship with your local Australia Post manager
“Working with our local post office is like having a team of account managers we can ask about anything – they help us make the most of services like eParcel,” says Pod Co’s Ammar.
“Have a chat when they come in to pick up your parcels,” Stephanie from Mortels suggests. “They can help you find the best platform and processes – and the best deal – for your business.”
10. Dream big and take calculated risks
“Hold onto a sense of healthy naivety – dream big and follow your passions, because you’ll quickly learn if there’s a market for your idea.” TABOO co-founder Eloise says.
Adam from The Scent Lab says he didn’t know anything about running a business when he started, but the risks paid off.
“No one achieves their goals without taking risks. You need to back yourself, do the research and make an informed decision. Not every single decision will work out, and that’s ok. You learn from it,” he says.