Payment options and banking

Getting your space ready for customers is only the first part of running a successful operation. Once customers start coming through the door and buying your products, you need an efficient system to process card payments and handle cash.

"We spent a whole day sitting down with business managers of three banks that we had some affinity with. Eventually after comparing all their fees, penalties and benefits to new business we settled with Westpac's New Business package and merchant facilities," explains Dawn.  

"Bank fees and Merchant fees present a significant portion of our monthly expenses, but that is unavoidable regardless of the bank you choose.  After two months of operating we can clearly see the necessity of providing EFTPOS facilities.  

"Customers can pay by cash, eftpos, credit card and we also offer layby. We were burnt with our first - and last - cheque that we accepted and they are now definitely off the list of options.

"We didn't start with a cash register, and still don't have one. We keep a locked cash tin.  While it would be nice to have everything automated it is something that will have to come down the track. We don't leave any cash on the premises. We write receipts, keep a comprehensive sales book that tracks all cash/EFTPOS sales coming in and any petty cash that goes out. The cash tin is balanced and counted every day.  

"Cash handling is important, but we find that at least 50% of our sales are electronic.  Keeping on top of the paperwork is imperative. A manual system like ours is giving us the opportunity to focus on cash flow and understand what is happening on a daily basis.

"Our system requires a basic understanding of income/expense management, but that is important in business and keeps us focused on our cash flow," says Dawn.