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Scala Institute train, travel and trade on Bartercard

Scala Institute’s Steve Wiggers and Phil Hickey recently shared with Bartercard how they’ve used the B2B marketplace to help fund, implement and nurture significant expansion of their business for a positive impact.

Q: What exactly does Scala Institute do?

A: Training and business development. We’re a Registered Training Organisation (RTO). In addition to running tailored accredited courses, we conduct a range of corporate workshops. Many of our clients are in the hospitality and retail sectors. We also specialise in B2B sales training.

Q: You’ve expanded quite a bit since starting up in 2010 in Tasmania and now conduct training in Victoria and Queensland. Many start-ups spend the first few years struggling to find their place in a crowded market. How have you achieved that expansion in such a short time frame?

A: I think we found our ‘place’ in the market very quickly. We don’t simply ‘run courses’. We take a broader approach that begins with assessing the challenges being experienced by a business, identifying the desired outcome, and then tailoring the training to achieve that outcome. That means more than just running courses and issuing certificates to those who pass – it means identifying outcomes that will improve a business’ bottom line and then delivering the training in a way that really engages the participants, and results in a positive change in workplace culture and employee behaviour. That type of shift can have a huge impact on everything from business reputation to profit levels.

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Q: It can’t have been easy to expand into Victoria and Queensland.  How did you go about that?

A: Moving into a new region is always difficult. You’re not known, and it takes time to build brand recognition and reputation. We’ve used Bartercard to speed things along. Purchasing training with trade dollars is a really worthwhile investment for a member’s business
so it’s not difficult to find clients. When we move into a new area we begin to look for Bartercard clients first. That helps us to establish our services, build our brand and obtain some great testimonials. That in turn helped us to bring in cash clients. Repeat business and referrals flowed from that.

Q: How can Bartercard members use your services to reduce expenses and boost profits?

A: Training can offer a huge return on investment. It can improve customer service levels, productivity and staff retention. Another option is that federal funding is available to cover part of the cost of training employees who meet certain criteria.  For a business with a number of eligible employees, paying for training in trade dollars and receiving the funding in cash can be a cash positive exercise.

Q: I understand that your relationship with Bartercard has been quite extensive. Has that always been the case?

A: It has. Bartercard was one of our first clients for training services. We planned and implemented training for Trade Co-ordinators (Account Managers) to enhance their skills and give them the right tools to help member businesses trade well on Bartercard. Trading was also vital during our start-up phase – it brought instant clients and helped us to offset many expenses.

Q: What are some of the expenses you’ve purchased on trade?

A: Many things - website design, legal services, bookkeeping, accounting, and advertising. Accommodation has been another important one because I travel every month and I am able to purchase the accommodation and car hire on Bartercard. I provide bonuses to our staff because I think it’s important to reward your team. I’ve also enjoyed a New Zealand holiday with trade dollars taking care of everything from the accommodation and car hire to restaurants, activities and a mud bath in Rotorua.

Q: If you could offer Bartercard members one tip, what would it be?

A: Use your Trade Co-ordinator (Account Manager)! Bartercard gives you amazing access to a whole supply chain, from manufacturers all the way through. If you don’t get to know your Trade Co- ordinator you may never appreciate the depth of the network. I’ve heard some members say that they don’t need help to spend their trade dollars. I disagree! I believe those members would multiply their results by meeting with their Trade Co-ordinator regularly and talking about what they’d like to achieve.

For more information visit www.scala.edu.au or contact 13000 SCALA (72252).