CASE STUDY

PL Nutrition Darling/Smoothie Bomb

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Three hours to minutes – Smoothie Bomb reconciles thousands of payments in minutes

Turning fussy eating into a booming business with a little help from A2X.

There’s nothing more ironic than a qualified nutritionist specialising in family health and childhood nutrition – with a 13-year-old daughter who is “a really crappy eater.” But that’s exactly where Cinzia Cozzolino found herself just under ten years ago.

“I thought, ‘I’ve got to sort this out because it’s driving me nuts’,” she laughs.

That’s when Cinzia created Smoothie Bombs, a certified organic smoothie booster range. They’re exactly what they sound like – a small ball jam-packed with superfoods to add to smoothies.

When Cinzia first developed her smoothie bombs, they were purely for her own use. That is until her friends told their friends – and their friends told theirs. It wasn’t long before Cinzia began selling her smoothie bombs to health food retail stores and cafes, but at the time, superfoods weren’t yet trending – and she found sales were sporadic at best.

That’s when she turned to online selling, built a Shopify store and started her social media pages on Facebook and Instagram. As soon as she did that, “our sales just sky-rocketed,” she says – throwing the backend of her business into chaos.

Manually reconciling thousands of orders

If there’s one thing that makes Cinzia want to “pull her hair out” more than her daughter’s eating habits, it’s manually reconciling her sales orders.

“I was putting aside three or four hours a night, more when we had big sales, manually reconciling every order into Xero. It was insane!” she says. “Every payment that came in had its nuances and how I had to deal with it, so my nights were screwed.”

Even worse, her accountant didn’t know how to solve her problem, instead suggesting she hire a bookkeeper to save her some time.

“I spoke to a few bookkeepers, but they wanted to charge me $60 an hour just for them to manually reconcile it themselves. I thought, ‘There’s got to be a better way’,” Cinzia says.

She even considered developing her own app, but first (and luckily) she asked around for advice and was introduced to her new accountant. An e-commerce specialist, the accountant got her onto A2X for Shopify.

From three hours to three minutes – A2X has “saved my life”

Like many small business owners, Cinzia takes a hands-on approach to running her online store. She and her daughter (who now works with her) are the faces of the brand and do pretty much everything themselves. That’s why it’s important to Cinzia that they understand how their business tools work – especially when it comes to the numbers.

“It’s important stuff – GST, tax, postage – that you need to have correct because it’s all part of government regulations,” she adds.

When Cinzia says A2X has “saved her life”, she means it’s given her back valuable time in her day. “In business, money comes and goes but time is priceless,” she says.

Using A2X to automate reconciling her transactions, Cinzia no longer spends her evenings staring at a spreadsheet.

“I probably spend two to three minutes on it now – A2X has given me all this time.”

Focusing on other areas of the business

While A2X as a tool is a game-changer, the real value is being able to concentrate on other areas of her business, “rather than be stuck in the nuts and bolts of it,” Cinzia says.

That means time to focus on marketing her smoothie bombs and creating recipes, e-books and inspirational videos for her customers.

“If you’re doing three to four hours a day, you’re talking 20 hours a week. That’s a part-time job just doing your accounts – and that’s ridiculous!”

In addition to neat and tidy books, A2X has helped Cinzia access accurate data she can use to make crucial business decisions. Having that kind of confidence in her numbers is invaluable, she adds.

“We’ve got goals to hit each month, so I need to be looking at those numbers every day to see how we’re tracking. Without reconciling, I don’t have visibility of the monetary value of what has been sold.”

Small team runs efficiently using digital tools

Using digital tools to run her business is the reason Cinzia can keep staff numbers lean – alongside A2X, Unleashed keeps her inventory humming, and Preview makes her Instagram account simple to run. Thousands of orders for smoothie bombs later and she still runs a small team, fluctuating between two and four, plus her.

Cinzia believes she was born for the “lifestyle of an entrepreneur” but there’s no denying it’s hard work. She’s still constantly questioning whether there is a faster, easier, more streamlined way to run her business. It’s why, when a pandemic came knocking on the door, Cinzia says they were “already ahead of the game”.

“When COVID hit, we just kind of got bigger. We had all the backend in place and that’s what worked.”

Her advice to other aspiring e-commerce entrepreneurs? Embrace innovation.

“There are so many obstacles to overcome when starting a business. You must believe in your product, do your market research, then put your head down and go hard – ride the waves of chaos until you get there.”

The most important question of all – after all this, does Cinzia’s daughter eat her greens?

“She has her moments – she’s still not a salad girl,” she laughs. “But she loves her green smoothies, so they’ve certainly made life easier for me.”

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