Author Archives: Michelle Colbran

Many Businesses still work in a Nokia world

On January 9th 2007, Steve Jobs unveiled the iPhone, combining the iPod, iPhone and internet communicator. That first iPhone introduced us to the concept of apps and social media on-the-go.

During the last decade, we’ve embraced the Smartphone era and allowed it to dramatically change our lives. In 2010, 970,000 people used social networks daily but by 2018 it’s predicted to be 2.44 billion. To put it into context, every minute we collectively send more than 30 million Facebook messages and nearly 350,000 tweets.

It’s simple, buy a phone, download some apps and away you go. If you don’t like the app, just hit delete.

In our personal lives we’ve well and truly adopted the Smartphone age, so why are so many businesses still stuck in the Nokia world?

It’s easy to embrace technology in your personal life as there’s no risks, but in business, there’s so much more to consider.

‘Businesses have 2 fundamental changes to join the Smartphone age.’

For business, the Smartphone age means 2 fundamental changes. Updating their website and their software platforms.

With over 60% of the population switching from traditional desktops to mobile phones to surf the net, the first step was for businesses to update their website to a ‘Responsive Design’. It was estimated in 2015, 82% of businesses had made the transition. A great success for most, as it gives businesses a competitive advantage. Those stuck in the Nokia world have been left behind with Google continuing to make it harder for them to appear in searches.

For business software, developers have spent millions of dollars redeveloping business platforms to provide a mobile app and cloud based solutions. Getting a demonstration of software has never been easier. Data is perfectly configured to show off powerful reports and the flexibility of the interface. Demonstrations are designed to make sure no one fails to notice the fancy features. With a good software application, you can take the most basic everyday business processes and demonstrate them seamlessly working with simple software functions. The benefits are endless – affordable, access to real time information, excellent service standards, increased sales, full audit history, accountability and much more.

A good software presentation gets businesses and staff excited – simplification of job roles, reduction in operational costs and giving companies a competitive advantage. That excitement quickly wears off when the reality of implementation hits.

‘It’s not as simple as downloading an app.’

Moving your business into the modern world of cloud based solutions and mobile applications takes planning. Businesses need rethink their processes, migrate their data and train their staff. Although many companies have embraced the Smartphone age, so many small businesses don’t have the internal resources to make the change.

Are these businesses technophobes? Maybe, but most people have still embraced technology in their personal lives with internet banking, social media and lifestyle apps. It is just harder to make a business transition as it’s not as simple as downloading an app.

’10 Years on, it’s now getting easier for businesses.’

The age of the Smartphone, the introduction of mobile applications and Cloud based solutions has made software cheaper and easier to access than ever before.

‘Software as a Service’ has become a preferred choice for businesses, with software used by thousands of businesses worldwide starting from just a few dollars a month.
Business owners no longer need to fork out thousands of dollars, which means they can afford to get the right advice about what software to use and how to implement it.

It’s taken 10 years, but businesses stuck in the Nokia world, still using whiteboards and huge spreadsheets can now make the change to the Smartphone age.

Delivering Customer Service

Every business can talk about delivering excellent customer service but how do you stand out from the competition?   How do you make customers and potential business partners feel confident that delivering a great service is more than just words.

The level of customer service in a business can be measured by the level of ‘Quality Assurance’.  Quality assurance is about ‘People’, ‘Processes’ and ‘Systems’ working seamlessly together to manage tasks, such as the list below.

  • Lead Management
  • Job Lists (Projects)
  • Scope Management
  • Generating Quotes
  • Task Management
  • Staff Timesheet Management
  • Staff Utilisation Reports
  • Purchase order creation with integration to Xero (if required)
  • Invoice creation with integration to Xero (if required)
  • Project Summary Financial Reports

There is every opportunity for small businesses to demonstrate that they are industry leaders in customer service, as software applications are available for every industry.

When you see what’s out there, it leaves you feeling excited about the future and instantly calculating the potential savings to your business.  The right application is not expensive to implement and they provide user-friendly features that everyone can learn to use.

If you are one of those companies that still operates using manual processes, then it’s time to evaluate your options and understand how easy ‘change’ can be.

If you would like a NO OBLIGATION demonstration of systems available to you, click here to send us an enquiry and we will contact you to arrange a FREE 30 minute demonstration.

 

WHY RESPONSIVE?

As technology evolves, website design constantly changes because users want an optimal viewing experience.   This article explains the history of websites in simple terms and why it’s so important today, to have a ‘Responsive’ website design.

The First Websites …

It’s about 15 years since small businesses started recognising the true potential of the web but 10 years ago many businesses still hadn’t put their products or services online. Today, it’s rare not to be online and the first thing most people think about when setting up a new company is getting their website sorted.

When websites were first launched they were built using ‘Fixed Width’ margins when programming the site design. This meant the width of a website page didn’t change on any computer, as the website was a set amount of pixels wide.

Everything Got Bigger!

Technology evolved and hardware got bigger.  Fixed width websites worked well on 14 inch monitors but now everyone wanted 22inch screens, leaving websites looking small and skinny with lots of empty space either side.   A solution was needed to fill all the empty space but developers had the challenge of remembering that not everyone had a big monitor yet!

That’s when developers got smart and introduced ‘Floating Margins’.  This was a clever coding technique that didn’t use a fixed amount of pixels to determine the width of a website or image, instead it used percentages.

This meant a website could automatically expand to fit the size of the monitor the person was using.  If a website contained 2 columns of information, one might use 70% and the other would use 30% of the space, filling up the full screen.

Instantly websites nearly doubled in size (on big monitors of course) and businesses filled the extra space with more content and images.  A programmers new challenge was making the website look and feel the same on every computer and browser.

Now Everything is Smaller!

Now instead of bigger, it’s gone full cycle and everyone wants smaller!  With the rapid adoption of Smartphones and Tablets, the number of people viewing websites on mobile devices is growing every year.

Businesses now have the challenge of meeting both demands, websites that can fill the space of massive desktop monitors but also shrink onto small mobile devices, without compromising the optimal viewing experience.

‘Fixed Width’ and ‘Floating Margins’ cannot deliver a positive website experience on mobile devices as the website is just reduced in size making text hard to read and menus difficult to navigate.

With mobile sales overtaking desktop sales in 2014, a solution was needed.  Consumers wanted mobile friendly websites!

Today’s Responsive Websites …

That’s why ‘Responsive’ Website Design (RWD) was introduced.  With a ‘Responsive’ design, every element of a website can change style, shape, position and size to compliment the device being used.

If your business relies on a website to generate income, then there are plenty of reasons to make sure you have a RWD.

Aside the importance of customer service and delivering an optimal user experience to your website visitors, another compelling argument is Google and the logic they use for determining what businesses appear at the top of their searches.

Google dominates the Search Engine industry, with approximately 70% of the market. They insist that ‘Responsive’ is the industry best practice and emphasise the importance of this through their ranking logic. The user experience plays an important part in how they decide to order their search results, so not having a RWD is potentially pushing you off the radar.

The higher you can appear in searches, the better chance you have of generating new leads.  Everyday you continue to use an old website design, you’re potentially losing money! 

Benefits of Responsive Design

User Experience:

  • The text is readable, as it’s doesn’t shrink.
  • You don’t have to scroll left and right to read the content.
  • Buttons are clickable, as they are not too small.
  • Mobile devices automatically have a custom navigation that’s easy to use.
  • Images don’t lose their marketing power.
  • The website works on all devices.
  • The website works in all browsers.

Search Engines

  • A responsive design will improve your Search Engine Optimisation (SEO).
  • One URL for mobile and desktop will improve SEO

Simplicity

  • You don’t need a mobile version of your website.
  • You don’t need to test your website on every device and browser.
  • The flexibility to make quick changes through a Content Management System (CMS).