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As a business owner or someone who manages the development and growth of a business, have you ever found yourself in one or more of these situations?
- You feel like your business can improve, but you have no idea how to or where to start.
- You’re monitoring and tracking your business data but you’re not 100% sure what to do with the information or even, how to make sense of it.
- Your business is not keeping up with competitors.
- You are overwhelmed with so much data from multiple sources and you don’t know how to see them in one place.
Research has shown that businesses can spend up to 80% of their time just collecting, monitoring, analysis and reporting on data.
The heart breaking aspect of this (and trust us, we’ve been there, done that), is that this big chunk of valuable time spent on data collection and analysis might not yield the information we need for business improvements.
So, how can we fix this problem?
Say hello to business dashboards
Business Dashboards are platforms that offer a visual representation of your business organisation’s real time performance.
We call them “dashboards” because they work similarly to car dashboards. Think of your business as the engine under the hood and your business dashboard as a car dashboard that shows you all the important information about your engine’s performance.
Here at Neorise, we believe that every business can benefit from having a powerful and easy to use business dashboards.
Well, because a dashboard simplifies all the information that you collect – such as sales figures, resourcing hours, trends and more – into one place and in manageable “chunks” so that you can see what your business is doing right and where you can improve!
There are many benefits of a powerful dashboard, but in our experience, the thing that businesses love most is the ability to make informed decisions that can really impact business performance.
Types of dashboards
There are three categories of dashboards:
- Operational Dashboard – the most used dashboard type, this gives you real time data on what’s happening daily in your business, without too much drilldowns. An example is a project management dashboard that gives you a bird’s eye view of projects, tasks, to-do lists, events coming up.
- Analytical Dashboard – this one is for the analysts in you, who love looking at trends and pinpoint patterns to inform future decision making. An example is a marketing dashboard which tracks your communications channels for the last year or so might show which is the better platform to use, when you should communicate and what type of content engages better.
- Strategic Dashboard – if you have key performance indicators (KPIs) and want to track how you are meeting them, this one is important for your business. This is typically the dashboard you share with everyone in the business so that everyone is aware of how the business is doing. For example a sales dashboard can help motivate your team to be more competitive.
The right dashboard for your business
The table below from Technology Advice provides options to look at based on pricing, and accessibility.
But before you lock yourself into one of these, in our experience, it is best to first think through and have answers for these initial questions:
- What aspect of your business do you want to improve or what questions do you have about your business performance?
- What data is required to give you the information you need?
- Do you have someone who will be in charge of implementing, reviewing and interpreting your dashboard?
- What is your budget to develop your dashboard?
If you need assistance with choosing a business dashboard, one of our analysts would be more than happy to have a chat and help you through the process of choosing the right one.
Finally, the benefits of dashboards
We can write on and on about the benefits of having a business dashboard. But we thought, why not show you in real life, from a local business perspective.
We worked with Wembley Autocare to create a custom workshop management software system with a dashboard of information such which services brings in the most value and how satisfied customers are.
The result: higher profit margins, more time to work on the business and higher productivity.
Does your business use mobile apps as part of your marketing, engagement and product/service delivery?
With over 50% of internet traffic accessed via mobile globally (this figure is expected to continually increase), having your business accessible via mobile for your customers and audience is something to consider.
The good news for businesses with mobile apps is that technology continues to support innovation in this field.
Artificial Intelligence – AI – is a giant trend in the business world. Many features of AI can be integrated into mobile apps and improve user experience.
Advantages of AI in mobile apps for businesses
AI is already being used by businesses around the world to help manage their daily activities and engagement with customers. Let’s have a look at some of them.
Speech / voice recognition: adding speech / voice recognition in your mobile apps can assist with giving customers an easier and faster way to get the information and service they need. The best example of this is of course Siri and Google Assistant. How often have you been driving and need Siri to get you to call the office or home to let them know you’re on the way without breaking any traffic rules?
Image recognition: image recognition allows users to detect and classify entities within images. If your business is in events, and you are holding a professional event that requires on the day registration, image recognition could be an easy and fast way to register people on the day. You can also use this technology for image identification.
Personalisation: AI can gather valuable information (with the right privacy information disclosed of course) about your clients’ or customers’ tastes or preferences so that your app can recommend things for, say, faster check out of purchases. AI will also be able to assist with predicting information that your customers want as part of the service you provide. For example, if you’re delivering regular items, AI in your app can send notifications when the items might be low and when to order to avoid not having any.
Chatbots: so you can hate them or love them, but chatbots are around and as AI gets more sophisticated, we think they will stay put. Read more about our thoughts on chatbots. From a customer experience perspective, a well deployed chatbot can give you more time to focus on other aspects of your business while “someone” else answers commonly asked customer queries.
Productivity: This benefit of AI in mobile apps is probably more for your own business. AI can help you do things faster. For example, Google’s Smart Reply on G Suite auto generate replies for faster email returns. Or Shopify offers Kit – an AI that helps you with scheduling the right posts, in the most desirable times for your social ads.
Interested in integrating AI in your mobile apps or in your business systems to improve customer experience and productivity?
We at Neorise would love to be able to help with that. We’re always keen on new technology and a challenge always excites us.
Are chatbots worth re-allocating resources towards… are they a fad or worth investing in? We think the answer to this, as always, will depend on your business strategy, type, structure and needs.
To help you think about chatbots for your business, we’ve created some initial questions. But before we go there, let’s find out a bit more about chatbots.
What is a chatbot?
A chatbot is software that can automate conversations and engage users through various messaging platforms. Chatbots do this by using artificial intelligence or pre-programmed responses to frequently asked questions.
Some of the messaging platforms that utilise chatbots include:
- Facebook Messenger – available for Facebook business pages, we’ve seen this utilised a lot and can be help automate answers to typically asked questions or let your customers know you will get back to them as soon as possible.
- Chat windows on a website – these tend to pop up as you enter a website and appear as if you are instant messaging with a real person.
- Text-based or app-based – there are many chatbots that provide you with information within specific mobile apps. Shopify for example has a chatbot that uses AI to help you create targeted Facebook ads by using integrated data and asking you relevant questions.
What are some of the benefits of chatbots for businesses?
The main obvious benefit of chatbots is the 24 hour service that it can provide to your business.
In addition to that, chatbots can increase customer satisfaction through providing instant responses to simple questions and faster complaint resolution. As you can imagine, this will in turn provide you and your business with more time to focus on other important things.
From a marketing and sales perspective, chatbots can perform marketing functions or provide lead generation when they’re set up correctly.
What are the challenges with chatbots?
As with anything, there are some challenges with chatbots, some of the main ones being:
- Ease of integration – to utilise chatbots effectively it will have to be integrated correctly with your existing messaging systems, websites and other customer relationship management software.
- Impersonal language – our AI technology has not yet reached sophistication levels that users start to question “am I talking to a chatbot or a human?” Some of the complaints we see with chatbots is the use of misspelled words or bad grammar, which can cause doubt or lack of confidence from your users.
- User adoption – as we mentioned at the beginning of this article, some people do get put off by chatbots and immediately click it off when they land on websites. Some see it as spam (much like those pop up ads) and would rather not waste their time to speak to someone who is not human.
Does your business need a chatbot?
Here at Neorise, we believe that every business has unique specific needs so our first advice is “don’t follow the fads.” If you’re thinking of chatbots because it’s a popular thing and everyone seems to be doing it at the moment, stop and ask yourself some of these initial questions:
- Is your business customer facing?
- Does your business receive the same questions again and again from customers and spend too much time answering them?
- Does your business have existing communications channels and messaging in place that can integrate with a chatbot?
- Is your target audience and existing customers technologically savvy?
- Does your business have resources available to set up and monitor chatbots?
If you mainly answer “yes” to the questions above, then the next step would be to figure out which chatbot is best suited to your business. We at Neorise can help with the analysis, integration, implementation and support for chatbots for your business.
If the “nays” have it, then we think you should look at solving your business problems with other solutions. Our analysts can help you with that too because they’re always eager to observe and advise strategically.
Content is king!
How many times have you heard this? The marketing team at Neorise believes in this because good, valuable and engaging content that is relevant and helps our clients is important.
It is part of our commitment to empowering small to medium businesses with the right magic software or good tech to make running a business more effective, productive and enjoyable.
One thing that we often hear from our clients in regards to content is – we have so many platforms to send and post on, and multiple people working on it, and something we like, see and save in random spots – how do we streamline it all so that content marketing is not a challenge?
That’s where we recommend Airtable
What is Airtable?
Airtable works like a spreadsheet but gives you the power of a database to organise anything, in this case, content.
The fields in an Airtable table are similar to cells in a spreadsheet, but have types such as ‘checkbox’, ‘phone number’, and ‘drop-down list’, and can reference file attachments like images.
Users can create a database, set up column types, add records, link tables to one another, collaborate, sort records and publish views to external websites.
So if you like spreadsheets (and we do as well at Neorise) but you need it to set up and send reminders, collaborate together in, view it in various ways like Kanban or calendar view, Airtable is the answer for you.
The BEST part yet is that the FREE version of Airtable gives you so much functionality that you and your team can just stick to this pricing tier and get the best out of it.
Favourite features of Airtable
We have a few of our favourite features of Airtable which helps us with our content marketing and scheduling:
Linking between tables
To avoid the need to form a single large table when there is related data in multiple tables, Airtables provides an option to link records of different tables. Airtable allows linking existing tables of related records, creating a new linked table and also multiple links between existing tables.
Airtable allows multiple users to work simultaneously on the same Base allowing more productivity at the workplace. A new collaborator is added by clicking share button found at top of Base and providing the email ID of the collaborator. The owner can set the permission level of collaborator while sharing the Base. There are three permission levels in Airtable Base, namely “Creator”, “Edit Only” and “Read Only”.
Forms could be used to collect data from others like co-workers, customers or the public. A Form can be easily created from an existing Base, and the data collected by the Form is automatically organized in the Airtable Base. Airtable allows users to organise the required fields in the Form. A separate link is created for every Airtable Form. This link can be shared with others to get the required data. An Airtable Form can also be embedded in a website, to get the feedback from the website users.
Airtable’s API can be used to connect to other web services by which information can be exchanged between external web applications and Airtable. Using the Zapier platform, Airtable can connect to over 450 applications and websites. Changes can be set up as triggers for actions in connected applications.
Airtable mobile app
Airtable is available as a mobile app from the Apple App Store and Google Play. This means you can work on Airtable, anywhere, anytime.
Get the perfect view
Kanban, grid, calendar or gallery views are available in Airtable, at a click of a button so everyone in your team can choose how they would prefer to see their tasks and content schedules.
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We’re scribblers here at Neorise. Especially the marketing team, who still go to meetings with at least pen and paper. Because they love taking notes.
What we don’t love is then transferring those notes into an online version to be shared, edited, updated.
As you can tell, double handling is not something we believe in here at Neorise.
The good thing is, technology is on our side with clever inventions like the Rocketbook.
What is Rocketbook?
Rocketbook is essentially a cloud notebook.
You write it on normally and then, using a scanning app provided by Rocketbook, you can then save your notes to the cloud or email it directly from the page.
This of course saves you time to not double handle your notes or ideas on paper to online format. More time for us is always a win-win so that we can focus on doing what we love best.
Starting from $29.95, the Rocketbook can be purchased online.
How does it actually work?
Rocketbook explains in 4 easy steps how it works to save you time.
Essentially, all you need to do is:
- Put pen to paper – do whatever you normally do in your notebook – take notes, solve an equation, scribble an idea, solve an equation, draw a solution.
- Choose a destination – at the bottom of your Rocketbook are symbols to map to your favourite online location – Google Drive, One Note, Outlook, Dropbox, Slack. Mark a symbol to ensure that your page will reach your desired destination.
- Scan your pages – grab your phone, open the Rocketbook App and scan the pages you want to capture.
- Blast your notes to the cloud – once your notes have reached its destination, you can print it, edit it, share it, save it and more!
Try out Rocketbook
To try our Rocketbook, simply head to their online store today.
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Technology has changed the way we work.
With the right technology we can do things better, faster and more securely. What that means for our business is time and money savings, giving us the opportunity to do other, more important things.
One such technology is File Mail.
What is Filemail?
No more sending multiple emails to send all your files, or saving it onto a USB and posting it in the mail.
Now you can send all the files you want at the click of a button.
Here’s what you can do with Filemail:
Securely transfer files
Filemail gives you the most secure file sending service with data encryption, 2-factor authentication and virus scanning.
Keep a track on your files
Easily keep track of sent and received files so you know who, when and where your files get downloaded.
Send it faster
Filemail has its own transfer protocol which means the platform offers fast transfer speeds.
Download files in any way you like
You can download sent files through any web browser, FTP, torrent, Filemail Desktop or an app on your phone.
Add Filemail to your website
Make it easier for customers and clients to receive large files directly on your website. You can add one line of HTML (that Filemail provides) on your website and it’s all set up.
Make it your own
To make sure your customer gets the same brand experience, you can upload your own logo, background images and change the colour scheme of buttons and other visual elements when you add Filemail to your website.
The business benefits of Filemail
At Neorise, we use Filemail for our business. The benefits we see include:
- Time savings
With Filemail we don’t have to fiddle around with sending a few emails to the same person to make sure we don’t max our file sending limits.
- Increased customer experience
Filemail’s high security levels means that we know our files are getting to our clients and customers safely, giving them peace of mind as well. Plus the fact you can add it on your website makes it a more seamless experience for customers.
- Saves money
Filemail has a FREE account that allows you to send up to 50GB of file size with antivirus protection. That’s a money saving we’re enjoying.
- Business productivity
Filemail integrates well with a lot of popular business apps including Outlook, Android, Apple products and more. This means we can access it easily using our existing chosen apps, reducing admin time to switch between applications.
Get Filemail today
As mentioned, Filemail has a FREE account option that allows you to send up to 50GB size file at any one time, complete with antivirus protection and 7 days of file availability for the other person to download.
Check it out today and enjoy the time, money and productivity benefits it can bring to your business.
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We’ve been talking about telltale signs that your business might need a CRM – Customer Relationship Management – to increase customer satisfaction and create a more effective, productive way of delivering services.
Let’s take a step back today and find out more about what CRM is and how it can help your business have more time to focus on the important things and also grow in terms of sales and profit.
What is CRM?
To put it simply, CRM is a program or piece of software technology that helps manage your relationships with your customers.
If you run a business where you rely on customers’ satisfaction and purchases to maintain profits and grow, then a CRM is probably something that you need to look at when you’re ready or showing one of these telltale signs.
What does CRM actually do?
A good CRM stores all your customers’ details in an organised, user friendly database that everyone has access to.
More importantly, CRM helps your business manage communications, engagement and touch points with a customer at any key points.
Here are some of our favourite CRM capabilities for our business:
- Organise your customer data in one spot
One of the most ‘basic’ things that a CRM does is centralise customer data – such as contact details, communication/engagement history, and information such as what they’ve purchased, how they found your business – in one place that is accessible by everyone in your business. Better yet all this data can be segmented so that you can find the information you want faster and more accurately. For example, if you want to send a special offer to customers who have spent $100 with your business, you can create, find, download and email to a ready list.
- Help you develop and stick to a sales process
A good CRM can integrate all your sales systems and help build a sales process that identifies what is stalling a lead or a purchase so you can fix the issue, send you reminders when it is a good time to get in touch with a customer, predict sales outcomes and deliver a better sales experience for customers. A well recorded sales process also makes it faster for new team members to be onboarded.
- Increase customer satisfaction
Imagine being able to personalise your engagement with customers because you have noted their interests and behaviours at every interaction. Now that’s great customer service. A good CRM can help you anticipate your customer’s needs before they reach out to you, send you reminders when you have to call back or complete a request for a customer, and solve their problems as soon as they arise.
- Make your marketing more efficient and targeted
Using your customers provided data on their preferences and interests, you can make sure that the marketing / communications that you provide them is what they want to hear or know about. For example, if your customers indicate they only want to receive sales details, your marketing team can make sure they only get sales information. Or, if text messages is their preferred way for communications, you won’t call them or email them.
- Make informed decisions
A CRM allows you to download customised reports that will provide you important information such as which product or service is sold more or in which area and for what demographic? With this information, your business can decide on where to focus your marketing so that it is more effective or which product or service to put more resources on to meet the increased demand.
As you can see, there are many benefits to having a CRM for your business.
Want to find out more about CRMs and how it can help your business achieve better customer service, solve data management issues and increase profits?
Get in touch and we can help you with making the best decision when it comes to all things CRM.
Bookkeeping and accounting takes a considerable chunk of our business time.
And yet it is a super important aspect of maintaining a financially viable business.
Accurate receipt recording is also a good way to not get into a panic when tax time comes and your accountant asks you all the paperwork required to lodge your business tax. We’ve been there, done that and a whole day can be wasted to get all this important information across.
If you are a bookkeeper or own a finance business, we can also see how this can be a stressful time managing your clients’ receipts.
The good news is that accurate receipt recording and keeping has never been easier with good technology solutions.
There are two today that we ourselves use and can recommend to save you valuable time, money, resources, and more importantly, sanity!
Let’s find out more about Receipt Bank and High Speed Scanner.
Receipt Bank is an app that helps clients stay up to date with one tap. All you need to do is snap the receipt and Receipt Bank will extract all the data.
Then you just need to review and publish to your accounting software.
Receipt Bank integrates with popular accounting systems such as Xero, MYOB, Quickbooks and Workflow Max.
Some of the best features of Receipt Bank that we love, include:
- Accurate data extraction – Receipt Bank automated receipt scanning recognises data with the highest accuracy of any cloud bookkeeping app;
- No more lost receipts – enjoy instant data capture with the app’s receipt scanner, email or invoice fetch.
- GST support – Receipt Bank reads the exact GST off receipts and invoices, saving you more time.
- Bookkeeping reminders – you can set regular reminders to your phone or email to stay on top of your expenses.
- Easy integration – with some of the world’s best accounting software (as mentioned above)
As you can imagine, these features of Receipt Bank helps us to save time to focus on what matters most.
If you are an accounting business, you will love the efficiency and productivity that Receipt Bank brings – from offering more competitive services, having a more well defined process to encourage confidence in your brand and of course, getting more clients.
High speed scanner
If you are scanning large amounts of paper and receipts, then we can recommend getting a high speed scanner. Starting at about $400, you can process 50 pages at a time, quickly and automatically.
If that is not time and resource saving, we won’t know what is!
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You might realise now that we at Neorise are big fans of dashboards for businesses.
We’ve talked about how dashboards can help your business get important data in one place and analyse it to make informed decisions, stay competitive, improve communications and customer service and more.
We’ve also looked at the real benefits of a dashboard for an everyday, local business – Wembley Autocare.
If you haven’t had a chance to read through our case study, we’ve summarised the top 5 benefits of having a business dashboard right here.
- You know how your business is doing at all times
How many business owners will be able to answer questions such as “how many sales did your last marketing campaign brings in?” or “which product or service brings in the most profit and you should spend more money on advertising/marketing?” A dashboard with the right settings and data can tell you all of this information and more. Imagine the power of being able to know how and what is the best way to grow and benefit your business.
- You can identify areas of improvement and be motivated to get better results
Imagine your business sales are doing really well, however, at the same time there is a decline in customer satisfaction that requires attention as it will affect sales in the future. A good business dashboard will have indicators and when you see “red” arrows or flags that things are not doing as well, you’d intuitively want to fix it right. Bob Parsons, the founder of GoDaddy, said it best when he said, “Measure everything of significance. Anything that is measured and watched, improves.”
- Get more time to do the things you love & stress less
We’ve all been there at one point: entering data from different areas into spreadsheets, creating pivot tables and then discovering you’ve entered the wrong data and having to re-check it again and again. Imagine how much time you can save with a dashboard that can “talk” to all your systems, collects accurate data automatically and then present it to you in an easy to read report? Imagine too how an extra three or five hours can benefit your business and your personal life. More time to spend time with family, train staff or get back to customer queries to make sales. Precious.
- Empower everyone in the business
The benefit of having a dashboard is getting a report that tells you what is doing super well and what needs improvement or attention. This way everyone in your business can be empowered with the knowledge of how their work contributes to the overall success of the business. For example, if the records show that it is taking too long for queries to be answered, the customer service department can work to improve their processes or get more resources. Empowering your team members with such information can also motivate them to get better results.
- Increased productivity & profit
Knowing areas for improvements, which services or products are selling better, what tasks are too much time and can be outsourced, and what is the best way to communicate with customers are powerful information that will allow you to make informed business decisions. When you make decisions based on facts and accurate data, you can see increased productivity which in turn gives you increased profit.
We know that starting, operating, developing and growing a business is hard work.
Let’s make it that little bit easier with the right dashboard that can empower your business with the right information to achieve goals, from more sales through to reducing costs without sacrificing productivity.