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Are there paper-based tasks in your business that look like they are full of double-handling? Do you look at them and think there must be a better way? Research has shown that businesses can spend up to 80% of their time just collecting, monitoring, analysing and reporting on data. That’s a lot of time on repetitive tasks you’re paying for.
The secret to making real efficiencies is called Streamlined Workflow. A workflow is a sequence of tasks. The path of those tasks is predictable and repetitive. For example, filling out a timesheet. If this is happening using paper forms, in addition to double-handling, these are some of the frustrations you might be experiencing:
- Staff frustration (the person filling in and the data entry person)
- Data not on hand real-time
We recently transformed a daily job sheet from 15 pages to a streamlined app delivering time savings to front line staff and data entry admin. But also the following business benefits:
- Improved staff engagement – because it’s frustrating for the people filling out highly repetitive forms
- Lower errors
- Real-time data
- More accurate and timely payroll calculations
- Automated recall of business-critical OH&S information
- Real-time access to work/jobs and updates sent back to database
- Automated job completion notification advice to clients
- Data for business-critical reporting relating to a specific job, asset or employee
Move from paper to digital and increase your productivity and profitability. It’s Time for Change. Custom software can optimise your business performance.
Contact Neorise at: www.neorise.com.au
Glenn Briggs Carl Smith
0423 913 379 0412 984 019
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.
As a business owner, you would be familiar with “assets.” Without going into too much detail about the definition or meaning of assets, we at Neorise agrees with this definition from Accounting Coach:
- Resources or things of value that are owned by a company as a result of company transactions
- Prepaid expenses that have not yet been used or have not yet expired
- Costs that have a future value that can be measured.
So what are some examples of business assets?
Assets that are most likely listed on a business balance sheets are: cash, inventory, land, buildings, machines, equipment and furniture, vehicles, temporary and long term investments.
Assets often missed but valuable to the business
Some assets that most businesses don’t think of or add to their balance sheet can be some of your most valuable assets.
These can include:
- Brand – a highly respected and long time trade name has engagement and connections with your audience and the market / industry you operate in
- A valuable patent
- An awesome (and productive, effective and efficient) management team
- An amazing company culture
- Long term, dedicated team members who know the ins and outs of your business and is committed to its success.
How and why should you manage your assets?
The simple answer is because controlling your assets is an important part of building your business wealth so that you can grow, expand, be innovative while also being prepared for emergencies.
Managing your business assets might involve a few or all of these activities on a regular basis:
Knowing what assets you currently have – from the sum total of everything your business owns through to debts the business owns – is very important.
Do you know what your business is spending on week to week, month to month, year to year? If you are asked “what can we cut down on in terms of spending?” are you able to provide that information easily?
Create one and carefully keep track of your spending and earning to make sure you are never overspending to get your business into too much debt or seriously underspending so that your business can’t grow.
Pay down debts
Interest on debt cuts into your business assets and reduces the ability to increase business wealth. Much like your personal home asset, if you have that extra money to be able to pay down your mortgage and interest rates, you can do the same with your business debts.
Re-evaluate your plans
If you are using an asset management software or system, you would be able to easily check how your business assets are doing anytime, anywhere. When you review this information you might decide that you need to re-evaluate your business goals or growth plans.
So, what is an asset management software?
Running a business is already complicated enough without having to create, update and track spreadsheets to list all your assets and their values.
Luckily, the magic of technology helps us in managing our business assets more efficiently and accurately with a variety of software options.
Simply put, an asset management software is an application used to record and track an asset through its life cycle, so when your business first acquires it to when you might dispose of it.
The awesome thing about an asset software management tool is that it provides businesses with important information like where the assets are located, who’s using them, how are they being utilised and even how it is depreciating or appreciating through automated algorithm.
There are so many asset management software out there nowadays – some free, in the cloud or paid versions. If you are wondering which one is best for your business, the best option (in our opinion) is to take a step back and answer questions such as:
- What do you want to know about your business assets?
- How often do you want the information?
- How do you want to access the information?
- Who should have access to the software?
- What other existing software does your business currently use which might need to be integrated into your asset management?
- What resources do you have to acquire and manage the software?
If you need assistance with answering these questions and also determining distilling what are the best options are available in the market or if it’s more effective to get a custom solution, our analysts and developers would love to help.
They enjoy these challenges!
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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Customer engagement and experience are important for a business overall success.
After all, that old age saying that “customer is king” still rings true today. Without customers, our products, service offerings and business won’t survive.
What’s the difference between the two?
Customer experience (also known as CX) is how customers perceive their interactions with your company. The first half of the definition focuses on perception, where the experience is positive, useful, and enjoyable. The second half focuses on the exchange, the two-way interaction with the brand. For customer experience to be great, every interaction along the customer must be exceptional.
Customer engagement differs from customer experience. Customer engagement is the ongoing, value-driven, emotional relationship between the customer and the business. This includes direct, indirect, offline and online interactions, as well as the actions that customers might take – posting, emailing, tweeting, liking, recommending, buying and so on.
Highly engaged customers buy more and are advocates of your brand,. They refer friends, colleagues, family members, they write positive reviews and are more loyal.
So how can we use technology to drive customer engagement for our business?
Let us introduce you to Exploding Topics.
It is a FREE (yes you read right… zero charge, zilch!) online platform that scours the internet automatically for you, to find exploding trends that your business and customers are interested in, before they take off.
You can then turn those exploding trends insights into:
- Business advice blogs to prepare your customers for the future;
- Webinars or information sessions for your customers and other target audience;
- Q&A sessions via webinars or face to face;
- Inviting experts in the trending topics as speakers for customer engagement events.
How does Exploding Topics work?
The Exploding Topics website explains easily step by step how to use their platform.
Here’s our explainer in five steps:
- Subscribe to the Exploding Topics weekly newsletter.
- Exploding Topics then uses their technology to analyse millions of searches, conversations and mentions across the internet.
- Their technology sorts through the searches for “trending” or “exploding” topics before they take off.
- The online platform curates the best topics from the list of topics.
- You get an email with the best trending topics weekly.
Try Exploding Topics today
Try Exploding Topics, free and with no obligations today.
Register your email for their weekly trending topics and content.
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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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With so much software on offer to help you run your business, sometimes just choosing one can feel overwhelming. And just because a software package comes highly recommended for businesses like yours, doesn’t mean it’s a good fit for your business.
Here are 5 sure signs that it’s time to invest in some custom software
I mean really hate. It’s the things that it can’t do, or won’t do that are driving you up the wall and keeping you awake at night. Or if you have a list in your head of things you wish it would and could do. Well with custom software that is exactly what you get. Problems eliminated and your wishlist complete.
2. You’re running your business out of spreadsheets
And you are terrified something will happen to them. One wrong formula, or a deleted cell and they all come crashing down. Not to mention the hours wasted spent fixing it. With custom software all that disappears. Custom software can turn that spreadsheet into anything you want it to be. A visual dashboard, an automated upload, a sales results newsletter distributed to your team at 2.59 am on a Thursday. Literally anything is possible.
3. You’re drowning in paperwork
Are you or your staff wasting precious time entering data into computers from pieces of paper or from emails? Are you performing repetitive tasks over and over again? Custom software can automate pretty much anything in your business. Without any errors.
4. You’re worried competitors are more efficient
How many times have you said to yourself “there HAS to be a better way of doing this”. Well that’s because there is. And your competitors might already be doing it. Custom software can help you grow your business in a way that is scalable to help you streamline your business processes and workflows, rather than them getting in the way of your growth.
5. You’re losing visibility of your customers
Maybe you used to know all your customers by name, and now all those names are sitting in a piece of accounting software, that won’t let you send anything other than an invoice. Sure, you could buy an off the shelf CRM system, but it won’t be able to combine all sources of information into one central place to give you a complete customer view. Like who are your most profitable or valuable customers, or which customers have you made a loss on averaged over the last 5 years. Custom software can give you the ability to see all of the information you have about your customers all in one place, in the way that you need it.
So while investing in custom software might be more expensive than an off the shelf solution, it really is the best investment you can make in your business to ensure your business runs as efficiently and profitably as possible.
To see how we have helped businesses with custom software solutions, take a look at our case studies.