Category Archives: Technology

Every day technology changes. Here we try to keep you posted with things that can help you and your business stay one step ahead of your competitors and in touch with the needs of your customers.

Why Technology Will Improve Your Business- Brisbane Click Digital Expo 2014

Benefits Of Social Media
Benefits of Social Media- presented by Liam from Klyp

We are constantly bombarded that our business needs to be on social media or using ‘the cloud’- but why?! And what are they really to me and my business? First of all what are they?

I am glad I attended the Brisbane Click Digital Expo this year as it really opened me up to being more aware of what technology can do for my business. I have to acknowledge Regional Development Australia- Brisbane for putting this event together. Well done Margaret Blade and the team!

The standout company attending for their workshop was Klyp’s Liam and David. Both presented excellent workshops on ‘Developing a Social Media Marketing Strategy’, ‘Digital aliens, migrants and natives: who are you marketing to and how do they behave?’ and ‘Gamification: The next trend in user engagement’ presented by each respectively. Liam provided a step by step approach to creating a social media marketing strategy. David presented on why it is important to understand who your audience are and how they use social media and what social media they use. I was impressed with just how specific you can be with statistics on what demographics use a particular social media channel! David also presented on the benefits of incorporating gamification to engage both external and internal users of your business, as gamification is primarily about behavioural change.

Tony from Rype
Tony from Rype presenting on the changing face of technology in business.

Tony from Rype spoke on ‘How to boost productivity and improve your bottom line’ the benefits of using cloud based software as to the traditional purchasing of software. The key aspects here is 1. The ability to integrate and work with others collaboratively and remotely 2. The reduced cost of up front capital cost to buy software and hardware versus the pay as you go monthly or annual fee structure for cloud based applications.

Adam from The Thumb Factory spoke on ‘App development: how, what and why’. Adam came up with some interesting statistics on how much mobile apps are becoming an essential part of doing business as the Digital Natives start to become greater consumers in the coming years. He also identified the importance of engaging these potential consumers as some apps have a very short half life. The statistics on China’s mobile commerce or ‘m-commerce’ is a window into Australia and the rest of the worlds growth trend.

Steve from Cullens Patent and Trade Mark Attorneys spoke on the ‘Making money from inventions’. I found this incredibly interesting as I am in the process of moving through my provisional patent to working out the next step of development. Steve spoke on the importance of protecting your idea and turning it into an asset through patents. Then converting that into a business to ultimately sell. One of Steve’s examples was Ric Richardson from Uniloc who is an Australian, who took Microsoft to court over patent infringement and won.

I did run into some people through the various networks I attend, such as Chris and Andrew.

This was a fantastic event and definitely one I will be attending in the future!

~ Damien Foley

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How To Find The Right Networking Event For You

So you want to meet new people to network with. But where are they? And which is the right one for you?

Ideally, ask someone you know who is already networking to give you some ideas on where to network. Meet Up, for example, is an online place to find where people are meeting for different interest groups in a particular area. I strongly recommend this if you are new to anything, anywhere!

Below are some different organisations and types of ways to network.

Speed Networking | Chamber of Commerce | Business Networking Inc | Sporting Clubs | Exclusive Clubs | Industry Events | Meet Up | Art Exhibitions | School Events | Community Events and Organisations | Private or Exclusive Events | Online Forums and Communities | Social Media Linked In- Twitter- Facebook | Volunteering | Lions Club | Quota | Rotary | Seminars and Workshops | Book Clubs | Cooking Classes.

Remember, networking means different things to different people. Ask yourself the following questions

1. Who am I wanting to meet/what is my purpose? Business or pleasure? Are you wanting to meet new clients; new suppliers; new friends; colleagues from your industry; mentors; new business partners; investors; employees; people who are in a particular industry or have common interests? Don’t always assume that for business you need to go to events where only your potential clients are.

2. How many networking events do you want to attend each week or month or year? How frequently do you want to attend any one networking event? I can literally go to a networking event every day for almost every day of the year. But I wouldn’t get much work done if I did!

3. What are my limitations? Cost? Travel time/distance/location? Time to attend? Time to contribute to the organisation? Some networking events cost money to attend, not including the additional costs of meals, drinks, contributions etc. Where the event is and the time commitment to attend is also a factor. Some networking events are not just networking but also part of an organisations official meeting.

Networking is about meeting people. Don’t immediately dismiss an event because those attending are not the people you want to meet. Getting to know these people and making them a part of your network might open you to other people who you are wanting to meet.

If you want to find me, I have my “Where I Will Be” page letting people know what events I am attending for business. I also link a little blog I do on the event as well.

Personally, I use Meet Up to meet new people once a week for both the personal and professional interaction. I have made this part of my goals for 2014.

So now you can find events to network at. But what do you need to do to start networking? Find out in my next post!

~ Damien Foley

Brisbane Lord Mayors Economic Development Business Forum- Building an Online Presence

I am in the process of having a provisional patent done for a phone app idea I have. So this was a great event to attend to find out more about why business should have an online presence in our global online economy and what is being done in Brisbane to promote our IT innovations.

George Fidler, General Manager of Kixeye, gave his experience as a start up IT business. What I took away from George is that you have to persist. You learn more from your mistakes then you do from your successes. And as a result your mistakes make your business stronger. I agree, if you are going to make mistakes, make them early in your business life and make plenty of them. If you don’t make mistakes, then you aren’t pushing your limits! George also made reference to the book “Lean Start Up”. In talking to George after the presentation, he again gave me the advice to read this book (or listen as an audio!) for my future phone app project. He also gave me the advice to find a programmer to work on my project referencing the IT incubator, River City Labs, as a starting point.

Bob Dunne, Principal at Strateneering, gave his story of how he started capitalrater.com. He initially started with a local focus of Sydney and Brisbane but quickly expanded it to be a global provider. He doesn’t understand why anyone in business isn’t online and looking beyond their local geographical boundary. Business is made easier with the internet! I asked Bob on his advice on putting together a start up IT team and who he would bring on. He said he would bring in people he already knew, who complimented his own skills and had the ability to go into a start up business.

Kieran O’Hea, Brisbane’s Chief Digital Officer gave an interesting, but rushed, presentation on both the digital economy and Brisbane’s role in this. For Example, over 66% of people in Australia have a smart phone and use its additional features. 41% of phone users over 50 have a smart phone. Hopefully the organisers will send out his slide presentation!

At this event I met some other interesting people

Jim is the Development Executive at Scan Conversion Services. He assists organisations to convert their paper documents to an electronic document on mass. Handy if you have documents that need to be stored in electronic format.

Jeanette is a Business Development Manager from Commonwealth Bank. It was good to meet Jeanette as I want to find out more about her role on the Not For Profit Working Committee of the Institute of Chartered Accountants Australia (ICAA). Foley Business Management is a service provider to the NFP or Social Enterprise sector.

Clinton is a Patent and Trade Marks Attorney for Cullens. Clinton was incredibly helpful discussing the benefits of having a patent for IT ideas you are wanting to take to concept and then taking it to a full patent. Clinton is someone I will likely be wanting to talk to when I develop a working concept of my phone app.

To find out what other events I will be attending in the future go to my Where I Will Be page.

~ Damien Foley

3 Ways To (Usefully) Lose Control Of Your Brand- Tim Leberecht

Tim Leberecht in this  7 minute presentation explains  how giving your brand to others gives you more information and control over your brand.

Business Relationships

two hands shakingI recently had a meeting with the Flagstone Junior Chamber of Commerce. The question was asked “what is business about?” The most obvious answer one can give is ‘Profit’. But how do you make that profit? When you look at business, you suddenly realise the success of a business comes from its relationships. Lets look at this from the starting point of profit and work back.

We make a profit by earning more income then what we spend on expenses. Income minus Expenses= Profit/(Loss)

We spend money on expenses and capital to produce the goods and services we sell. In order to purchase those goods we need to buy them from other suppliers, be it the owner or their salesperson. In order to sell our goods and services we need to sell them to other people.

The purchase of those goods and services happens as a result of your business creating a relationship with the supplier. You may have found them online or been introduced to them through another person. Likewise, you create sales by developing relationships with your customers. (refer to the article on Customer Service- “Retail V Online- Retails Secret Weapon To Win Customers“).

Internally you have people who you employ or owners in the business with you. Externally you have relationships with third parties such as government, industry regulators and organisations etc.

The business success can depend on how good the relationship is between all of these people. And like in any relationship, good communication is important. This is why Social Media is becoming such an important tool used by business to build relationships with current and prospective customers.

Business is a creation of man and as a result is built on our social interaction with one another. If your business doesn’t have a good relationship with someone or someone doesn’t have a good relationship with your business, this can affect the success of your business.

~ Damien Foley

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Computer Back Ups Are Like Car Insurance Because…

Computer Back Ups
Computer Back Ups

We only realise how important it is when we need to use it.

We use computers in business to hold important information as emails, documents and files etc. But if your computer crashed, what would happen to your business? I read recently of a home business that had their laptop stolen. The laptop wasn’t the most valuable thing stolen, the information it had on it was far more valuable. Because all of the business information was on the laptop they effectively had no business.The best advice for this to be prevented is to have backups that are:

– backed up regularly- the more frequent the back up the less information is lost.

– multiple backups- more than one back up copy.

– both onsite (same location as computer) and offsite (different location to computer).

– tested regularly.

Here are some ways to minimise the risk of your business being hurt by the loss of your computer with backups:

1. Make Hard/Paper Copies-Pro: less likely to be stolen or become corrupted by a virus etc. Con: Cost of paper, environmental impact, Cost of storage, cost of administration, still susceptible to fire and water if on site, hard to maintain and move.

2. External Hard-drive– Pro: relatively cheap, can be done automatically, easy to retrieve information, can be based off site. Con: Also susceptible to viruses, if located on same premises as computer still susceptible to theft, fire and water, limited storage space.

3. Backup Tapes/Disks/USB– Pro: Easy to use, compact and easily removable from site, somewhat cheap, can have multiple back up copies Con: Susceptible to virus, can be easily damaged, limited storage space, can be subject to theft, fire and water.

4. Website/Third Party Storage Provider– Pro: can be easy to set up to backup automatically and regularly, offsite location to computer, usually higher storage space, can be easy to retrieve, may have multiple ‘mirrored’ site storage Con: Cost can be minimal depending upon host provider, would need an expert to set up correctly, would need assurance as third party provider there is security with both access and cyber attacks, business confidentiality and information privacy might not allow it without high cost, storage space subject to hosting package.

5. Cloud Applications– Pro: you have little if any software and information held on your computer as held by third party provider, little if any disruption to work if result of theft, fire or flood as just log on from another computer, generally a high level of security with trusted providers, usually have ‘mirrored’ back up in various locations. Con: Cost but minimal and usually paid monthly, plans are typically paid for by the amount of storage space used, need the internet to access so not best for no or slow internet access.

So if you don’t already have a backup policy for your business information technology, it might pay for itself in the future. We never know when we can be the victim of theft, fire or flood. Will you now be looking into what back ups your business has or should have?

~ Damien Foley

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Instagram and Pinterest- ‘A Picture is Worth A Thousand Words’

Is Instagram going to sahre photo's with Pinterest?New forms of social media are constantly arriving in various shapes and forms. The dominating social media sites currently are Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Youtube and Foursquare (Google+ perhaps?). But there are new kids on the block that are taking words away and replacing them with pictures as a means to communicate.

Instagram, with its recent sale to Facebook for around $1b, is one big player in this space. The Instagram App allows you to take pictures from your mobile phone and quickly transfer them to the internet, using different “filters’ to alter the picture. You can view what friends are posting on Instagram and have the option to share on other social media sites as Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr and Flickr. You can give the picture a caption and ‘geotag’ to let people know where you took the picture.

Pinterest is a site that allows you to ‘Pin’ pictures from other websites into albums and folders to share with others. So this is a great way for people with similar interests to share pictures. Pinterest does encourage ‘Pinners’ to declare the website where the picture was pinned from.

How Business Can Use Instagram and Pinterest.

So my question with this is whether Instagram was going to allow photo’s to be shared directly to Pinterest?

“You shouldn’t need to be too worried if that doesn’t happen as you can pin images that are on websites (including individual posts). So your intention then would be to use an interesting image with a quality post. Then pin the image (linked to the source URL). If your image is re-pinned you should see a spike in traffic.” says Leesa Watego of Iscariot Media.

So if I have interesting photo’s that people will ‘pin’ and ‘re-pin’ linked to my website, I will see a spike in traffic to my website from the picture , especially if it is related to the website content. If my website content is of high quality and of interest to those leads generated from the Pinterest picture, then I should see an increase in traffic to my website. Which leads us back to the point, that ‘a picture is worth a thousand words’ at a glance. Pictures are a way to attract people to our website. So Instagram and Pinterest have a valuable place in many businesses as a social media communication and marketing tool. Especially for those businesses where it is very difficult to say in words what you do, how you do it and how great a product you have. So if you are considering if Pinterest and Instagram is for you as a social media tool, my advice is to get in and try it.

~ Damien Foley