It seems to me that a website is too big for a fancy phone these days.

Tanya James
Tanya James moved away from a website and third party flower sales companies
Tanya James florist

For 10 years I worked for a very famous long established Florist in West London.

I became an all rounder, administration is really important, but it also gave me access to business information that I just accepted was the cost of doing business.

That was until I decided to set up my own business !

We had our own London based website, but the vast majority of orders came from a very well known third party order company.

Their annual costs and commission cost were quite frankly eye watering.

After being layed off during Covid, I decided to open my own Florist shop near my parents home in Telford, Shropshire.

There is a lot to consider setting up a new small business, the physicality’s were exhausting.

And further down the list of things to do, I became perplexed about the cost of an internet presence without using a third party ordering company.

Weighing up the advantages I had almost made the decision to sign up.

It seems to me that a website is too big for a fancy phone these days.

I was swayed by so many “truths” out there.

For example “fewer than 1% of Google searchers get as far as the 2nd page” and “25% of people click on the first result “

But it was my Dad who made a basic suggestion over his birthday Sunday lunch.

I had ordered a birthday card from an APP called Thortful the day before, it all began to click into place.

Dad said “it seems to me that a website is too big for a fancy phone these days “

My lightbulb moment had arrived, what if I bought an APP ?

And just when I thought I had embarked on a journey I could afford, all was smashed when the first 3 quotes came in from random APP development companies.

But there was a video I came across on you tube that changed everything.

It explained that I didn’t need to use the Apple store, there is a new type of APP, cheap to produce and host.

Perfect for small business.

It appeared as a website on a PC and an APP on a smartphone !

I wanted to use local social media effectively and go contactless as much as possible.

I also wanted to offer personal touches using QR codes on the bouquet such as music, personal messages, promotions.

Its endless and I feel confident customers who do business with me on their smartphone will spread the word.

Just like Thortful, I can now use SMS promotions, send out notifications, set up subscriptions, take payments, all the stuff I wanted to achieve but didn’t know how.

A Medium Daily Digest article published on newswire 19 07 2021

One month in tech is like a year

retail
Marc Lambert pioneer using a Maltix built PWA

Marc Lambert online shoe and sportswear retailer Newswire July 06 2021

I inherited a business through my mother in law, a retail shop with 22 staff and a consistent $900,000 turnover

The business had lost profitability year on year for 7 years straight.

I could see the symptoms but didn’t understand the cause.

I very nearly spurned the opportunity all together, the hours were crazy and the back office systems chaotic.

The business was just about breaking even on a very modest Directors salary.

I had actually inherited a gobble monster inside a vicious spiral of upward costs.

By chance I came across some videos on you tube under “Break even analysis “

A light bulb went off in my head, my garden was full of weeds and the pruning was going to be brutal, I needed help and fast.

My first port of call was The Maryland Chamber of Commerce in Annapolis.

I met a highly regarded Consultant in the harbor, where we sat and talked for 2 hours.

The culmination of thought had one simple answer, we had to digitise as much as possible, as soon as possible.

We had to reduce the moving parts of the business, generate more business and lower variable costs.

That was phase one and we completed that in 6 months.

What happened in reality was floor to ceiling change, so much in fact, the main shop front asset was sold and fixed costs almost completely removed.

One month in tech is like a year.

It felt like I was destroying 27 years of business knowledge.

In fact the telephone system which cost $16,000 in 2011 was the first casualty.

APP based telephony was key when Covid broke, we needed our home workers to act on order deliveries and I had to manage that through a CRM and billing platform connected to their own smartphones.

The e-commerce part of the site we kept, we removed the website and replaced it with an APP.

These decisions fundamentally changed us from being a bricks and mortar retailer to a full online retailer selling and distributing to our target sportswear audience.

My staff were amazing and turned garages and workshops into storage and distribution.

We now operate with 7 staff, all on higher salaries. Our turnover is rapidly climbing and we hope to overtake the 2019 turnover within 2 years.

We now ship coast to coast and our reputation is growing on social media.

My advice to anybody contemplating the digitizing of their business:

You have to trust your clients, it’s what they want, it’s where they do business, it’s on their Smart phone.

Marc Lambert online shoe and sportswear retailer Newswire July 06 2021

We had to let go of the stuff that used to be important.

Zo-clean-supplies
Tom Rice
Tom Rice Chief Executive chemical cleaning distribution Co West Midlands

This is a cathartic exercise, baring my business troubles from the last 2 years to my local small business community.

I wanted to share the pain but also encourage change in business operations for their survival.

We are a 40 year old industrial cleaning company distributing across the UK with a turn over of over £18 million.

The Company moto above the main entrance door to our premises hasn’t change since my late father created the company back in 1979

“If you do what you always done your gunna get what you always got”

And with the stratospheric growth of the younger faster generation, desperate to do business with us, we knew we were so behind the curve it was embarrassing.

We had lost over 20% of our contracts in 9 months.

Top heavy with administration, dated computers running spread sheets and word documents all cobbled together inside a telephone system we none of us had ever figured out.

You have to let go of the stuff that used to be important but no longer is.

So embarrassing in fact, the bust up inside our family business has been excruciating but unfortunately necessary.

Each department has been power washed, scrubbed with a nailbrush and desanitised !

Every Monday for 2 months I held “Starter, bumper, shaker, mover, let go day today, cat amongst the pigeons, out with the old in with the new, repaint, rethink and push the envelope of change” days.

The changes are astonishing but logical.

And all consequential, just part of the journey of change.

The staff age group that took to the challenge are dramatically more dynamic.

We moved to our own App based ordering system for clients.

No more paper invoicing, in fact no paper anything!

No telephones in the office, all replaced with an APP based system.

Adopted a Cloud based management system we calibrated ourselves in just 2 days!

The only thing that is recognisable from the brand of old is the brochure and even that is completely Smartphone enabled !

Tom Rice is guest speaker for online Events associated with the FSB and this article is distributed by Newswire. June 21 2021


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