Tag Archives: small business

Tools to Help Your Business get Organised Every Day

Now more than ever, running a business is a 24/7 commitment. On any given day, you have staff to manage, meetings to schedule, marketing objectives to meet and customers to keep happy.

There are plenty of apps and tools on the market to help you manage, schedule, appoint tasks and arrive on time. These include “email slayers”, spending trackers, flight planners and even an app to help find a font you like. Here are 10 little-to-no-cost wonders that will help you run your business without a hitch.

IFTT (If This, Then That): IFTT is a series of applets that perform a specific task. These applets connect features across multiple platforms to do things like get a notification if it’s going to rain tomorrow, or automatically save new Gmail attachments to your Google Drive.

Cost: Free

TinyScan: This handy app turns your phone into a pocket scanner that can scan in documents, receipts, or even multiple files in seconds. TinyScan uses your smartphone camera to take a photo of any A4 document (in colour or black and white), all while on the go. It stores your virtual copy ready to share via email or a cloud-based platform.

Cost: Free limited use version. Full version: A$7.99 or US$5.99.

Hopper: Business travel can sometimes come up last-minute, but if you know the dates of when you want to fly, and your destination, Hopper alerts you on when to book to get the cheapest airfares. Add multiple trips to your “watchlist” and enable notifications to get alerts that let you know the best time to buy. Once you’re ready to purchase, Hopper lets you book directly from the app.

Cost: Free.

Unroll me: If you’ve subscribed to work-related email newsletters (and maybe some personal ones as well), it’s probably causing your inbox to burst at the seams. Rather than trying to wade through your inbox and unsubscribe one by one manually, Unroll.me sends you a once-daily summary of all of them and lets you quickly unsubscribe to the ones you no longer want.

Cost: Free.

What The Font: If you’ve seen a font on a logo you like the look of, this tool can help. Simply upload the logo, check the letter mapping and you’ll be given a list of possible font matches.

Cost: Free. Payment required for the font (should you wish to purchase).

online_tools_social_media_presence

 

Down For Everyone or Just Me: This handy tool allows you to enter a website URL to figure out if it’s down for everyone, or if it’s a problem on your end. Enter the URL in the search box, click the link, and away you go.

Cost: Free.

Grammarly: As we’re communicating more and more via email, this handy tool skims as you type, highlighting any spelling mistakes or grammatical errors and suggestions on how to correct them.

Cost: Free. Premium tier starts at A$39.30 or US$29.95 per month.

Postfity: When it’s all hands on deck in your business, it’s hard to schedule time to update your online social presence as well. This is where Postify can help. It lets you update Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google Plus, connecting up to five unique accounts. You can send immediately, as well as schedule updates.

Cost: Free. Basic tier pricing starts at $A6.55 or US$5 per month.

MyWeeklyBudget: With a streamlined and simple-to-use interface for tracking your spending, this app allows you to enter the item and amount after each purchase. It’s a good alternative to a spreadsheet or logging into an app once a month to see if you’ve stuck to your budget.

Cost: A$1.49 or US 99c.

BONUS: As our digital lives become increasingly intertwined with our physical ones, developers have been looking for ways for family members to have access to our digital files after we die. Dead Man’s Switch is a service that lets you leave some important info (usernames, passwords, etc) for your loved ones. It lets you craft a secure email to be sent out if you don’t respond to the service’s periodic emails checking in with you.

Cost: Free. Premium tier: A$26.25 or US$20/lifetime.

Now with these business helpers, you’ve got a few ways to make your worklife a little easier to navigate.

Related Article:

Marketing Your Business in the Digital Age

About the Author

Angela Allan is a journalist, copywriter, social media manager, and content strategist. A former music writer for Rolling Stone, FHM and Australian Penthouse, Angela started her own online publication, Soot Magazine, in 2012. She went on to become managing editor of Australia’s first brand-led newsroom at CHE Proximity. In 2016, she led the digital video campaign for Crown-owned brand, San Antone by Bludso’s BBQ. Currently, she is the digital copywriter for Melbourne startup Foxley

How 457 Visa Axing will Impact the Hospitality Industry

The 457 visa is no more. The Federal Government has brought the axe down on the controversial work visa for overseas visitors in Australia.

In its place will be a new two-tiered visa program, which will come saddled with higher restrictions and greater skills tests for migrant or travelling workers.

But what does this mean for the hospitality industry?

Of the 97,766 primary 457 visa holders in Australia last year, 15,260 worked in the accommodation and food services sectors alone, which means this news is going to have major ripple effects throughout the industry.

Food and beverage

There is already a shortfall of workers for jobs in the food industry, and that isn’t likely to get better anytime soon.

Industry body Restaurant and Catering Australia predicts that 160,000 jobs may go unfilled by 2020, with Restaurant and Catering SA deputy chief Sally Neville saying this shortfall would need to be met by overseas workers.

“Given we do not have adequate numbers in training, it’s clear that the industry will need to rely more on immigration to fill jobs,” she said.

Neville said that regional areas of Australia were already finding it more difficult to find workers than businesses in the urban regions.

“They just don’t have the steady stream of travellers or uni students to plug the shortfall,” she said.

Accommodation

Despite the accommodation industry’s heavy reliance on workers on a 457 visa, the Australian Hotels Association remains optimistic.

A spokesman said the changes presented an opportunity to leverage a more targeted approach towards getting migrant workers into hotel jobs.

“We will be happy to work with the Federal Government to ensure that their objective of growing local employment is met, while also encouraging growth in the hospitality sector through carefully-targeted temporary skilled worker placements, particularly to support regional Australia,” he said.

457 Visa and how its impacting the hospitality industry

Travel and tourism

Regional tourism operators stand to be the most affected by this proposed change to the visa scheme, with 457 employees filling many roles they struggle to find locals willing to take on.

Tourism Accommodation Australia (TAA) chair Martin Ferguson said they would be pushing the government to ensure training is supplied for locals to fill the roles that could potentially be vacated by those previously on 457 visas.

“Once we have seen the full content of the government’s changes we will be making representations to relevant ministers to ensure that our industry—one of the country’s largest growth industries—receives the support it requires over the next five years,” he said.

“We are also seeking greater investment in training and development of local residents to ensure that we can offer world-class service standards to complement the massive transformation of the industry’s physical product.”
Related Article:

What Customer Experience do you Want to Deliver?

About the Author

Josh Alston is a versatile and experienced journalist, covering rounds for daily, regional and community newspapers that include; news, sport, politics, community issues and much more. In 12 years working as a journalist and editor, Mr Alston has covered major events like Federal elections, budgets, sporting events such as State of Origin and covered the economic and physical growth of Queensland. Today, Mr Alston is the founder of Art of Writing PR, generating topical and engaging copy for his clients to enhance their online presence and build their brands.

What Customer Experience do you Want to Deliver?

Online Customer experiences shared through Food apps

Having a vision of an ideal customer experience should be the starting point for investing in technologies and marketing approaches to grow your business. That’s one of the key messages for hotel and restaurant owners from Deloitte’s Travel and Hospitality Industry Outlook 2017.

Touch points are part of a bigger picture

Deloitte’s report suggests that gaining loyal customers in 2017 will come from, “…a shift in thinking to make customer experience paramount.” But what is customer experience?

Customer experience is shaped by many things: the quality of your products and services, the friendliness of staff, price, convenience, your decor, the music you play…the list goes on. But what matters, even more, is putting all these elements together in a strategic way.

Insights by consulting firm McKinsey shared in the Harvard Business Review reveal that perfecting individual touchpoints with customers may not be enough, if the sum of the parts does not meet expectations. That’s where customer experience comes in, ultimately acting as the impression a person develops over time based on their entire interaction with your brand.

McKinsey found that companies that successfully manage the entire customer journey “…reap enormous rewards: enhanced customer satisfaction, reduced churn, increased revenue, and greater employee satisfaction.”

growing business customers experience online

What experiences will drive real value?

Given that customer experience is a cumulative effect, most people don’t get fed up by one bad interaction. But that doesn’t mean customers are inclined to be loyal. Most people are indifferent—willing to change their plans to take advantage of a better price, service or experience.

That means you need to envision the ideal journey for the customers you want to attract, and then prioritise efforts that will allow you to offer those experiences consistently, and at scale.

Deloitte’s report suggests brands need to provide truly valuable and memorable experiences that focus on authenticity, personalisation and immediacy. It says hotel guests, “…will define a brand by the quality of their experiences across a proliferation of touch points, including smartphones, desktops, wearable apps, over the phone, and on property”.

It takes a holistic, integrated approach to cultivate devoted customers, willing to leave positive reviews online, share your hashtags on social media or recommend your business to a friend.

 

 

Navigate new technology carefully

Deloitte’s report points to the fact that, as in many other industries, travel and hospitality leaders will be those that adapt to changes in the economy, technology and consumer mindsets.

Making the customer experience special and embedded throughout your business while riding the wave of disruption will inevitably involve investments in technology. But there is a balance to be found between being left behind and moving too quickly.

An example from the Deloitte report is the millions spent upgrading hotels with tablet kiosks similar to those used by airlines, only to be made obsolete by the rise of app-based mobile check-in.

The report acknowledges that making smart choices will only become more difficult as new technologies like virtual reality and the Internet of Things emerge. Decisions need to be driven by a clear understanding of what makes a great customer experience and what technologies will support that.

Create experiences worth sharing

The report also uses the example of a successful airline app that allows passengers to track their luggage using radio-frequency identification (RFID) technology. The app was not created to meet a significant practical need (lost luggage affects a small percentage of people) but rather to boost customers’ peace of mind: integral to a positive flying experience.

Understanding your ideal customer experience will also allow you to take full advantage of the most influential marketing platforms, including social media.

In a recent review of social media trends that matter in 2017, content marketing platform Contently highlight the fact that most people that use the internet also use social media, more often than not via their mobile, and most likely to watch or share video content.

Hotel and hospitality businesses need to understand how customers use travel and hospitality experiences to build their own personal brand; especially using image and video-based platforms like Instagram and Snapchat.

Deloitte’s report suggests that brands, “…make it a point to create experiences worth sharing in order to capitalize on the enormous exposure these platforms provide.”

Start with customer experience to succeed

It’s not possible to design and promote experiences that break through apathy or to cleverly leverage technologies and platforms to boost loyalty unless you can clearly imagine the ideal customer experience.

Using that knowledge to make decisions will ensure a cohesive customer journey where marketing promises are consistently met or exceeded in unique ways that resonate with your customers and deliver excellent hospitality experiences.

About the Author

Josh Alston

A former news hound, editor and roaming reporter for News Corp Australia for 12 years, Josh is now a freelance copywriter covering politics, innovation, technology, health, science and financial services, among other topics.

Simple Ways to Improve Management in Hospitality

One of a manager’s greatest frustrations in hospitality can be grooming team members to be highly skilled, only to see them walk out the door to use those skills for a competitor.

There are a number of things you can do to prevent these poaching raids, which this article will outline.

Create a culture and involve team members

There is no official blueprint for a successful culture that fits all businesses, but it is important you develop one to foster team harmony.

The biggest players in the hospitality industry have rituals that can help create this culture, including team line-ups, activities and unique tasks like community gardens to work on.

Team is the operative word in creating this culture. Staff members can feel disenfranchised if referred to as “workers” or “employees”. Simple tricks like calling them “team members” and “leaders” can boost morale to no end, and aid in creating a strong team dynamic.

Awards and goals are always handy motivators for team members but aren’t a necessity. Just ensure that achievements and goals are celebrated and incentivized to guarantee there is a positive culture where everyone feels valued for their hard work.

How to ward off poaching raids by your competitors

Retaining staff can be a delicate task for management in hospitality, and it can be easy to become frustrated when employees jump ship to another company.

It is important to recognize that there are several reasons why they may be leaving, and most centre around job satisfaction.

One of the most critical roles of a manager is to recognize the signs of a team member becoming disenfranchised and to act. This is vital because if a team member is unhappy, they are targets for poaching.

Keep promises to a bare minimum, because if something goes wrong and they don’t transpire, this can trigger staff restlessness as well.

It is also worth noting that sometimes you do have to let staff go because trying to entice them to stay with rewards can be detrimental to the morale of other staff members; it’s a real juggling act.

Right off the bat, look for signs of job hoppers in the recruitment process. If they don’t stay in a job for longer than 12 months to 2 years, there is every chance they’ll depart early when working for you as well.

Simple ways to improve hospitality

 

Embrace the future and be flexible

There can be a misconception that the hospitality industry cannot accommodate flexibility, like working from home, part-time arrangements or job sharing.

This mindset has to be pushed aside because the modern world is embracing this flexibility more and more.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics data shows that one in three Australians are regularly working from home, and 32 per cent of Aussie workers are employed part-time.

This is important to recognize, especially as 55 per cent of people polled in a recent survey listed workplace flexibility as one of the most important factors when looking for a job.

By being flexible, and open to non-traditional rostering, you can help meet the changing needs of the modern workforce. Exploring opportunities for people on the administration side being able to do some of their work from home can also open up benefits.

There are key attractions for millennials, who now make up half of the workforce and will make up 75 per cent by 2030.

By opening the door to non-traditional rostering, you can help capture the best talent from this generation.

Related Article:

What Customer Experience do you Want to Deliver?

About the Author

Josh Alston

A former news hound, editor and roaming reporter for News Corp Australia for 12 years, Josh is now a freelance copywriter covering politics, innovation, technology, health, science and financial services, among other topics.

 

From Subway to BEKYA, with a little help from Coca Cola Amatil

Restaurant Bekya Sydney Middle Eastern Food

Mel Hearse talks to Wally Mostafa, co-founder and part-owner of restaurant BEKYA Middle Eastern Foods, about his transition from franchisee to restaurateur.

Whilst still in the franchisee business, Wally Mostafa owns one Subway restaurant and he’s made the switch to opening and running his own restaurant—BEKYA Middle Eastern Food.

BEKYA has started out strong and is already a popular eatery that’s housed in the Tramsheds Harold Park—which has recently undergone a transformation into a European-inspired food hall hosting 18 retailers and providores. He and his partners also have another two BEKYA restaurants: one in the Gateway food court, and the original outlet situated in the Greenhouse at Centennial Park.

The concept is straightforward: BEKYA prides itself on fresh, tasty and handmade middle eastern goodies.

“We use family recipes and strictly local fresh ingredients,” Wally says. “Our food techniques include pickling, slow cooking meats, home-made Egyptian flatbreads and a variety of spice mixes.”

Their space has been carefully designed with an open layout, to encourage an environment of sharing a meal—an old, honoured tradition and an expression of hospitality.

Opening the popular middle eastern eateries has involved a sometimes-steep learning curve. That said, Wally says his experiences with Subway—including his established relationship with Coca-Cola Amatil—has made for a somewhat less bumpy ride.

“Funnily enough, my Coca-Cola representative from my Subway restaurants is now the area manager where BEKYA is located, so we already know each other,” he says

“They’ve actually provided invaluable help with our set up—from helping with the bar design to recommending and supplying our beverages at the restaurant.”

Coca Cola Amatil working with

When it comes to support, Coca-Cola Amatil has plenty to provide its customers. As well as advice on beverage selection and optimal stock levels, the team also provides bar runners, straw holders, and coasters; as well as decals to place behind the bar, reminding staff how to pour the perfect beverage. Around the restaurant, Coca-Cola Amatil offers branded glassware, signage and cutlery holders.  

Then there’s the personalized support on offer. Wally says due to his relationship over the years, and particularly because of the successful high volume trading with The Greenhouse café at Centennial Park, Coca-Cola Amatil came on board with the BEKYA brand from day one.

“They pretty much did our bar design—helping design for a maximum workflow of the bar area, including the coffee section at our flagship restaurant at The Tramsheds Harold Park,” he says.

“We went to their Grinders Coffee headquarters in Leichhardt, where we got Barista Training on their machines. Perhaps more importantly, we got their Alcohol Beverage Ambassador, Michael Nouri to meet with us and come up with a middle eastern cocktail menu using middle eastern flavours such as Hibiscus, Rosemary, Thyme, and Mint.

“As our business—BEKYA—continues to grow, I have no doubt Coca-Cola Amatil will grow with us.”

Related Article:

Five lessons I learned as a restaurateur

About the Author

Melanie Hearse has been working as a freelance writer for 15 years—covering new fads in food, exercise, adventure, travel and more.

 

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