Building an effective and efficient business – and transforming industries – using the web

Any old fool’ can get their company website ranked higher on Google.  But there is far more to the web than SEO – search engine optimisation – and far more than monitoring your website’s bounces, clicks and hits.

In a presentation at our Local Leaders’ Meeting, John Cardy of Garden Games Limited explained three ways to reduce costs and increase efficiency – through your website.

1) Automate whatever you can

“In the old days,” said John, “our admin team would come in each day, download the orders from all the emails and phone messages, and then type them up into a list – while the guys in the depot were waiting around, clicking their heels, with little to do. Only around coffee or lunchtime were the orders typed up and ready for the guys to work on – by which time half their day had gone.”

How things have changed.

John does not want his customers phoning in – they just tie up his staff.  So he has automated his customer ordering process, so that all orders are now submitted and processed on his website. Which means they are ready and waiting for the depot guys each morning, when they arrive.

In John’s view, don’t just ask yourself ‘How can I produce things that will sell on the web?’ – instead, ask yourself, ‘How can I use the web to make me more efficient?’

2) Embrace new technology

Most retailing websites have product photos, customer rankings/reviews, and dowloadable .pdf files with more information.

But new technology means you can do much more on the web.  What about having video content, or giving customers a 3D virtual tour?

“Use the web for what only the web will do,” says John.

“Websites of two or three years ago look like they were done in the 1950s. Keep your website up-to-date with the way customers like to review products, and buy.”

Look at some of your favourite websites, for ideas for improving your website.

3) Use your customers to save you time

Supermarkets get us to scan our shopping for them – right?  So why not get your customers to work for you?

To avoid them phoning and pestering you, here are three things you might do:

Publish your price list on your website, and refer customers there for compiling their orders (prices, VAT, packaging costs etc.)
Put product illustrations and images on your website, so they can answer their queries.
Let people monitor their orders’ progress on your website.

According to John, you probably DON’T need a new website, to blog, or to be on Twitter/Facebook. Instead, for him, the answer is to think more like your customers (eg use features they like on your website) and ask yourself: what do you do that costs, but needn’t?

That way you could achieve some of the growth and operational efficiency of Garden Games.

Adrian Leer

Managing Director - Triad

"MD2MD provides an invaluable opportunity for me to learn from my peers, for me to road-test my thinking in a safe environment, and for me to keep developing my leadership skills. "
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Bob Bradley

Bob is a specialist in running high value added service businesses, having run five such businesses as General Manager, Managing Director or Chief Executive. His last employed role was as Chief Executive of a £16M, 200 person family owned business having previously been Chief Executive of an AIM listed company for which he raised £5M funding and which he grew from £4M to £12M in three years through two acquisitions and organic growth, and a corporate PLC subsidiary where he was Managing Director responsible for delivering £10M profit on £45M turnover through 450 staff.

Bob is now following a portfolio career providing entrepreneurial business leaders with mentoring and coaching around business leadership, business growth, merger integration and exit planning.

Core to his portfolio is MD2MD. Having experienced for himself the value of having a strong sounding board of fellow Managing Directors he founded MD2MD in 2004 to provide groups of business leaders with a confidential environment within which they can support and challenge each other to raise their game as leaders and by doing so improve the success of their organisation.

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