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.

time management tips

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 downloadable .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.

Online peer group meeting and speaker workshops

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.

These are the thoughts of Ex-Managing Director and Founder of Garden Games Ltd, John Cardy.