Business Insight


It’s 2016 and technology plays a pivotal role in companies making them more competitive, innovative and more valuable by utilising technology. There are many success stories currently that show the disruptive nature of technology in various industries. We can see how some companies have gained huge market share by harnessing technology to make their sales proposition different and ultimately more valuable to customers. Some of these are now “household names” and now ubiquitous to customers on a global market.

1. Uber – The largest taxi company in the world yet it owns no taxis. So much has been said and written about this massively disruptive player in the taxi market. It is a truly global company operating in 67 countries and it’s the most valuable startup company in history. Why is it so popular – because it is giving customers something different and valuable by using their smart phones to order a taxi.

2. Airbnb – Another huge global player that has similarly to Uber attracted its fair share of controversy, and it owns no property. I’ve used this myself on trips to New York, Portugal, Galway and it is a brilliant service offering something different if you prefer something more authentic and in most cases cheaper for your accommodation on holiday.

3. Whatsapp – It has overtaken sms now for text messages and again using wifi and 3g allows the user to send texts, photos, videos over the internet. It was valued at $18bn by Facebook in its acquisition so that says it all in terms of its value to Facebook and its’ customers.

4. Amazon – The growth of Amazon from selling books to almost anything you can think of was the vision of Jeff Bezos to make the online store “the everything store”. With global revenue of $89bn it’s fair to say that it has been a phenomenal success that looms large over other well established companies in the retail market.

5. Facebook and twitter – Both these companies have completely changed how we communicate in the modern globalised world. Here in Northern Ireland I listened to the Profit Margin podcast recently with great interest to hear about Plotbox, who are revolutionising the way cemeteries are managing their allotments through the use of their clever software. So what does this mean for your business? Quite simply, what these companies have done is use technology to gain competitive advantage over their rival firms, and in some cases actually create new markets for their own services.
The question business owners now need to ask is how are they using technology in their business to have a competitive advantage either by:

• Improving profitability
• Becoming more efficient by improving current processes
• Reduce costs
• Increase sales

The good news is that there is powerful technologies available for small businesses to use that has the potential to allow them to become more competitive by giving them more time in their business and use that time more valuably to improve and make more profit. These are some of the applications we are using with our clients to really help them harness technology to improve their processes and give them more time to spend on more valuable activities.

1. Xero – Online Accounting software
We are using this with our clients to allow them to keep their books and records up to date in real time. They have more time compared to how this was done previously. More importantly they have better information on how their business is performing so they can make better decisions.

In addition:
• Easy to use accounting software
• No backups, no software to install
• Online invoicing
• Automatic updates
• Multi currency, Multi users
• UK Payroll built in
• Full suite of reporting – Profit & loss, cash flow, balance sheet, VAT

2. Receipt bank
With Receipt Bank’s easy submission methods you’ll never lose another receipt or invoice. Using Receipt Bank’s easy submission methods means that:

● You save timeon sending in your paperwork, time that you can spend on your core business services.
● You save spaceas there’s no need to retain your physical documents, with it all documents easily searchable and securely stored on the cloud.
● You now have real time informationflowing into your accounting package, providing you with insights to improve your business decisions.

3. Gocardless
• Get paid quicker by sending customers a link on online invoices which they can use to pay you
• Setup direct debits with ease using Gocardless superb online dashboard

4. Evernote
With Evernote you can clip bits and pieces of information from the web, tag them for easy searching, and alter any of them by adding to it, condensing it, or embedding pictures, tables, audio, video, and the like. You can also use Evernote for organic notes and journaling, to-do lists, recipes, contacts, and even storage for tweets or emails that you want to keep handy. I use this all the time to keep notes, brainstorm ideas, take photos of business cards for example and saves having to write it down and risk losing that lightbulb moment you just had.

5. iZettle
There’a a great video attached showing the power of izettle for a small business. iZettle is card payments made easy, enabling you to run your business on a smartphone or tablet, in-store and on the go.

• 5 minutes to complete the sign-up process
• With Smart Rate you only pay per transaction, 2,75 – 1,5%
• No monthly fees or lock-in contracts
• Accept all major cards

6. Satago & Chaser – Both addons for Xero
• Send automatic email reminders to your customers and get paid quicker as a result
• Save time and money chasing debts
• Ensures all team members are aware of late paying customers
• Satago allows credit checking on new customers with Experian

7. Transfermate
TransferMate aim to eliminate bank charges and senders/receivers fees. They offer better exchange rates than banks, zero fees for transactions over £5,000 and same day transfers are standard in most cases. Banks offer a limited online platform whereas TransferMate provide a 24 hour online platform allied to a 24 hour call centre.

We’re here to help

At the start of a new year isn’t it time you starting to think about emulating some of the most successful businesses mentioned above and about how you could be using more technology in your business. These are just some of the apps we are helping our clients with and they are saving huge amounts of time in their business which they can then use to work on their business and grow.

If you would like to speak to us about how we can help you, please contact us.