How we’re helping Queensland businesses ‘Get Up To Speed’

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We’re super excited because this week we hit the road with the first in a series of seven information evenings around Queensland to tell people about the new Government funded program called Get Up To Speed. First cab off the rank is the Sunshine Coast, and we’ll then travel between now and end April to Logan, Cairns, Townsville, Ipswich, Gold Coast and finally end up in Moreton Bay.

These events are totally free and no obligation so we hope many Queensland business people will make the most of the opportunity to come along and hear about the incredible opportunity the digital age presents.

Unfortunately, many business people are so time poor, and often struggling so much financially at the moment that they aren’t always taking time out to find out about these new technologies which could save them the very money and time that they are so lacking in.

The fact is there are sweeping changes going on throughout the Australian business environment (and indeed globally) and if you don’t make finding out about what technology may exist to save you, you may not even have a business soon!

Whilst it may sound brutal, that’s exactly what we’ll be talking about at these events. In short, it’s high time you Get Up To Speed! to find out what your business is really capable of.

Many business people do have a sense that technology is moving very fast, but they’re simply not making learning more about it, and actually implementing some changes a priority.

The thing is, the digital age is not coming, it’s already here, and it’s not going away. It really is high time to start taking a serious look at not just your website, or your marketing strategies, but indeed your entire business model.

You may have heard of the saying ‘From Bricks to Clicks’?

There is a massive migration going on right now from offline shopping to online shopping and this is just one of the many trends businesses are facing.

You may even be contributing to this change by the way you research or shop for whatever it is you want. I know I much prefer getting even something as basic as my supermarket shopping online as opposed to dragging two mischievous kids around for an hour as they try and sneak unwanted items into the already overflowing trolley.

Probably the most recent and high profile casualty in the move from Bricks to Clicks is the electronic chain WOW Sight and Sound.  Clever man Dick Smith in the contrary sold out some time ago to Woolworths Limited, as he had the foresight to anticipate rather than react to rapid changes. He is however jumping up and down that plans are afoot for Woolworths to sell the chain of 200 stores which still bare his name to oversea investors. [See: http://manly-daily.whereilive.com.au/news/story/dont-sell-out-my-brand/]

Another high profile example of major retailers who are struggling with the bricks to clicks phenomenon is Gerry Harvey of Harvey Norman who vowed to never sell online and who within 12 months has done a complete ‘about face’ and ended up selling online. Unfortunately for him the company’s projections of being able to do 5% of all their sales online in 2012 have now been scaled back to 1-2%.

But it’s no wonder that the very traditional and multi-chain stores struggle with the move from bricks to clicks when you look at the employee ratios. Consider this: Catch of the Day is a $200 million business and reportedly only has 200 staff. Dick Smith is a $1.8 billion business but has over 5,300 employees. Harvey Norman with its $2.7billion business hires over 5500 employees through its bricks and mortar consumer electronics business. [Read more about this here: https://www.womeninfocus.com.au/docs/DOC-1545].

In the contrary, supermarkets are powering along by keeping a foot in both camps (i.e. bricks and clicks). In August last year Coles reported that revenues from its e-commerce channel were the equivalent of five bricks and mortar supermarkets. [See: http://www.powerretail.com.au/news/coles-sees-major-surge-in-online-sales/].

It’s issues like these that we will be discussing at the information sessions so if it sounds interesting come along.

innovate or die…

A lot of people argue that when it comes to the NBN, they already have email, a website and internet that is fast enough to do what they want to do thank you very much. But they don’t realize that the NBN and the Digital Age in general represents a massive opportunity to do things differently. What kind of things? Well just about everything actually….

Think about it. Just about every aspect of our lives has changed dramatically in a short space of years. The way we bank (when was the last time you deposited a cheque?), the way we shop (as per above), the way we socialize (800 million people now on Facebook – I rest my case), the way we meet potential partners (1 in 8 people of married couples in America met online).

If you are ‘over’ email like I am, have you considered implementing ‘live chat’ on your website which will allow people to communicate with you in real time and probably save a bunch of emails?

If you are as time poor as so many of you say you are, have you thought about employing a virtual assistant so you can start working on the business and not in it?

If you spend half your week issuing bills and chasing bills, have you thought about automating some of your systems so a computer issues your invoices and follows them up, thus freeing you up to grow your business?

If you spend way too much time looking for emails or electronic files you’ve misplaced and are skating on thin ice without any real back up system in place, have you thought about finding out more about cloud computing which can also buy you a fair chunk of lifestyle as in many cases it allows you to work from your phone anytime, anywhere.

These are just a few things we’ll be exploring at the information sessions for the Get Up To Speed Program and throughout the duration of this 12 week program which features webinars, elessons, a private facebook group, an online resource portal, access to mentors plus much more.

Come along to one of the following information sessions in an area near you to find out more (see list below) and if you’re not in one of these areas, but you are in Queensland and you’d like to participate, watch our Facebook page for an update on when a free no obligation webinar will be taking place. http://www.facebook.com/getuptospeedprogram.

Tuesday 27 March – Sunshine Coast – Maroochydore Library, 44 Sixth Avenue, Cotton Tree, QLD 4558 – Reserve your place now.

Tuesday 10 April – Logan – Eagle Room 2 , Springwood Tower Hotel, Level 1, 9 Murrajong Road, Springwood – Reserve your place now.

Thursday 12 April – Cairns – Council Civic Room’s, Cairns Regional Council, Ground Floor, 119 – 145 Spence Street, Cairns, QLD 4870  – Reserve your place now.

Wednesday 18 April – Townsville – Venue TBC – Reserve your place now.

Monday 23 April – Gold Coast – Venue TBC – Reserve your place now.

Tuesday 24 April – Ipswich – The Barry Jones Auditorium, Ipswich City Council, Ground Floor IGIC Building, 40 South Street, Ipswich, QLD 4305 – Reserve your place now.

Thursday 26 April – Moreton – Tom Petrie Room, Strathpine Community Centre, 199 Gympie Road, Strathpine, QLD 4500  – Reserve your place now.

Representatives from the Get Up To Speed Program will also be available at the following events should you wish to connect and find out more about the program.

Tuesday 17 April – Gladstone – Digital Economy Forum – Grand Hotel, Goondoon St, Gladstone, QLD. Free to attend.

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