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GGP January 2015

64 I T & S O F T WARE Appy days Benjamin Dyer of Powered Now, the mobile admin app designed to take the pain out of paperwork for tradesmen and field trade companies, explains how using the latest According to recent research, two-thirds of the UK population will have a smart device in 2015. And anyone who owns a smartphone or tablet computer will know there is an app for just about everything. Glass and glazing companies can benefit from the rise of the app economy, and from software products in general, by adopting tools that can help you get organised and maybe find more work. Here are some of my favourites… Getting noticed You probably knew you could create a page for your business on Facebook; perhaps you already have. Job done, right? Wrong! Contrary to popular belief, your customers probably aren’t going to find you on Facebook. You have to find them, and it’s actually pretty easy. Here are a couple of ideas: Facebook advertising Facebook advertising is a comparatively cheap way of reaching the people that matter to your business. For many glaziers for example, this means placing your advert in front of people who live in your local area. For just £10, you could reach thousands of people in the town or county you serve and tell them all about your business. However, if Facebook isn’t your thing there are other alternative options, including LinkedIn, Pinterest and Twitter. Each network has its own advertising set up and they are actually really easy to use. Buffer (www.bufferapp.com) Love it or loathe it, social media is here to stay and needs to be part of your marketing strategy. However, few have time to maintain lots of social networks so Buffer helps by giving you one dashboard to update multiple accounts simultaneously. You can schedule posts for when your audience are most likely to read them (e.g. on the way to and from work) and it even gives you suggestions of things to say if your mind goes blank! Cost: Free /$5 pm Feefo (feefo.com) A great way of getting yourself noticed is to let your customers do it for you. There are lots of services that manage customer feedback online, but I reckon Feefo is the leader of the pack. It is completely independent, which is proven to give your customers more confidence when choosing a supplier. Cost: From £99 pm Getting organised Getting yourself organised makes a difference to your bottom line. Our research shows that tradesmen who get back to customers faster with quotes win more work. Powered Now (www.powerednow.com) I have to declare an interest here. Designed specifically for field-based trades working away from the office we have thousands of trade companies using the app which will streamline your paperwork, appointments and payments. Currently, Powered Now supports iPhones and iPads, with the Android version coming later in 2015. The app lets you do everything, from creating an appointment, taking notes and photos of a job, emailing the estimate, letting the client accept, managing the work, through to invoicing and taking payment (by credit/debit card or PayPal) while you’re with the customer. All your information is held in one place and automatically backs up to the cloud whenever there is a wi-fi connection, so even if you break your device, you can download the data to the replacement. Cost: Free /£4.99 pm /£49.99 pa Trello (www.trello.com) Trello is an organisational tool. While this sounds about as exciting as watching paint dry, it’s one of the best products I’ve ever come across. It is used by thousands of diverse companies, from software engineers to construction firms. The appeal with Trello is the flexibility and the ease of use. In its simplest form it’s a bunch of digital post-it notes that can be arranged into groups, shared, commented on and moved. In my business we have several groups of ‘cards’ arranged simply into ‘to do’, ‘doing’ and ‘done’. It’s insanely simple and the visual approach makes it easy and enjoyable to use. Cost: Free /$45 pa Pocket (www.getpocket.com) Pocket works on Android and iOS devices. It is a great offline reading tool that allows you to select and save web articles, pictures and videos for later reading/viewing. Cost: Free /$4.99 pm /$44.99 pa. The trade has always been a little behind the curve when it comes to adopting new technology, however it’s never been this easy to use new tools or online services to make your lives easier. Most of us have at least one computer with us at all times: our smartphone, and using the right software, it can help you build a better business. technology can help to build a better business www.ggp.com January 2015


GGP January 2015
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