Digital Business Advice for Rural and Regional South Australian Businesses

You need free independent digital business advice for your rural or regional business in South Australia but you can’t get someone to come to you. We know how it is. We’ve worked with hundreds of businesses in metropolitan Adelaide over the past few years but the rural and regional businesses usually come to us. This year during February and March we are going to trial blocking out a time on Monday and Tuesday morning and making it available on a first come first served basis.

If these times don’t suit, don’t worry, give us a call and we can see where we can slot you in to the regular schedule.

How does it work?

The digital business adviser will call you on an agreed number on the day you are booked. He will review your current online presence (if you have one) and give advice on the direction you could take for improvements. This could include reviewing your website, social media and any other online tools or locations you are using. For new businesses, the focus might be on how to purchase a domain name and set up a new website or perhaps focus on your start up online marketing.

Want to come to us instead? No problems…..

Call the Polaris Business and Innovation Centre on 08 8260 8205 to book a time for your meeting with our Digital Business Adviser.

Book now or call Rhys for more information.

Eventbrite - Digital Business Advice for Rural and Regional South Australian Businesses

Kick start 2016 with one of your most essential tools, your business website 

Guest blog post by Allison Miller, Vanguard Visions 

The start of 2016 offers you the opportunity to kick start your year in the right direction through one of your most essential tools your business website.

Whether you are just starting out developing a website or it’s time to review your existing business website’s offering, here are some helpful tips to ensure your website is ready to lead your business through a successful year.

Start with the basics: Name your website correctly

On the internet, search engines like Google rule the world as they allow existing customers to easily find you and they bring organic traffic to your website through web searches or ‘googling’.
In order for these search engines to easily link your business website to people’s searches it is important to make it clear what your business does through the website’s name and URL (Uniform Resource Locator), aka the web link which directs people to your website.

If you already have a website, it may be time to reconsider the URL or even your business name to make it more user-friendly on the web.

Grab it quick: Register your website’s domain name

Once you have some idea about what you will call your website ensure you register the domain name or URL, eg eastmeetswestexports.com, as soon as possible.  If you are not 100% ensure which URL will be the final one, register a couple of names. This can be easily and cheaply done through website name registration sites such as Crazy Domains or Go Daddy.

Go alone or get help: Consider who will develop your business website

Creating a website can be very overwhelming as there is so much to know and do. One of the first things to do is to work out if you will be creating your own website or whether you will be getting someone else to do it.  This is basically a game of your time vs your money – that is, do you have the time to learn how to create and then develop a website or would it be better to invest the money in getting someone else who is a professional in this area to do it?  Either way, it’s costing you money, as your time is money as you could be developing your business rather a website (which is not your core business).

Don’t leave it empty: Determine where the content is coming from

Now that have your website planned out, the next thing to consider is: What information will you put on your business website and who is going to create this content? Content is king on the inter-web, but it is also one of the biggest stumbling blocks in getting a website finished.  Choosing the right content for your website is important, so always ensure it is appealing and useful to the website users. A business website is just like a house – it’s never finished. It always needs to look fresh and appealing to visitors through new and exciting content, and it needs to be kept neat and tidy with any rubbish removed out of sight, so once established, continually review your website for ways to improve it.

Click here to read the full version of this article by Allison Miller of Vanguard Visions to learn more about how you can ensure your website is ready to lead your business through a successful year.
Do you want to know other ways of ensuring your website is ready to lead your business through a successful year?

Register for Online Business Essentials – 17 February – Workshop (Adelaide) – being run by Allison Miller for the Polaris Business and Innovations Centre

 

Amazon Web Services and local IT company Comunet to speak at final Digital Horizons event for 2015

We are super pleased to be partnered with Amazon Web Services (AWS) and local AWS partner Comunet to offer a free event on December 2nd. Regardless of if  you are a startup or employing 200 or more employees, your website and online presence is a massive part of your business. So how do you go about choosing your hosting and what happens when you need to get bigger? What choices can you make now that might help you to avoid pain down the track? These are common questions for businesses, small medium or large and we will take a shot at answering some of these, if not all at our next Digital Horizons event.

Mark Ogden, CEO of Comunet will share some local stories as he will be keynoting the event along with Andy Meakin, Regional Sales Manager SA/WA at Amazon Web Services.

Complimentary food and drinks will also be served at this free event.

You can book into the event via Eventbrite. We look forward to seeing you there.

Are you a recent or current UniSA student starting a business?

Do you have a great idea that could turn into the next start up?

UniSA students and recent graduates (up to 12 months) can apply for up to $50,000 to kickstart their business idea! Start your adventure now by applying for Venture Catalyst funding. You can receive up to $50,000 to help you realise your great idea.

For further information see www.unisa.edu.au/venturecatalyst or contact Jasmine Vreugdenburg on 8302 5477 or jasmine.vreugdenburg@itek.com.au

 

 

Innovative Small Businesses Collect Prestigious Industry Awards

Two innovative small businesses based in the City of Salisbury have been recognised for their development of innovative products at several recent awards.

XPed, based at Mawson Lakes, won the Research and Development category in the South Australian section of the prestigious iAwards.

The iAwards honours companies at the cutting edge of technology innovation and recognises the achievements of home-grown Australian innovators.

XPed was recognised for its ADRC Platform, a revolutionary technology that allows anyone using their smartphone to connect, monitor and control electronic devices and appliances found in our everyday environment. ADRC has the capability to standardise the way we interact with the thousands of devices and appliances around us.

Salisbury South firm, K-Tig, won the Innovator Award at the DTC Defence Industry Awards.

The awards, organised annually by the Defence Teaming Centre, are the peak industry event and play a critical role in identifying and acknowledging the contribution of leading companies within the defence community.

K-TIG has developed an ultra-high-speed, full penetration welding technology that welds up to 100 times faster than conventional welding in materials up to 16mm in thickness – in one pass.

“It’s tremendous to be acknowledged by the defence industry as a leading innovator” said Belinda Latz, K-TIG Operations Manager who accepted the award. “Innovation is literally at the core of what we do, and this award comes at a very exciting time in the development of our company and technology”.

Future of Retail Event Wrap Up

The first Digital Horizons event (the Future of Retail Online) went live last night, not only IRL (in real life) but also streamed online via Periscope. The Periscope thing was a bit of an afterthought as I really wanted to test it’s effectiveness. I was pleasantly surprised to discover that 559 people viewed the broadcast live. I had been hoping to save the recording but unfortunately I closed the app on my iPhone before I had saved it and so the recording seems to have disappeared. Sorry, I’m learning here. If you watched it at all, it would be great if you could give us some feedback. Indeed, if you attended and you would like to provide some feedback, please do so in the comments below, on Facebook, or drop us an email.

the panel being livestreamed on Periscope

the panel being live streamed on Periscope

Our keynote speaker, Dr. John Flackett from Koolth was fantastic with some thought provoking commentary about where technology is headed for the online retail space. I was particularly interested in his predictions about retina tracking though I hope things don’t go all “Demolition Man” on us…..

The discussion panel was really informative and and talk was not only about the future of retail as it also took a turn towards security, Google and the effects of mobile tech on websites. Thanks again to Wendy Gomersall, Michael Macolino, Steve Barrett, AJ Jawhari, Deniz Subasi and a late ring in effort by Luis Penascoza.

Facebook Goodness

We put a load of photos onto our Facebook page which you can browse and tag yourself in.

Dr. John Flackett, our keynote speaker, addressed the question “What does the future hold for retail online?”…

Posted by The Polaris Centre on Tuesday, 5 May 2015

Tweets Galore

The social media channels were pumping on the night and there were a bunch of tweets and pics flying up online. Browse our twitter to see more than the ones I have embedded below.

Thanks again to our exhibitors.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Local tech companies to talk about future of retail online.

As part of our Digital Growth program which is partially funded by the Department of State Development, we are proud to announce the first in a series of three Digital Horizons events. The event Digital Horizons: Future of Retail Online which is being held at the Innovation House Conference Centre in Mawson Lakes , on May 5th, boasts Dr John Flackett as the Keynote Speaker.  John will be exploring the future of retail online and take a close look at what the future looks like for intelligent categorising of online content and what that means for sales sites.

Technology is the key to the future of retail, and this event will showcase new and exciting technologies and look into the crystal ball for things that may yet be some distance over the horizon. If you are a small business owner, retail technologist, bricks and mortar retailer or online sales practitioner, this event is for you.

We have opened up the opportunity for businesses to exhibit at this event and so far can confirm Merchminer, Back and Front, Payhero, Clear Business DynamicsExecutive Accessories and Koolth will be displaying info at exhibitor stands before and after the speakers. If you wanted to exhibit or were interested in becoming our series sponsor/partner and get access to hundreds of local businesses, please contact Rhys on 0400 838 494.

There will be a chance for audience participation with the expert panel sharing their experiences and knowledge and being available to take questions on the topic. Take a look at the event landing page for more info about the sponsors, exhibitors and expert panelists. The $15 earlybird tickets won’t last, and with food and drinks also being provided, the networking after the event will give attendees the chance to talk some more on the topic at hand and give the opportunity to make new business connections.

I look forward to seeing you there.

Refreshing our site with a new WordPress theme.

I’ve said it many times to businesses that I have worked with at the Polaris Centre- “a website should never be static” and “making regular changes to the look and feel of the site can be healthy for traffic”. I acknowledge that website refreshes can be costly and time consuming but if you are using a content management system with a theme or template system (like WordPress) then changing the look and feel of a site could be a fairly simple process. So to put my talk into action, I spent a week or so over the Christmas and New Year “quiet” period to work on a new look and feel  with a new WordPress theme for the Polaris Centre website.

Rather than spending up big on bespoke design (which is what our previous site involved), I really wanted to take the path that is a common course of action for small businesses like thosewith which I am often working. The core facets to the refresh are:

· Don’t reinvent the wheel regarding our content, largely use existing images and words (but reduce the use of stock images)

· Use a purchased premium theme to keep costs down and reflect the choice of many businesses (I chose the Enfold theme which I purchased from Themeforest)

· Ensure flexibility for further changes and refreshes by choosing a flexible theme

· Build and test the site locally and then upload the new theme and content to the hosting after approval

· Have a new content focus on programs, calls to actions and usability

· Incorporate our events in an understandable and easily navigable way

I fully understand that WordPress has its detractors (just mentioning WordPress to some of my mates who are hardcore developers is likely to result in a lengthy hopeless debate) and as with any content management system it comes with its fair share of risk (just recently there was a major hack reportedly effecting over 100,000 sites). Having said that, this process has made me feel confident to continue to recommend it to startup businesses as a low cost and relatively easy way to set up a web presence. I still believe that WordPress is a very user friendly and largely quite intuitive tool.

It’s important to note that I do not think that “off the shelf” WordPress themes are the best solution in many scenarios. Also, I strongly believe that beautiful, bespoke graphic design and a focus on user experience is what is essentially needed for the most memorable sites. The important and creative work of web developers and graphic designers is essential for an original and beautiful site. For many businesses, those bespoke sites and creative skills are out of reach due to the cost factor and the current economic climate and a new WordPress theme can provide the necessary elements to get a business up on line.

I welcome feedback on the site and hopefully it will continue to grow and improve over the coming year.

If you are looking for some advice on your business’s web presence, take a look at the new Digital Growth Program page and register to get your free Digital Audit or Digital Start meeting booked in.

Brace Yourself! Our January client story about mensbraces.com.au

We love hearing great client stories of new ventures and successes. This month we heard that Wendy from Executive Accessories who blogged for us a while back about moving to Shopify had started a new site, this time using Bigcommerce. I asked Wendy to write up a little post for us to share her site and experiences.

Neil and I are very proud to have launched our third e-commerce store www.mensbraces.com.au

Braces have always been a popular line on our flagship site www.executiveaccessories.com.au and our customers are always telling us how pleased they are to find us. So we decided to make it easier by creating an online boutique specialising in braces.

We are hoping that by creating this niche store we will become the go-to destination for mens braces in Australia.

Our aim is to have the largest selection of quality braces in Australia and with over 60 styles to choose from we are already well on the way. The range includes airport friendly braces (that don’t set alarm bells ringing!), formal button on suspenders and even super soft braces that you can wear next to your skin if you don’t want to tuck your shirt in.

Once again we have decided to go with an e-commerce platform – where we pay a monthly subscription and have access to amazing features and functionality – rather than having a stand-alone website built. However this time we opted for a Bigcommerce site (our other two stores run on the Shopify platform), and so far so good.

Bigcommerce is an Aussie company, which is great. But they charge in US dollars, which is not so great (especially given the exchange rate at the moment!). The support is fantastic and there is a good selection of themes to choose from.

The site is only a month old and we are still “tweaking” it, but once it’s been up and running a little longer and hopefully risen in the search engine results, I will post a comparison between Shopify and Bigcommerce. So watch this space!

In the meantime we would love some feedback on the website!

 

Wendy Gomersall

Executive Accessories

Thanks Wendy! Very informative and I look forward to hearing how it goes.

If you are reading this and think you might have a story worth sharing, shoot me through an email or give us a call at Polaris.

Creating a guerrilla marketing juggernaut – LinkedIn for Teams

You asked for it and now we are going to deliver. Our LinkedIn for Teams workshop has been in high demand throughout the last six months of the Digital Enterprise Program and now we will be offering this workshop for delivery at your small business, corporate, local government organisation or even at your not-for-profit. Finally the chance to understand how your team can maximise the marketing opportunities offered by LinkedIn.

We will tailor the workshop to your team and industry to give you the highest benefit.

Topics covered:

  • Refining your LinkedIn Company Page
  • Orchestrating a LinkedIn for Teams organic campaign
  • Using LinkedIn advertising
  • Going Pro or no?
  • Benefits of LinkedIn Talent Solutions

If you would like to register your interest in the LinkedIn for Teams for your organisation in 2015 sign up for our advance notice list.