Virtual Networking

We are all having to embrace our inner ‘tech nerd’ and go virtual

Since we have all gone into social isolation we are having to learn to utilise technologies that businesses have tried to embrace for decades. 

Twenty years ago, video-conferencing always seemed so stilted so companies that had tried to lead the way, usually ended up going back to face to face meetings. Teams travelling hundreds of miles, costs of travel and accommodation adding a burden on the business, not to mention all that lost time. 

Now plenty of businesses use some form of virtual meetings to connect teams but it wasn’t the norm and most people still prefer to have meetings in a room together. In the last two weeks, it’s all changed. Everyone that can, is working from home, client meetings done via Skype, presentations and training via Zoom. 

Families and friends have adjusted to using FaceTime or Skype rather than meeting up and virtual pub quizzes abound. Hopefully this will be something that we all continue when we are finally allowed back out. 

What may end up being a plus of our enforced isolation – 

We are talking to our nearest and dearest more often. 

We have reconnected with neighbours (over the garden fence.)

We may have finally cracked the working from home.

We will be sitting down to our first virtual networking session next week. It might seem a little strange to start off with but it might change how we do things forever. 

Remote Working

Remote Working 

We have all been told to work from home where possible. For a lot of people that is impossible, but for those of us that can, we are going to need a way of connecting to the office.

A lot of offices have sorted this out already, and it really isn’t rocket science, but it does take a bit of planning and cost. 

There will therefore be a lot of office workers who still want to work, but are not able to justify going to the office due to self-isolation, and really need to set up a method of communication to get their work done.

Enter Claris FileMaker Cloud.

If you have a home computer and a connection to the internet, then you can work from home.

For a very small outlay you can get the part of your office system that you work on replicated in a portable form, so you can be up and running in a few days.

We are not here to replace what you currently have – just give you the ability to work on the data while not in the office.

Small systems are quick and cost-effective to create. And they will mean more of your staff will be able to work from home.

Call or email today to see how quick this could be done for you. We will not need to come to you – a skype call is normally all that is needed to get the details we need to create you a simple, remote working system.

07720 894129 – james@storganise.co.uk

Case Study – The Sussex Sign Company

After 25 years of making signs for virtually every business in Sussex, and plenty more outside, The Sussex Sign Company are at the forefront of their field, and remain “nice people to do business with.”

What they excel at is making signs, and sign-writing vehicles.

What they want to also excel at is keeping their customers coming back for more, year after year.

In order to help with this, we were approached to create a simple CRM (Customer Relationship Manager) system.

“We’ve looked at a lot of these, but they seem much more complicated than we need” said Norman Mayhew, CEO, when he first approached us.

“What we want is a list of all the clients we have had in the last 25 years, and a way of our sales team to go through them, one by one, and check that they are happy, and if they would like to book in any more work”

A simple problem deserved a simple solution. 

This is a mock up of the database but no actual data is provided. Any resemblance to actual phone or email data is entirely unintentional

We created an entirely bespoke system, for the sales team to log in each day, and work through the current list of clients. Log each call at the click of a button, make any notes, and book in any more jobs that are required.

A separate section for the manager to easily see each sales person’s progress, and set their KPIs each day.

Within 3 weeks, after a 3-day build and 2 weeks of user testing, the CRM system is now being used daily by a sales team of 5 with 2 managers.

Sales are up, the application has paid for itself, and the prospect of another 25 years is very much cemented for The Sussex Sign Company.

Norman puts it best…

“What we love about the system is its simplicity. My sales team were able to start working with it after a quick 5-minute briefing. It just makes sense. Obvious buttons doing tasks that we need. Everything we need is there, and we haven’t paid for a lot of extra functions that we will never use.” 

Portfolio Careers –

Presentation given at the Newhaven Chamber of Commerce –

Wednesday 5 February

James has given this presentation this morning and we thought you all might like to see a little of what they get up to at the morning breakfasts. 

Many of you now know me as a Software Developer but most of my working life has been in a different career.

I have had the pleasure to work with some of the countries most outstanding comedians as a Tour Manager…Some YouTube stars, and have toured the world with some pretty iconic bands…but my career isn’t about who I have worked for.

The people I work with have two things in common – 

  • They are all at the top of their game either through hard work and a lucky break or through hard work and more hard work and then a lucky break
  • They are all people. Just people like you and me.

Let’s start with comedians.

Comedians tour all the time, mostly on their own, and they start small doing the club gigs and open mic night. When they get enough success, they can invest in a promoter who will take a nice cut of their ticket sales, but will send them to much bigger venues.

Promoters don’t like comedians touring on their own, as the logistics of getting from A to B and making sure the show looks and sounds great are not where their skills lie. So, people like me get employed to be a Tour Manager, deal with the logistics and Chauffeur to the comedian. 

Once we arrive at the town for that night, I go and set up the show. Sometimes there is a bit of staging…I always have to check the sound is right for spoken voice, and programme the lighting. Sometimes the stage set is a bit bigger and I have to unload a van full of gear and set it up.

An hour or so before the show I go and pick up the comedian, get him or her to do a sound check, then make a cup of tea, or snacks or wine, and at the right time, open the show. During the show, there will probably be some video or sound cues to run.

At the end of the show, all the gear goes back in the car, or van, and you then take the comedian through the crowds for autographs, and back to the hotel. 

The next day, we do it all again.

Touring with bands you just multiply that by 10, 20, 30 etc depending on the size of the tour.  Instead of 1 person doing the staging there might be 20; 3 or 4 Sound Engineers;   Lighting, Video, Catering, tour buses, drivers. Everyone gets to specialise in their area.       

Travelling sounds very glamorous but it’s quite often very long hours, sleeping on a bus and then all day spent in a windowless venue setting up. It’s not often you get time to see any of the amazing places you travel to. 

Being successful at it though is about the same thing we all do to be successful in all our businesses – putting in the long hours, and not stopping until the job is done well enough for you to be proud of your gig.

Twenty years on and the software we used to help pull together the tour dates, day sheets, and travel arrangements and the fledgling skills I developed using FileMaker back then, have now become my new business. 

I have created custom databases to make my life easier and now I am using it to hopefully make your working lives easier too. 

It’s How Much?

We at Storganise towers like to be green. It’s not a statement of intent, or an empty corporate claim, it’s just the way we go about our lives.

Half of our fleet of cars is a Nissan Leaf. We would have gone 100% electric, but the other half of the fleet has to get us to Cornwall each year to go surfing.

Most of our meetings are done via video-conferencing. This saves a whole heap of fossil fuels and wasted hours in travelling.

We recycle more than we throw away, cycle to the office when it’s cycling weather, and work in a shared office environment which reduces wasted heating and lighting to a minimum.
Bully for us. Call Greenpeace. Give us a medal.

Another, inadvertent way we have become green is by not printing anything any more. We haven’t changed to use re-cycled printer cartridges, or 50% bamboo paper. No. We simply don’t print. We could say this is a conscious decision to save our planet’s vital resources and make a better world for our grandchildren. It’s actually because we can’t afford the printer cables.
Well, “can’t afford” isn’t strictly true. But at £15.00 a shot, and with all new printers being suspiciously supplied without them (imagine what our customers would say if we created them some software but no login details for it – “Oh, I didn’t realise you wanted to USE the software. That’ll be an extra £15 please”); we have decided that we don’t want to play the printing game any more.

So when James’s fine and robust 10-year-old printer lead finally went to the great Tandy in the sky, the office printer went from being the thing most people shouted at in the corner to being a lovely new monitor stand.

It’s happier there, and in a funny way, so are we all.

Of course, if you are more committed to making an impact on your carbon footprint, the first thing you should consider is; How do you streamline the way your office works? Are you wasting your staff’s time, and your planet’s resources by unnecessarily printing things that could be stored on a disk, or travelling to see the same assets repeatedly, or doing repetitive tasks again and again and again.

Get in touch. We can take a look at the software you are currently battling with, and come up with a way of you spending less time polluting the atmosphere, and more time enjoying the countryside.

Just don’t ask for a printed quote.

Can You Have Too Much Tech?

I was on holiday last week. I took the brave decision to turn my phone off during the day, and just check it once each night to see if anything important needed my attention.

Being a small business owner, I don’t turn off entirely for a week; would a parent leave their toddler and not check on them? Would Romeo not send Juliet a cheeky text or two? Could a lottery winner go without checking their bank balance?

But being liberated from my emails and phone calls throughout the day made me appreciate the beauty of the Cornish countryside, the laughter of my wife and children, and strangely, the relationship I have with my phone.

We are all tethered to our devices, and are vilified for it by the faux luddites amongst us, but the tech is there for a reason, and has improved our knowledge and general standard of living immensely.

Like it or not, we have a relationship with that little box in our pocket, and going without it makes the 10 minutes together that much sweeter. I doubt Shakespeare would have written “The Two Gentlemen of Samsung” or “The iPhone of Lucretia” were he alive today, but you can certainly bet he’d have had a lot of tech in his sonnets and plays – They’d all have been written in Word for a start.

The SmartPhone then, is more the Nurse to Juliet or the Porter to Macbeth.

Not the Ophelia nor the Desdemona.

So yes, I am having a relationship with my iPhone, but it’s purely platonic.