Not sure where to start? Read on.
Do You Dream of Reducing Your Work Day by 2hrs… Every Day?
While this is an audacious goal for many of us I truly believe that by effectively using digital tools you can achieve this.
Regional Business Toolkit is all about inspiring, teaching and supporting business owners from around regional Australia to leverage digital tools to not only maximise their business but to reclaim their lives too.
My Journey: From tech dabbler to digital coach.
Founder / Digital Strategist
My name is Caolan O’Connor and I’ve been dabbling in tech since early high school when neighbours asked me to optimise the config.sys files on their PCs so their computers would run better (that was tough stuff in the early 90s).
With a background in building exciting outdoor education businesses (like turning a village into a new outdoor education facility) I quickly grew to love the digital tools that created consistency, developed brand awareness and increased productivity.
With a double degree in teaching and a career in adventure-based learning and leadership facilitation it was obvious that I had a burning desire to give people the tools and help them learn to develop themselves and their businesses.
Around that time Regional Business Toolkit was born.
You can read more about me via my About page.
Getting Online - the Regional Toolkit Definition
“Getting Online” means different things to different people but one thing remains the same - the digital space is evolving rapidly for businesses in regional Australia. Tools come and go, but the principles of getting your business online remain fairly consistent.
- An online ‘home base’. This is typically your website.
- Being part of the conversation on relevant channels where your audience hangs out. This often social media but can include video, traditional media, local networking, review sites and more.
- Creating content that helps attract, teach and engage your audience.
- Developing the systems to increase consistency or even scale your business.
- Leveraging and combining all these steps through automation so you can spend more time focusing on the things that matter most.
Essential Tool #1 A Website with a Blog
A website is your home base online. It’s digital real estate that you own and control.
There are free options out there like Blogger or WordPress.com and DIY services like Wix and SquareSpace. Those are great options for some, but I don’t recommend that path for three important reasons:
1. When you use a free service, your domain name will almost always be an extension of the service provider’s own domain.
2. You have fewer customisation options for design, functionality and revenue generation.
For example I know that with using Wix sites you are limited to using only certain plugins.
3. When you build your business on someone else’s platform your business is vulnerable to any changes they might make.
For example, if SquareSpace were bought out tomorrow then your whole online business would be at risk of any new sweeping changes that the new owners brought with them.
For these three reasons I recommend going with a self-hosted website - and specifically one that combines the WordPress platform with Beaver Builder (a robust visual editor). This gives you fantastic control over your website, makes you look more professional, and is something you can truly call your own.
Already have a WordPress website and are looking to reduce the time you spend maintaining it?
I’m tool agnostic. It doesn’t matter if you have files on Dropbox, Google Drive, your own online server or somewhere else entirely. What does matter is that you can access your files anywhere.
Getting your files in the cloud has three great benefits:
1. An enterprise level cloud storage solution likely has a far better backup plan than your 8 year old laptop.
Hardware will fail, your computer will fail. Having your files online with one of the bigger cloud storage providers gives you peace of mind that when you’re computer does fail your business files can still be accessed from your phone, tablet or other device until you’re able to restore your main computer.
2. You can work anywhere you have internet.
I’m not suggesting you work while you’re at the beach (although you can). But one of the complexities of working in regional Australia is the distance between us and our customers. Perhaps you work with someone who lives in the next town, or on a farm a 30min drive away. Having your files in the cloud lets either your customers “self serve” and then follow up with you via phone, or gives you access to all your documents while you’re on the road.
3. Having documents online is a critical step in connecting tools together for increased productivity and automation.
Perhaps you want to connect your accounting software to your email provider so you can send automated billing reminders. Perhaps you want to connect an enquiry checklist with your quoting software so that a draft quote is created without you lifting a finger.
The list is endless, but having your business “in the cloud” is an essential first step in allowing other tools to ‘talk to it’.
I Appreciate You!
I just wanted to finish by saying that I'm here for you, not only as a guide while you begin or continue getting your business more online but also as a friend.
I do my best to respond to all emails, and I don't hold myself above anybody else. I'm not special, I'm just a guy who likes to work hard, work smart, and use the skills and knowledge I have to make regional Australia a better place.
Thank you so much for your support. And if you've made it this far I'd love for you to come and say hi to me on my Facebook Page. I'll definitely respond, and I look forward to meeting you!.