In response to demand from a wide variety of our clients we decided to develop a training portal which later became a directory.
The directory was designed as a platform for promoting local events, businesses, and tourist information on the Internet. A listing comprised of a few pictures, a brief description and some contact details. It very soon became a local online community and a valuable place for people to share information. The amount of clients using the software and training grew exponentially month on month.
It was then that we realised that this free directory service was going to become a business in itself. The business started as most businesses do, using the help of friends and family to manage day to day enquiries and to procure more business. The business expanded largely with the help of word of mouth. With our on going commitment to the management, stock control and training systems we had supplied, it became very clear we needed more staff.
Provided A Client Dashboard For the directory and integrated shared features from our other products.
In order to empower the clients, we created the dashboard to enable them to manage and edit their own information. They could now upload and change content as often as they wished, including uploading images, weblinks, etc. We integrated our ticket system in order to control and manage client requests and queries. We also included a professional reporting tool used to monitor and display statistical information.
Before long, there was a demand for our service outside the local area. We expanded to a national business with a sales team. As we grew further we would eventually open several offices with sales people based in different towns across the UK. We continued to offer a free, basic service but also added more chargeable premium products with additional features to our portfolio.
Expanded training and support services, integraded payment gateways in our shopping carts and website designs
A lot of businesses at this time were embracing the Internet. Home working networks were becoming possibile due to advances in technology. The phrase that best describes this is "work is an activity, not a place." For many businesses their in-house software was only available in the office which posed a problem. We ported their software to the Cloud if it was viable, made adaptations and changes and in some cases provided a completely new management system.
The consequences of these changes and the way in which business was conducted, were the need for us to offer more training and support for the new platforms and software. Our clients began to aspire to establish and build an internet presence. We therefore found a greatly increased demand for our shopping carts and web-design products, including invoicing and electronic payment gateways.
Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) and Developing As a Data Provider for all Search Engines globally.
By 2011, with the increased use of Search Engines, which had first appeared toward the end of the 1990's, the focus was on the all-important Search Engine ranking. Search Engine Optimisation or SEO, became a vital part of Internet promotion and our clients wanted us to provide this service for them. We decided at this point to optimise all articles in our Business Directory to provide this service.
Search engines don’t hold data they only index links to data, so our directory product was adapted to become a data provider for the search engines. Our SEO tools were initially proven in optimising and promoting our own business websites before becoming an integral part of our directory product. 2011 also saw our expansion into Europe as part of our 5 year plan to become an international business.
Focus On The Customer Experience and New Opportunities Arising From Our Launch in The United States.
It seemed logical to build on the success we enjoyed in Europe and our 5 year plan to become a truly international business was furthered by our US launch. Our attention was also centred on the user experience and in enhancing the look and feel of our products, replacing menus with tiles, for example, to give a more modern Metro-style design. Our creative vision also encompassed the requirements of touch-based equipment and enabling the software to be used with equal success on PC's, laptops and mobile devices
As a constantly evolving business, we continually evaluate our products as well as our processes and procedures, in order to continue to grow and to provide our customers with the very best service. Our launch in North America opened up new opportunities and fresh ideas which have helped to shape our future plans.
Our Launch in Canada; Research and Development into New Features and Products for the Future.
The end of 2015 has seen us prepare for a full launch in Canada in 2016, with a "soft" launch. Our reception here, so far, has been very positive and we are looking forward to developing our Canadian business. Our products go from strength to strength. Our development team has been extremely busy, working on a number of additional features which we plan to be able to offer our clients in the near future.
Whilst still retaining, growing and supporting our European business, we strongly anticipate that North America may well overtake it as our main customer base in the next 24 months. Canada and the USA are a very interesting and dynamic market place in which to be working. This is a very exciting time for us. Please check back regularly for further news and updates.