Keep Business Selling-Online | Switched on IT

https://youtu.be/IPRqHgq_N6A

Coronavirus Special -“Keep Business Selling-Online”.

On this episode of Switched on IT, Doug Endersbee of Oz Hosting and Ray Sidney-Smith of W3 Consulting discuss the importance of businesses having both a web presence and a place to sell, online. During the COVID-19 crisis, many businesses collapsed because they didn’t have a way to continue trading, outside of their bricks and mortar stores. Understanding the process for building an effective sales portal is more important today than ever.


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Switched On IT with Doug Endersbee from Oz Hosting and Ray Sidney-Smith, Google Small Business Adviser from Washington DC, takes a serious look at what businesses can do to better implement IT solutions in their business. They look at a variety of subjects from “How to deal with security issues” to “How to use social media effectively”.

The show goes live every Tuesday night on our regular scheduled playout and every episode is then available on our Video on Demand section.


Raw, Unedited Text Transcript below.

Barry Knights 0:27 switched on it is proudly brought to you by computer troubleshooters to win the West and AWS hosting cloud Made Easy Welcome to switched on it. I’m Barry This is the show where we talk about everything it today we have our experts with us. Ray Sydney Smith from Washington DC and Doug industry from AWS hosting in Sydney. They today going to talk about at the end of the Coronavirus When things are getting back to normal and businesses are beginning to get back to doing what they do, and many places still don’t have effective websites. So today, Doug and Ray are going to talk to us about how to build an effective website. And one of the things out of the Coronavirus that’s really interesting is the increase in businesses having to do business online, both just having a website where people can see so they’ve got a presence where people can see what’s happening with their business and able to contact them and also the increase in sales on line. And this could be something that will be around for a long time. yet. So having an effective website and a place where you can sell and take payments is really important. Now, this is the subject that Doug and Ray are going to tackle today. They’re with us now. So Ray, tell us what the businesses need to do to ensure that they have a website presence that is going to be effective. Ray Sidney-Smith 2:28 Well, I think what, what Doug and I are going to be doing today is talking about, really the major steps in the process of being able to get an effective website live. And what I’ve just found over the years of working with businesses and launching websites, is that most websites suck. I can’t put it any more bluntly than that. But they are just usually terrible. And and it’s terrible for a whole wide variety of reasons. One is that the websites are really beautiful, but they’re not functional. That is that they don’t actually drive sales and they don’t understand how to market the business through the website. The other end of it is that the websites suck because they look poorly designed. They’re just kind of, you know, patchwork together. And they know that while they may be functional, they actually don’t serve the purpose of being aesthetically pleasing enough that people actually take them serious and allow for sales to help the business prosper. So starting off, Doug, I wanted to like just sort of talk about website goals. How what what do people talk about with you, when they come to AWS hosting, about the notion of establishing goals for the site? Do they actually really come to you and talk about what those things are? Who do those discussions really start with when it comes to developing a website? Doug Endersbee 3:50 I think a lot of the time, but by the time small businesses come to us they’ve decided that they need a website and they and they’re somewhat down the path formulating made big goals for the website. But very often it’s it’s all about business having a bit more credibility. So very often it could be a small business it might be, you know, in construction or, you know, or food, hospitality restaurant or whatever. And they probably have a pre existing customer base, well established customer base. And what I’m hearing typically is that, that they wanted to have a website because they just, I just felt that it enhance the credibility as a business that provided an opportunity. But there are existing customers and potential customers to go online, you know, maybe they see a little bit more about what the business does, how it’s able to provide a service to, to the to the user. And, you know, I think very often it’s just a matter of pride and I feel like we need to be able to, to demonstrate to our various stakeholders that were serious, a serious business. But I think in terms of the, you know, the core functionality of the site, and navigation and tools and specialist information that it’s got in it, that’s probably more of a conversation that they may have with the developer. But I think one of the things that I did want to ask you about Ray was, I guess one of the first steps is securing a domain name for the for the website, because that’s I think, sometimes a little bit of a shock as to what is and is not available to business owners when they start to go down that that path. What’s your experience with with securing tonight night? What advice Have you got the businesses in that respect? Ray Sidney-Smith 5:47 Yeah, so So I mean, let’s start off with the fact that the reason I asked you whether people come and talk to you about website goals is that they usually don’t you know, they’re there. By the time they go to the web host you have You have, hopefully worked through all of those things, and you’ve gotten yourself to some goals. So I really believe that you know, things like choosing a domain name is all stuff that needs to be done in a much earlier stage and preparatory work needs to be done. But registering a domain name is a very different process than choosing a good domain. And we can have an entire discussion about choosing domain names, I could I could literally spend hours talking about just the process of choosing domain names. But what I do tell people is that it should be brand enabled. That means that you should have a a business focused or brand focused domain name. and choosing that domain name is really important because as you’re alluding to, Doug, a lot of domains are no longer available because they are being they’ve been taken up over time. A lot of domains are now not available. You just can’t get your business name calm, because that may be taken by another entity. And if that’s the case, then you then have to choose Another what’s called a cctld, or a top level domain, either by country code, or a gtld, which is a general top level domain. And, and so we have lots and lots of these top level domains. So you can find a domain. But that is a process that needs to be done. But that really comes down to the goal of the website, I really, I really have to impress upon people that if you’re going to launch a website, start with figuring out what the website’s goals are. And from that you will determine what the appropriate domain name is, what the appropriate functions of the website are going to be. But we really have to start there. If your website is not designed to sell, then what, what what’s the purpose of creating the website in the first place? The whole point of having a business website is that it should do some part of the sales process for you. It should be a part of the sales process. It shouldn’t just be a brochure that is sitting on the web. And so often than not, we don’t we don’t recognize that today. We need to have a retail experience that is translated into a digital environment. And that is your website. And more stark than ever is now during this COVID-19 pandemic, that we see people who didn’t have that infrastructure in place, wish that they had. And so I hope, I hope this rushes in or ushers in a new era of understanding that you must have a retail experience designed around your website, just can’t slap up anything and presume that it’s going to work for you. You have to think through the goals. What are the goals of the website? Have you done buyer personas Have you done by your journeys to understand where your customers go along the path to purchase and then from there, establish what the goals of the website are going to be so that you can match it up with what you know is existing for your potential customers, your current customers and your past customers, because you want to be able to help all three of those audiences effectively on your website. Doug Endersbee 9:02 Yep, absolutely. So, having having sort of come through and said or out, we know what the, what the purpose of our, our website is, is going to be. As they as they go down the path, selecting domains, I mean, you’re alluding to the fact that there’s all sorts of different tlds it’s like all I know, you know, you can have a.com or.com that, are you know.uk.co.nz and so on and so forth. Even even within, you know, Australia, we’ve got the.com that I use the dotnet that I use, you can even have a.org.au if you qualify for that particular TLD. Should they should they buy up all the different tlds that their business name might fit into or what’s your what’s your recommendation in that respect? Ray Sidney-Smith 9:54 I think that has to do with the particular area where you are, I don’t know Australian law. But here in the United States, we have particular laws that protect or don’t protect people from impersonating others. That also includes impersonating other businesses or trying to do harm to those businesses by by registering those names. So really that’s a that’s a, you know, probably more of a legal question than a marketing question. From my perspective, if you want to do something, why called brand protection, then you do actually want to register all the common domains that someone would just generally type into the browser in order to find you. I also think that you should probably register common misspellings. So that if you know that you have your domain, like the business name calm and you recognize that a lot of people type in T h, as opposed to th e and the business name com, then you would register that domain and redirect it to the correct business name so that you don’t lose traffic to someone who would otherwise try to be visiting your website but they just typed it in wrong. So if you do have common misspellings, then registering a domain that is the common misspelling and redirects to yours to the correct spelling is also a way that you can do it. So that’s really a brand protection mechanism. Now the reality is is that if I’m just a jerk and I’m not actually trying to Misra misrepresent and be you here in the United States at least I can register a domain that you know is whatever re Sydney Smith sucks calm I can register that that domain and and I’m legally capable of doing it and I can put up a website that says you know, race it needs met sucks and these are the reasons why I think that’s the case. There’s actually a very famous Supreme Court case called Taubman sucks and and it’s based on on a mall and a gentleman who decided to register that domain Calvin sucks calm the name of the mall and and was upheld. And so the Supreme Court said, at least here in the United States that he could register that domain and it was under free speech protections for him to be able to do so. So take it for what you will, from my perspective, I would register the domains that I think are commonly associated with me and those that are common misspellings. I don’t, I just don’t feel a sense that I need to register domains that are, you know, re Sidney Smith sachs.com, or my business name sucks, calm, those kinds of things to protect myself, because I don’t plan on being a jerk to my customers. I don’t plan on being doing those things. But you know, some people may be in an industry where you have more of those things. And I have actually got guided clients to register those domains because they happen to be in an industry where they do need that type of protection. I think lawyers, you know, therapists, for example, especially in you know, when people are dealing with mental and emotional health, sometimes those folks who have challenges in that regard We’ll go ahead and do some really aggressive and mean spirited things toward businesses. So you may decide to register those kinds of things. So that you can protect yourself. Barry Knights 13:10 Right just in terms of that, I have two different domains registered that one is PTV channel Oh, which is oh.com. And I also have PTV channel zero. So the the number zero so that if somebody puts in a zero instead of a no, they still get to my site. Two people say to me, yeah, is it a no or a zero and it doesn’t matter. You can put one in there, we’ll get there. The other thing that you might want to speak to this is that in Australia, if you’re going to register a.au, you can’t actually do that unless you have an ABN and your website domain has to reflect the company correct. Doug Endersbee 14:01 That’s correct, it’s got to be, first of all, you’ve got to have some sort of business number. And, and then you have to actually agree that the domain name that you’re, you’re, you’re registering either is or is substantially associated with your line of business. And that’s, and that is to stop people cherry picking, you know, worldwide business names and creating a domain name out of all the ransom. You’re not the owner of that brand name, for instance. So in Australia, it’s, it’s quite tightly controlled, it’s quite difficult to, you know, essentially don’t try and steal someone’s brand name and resell it to them at a profit. You’re probably going to find that you don’t have the rights to even hold on to that. That domain name if it’s, if it’s challenged. The I certainly do agree with the concept of diversity. roadblock in your your business name into multiple different domain names using different TL DS that certainly makes a lot of sense. And the other thing I suggest to people is they should they should buy a registration period. That is as long as they can afford and are comfortable with, I think if it’s your own business name, and you got to be running that calm or that comedy you domain name with your website, the next five or 10 years, I’d say, just buy the 995 or 10 years, don’t panic every year when the new world comes in, and you’re scared that, you know, it’s gonna lapse and somebody else might pick it up and that sort of thing. It’s, it’s a pretty trivial cost in the grand scheme of things to buy the domain for five years or even 10 years if I if I offer that Ray Sidney-Smith 15:49 and keep the auto renewal turned on because it’s so important. I mean, I see I see folks who will turn off auto renewal on their domain registration for some reason and just keep your Auto renewal on it is just going to save you a lot of headache down the down the path. You know, it’s just you, if you want the domain than registered for a good length of time, keep on your auto renewals, and just put the date in your calendar. I mean, it literally will give you the date of its expiration, give yourself a month in advance of the expiration, toss it into your calendar in the future, three, four or five years from now. And that way, you know, you get a little bit of a, you know, a notification before the domain comes up so that you don’t have the hair on fire moment. You don’t know the number of times I get the emails or the phone calls of people who come back to me and say, Hey, where’s our website? What I don’t understand why our website went down. And this is three, four or five years later from from when I first talked to them about their website, and it’s because they they didn’t turn on auto renewal. They didn’t know maybe they changed email addresses. You know, they started off and they use their Yahoo or Gmail account, and then they set up their email with their Every business domain, and they’ve been receiving emails at their new domain, they stopped using their their personal account for that email. So it goes into spam or gets filtered out of their inbox. And so they don’t get the notifications. And then the domain expires. And then maybe someone had a backorder on that domain. And so they then register their domain, as soon as that domain becomes available, and they lose access to the domain. don’t have that happen to you really just set in the appropriate parameters for it. It’s not like your US Postal Service address or Australian Postal Service address. You have to keep that registration alive in order for that address to keep getting directed to you. Unknown Speaker 17:41 Yeah. Is your computer driving you crazy? Is it slow or doing things you didn’t expect? 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Take your next community event training seminar sports event official opening function concert or exhibition live to the world with PTV channel o and power FM’s unique live simulcast, we can turn your next local event into a worldwide sensation for a fraction of what you would expect to pay. No matter what the event PTV, channel o and power FM can take your message to our audience. Invite the world to your party by burning. Oh 43139092 or email fi Back at PTV channel o.com, Unknown Speaker 20:03 power Ray Sidney-Smith 20:38 Fm radio.com.au. What I’d like to do is to talk a little bit about the functions of making sure that the site you’re going to launch is done in the right order. And so again from the from the very getgo You know, you’re not talking to your web host first. You’re talking to the your whoever you’re working with and terms of work yourself. I mean, if you’re building the site yourself and you’re doing a DIY, you at the very least need to figure out your goals of the website, buyer personas and buyer journeys. Right. So that’s that main piece. The second kind of stage is kind of the, what Doug is talking about in terms of wireframing. What we really want to be able to do is to understand the kind of table of contents of the site. I actually when we talk to clients about developing websites, I frequently talking on I deal in the strategy space, and many times I’m project managing websites development, and Unknown Speaker 21:36 I have Ray Sidney-Smith 21:40 What’s that? Barry Knights 21:40 Like? My? Ray Sidney-Smith 21:42 Yes, there you go. Yeah. And so one of the most important things that I want people to understand is that they need to put their content together before we start discussing web hosting and how they’re going to develop the website and all of the all those other pieces. What we really Want to functionally figure out is what’s the Table of Contents look like for the site. And usually that means taking our buyer journeys that we developed. And if you don’t know what a buyer journey is, that’s really easy. You can look up customer journey or buyer journey. And you can find these, these maps, in essence, the visual maps of where customers go on the on the pathway to purchasing from you. And there are usually several different journeys that people can take. And certain buyer personas take certain journeys, and we want to be able to have the well worn paths covered. And your website is usually a critical part of that is that someone’s going to come across your website at some point in that. So one way that we do that is just create a a, a table of contents just like you would a book, and you’re going to outline what the website pages are going to look like and how people are going to navigate that, that that website. From there. You’re going to maybe create a PowerPoint presentation or use Google Slides. or a wife wireframing tool. these are these are specific tools that help you build a website visually, so that you can hand that off to a designer or a developer who can then go ahead and build the website from that wireframe. But you can kind of see it in a, in a, a less sophisticated, but more visual way. I like to use Google Slides and just create a presentation. And for each buyer journey, build out the components of the website using slides, because you could just literally put a button here, you can go ahead and put a photo here, put some text and you can lay out the whole buyer journey in pages on the website, in very, very easy fashion in the Google Slides, presentations. And from there, then you might have duplications of particular pages, and you should write because you’re going to have different pages. And so each buyer journey is going to be built out but they will be replicated from potentially other pages from other slides. So you can just import slides from the other pages have those all built out. And then when you’re done, you now have several slide decks that you then can provide to your developer or designer, and pass that off, if you’re going to work with the designer, maybe you work with designer with, you know, with the designer to create the slides together. So you’ve collaboratively done that. And then you can hand it off to the developer, if they’re a separate person or entity entity, who’s then going to be able to turn that that slide deck into the actual pages of your website. But by doing that infrastructure work, you’re actually building again, like I said, at the top, that retail experience, that then gives you an opportunity for your, your past, present and future customers to have a retail experience. That’s just smooth, that’s easy. And it’s actually selling them on something as opposed to just providing them with a brochure that really doesn’t do anything for them. Right. It’s not engaging them in the process of taking them from understanding who you are to understanding what you provide in terms of products or services. So Doug, do you? Do you ever see folks deal with kind of the hiccup of choosing what type of hosting based on the site that they’re going to be developing? Doug Endersbee 25:14 Yes, they generally need to make a decision between, they’re gonna have a website on a shared hosting service, or they gotta have it on a virtual private server. The arguments for for a shared hosting platform is obviously it’s very inexpensive, you don’t have the responsibility of managing the server servers need to hear and feeding their to Java task or portal itself to to maintain that. And if they’ve got something fairly simple, if it’s sort of a brochure weird type of website that’s going to be fairly, you know, rather basic, then they can probably get away with it. Having a shared hosting environment if they have something a little bit more complicated or might they might have several websites that’s not uncommon at all, then a virtual private server starts to make sense for them and then that can come with some some tools that will actually make their life considerably simpler because you know, when you’re, when you’ve got a website, you’ve probably got a content management system. You know, WordPress is a very popular one. And what a lot of people quickly realize when they’ve got a WordPress website is that it? WordPress are continually releasing security patches and updates for the content management system. If you’ve used a theme, the developer of the theme, needs to make sure that they’ve been remains compatible with the latest security patches and updates that WordPress have released. Otherwise, you can’t implement the security patches and yet besides going to get hexo that the theme developer has got to keep his thing up to date. And then there might be a whole bunch of plugins that you use and online forums and all sorts of different plugins. And all of those plugins may be kept up to date. And if you’ve got a good virtual private server and some some, some good hosting tools inside that virtual private server, and what I’m thinking of is a WordPress toolkit for instance, then you can vastly simplify the task of making sure that your WordPress instances up to date the theme or things are up to date, up to date, otherwise, it would be quite an arduous task. So we like to keep on top of all that in a shared hosting environment where essentially, your host is just hosting an application that you put in there, but everything that changes in that application is it’s your responsibility. I think a lot of a lot of small businesses don’t realize that they think that they can just put the website up there. And I don’t have to do anything for the next six months. And if it goes down and like, I’m looking at the husband site what to do, because I haven’t made any changes, and I don’t realize the fact that they haven’t made any changes is an actual fact. Ray Sidney-Smith 28:14 Absolutely, yeah. And it’s one of the reasons why I’ve really, over the years just push more and more people to manage WordPress hosting for those simple websites, where people are going to be able to just kind of, you know, once they set it up, the hosting provider is in the background, handling some of those administrative functions for the WordPress installation, so that they don’t have to really do a lot of those things. But once you get a larger website, that’s going to be you know, going to require a much more competent server environment. You know, if you’re in a virtual private server environment, a VPS environment or dedicated hosting environment, you do have to start understanding what these things are, or having and making sure that your support with your web host is providing that level of support for Making sure things are updated, making sure that you’re keeping the site maintained. But I have this, I have this rule, which is that if you’re going to develop a website, as a small business owner, then your website should be a website that you want to visit every day, if you were your, your, your customer. And if you don’t want to visit it every day as your customer, then why should your real customers, right? So think about it from that perspective, what’s going to make your website so useful, so interesting that your customers would want to come to it every day. And that’s the standard you should set for your website. And if you can do that, then your website is going to be something that’s valuable. That’s useful to people and that’s going to be well traffic, which means that you’re going to you’re going to be making money from the site such that it will be worthwhile having someone maintain that site. That is that you can take that off your your shoulders, specifically and put that on somebody else’s within the organization or with your web hosting provider, so that you can focus on providing great service, great product, and great customer service to those customers. So really think about what is what is the purpose of the website, so that you can really make a website that is of high value to people, and makes them want to come back to it day in and day out. And that’s the standard that I really want everyone to really walk away with. And so yeah, so you can’t make one that someone wants to visit every day fine. How about every week, you know, like lower the standard just a little bit, and it still becomes a fairly high bar, it becomes a high standard of creating value that someone wants to come and visit every week. And that could be a really valuable blog post. It could be a really valuable podcast episode. It could be a really valuable webinar that you’re doing once a month and putting onto your website. What What I mean by that is setting a standard such that you’re driving traffic to your website, and people want to be there. People should want to visit your website for some reason, and that Get them through that, that that initial part of the funnel, right? That’s the lead generation part of it, then you need to have the lead capture. And they need to be able to have sales. So you need to bring them through those stages of growth, so that you can actually make your website effectively capture sales and create sales for the business. If not, then all you have is a cost without it being a revenue generator. And I really don’t like the idea of you having a website that’s just going to be non functional for the business, it’s just going to be deadweight. So if you’re going to launch a website, you’re going to put all this energy into it, make sure that it’s a website that’s going to work for the business. Doug Endersbee 31:38 Yeah. And I think in this planning process, it’s it’s very important that the business owner maps out each and every page of the website with with every button with every image and you don’t have to have the final images. You just have to have a placeholder. You know, Insert Image XYZ here, but to map all that out using either wireframing tools or PowerPoint tools or Google Slides as, as Ray was was referring to as well, all of those make it so much easier for the web developer to understand exactly what it is that they are creating. And that will actually cut costs for the business owner. You know, the web developer is going to be able to give you a very firm quote, I know exactly the number of pages the number, you know, the buttons, the navigation, there is not event toing and froing. And sort of building it and designing it on the run, which just chews up an enormous amount of time when, when that particular process is done in that way. So, you know, to the extent that a business owner can map out their website using some of these tools beforehand, it’s gonna get done faster, it’s gonna get done a lot less expensively and are going to get exactly what they want. Back to the circumstance. Having done having done the wire framing piece of it what are the other things that we need to consider with all this? Let’s say somebody’s got the, the the, the wireframes done from a hosting standpoint. There are like, you know, I alluded to having a shared hosting or a virtual private server there is another type of hosting service that people can use. And that is to use an all in one hosting service, which is something such as Squarespace or Wix, where you don’t use a content management system, you’re not using WordPress, the hosting company themselves are providing both the design tools and the end the hosting service, right what’s your what’s your view on that third type of hosting? Ray Sidney-Smith 33:57 Yeah, so so I’m, I’m frequently ready recommending all different kinds of of services like that to clients when there is a really specific need. Many times, if the business owners, you know, if you’re just technical, you know, you know, abilities are very, very low and you really just can’t, you know, figure out how to use WordPress, that’s totally understandable. That doesn’t necessarily mean that just because you don’t have the technical competence to be able to use WordPress, you shouldn’t learn. Because if I tell you that you’re not going to be able to use Wix for the type of site that you need to build to make your business successful, then no matter how much you believe you can force Wix to bend to your whim, it’s just not going to ultimately serve you well, and you’re going to need to move to WordPress at some point in the future. And that’s for any tool. I mean, from Wix to Squarespace Squarespace to Weebly Weebly to WordPress. It doesn’t matter what the direction is what I usually try to do with a class As I understand where their business is going to end up 357 years from now, and have them designed the platform they’re going to be on today because it’s actually while people always think it’s really easy to move from one website from one place to the other, it’s actually rather difficult. And, and and it’s enough inertia that will hold the business back by just not putting it on the infrastructure place that it belongs in the first place. So I usually like to think a little bit further out than the business usually does. The business owner does in terms of where they’re going to be what they’re going to need that website to do functionally, and then say, Okay, if you’re planning on 10 years from now, still just having a front end that walks people through a very easy funnel, and ultimately, they’ve got a couple of contact forms. Maybe you have a blog. Maybe you’re doing a little bit of video on the site. Yeah, sure. A Squarespace or Wix or Weebly type site will probably satisfy what you’re looking for. When I start asking more probing questions for most business owners. rarely, rarely is that going to ultimately be where they end up. And so moving to a more full fledged web hosting environment with something that can satisfy what they’re looking for in terms of e commerce, or just additional functionality, you know, if you’re trying to build a membership platform, or if you’re going to launch digital courses in the future, or if you’re going to sell products on your website, sure, Squarespace or Wix, may be able to do some of those things. But they’re likely not going to have the flexibility required of you. So those are really, really simple websites. And, and by simple, I mean simple functionality, that can be really beautiful. And again, as I said, at the top, you can have a really beautiful website, but if it doesn’t functionally do what the business needs to do, then from a strategic perspective, it’s as good as useless and and that’s the part that I really tend to struggle with people on is that they want everything to be easy when it comes to developing the site, when in reality, what they should really be thinking about is how competent is the website. Selling what I need to sell and providing the functionality for doing so. And if the site can’t do that, if the site can’t do push notifications, and it can’t be able to show a pop up for various types of sales, those are functionalities that you just can’t make Squarespace you can’t make Wix put those things in if they don’t have it built into it in the first place. And they do, to some extent have those features. But the but the point is, is that if there’s a function or a feature that one of them doesn’t have, you can’t make them add it, that they’re they’re serving thousands and thousands of websites, and they’re only going to put functionality they want to put into their platform. So you know, having your own website where you’re controlling the software is where I tend to fall with a lot of people who are really serious about making their websites be a functional part of their business. If you just really want as you said earlier data a brochure website you won’t have a shared you know, even shared hosting with a WordPress installation. Pretty simple. But if you’re going to, if you’re going to have a full fledged website, that’s going to be a part of your business and is actually going to help drive sales, both from a lead generation perspective, but also lead capture and sales conversion, hands down. Most of the time, you’re going to need an effective website that can do all of those functions and features for your industry and for your business. And, you know, it’s just it, it ends up being, it’s kind of like, it depends is always my answer. Because I have to walk people through. Okay, well, how do you sell your business to this particular buyer? And what do they do along that buyer journey? And what are the features that we needed to be able to do? Will this particular platform be able to do it? We just don’t know. So we’ve got to do a lot of that heavy lifting upfront in terms of planning and structuring the sales features and then deciding the tool at the back end. Doug Endersbee 38:55 Yeah, and as a hosting, you know, business we’ve certainly had plenty conversations with business ideas that are built a site. In the early days when they thought it was going to be very simple, and they didn’t anticipate, even, you know, minor complexities in their requirements for their website. And they’ve got it on one of these pre built platforms. And they’ve come to us and say now we’d like to migrate it from where it is into your hosting system. And we want to use WordPress, that causes a little bit of a shock to realize that there is no site to migrate. It’s built into the hosting platform that they’re on. And it’s effectively it’s a little bit like the analogy that we use is it’s not like we’re going to pick out your house and move it and put it onto a piece of land. They’re going to give you all the bricks back and you can then take them across to our place and rebuild your your website. Because you just got to get the image files. And that takes balls back again. And you’ve got to start from scratch. And I think a lot of people that’s, that’s a that’s a big shock when they realize they’ve run out of road with the current sort of integrated hosting platform, and they need to go to something that’s a little bit more flexible, such as a WordPress hosting environment. Transcribed by https://otter.ai

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Coronavirus Series – Working From Home | Switched on IT

Coronavirus Series – Working From Home | Switched on IT

On this episode of Switched on IT, Doug Endersbee of Oz Hosting and Ray Sidney-Smith of W3 Consulting discuss… How do you make the most of working from home during the Coronavirus pandemic. They discuss information around Mindset, Strategies, Skills and technology and tools.


Online TV is a great, cost-effective way to get your message out to the world. If you’d like to become a program sponsor or advertise on Switched on IT or our other programs, click here to find out more about advertising with PTV Channel 0.


Raw, Unedited Text Transcript below.

Barry Knights 0:27
switched on it is proudly brought to you by computer troubleshooters to win the West and AWS hosting cloud made easy. Welcome to switched on it. I’m Barry. This is the show where we talk about everything it. We have Doug and Ray with us again today our hosts from Sydney and Washington DC. They’ll be with us in a moment today in the midst of the corona virus where everybody’s lives have been completely turned upside down. And this virus is touching many of us in many different ways. We are having to find new ways of doing things. numbers of businesses now are looking at working either remotely or from home and with lots of us now confined to our homes. And the prediction is that that’s not going to get any better. It’s actually going to become stricter and more severe as the pandemic takes hold. There are things that are pretty important about working from home that we need to understand because working from home has lots of constraints on it. And lots of things that make it very different from working from an office or wherever it is that you would normally work. So today, Doug and Ray are going to take us through some of the steps that we need to understand to make working from home effective. And not just a away from the office holiday. Doug and Ray. Welcome to both of you.[/read more]

Doug Endersbee 2:22
Good morning, Gary.

Ray Sidney-Smith 2:24
Either.

Barry Knights 2:25
Hi. Now, Ray, there are several different parts of this question that need to be dealt with. And I think you’re going to deal first of all with environment is Mr. Correct.

Ray Sidney-Smith 2:46
mindset. We’re going to talk about mindset as it relates to the environment. Absolutely.

Barry Knights 2:50
Okay. So we’re going to talk about mindset. So you’re going to discuss with us, where people’s mindset needs to be in order To make working from home successful, and not just another Nightmare on the list of nightmares that we are currently dealing with.

Ray Sidney-Smith 3:12
Yes. This is a time to pause and plan not to panic. So

Barry Knights 3:17
cool. Okay, well take it away for us.

Doug Endersbee 3:21
Thanks, Barry. Yeah, I think we’ve got a number of different things we need to to address today. Right. And certainly mindset is going to be one of them and how we, how we make sure that we’re, we’re going to be, I guess, back to use and, and get as much as we can out of our day. Certainly those hosting we’ve, we’ve seen lots and lots of our customers, our clients come back to us in the last six or eight weeks talking about all the different things that they can find and because they find that, yes, they’re telling their staff to work from home where that is a You know, a viable option that they’ve got. And then when they when they do that, all of a sudden they bumping into a whole bunch of different problems where productivity and effectiveness is, is being impaired because they just don’t have a holistic view of, of how working from home can change things. You know, it’s not simply a matter of just picking up your laptop and going home with it and then putting it on the kitchen bench in the morning and starting starting work. I think most most business owners need to really think through how the staff are going to tackle working working remotely, specifically from a home environment it’s not as straightforward as it seems. You know, we’re seeing people may be issues with with network with technology, with interruptions with faction ships, there’s all of that to wear to consider. And there’s also just the whole ability of people to, to treat being in their home how they function, trying to match as being at work. So I guess that that gets us back to you know, that the discussion we had initially or the points that were made initially about mindset So, so right what what do you do to make sure you go from home? How do you make sure that you’re getting the best out of right and and what are you guiding or counseling, your own staff that are working remotely? to do to ensure that they might see it in their approach is as productive as it can be?

Ray Sidney-Smith 5:47
Well, when it comes to mindset, I think I think the word mindset kind of conjures certain or different things for different people. And so what I mean by mindset is that just because you are working from home You are not necessarily to think about it from a home perspective, you need to think about it from different locations around your home, that are different environments for you to be able to contextualize work. And so it’s important to think about the way in which you say, for example, you have a conference room at the office, potentially you have maybe a front desk area where you might have some conversation with guests as they arrive at your office, you might have a desk at home, hopefully you have someplace at home where you can do the the normal driving work of your day. Maybe you have a home office, that kind of thing where you can, you know, set up your your work for the day and work primarily. But think about it from the perspective that mindset is about the type of work you’re going to approach in context. And so you need to have a place where you do meetings, and a place where you do work, work, you know, the deep work or the focused action work that you need to do throughout the day and start to think About that more so than thinking about working from home as this holistic, you know, location. mindset is really important so that you can understand that this is not a game, you’re doing this under somewhat duress. You know, you didn’t choose to be here necessarily working from home. And those categories, those decisions need to be made through the lens of as an employer, how do I make sure that my team and staff is in the right mental space, that if they’re going to continue working from home and they haven’t been furloughed, or otherwise told not to work from home, you are in a position to empower them to make sure they know how to contextualize the work they’re doing at home, and how many hours you’re going to be working from home, how you’re going to position yourself, potentially within the company for new roles, or different roles when you are in this kind of disconnected space. You know, mindset is about approaching the work with a different lens. And I think a lot of times what we’re trying to do as a Approach the work with the same lens as going to the office or going to work in some other way. And that’s just not the case. This is a different environment. And it requires a different set of skills, strategies and tools, which is what we’re really going to talk about. But mindset is getting over this notion that you’re just going to plunk down at the, at the dining room table and work just like you go to the office. There is a whole set of parameters here of getting yourself mentally prepared for the fact that this is a difficult situation. And you need to be and build resistance and resilience to the things that could be negative and or kind of weigh on you as we go through all of this, especially considering the fact that you know, at least right now as of recording, we’re dealing with a global pandemic, and there’s mental health and emotional health practices that we all have to take into account so that we’re capable of being able to weather this unfortunate circumstance. So that’s what I mean by mindset. Doug, what what are things that you’ve done, as you have made your way through this period of working from home to help you kind of do the self care and to get yourself kind of geared up for the daily grind.

Doug Endersbee 9:08
So, so right. One of the ways that it is by being having quite sick routines to start with so you know, early in the morning, we’re having our tea cup of tea breakfast, that sort of thing, I’d jump on a push bike and take the dog down to the beach, he has a swim down there and, and that’s sort of quite relaxing for me. And then when I come home, after that, I’ve already had breakfast. It’s basically shower workloads and then into the office and start the day. And that’s going to start around 8am and, and I do that every, every morning. And typically, you know, I probably won’t come out of the office for a couple of hours in the morning, you know, around sort of 10 1030 it might be time for a cup of coffee or something like that. And my wife also works from home. And we’ve got an office in the house here she’s got her own sort of workstation desk and set up. And we find that works, you know, reasonably well. There are the sort of the usual number of distractions I think like people that are working remotely from the home these days. I’m just ignore that. How many tradesmen come into the street here and are doing work on on houses around me with wicker snippers and hedge trimmers and lawn mappers and all that sort of thing. You find you, you know, you feel you live in a really peaceful, quiet street. Because Because you experience on a Saturday and Sunday and then during the weekdays, it can be quite noisy, but aside from that, I think, you know, managing that routine really, really works for for me happy Exactly.

Ray Sidney-Smith 11:00
Cover a number of different things that are really important for people to understand, which is that your days are built on routine. And you are the, the sum total of your life or your routines. Most people talk about habits indiscriminately in terms of making positive, positive effect change on your life. But really, if you can actually master your routines, you will be better off far greater than you would on mastering any one single individual habit. And so lean on those routines. Make sure that you’re getting up and getting ready for work at the same time of the day. And you’re presenting yourself as you would add work you wouldn’t show up to work and T shirt and underwear. You’d show up with some proper clothes on and for the type of work that you’re doing. And so you want to make sure that you I always think about it if I if I was going to be on camera with my employer or my employees throughout the day. How I look and, and just like I would look exactly the way I would if I showed up to the office. So you know, dressing the part, making sure that you are keeping to the routines you had an in place. This actually helps to buffer again, going back to mindset, this buffers us from some of the fatigue that happens from working from home because you’re playing a role you’re performing and performance, right? Whether it’s work performance, or just a play in which a stage play, which you’re, you know, going on stage and getting in front of people. They’re not all that different. And a lot of people tend to think about it from the perspective that they are these fully independent things. But work performance should be done in a way that you know, you’re you’re going on stage, you’re getting prepared. You go on stage, you do what you have to do, and then you get off stage, and then you rest, relax, and get prepared for your next performance. And if you can get your head into that level of mindset, you can actually be much more productive throughout your work from home days, while this pandemic persists.

Doug Endersbee 13:00
Yeah, good point.

Barry Knights 13:04
Yeah. would you suggest then that somebody who works in a business where they would normally wear a uniform of some kind should actually put the uniform on while they’re working from home?

Ray Sidney-Smith 13:18
I believe Yes, if that’s the if that’s what you would normally wear, if you would normally have a polo with a, with a logo on it, and you would show up in uniform for it. Absolutely. This doesn’t do just one level of behavior, intervention, it’s actually multiple layers of it. Because one, it’s a trigger for you that you’re at work and you should be performing. But the other is that subtle clue to everybody else in your home environment. Many of you who are working from home right now have potentially a spouse and children at home and others who are who are in your home, you know, you might be you might have other family members who might be living with you. You need to present to them that you’re at work, and it’s a nice subtle cue to everybody. that, hey, by the way, I’m at work. And if I’m hanging around and loafing around at home, in a T shirt and jeans, that doesn’t send the right message to everybody around me that hey, I’m at work, don’t bother me right now. If it’s important, obviously interrupt me, but don’t interrupt me if I’m in my uniform, and I’m at work. And that’s just another one of those subtle cues that puts you into that, that mindset, but it also tells the people around you that you’re that you’re working. Yeah.

Doug Endersbee 14:31
And, right, that’s, that’s a good sort of mindsets sort of approach. What other strategies do you feel are useful in helping people be productive when they’re working from home?

Ray Sidney-Smith 14:46
Yeah, so so the next step beyond mindset, whether as a small business owner or as an employee, is to start to think about the strategies necessary for a productive work environment, when you are in a Remote collaboration perspective. So as a business owner, you should start thinking about strategies as remote policies, how? How should we deal with these things that we normally take for granted? Normally, if Doug and I worked in the same office, I could walk down the hall. And if Doug is in his office, I could see that if Doug is not in his office, I can’t see that. I can see that also. And then I can decide to come back to his office later, when you work remotely. Doug is never in your office. Doug is never insight. So how is the communication strategy going to be dealt with in a remote communications environment? Do you know in my own office, we use internal chat functions, and we use the, the, the status to tell people whether or not we’re available to talk at any given time. And we have parameters for being able to have that level of communication so that people or people have time to talk. People can schedule times to talk but also the the general chitchat things that people sometimes called watercooler discussion, other kinds of you know, casual conversation, it’s actually really important for people to be able to step away from work to then be able to re engage in new work. This transition time between different projects throughout the day is actually really important for people to stay productive. And so, giving people that level of of team cohesion, communications is also important. So you might have a Slack channel dedicated to water cooler chat or just general conversation. But, but you would have to take it a little further step beyond that, because people are not used to this right. If if all of us were used to working from home or working remotely, we would naturally develop our own organic culture, for being able to deal with how to communicate about those casual things easily. In a in a concentrated period like this where we have worked from home and imposed upon us like this, we need to decide, okay, you know, what, two o’clock on Thursdays, we’re going to have Team huddle, but it’s gonna be about nothing but casual conversation. We’re just gonna, you know, it’s kind of like festivus in the Seinfeld series, you know, airing of the grievances. Everybody can just come and, you know, shoot the breeze, they could talk about whatever they’d like, and have a conversation that’s a little bit unbridled. That is the level of camaraderie and team development that’s necessary in a work from home environment, when people aren’t used to not having that outlet, to be able to communicate with each other. And it’s not so you can create an environment where people are going to be unprofessional, and and and start complaining about company this and that. It’s really an opportunity for people to engage with each other, hopefully, through some type of maybe video conferencing tool where everybody can see each other and, you know, catch up and say, Hey, you know, how are your kids? I know that, you know, your family member may have been ill recently, all of us eventually will have been touched by someone who has had Cova 19 and suffered through it, and potentially also, unfortunately, passed. So we all need to bear that in mind that we have to have that level of camaraderie built up that that level of emotional bank account, you know, deposits put into into everybody in our organization. Because it’s going to be tough, it’s going to be difficult on all of us, I, I already hear a lot of people who have not been working remotely for a long time or working from home for a long time, who already crumbling under the stress of it all. It is incredibly stressful if you don’t have all of these pieces put into into place. So decide on how you’re going to communicate, you can’t all of a sudden decide on your team that they should call you every hour and tell you what they’re doing. That would be unproductive for them and unproductive for you potentially. But if you have team members who are used to being in an open office plan, for example, and so had greater group accountability to getting things done, they couldn’t just sit there and twiddle their thumbs or look at Facebook all day. Now that they don’t have eyes on them. Their productivity may drop dramatically because they don’t have that level of Pure accountability, how do you create that that needs to be strategically done, that doesn’t need to be just one tactic where you go to that one individual and say, you’re doing wrong, fix it, you need to have an entire approach for the whole company to be able to support all of you through that change. And that’s not it’s not cookie cutter is not like I can tell you do these five things and you’re gonna be better off every organization is different. And you need to think about each business process as its own strategy and implementing those policies that are going to be appropriate for this time. For the people that are working for you.

Doug Endersbee 19:37
You know, we can certainly

get some some benefit from pulling those strategies, strategies together and making sure that we’ve got, you know, the right management of different outcomes. It’s certainly different when we’re in a time environment.

This is pixel lighting on soda.

Barry Knights 20:01
Yeah, we probably should, at this point, simply point out to the viewing public that we are also part of this curve at 19 MCs. And some of the things that you are seeing like the pixelation of Doug’s picture here is not because we are doing anything differently, but because there are so many people now working from home, that the stress on the NBN is absolutely huge. And because the stress on the NBN is so huge part of what’s happening is that you’re seeing some degradation in the picture that we’re getting from Ray from a dog because we’re all On this system together. So that’s just a word of explanation for today’s show where we’re suffering out of this as well. So please just be patient with us. And understand that this is not something that we have too much control over.

Ray Sidney-Smith 21:21
Yeah, and to Barry’s point, the This takes us really well into the next kind of strategy, which is choosing the right technology and tools for you’re working from home environment. And so I msps once they are under incredible stress, they’re going to throttle things like video first, which is why YouTube and other platforms Netflix and otherwise Hulu have all said that they’re going to degrade the quality of video that’s streaming to individuals so that they can have less bandwidth taxing the overall telecommunications networks. Now we have a lot of bandwidth capability in terms of undersea cables that are already there, but they’re not activated. So transiting that data requires them to activate those pieces on one level for the entire internet infrastructure, but then we have to actually bring that internet from major hubs to people’s homes. And and that’s where really the problem exists, which is that there just is not enough infrastructure for that. And just so people have an understanding when you have a commercial internet connection put in mode, that is a very different type of connection that’s going to be implied, implemented, versus residential, most residential has a download and an upload speed. That is that is asymmetric, meaning that the download speed is going to be much faster than the upload speed, because it’s not presuming that we’re doing this kind of symmetric video all the time or in high fidelity. And so that’s it. That’s the experience we’re having right now where the bandwidth up, the amount of video that needs to be uploaded is all getting clogged. The you know, it’s like a traffic jam. It’s all getting clogged in that in those pipelines and ISP sir that therefore throttling it. But to the point of technology, you have to choose good technology. In order to be able to connect with your, with your teams. I happen to be in a an almost exclusive G Suite environment, all of my team uses Google products as a part of its platform. I know that that Doug uses Microsoft 365 and is in that platform with regard to his team, and both have the capabilities of having infrastructure for all the types of ways in which you would want to communicate with your team, email, calendar, document sharing the ability to have collaborative chat inside of the enterprise space, video meeting technology and otherwise, and you know, the the goal for you is to be able to choose the right technology’s needed for being able to work together. So for example, we use a meeting software called zoom. And it’s become very popular of late with a lot of folks. But we’ve been using it for the last year or two. And we appreciate it because it’s very easy for us to be able to come on screen, there’s actually a whiteboarding functionality built into zoom. So we can actually whiteboard together ideas, we can also train within that space. So that’s a tool that works really well for us, even though we’re within G Suite and Google meet, which is the the tool that’s built inside of G Suite is competent. And it’s very good for just general one to one meetings, for training purposes and the ability to record meetings, and so on and so forth. Just it’s easier inside of zoom. So we choose to do that. So choosing the right technology, go down the list of things that you need to do on a regular basis with your staff and with your clients and vendors and design. What technology Do we need to fit that category. And while Barry always makes this, this plea at the end of the videos, if you have any questions as to what type of technology you’re really needing, feel free to reach out to us. And we’ll be happy to make recommendations for you so that you can understand what technology is needed. Doug, your thoughts in terms of the best way to make and make those decisions to choose the right technology for work from home environment.

Doug Endersbee 25:29
But the things that we’re saying is people getting getting to the home and then trying to sort of communicate, work on projects, collaborate, share files, and that’s when they were they bumping into into some limitations. It can be as simple as they get back to the to the home office environment, and they find that the the office suite licenses there Outlook or those tools, Excel and so on, they’ve got a, they’ve got a workstation back at the office, which has got a license that then gets get home. And they’re finding that they’re using, you know, a personal laptop or something like that to even have the correct loss. And so we’re seeing people that are upgrading all the staff to make sure that they’ve got all the latest versions of all the different software applications that they need to get the work done. That’s often quite a shock to them. And it’s, it’s not cheap, but they’re having to do that. And then that’s a good thing. Because if they, if they’re going to be relying on that for their productivity for the next, you know, a few months at least, and that’s certainly what it looks like then that that’s going to be very helpful to them. And then we’re also observing the issues that people are having with with bandwidth and trying to use their existing voice phone service which is often fantastic in the office, but not so great in the home situation. So they have the Lots of things that we’re saying. But I think I’ll hand it back to us on lightning

Ray Sidney-Smith 27:07
Yeah, I think I think it’s really important to take into account the licenses of software and where they actually operate. I’ve been actually guiding a lot of folks on on using remote desktop so that the, the office computer stays on and active. And you basically use a remote desktop client to be able to access the technology on those computers so that you’re, you’re really seeing the the computer at your office, you’re seeing a visualization of the screen of your office computer because you’re working directly onto it. And and that means you don’t have to install all that software locally onto potentially a personal laptop or a personal computer that can be highly susceptible to other kinds of malware and and other things that are resident on home computers. You just don’t have the level of cybersecurity that a an enterprise system would have. So just keeping those things in mind. And not choosing, you know, off the shelf consumer grade, you know, remote desktop software, you should be using high grade enterprise level, you know, desktop software for this stuff. So remote desktop software. And there’s also the issue of good training. Which brings us to kind of the last component which is skills. Once you understand the technology and the tools that you’ll be using, you have to spend some time teaching this these skills and to your employees and to the people around you. Many times your clients, you yourself, need some upgrading in terms of skills to be able to use these things. You weren’t born to know how to use zoom. You weren’t born to know how to use Microsoft Teams or to even to use email, right? You know, you you once upon a time used email in a way that was easy and casual at the office. But now that you’re at home, and you’re maybe sending a lot of email email back and forth. Not every email should be an email. Some emails belong, as phone calls, some belong as video meetings, and some belong in the trash. They should not be sent. And now we’re seeing that we’re seeing more and more people coming to grips with the fact that, you know, they thought, Oh, well, working from home just means sending more email, as opposed to other kinds of communique. And the reality is, is that you need to now start to think, how do I train people to effectively deal with these things. The good part is that this is an investment in the future of your business and in the future of your own employees, you know, careers, if you can teach them these skills, now, they’re going to be that much more much more productive when they get back to the office. So this is good, you know, opportunity. This is a good investment. So you have to you have to sit back and think, Okay, you know what? Bill over an accounting isn’t that isn’t that great at communicating in writing, we need to uplevel We need to level up his skills in in that regard. And that’s going to make him a better, you know, accountant, billing person invoicing, you know, maybe he’s going to get better, you know, rate of response in terms of delinquent invoices. This is the kind of stuff that you need to start thinking about as you make your way into choosing good technology, and then implementing that technology with good skills training. So it’s important to think about all of these things as you go through. If you’re implementing new technology that requires training, every time you implement a new piece of technology, you just don’t throw it into the hands of of your employees and say swim, especially not an environment where they are stressed out. You know, this is an anxiety producing event. You know, it’s a global pandemic. It’s not, it’s not like they chose to work from home one day a week, and they get the opportunity to test the waters and to iterate on their skills until they’re good at it. They’re being thrust into the situation as you are, and they should be given due consideration and in In terms of being able to, you know, grow those skills over time, so that they can be most efficient for you, and they don’t burn out and leave you when when all of a sudden done. Because, yes, we’re going to go into, hopefully a short recession. I’m hoping as a short recession, I don’t know. But even after the recession, if they are burned out, and they are valuable employees, if you made them burned out because of this, they’re going to leave you they’re going to go find somebody else who values them and is not going to put them through that kind of stress in the future. Because recessions come and go, pandemics come and go. But good employers are, you know, diamonds in the rough. So be a great employer so that those employees stay with you beyond this and the next disaster and the next, you know, issue that comes up in the business you want. You want employees that are both resilient, but also understand that you are taking care of them, and this is the time to do it.

Doug Endersbee 31:57
Yeah, absolutely.

Yeah.

Barry Knights 32:07
Okay, where are we going from here? Go on,

Doug Endersbee 32:10
because I’m just worried about my level of sort of pixelation and the quality we’ll make it on on to the running 30 side.

Barry Knights 32:16
Right at the moment.

Doug Endersbee 32:18
It’s all good at the moment. Yeah.

All right. Well,

I’m thinking that that is pretty much a wrap. Anyway, um, I guess, I guess one thing that that and I will leave some of these things out. Right. We’ve sort of touched here and there on the on the on the security aspects. And certainly that is going to be one of the big things when people are using, you know, maybe not the most secure networks and maybe not the most secure devices. Certainly one of the things that we’re advising our customers to do is to make sure that if I continue to make continue to use tools such as password, password management tools that they use multi factor authentication on all of the software applications that overnight, you know, using remotely and logging in from from remote places. And they make sure sure that they have the backup originals and maybe then that might need to extend to, to backing up for the the new devices that people are starting to use when they when they when they’re working from home. They know for backup they need to have that level of resilience certainly doesn’t go away just because you’re working from home. So there’s, you know, I think there’s a number of strategies out our small business customers and viewers can do as far as security is concerned. Right, right. Have you got any other comments about just the you know, the security and backup angle?

Ray Sidney-Smith 33:54
No, I think you’ve covered it. I think I think you need to make sure that people are mindful of the fact that they need to be using the latest You know, updated software, because those are going to be the least riddled with malware. You’re going to need good cybersecurity practices. There are a lot of coronavirus, phishing attacks going on right now, people sending emails because we’re all anxious. And we want to hear about the latest thing that’s happening. With regard to the Cova 19 pandemic, we, we see an email and we open it. And that could be potentially dangerous to not only our home network, but now to our company because it extends beyond the normal borders. We’re no longer within the perimeter of our enterprise environment where we can control things. They’re now beyond that firewall space. So it’s really imperative again, again, I just I think it’s so imperative to say this needs to be our cybersecurity strategy for work from home environment. And this is going to serve you now and in the future. So you can use this again, by developing the policies and strategies for your team to use and say okay, when you work from home, we’re going to Use effective, whether it’s VPN technologies to be able to VPN into the office, effective remote desktop, you know, tools, using VM, whatever it is that you’re going to be doing. And we’re going to abide by these strict policy cybersecurity policies. For example, when you when you work remotely say from a cafe, you would you would have a set of practices that any you know, employees working when they’re working remotely, well, maybe they should extend those policies to the home, right act like they are in a in a hostile environment. And therefore, operating from that technology. Technological perspective means that they’re going to be safest in transiting business data which includes both you know, IP as well as client data and personal and and private information on behalf of the company. So you want to make sure that they are aware of that that your home is not you know, it may you may feel safe in your home, but from a from a hack perspective, it’s, it’s a very variable holiday, you know, it’s an opportunity to go ahead and attack and get access to, you know, a CEOs information by infiltrating a lower level employee in the hierarchy. So they need to kind of operate from that perspective that their their work from home environment really is just like working at a cafe, where anyone can sniff that network, anyone can infiltrate that network with a little bit of penetration testing, and with a little bit of effort, and, and so I think we should be probably operating from that perspective, I, I work with my staff to make sure that everybody is setting up their work home environments as protected as they would in our office. But that’s because we’re going to an all remote company, that’s going to be very different from everyone else, because it’s just not worth it financially, to beef up the security of every employee that you have working for you potentially. So you need to take some Some, you know, hard look at the at the profit margins associated without implementing cybersecurity strategies that are going to be practical for the business.

Barry Knights 37:11
And the question to both Doug and Ray, and what the lessons going forward out of this looking at the when we come to the other side of this, one of the lessons that businesses and governments should be taking from this experience that we’ve all been thrown into headfirst?

Doug Endersbee 37:40
I’d say one of the obvious lessons is

that without our

ISP infrastructure, the the network infrastructure is a key national asset, what underpins our productivity and our effectiveness as a nation. I think this is definitely demonstrated to most Australians that that our government is as vital as on this one. You know, there are certainly a lot of people from from the technology and from the corporate sector saying we need to have a really proper high quality broadband broadband network which is ubiquitous, which is to every every conceivable business and dwelling in the nation within reason and in our productivity, and we were we’re now seeing why that is the case.

Barry Knights 38:37
Yeah, and, and, and that work that’s not just fit for purpose, but is actually going to delivers the kind of service that we need. Right.

Ray Sidney-Smith 38:50
Right. On my side. I think that it’s really imperative that we harken back to the last 10 years of my life, speaking to small businesses of every size And in shape, and telling them that they need a website. I just, it is remarkable how many businesses today I we’ve threshold over the halfway point and more businesses today have websites than not? That’s a really great point. But that is just because most businesses have have a website means that there’s a vast majority of you out there who do not yet show the understand the value of having a website. And so often than not, I see these businesses who write to me every day and say, How do I communicate to my customers, that we’re still open for business that we can take payment that we can thrive in this, or at least survive during this, this disaster? And I say, Well, why don’t you post it to your website, and then there’s this pause on the line. Because the hopefully the shame and the guilt washes over them at that moment of of ignoring my pleas for them to have a website. It could just be a single page. For all that matters to me, just so that your your clients know how to find out information from you, so that you’re able to communicate to them this basic types of information, plus, letting them give you money. There’s nothing more important right now during a disaster than for cash flow to be and to be continuous, at least in some way, shape, or form. And so many businesses I’m seeing out there, the ones who are going to fail during this pandemic, are the ones who don’t take payment online. They don’t know how to get something as simple as an invoice paid over the Internet, and are having trouble communicating with their clients in some way, shape or form. They are not collecting email addresses from their clients. They’re not communicating digitally with their clients. And so they have this all offline environment, which ultimately leads to a lack of continuity of services, lack of continuity of communication strategy. And so just the number one thing I can I can say to everyone is after this is all done, I’m hoping that more people understand the importance of websites collection. emails from their clients not just for marketing purposes, but for these kinds of disasters. And also, making sure that you understand e commerce doesn’t have to have meaning having an online store, it means being able to take payments online, when you’re not able to get a, you know, a cheque handed to you from a client, and they potentially don’t, they can’t, you know, they’re gonna mail you a check, potentially, but you’re not there to receive the check, or the postal services are, you know, potentially doing something different, you know, this could be far worse, you know, we could have a degradation of, of all kinds of other services, if this was a worse virus, or some other you know, germ that’s out there. So I just feel like this is, this is kind of like I don’t know how it all and you know, kind of end at the end in terms of of mortality rate, and so on and so forth. But, you know, this was a this was a test and and if you survive this test, if your business survives this test, then every business starting after this will hopefully have learned the importance of strong digital strategy across the board marketing, productivity, cybersecurity, and otherwise in terms of operations.

Barry Knights 42:16
Yeah, it’s a bit of a wake up call for businesses, I think and, and like you, right, I have been pleading with businesses for a long time to make sure they are online. We have gone through the space here in Australia. And I’m presuming in the US as well, where businesses have resisted having an online store or a payment system. Because they’ve been saying, Oh, we wouldn’t want to do that because we want people to come into our store. Well, now they can’t. And if lots of those businesses had been ready Simply because they should have been ready anyway. Maybe the impact of this virus would not have been so profound. Doug I don’t know whether you saw on the news last night but I was watching a news article last night with a talking about the number of businesses the amount of online shopping that is now taking really solid hold now that people are unable to to go shopping.

Doug Endersbee 43:37
Yeah, I’m well aware of that. And I can certainly see that in our own household where

any any minute now I’m sure the dog will back because there will be a delivery of that. All

Barry Knights 43:49
right.

Ray Sidney-Smith 43:52
Yeah, one final thing I do want to talk about is the fact that once we’re done with this working from home, you know, strategy that that businesses are are facing right now, it will have been an opportunity to survive this circumstance. But in the future, many of the people who work from home will start to think you know what, I could do this all the time. And there will be a really interesting discussion that that will have to be had globally about, you know, all of us being global citizens and working for global companies that have a global reach, in that sense. So, you know, there may come a time when many of the businesses that are watching this, many of the business owners that are watching this, start to think well, maybe even if I have a local business, my my team doesn’t need to, to be coming to the office in order to be able to get the work done. And then, you know, going through the process of figuring out how that really happens. You know, I don’t know if I have explained this on the show before, but I had a fire at my office building a year or two Go. And, and at that point we decided to become a remote company to not in essence, re zoom, having the people come back into one environment all the time. And so we have been using a work from home plus remote work strategy where we were we had a co working space where team members can meet if they need to. Most are local in the Washington DC area. But I’m not I’m frequently on the road. So I’m, I always tell people I’m the absent CB CEO. Because I’m always on the road. people. People rarely see me in the office. And when they do see me they frankly don’t know who I am. No, I’m joking. But the goal, the goal is to be able to decide what a modern company looks like and how to effectively manage that company. And and you know, we’re there there are potential cost savings, they’re not always but there are potential cost savings there as well as making people have a more flexible working environment. You know, work life, you know, so that they can have greater, you know, life work satisfaction or work life satisfaction. And so I think on the other side of this to your question, I think there’s going to be an opportunity for people to start thinking about whether or not always showing up at the office is right for everyone. Because it may not be. Hmm.

Barry Knights 46:19
Yeah. And in terms of mindset, and mental health, there’s probably going to be at the end of this a shock for workers back into companies that are going to so we don’t want to now that this is over, we want you all in the office every day. That’s probably going to be as bigger mindset shift again, for workers as working remotely is.

Ray Sidney-Smith 46:52
Absolutely I mean, for some, it will be a welcome relief. I mean, you’ll be able to get away from your spouse and kids. By But I think I think for the vast majority of us all, it will be a relief just to have some sense of of going back to what is normalcy. And so I think that will be a bigger relief than it will be a shock to go back to the office. And and I think that, again, it’s just going to have to be this reconciliation that we all do mentally, emotionally, but also operationally as business owners to figure out what the right working modality is for our teams, where do our teams thrive? Where Where do we do our best work? And if and if there are people who can perform in any environment, why, why force them into an environment that isn’t the most productive for them and or for others? So, you know, this is of course, an ongoing issue with, you know, you know, basically, all of the late 90s and early 2000s with the concept of an open office plan, you know, which really has shown to not be as productive and environment. If people can now work from home. In the right environment, they can be more popular Because if their spouses off at work and their kids are off at school, then they have a quiet space to be able to do the type of work and ideation and kind of deep work as they say, for them to be able to get productive things done. And they can always come into the office for meetings and so on and so forth. But they’re going to be spending that much more time being productive as opposed to commuting to and from the office. So there there are some, some real tangible potential benefits to it. It just needs to be a conversation had with every, you know, in every situation is going to have its own bespoke solution.

Barry Knights 48:35
Yeah. All right. Well, Doug industry and Ray Sydney Smith, thank you for your time and your valuable input today. And we will at the end of the show, we will be asking people to send you their questions and so on. dug in this be how do people get in Attach it with AWS hosting.

Doug Endersbee 49:03
Well, if I go to our website, our testing comm today, you there’s always very various ways to contact us. They can even be looked a little chat box that will pop up and people, people are very good at putting questions in there to work to get a quick answer on things that might be troubling them. But But obviously, they can also, you know, jump on the phone and have a chat to myself or any of the team across our sales and support areas at any time.

Barry Knights 49:32
And racing this myth. If somebody has questions for you, how do they contact you?

Ray Sidney-Smith 49:40
They can usually just Google my name. If you type in rice, Sidney Smith into the into the Google you’ll find me and the company pretty much very easily. So feel free to just google me and you’ll find me.

Barry Knights 49:53
Terrific. Well thank you again for your time today. This has been another Corona virus addition have switched on it. We’ve had recently Smith and again will be with us, our usual hosts. Now, don’t forget that if you missed any of the previous sessions, and we’ve done a couple now on coronavirus, but any of the switched on it sessions that have happened over the last year or so you can pick up any of those on our video on demand. Just go down the left hand side of this site and click on switched on it. And all of those sessions will come up you can watch any of those. Please be sure if you’ve got any questions, if they’re if you’re working remotely or if you’re working from home. If you’re not sure about how to do this, or you have issues with it or anything like that, please feel free. We’d love to hear from you. Error address here at PTV is feed back at PTV channel o.com. You can email things questions to me. I’ll pass them on to Ray and Doug, and they can answer them for you. I think it’s really important that in this current environment that we support each other, and the PDB channel Oh wants to be there for you. We want to help support you in your endeavors. And we want to help you to get the most out of this time, which is very difficult for everybody. So be sure to stay in touch with us. Send us through your questions, comments, anything that you would like, so that we can stay in touch with you, you can stay in touch with us, and we can help each other all through this difficult time. Make sure you maintain your social distance And don’t forget that if you have health issues if you have mental health issues, Lifeline is always there for you to be able to contact. Stay in touch with people, be kind to one another. And let’s all get through this together. This has been very switched on it. We’ll see you again next week.

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