O’Neil DataTech LLC Announces Knowledgeone Corporation’s oneilBridge™ Certification.

O’Neil DataTech LLC, a provider of cloud-based commercial records management services and Knowledgeone Corporation, a provider of information management solutions, have partnered to integrate the oneilBridge service with the Knowledgeone RecFind 6 enterprise content management (ECM) solution. This will provide the ability for filerooms to manage active onsite physical and digital records and inactive content stored offsite directly from RecFind 6.

“Knowledgeone Corporation is well known internationally in the ECM space and we are pleased that they have completed their integration with oneilBridge. This will provide Knowledgeone end users seamless access to records stored at offsite record centers that utilize O’Neil’s RS-SQL® product suite”, states David Holt, CEO of O’Neil Software, Inc. “Having Knowledgeone as a certified partner will raise the bar within records management in assisting records managers who have the inherent challenge of applying uniform management of enterprise content,” he adds.

“We are looking forward to leveraging our technical experience and ability in solving client problems with O’Neil, to provide an innovative approach and solution for records management,” Frank McKenna, Managing Director and CEO of Knowledgeone, points out. “The partnership with O’Neil is well timed, as clients need more productive solutions for the challenges of managing enterprise information,” he further explains.

About O’Neil DataTech LLC O’Neil DataTech LLC is a provider of cloud-based commercial records management solutions and a wholly owned subsidiary of O’Neil Software, Inc. Committed to leading the industry for over 30 years, O’Neil has remained The FIRST Choice of Record Centers Worldwide. ™ Their technology is installed in over 85 countries, ranging from start-ups to multi-nationals. For more information, visit their websites: www.oneilsoft.com and www.oneildatatech.com.

About Knowledgeone Corporation Knowledgeone Corporation is a software development company with a concentration on information management solutions for the application areas of records management, electronic document management, imaging and workflow. With RecFind 6, the company has created a new genre of product, a generic information management application system able to run multiple applications simultaneously. For more information, visit their website at: www.knowledgeonecorp.com.

What not to put in self storage

While self storage facilities extend a lot of flexibility to their customers regarding what they can store in their units, there are a lot of things that are prohibited for the sake of legality, and health and safety. If you have never rented with a storage facility before, you might not be aware of these limitations. While each storage service differs in their policies, there are some items that are typically excluded from all self storage centres such as those which are hazardous, illegal, stolen, inflammable, explosive, environmentally harmful, and perishable or that are a risk to the property of any person.

1. Combustible, explosive or toxic materials
For very obvious reasons concerning health and safety, you cannot keep anything that might be dangerous to your storage unit or others in the vicinity, or the building in general. These items include gasoline, propane tanks, oxygen tanks, kerosene, motor oil, corrosive acids, fertilizer, paint, toxic/biological waste, fireworks, ammunition etc.

2. Perishable food
While food is not going to burn the unit down, it will attract a lot of rodents and pests, which might, in turn, damage other items. Although most storage firms try their best to maintain a pest free environment, they can only do so much to keep an infestation in check. Some food items will emit a foul odour as they spoil which might become absorbed by other items such as clothing.

3. Vehicles and tires
While you can keep a vehicle in storage, you will have to provide a registration record, proof of insurance and ensure that the vehicle is in good working condition. However, some facilities may not allow the storage of used and outdated vehicles unless they are vintage and are of some considerable value. There is always a risk (to the company) in storing a non-functioning vehicle as the customer may abandon it in the storage unit and the company may be left to deal with its disposal. For the same reason, storage facilities may also discourage the storing of tyres and other large items of limited value.

4. Running appliances
Of course, you can put your toaster, refrigerator, freezer, generator, heater in storage but they must be disconnected, as should all other electronics that run on batteries or other kinds of energy. Leaving them on could invite a potential disaster that both you and the storage facility would like to avoid.

5. Animals and pets
This is obviously a matter of common sense, but it needs reiteration. Thinking about storing your garden plants and pet animals in storage is a bad idea, even if you supply them with nutrition and air.

There might be a few other items that some storage firms might add to the list so if you are unclear about whether you can store a certain item, it would be a good idea to ask the manager before you put it in the storage unit.

Ella Andrews
Ella Andrews is passionate blogger and professional writer with great flair for home maintenance and self storage projects. She’s been writing about similar topics for a long time, but is also constantly searching for new sources of inspiration. For more information see: www.hiremanandvan.org

Austpac Self Storage South Melbourne: The easy way to store your stuff

Austpac South Melbourne commenced trading in April 2012. The combination of a sales team who offer the right advice, supported with a high quality of customer service, and along with a bright, modern storage environment, Austpac South Melbourne has quickly become a popular choice for many hundreds of customers to store their stuff.

Located on one of Melbourne’s busiest thoroughfares, 123-125 Montague street, our South Melbourne centre does indeed stand out, judging on the high volume of move ins we receive by passing motorists. Austpac South Melbourne is under 5kms from the centre of the CBD and just a few minutes by car to all the major arterial routes.

We are consistently congratulated by our customers on our South Melbourne location. Customers love the bright open outlook our decor provides, we like to think it takes the doom and gloom out of storage”, says Mike Myers, General Manager Austpac Self Storage.

Austpac Self Storage was developed with the vision of making self storage more appealing to potential customers by providing welcoming and functioning centres to ‘store your stuff’. People would consider their storage experience in a new light and be more willing and comfortable with using Austpac Self Storage more frequently.

austpac2

Our opening campaign provided us with a great launching pad in the inner city Melbourne storage market. We used a variety of promotions which included flyers via letter box drop, mobile billboards, radio and a consistent level of local marketing by the Austpac sales team. Our local marketing has provided us with a high level of commercial clients and we continue to build on this very strong base. As is the case with all marketing campaigns some work better than others. We, as all companies do, measure how successful our campaigns are by way of enquiries. The Austpac team have been trained to ask the appropriate questions in which to offer the complete package to every person who takes the time to contact us. Being only two centres large, it is important for us to track what does work best in promoting as we have a limited budge to work with.

Austpac South Melbourne is 900 units large and they are spread over two levels. Our huge under cover loading bay provides weather free easy access to all units and the two goods lifts to our first floor units. We provide 24 hour access, every day of the year, with all units being individually alarmed. Austpac South Melbourne can be seen as an extension to any home or business.

Austpac wanted to make sure when building South Melbourne that we made the centre as easy to access as possible for customers. So we added thoughtful and practical things, like easy undercover parking, big lifts, wide hallways, clear signage and bright lighting.

austpac1

Our office area has a large range of packaging and moving items on display and our fully equipped moving van and/or trailer are offered free of charge to all customers when moving in.

Our Richmond location is only 5kms from the MCG and Rod Laver Arena, so again highlighting Austpac’s ability to cater for the inner city storage market, either domestic or commercial. Austpac Richmond is only one-third the size of South Melbourne, 340 units, and has three levels of units. Once again featuring 24/7 access with all units individually alarmed. Austpac use the StorMan software package to operate both centres, with security through DSS.

It’s all about Conversion

A recent query received from a member gave cause to speak with Reach Local about strategies competitors use to generate maximum return on investment with on-line sales leads.

Many facility operators are focused on obtaining a high-ranking on the front page of Google and pay a pretty penny for the privilege when undertaking a Google AdWords campaign. Logically, this explains why one competitor’s facility ranks higher than that of another, even if the web user has searched for a self storage facility in a location that is closer to that of a facility who may have bid less for search result listings under particular ad words. It has been suggested however, that depending on how a facility targets their advertising and who they direct it toward, the owner may actually achieve a greater return on investment (ROI) and lower click-through costs from being positioned on one of Google’s 3500 partner websites (e.g. You Tube, Gumtree and Smartcompany). Before deciding where to place an advertisement it is important for a facility operator to understand what their customers like, what their buying habits are and, importantly, where they live.

Every time a potential self storage customer searches for a facility on Google, AdWords runs an auction to determine the ads that show on the search results page and their rank on that page. To be ‘in the game’ and place ads in the auction, a facility owner/operator first has to decide what type of customer action they would like to pay for. Bidding options include:

1. The number of times the facility advertisement is displayed (cost per 1000 impressions).
This is a good strategy for those intent on increasing widespread awareness of their brand.

2. The number of times the advertisement receives a ‘click’ (cost per click)
Cost per click (CPC) is often a good initial on-line marketing strategy. Costs accrue based on the number of clicks the facility gets on their ads, allowing for easier management of advertising costs. Many operators will be acutely aware that as words such as ‘self storage’ are bid on, then clicked on, the price goes up. By way of example, ‘asbestos’ is now $42 per click; ‘real estate’ is about the same.

3. Each time users take a specific action on the facility’s website after clicking on the ad
This is known as the cost-per acquisition and is useful for self storage operators who are interested in tracking conversions like purchases, phone calls or sign ups. Maximum cost per click limits can be set when users click on ads. IF, for example, the self storage facility operator sets a maximum of $1 for a cos per click on their ads $1 is the most they would pay when a customer clicks on their ad. Often, much less than this $1 maximum may be paid, remembering that during the ad auction, they would only pay what was required to rank higher than the advertiser below them.

On-line Directories
Another concern often expressed by members relates to on-line listings of their company on free on-line business directories. These directories mimic on-line telephone directories and sell advertising space to generate revenue. In the event this listing is undesired by the self storage facility, their use of appropriate search terms enables their website to gain a more prominent position in search results for specific key word searches than that achieved by the on-line directory.

Final Thought
Ask yourself whether your web company controlling your on-line marketing budget can definitively demonstrate which ad words lead to sales conversions and which don’t.

Which word is best?

Whether it’s your business card, tagline, article title, web site title and description or ad, just the difference of a few words can either pull in prospects and clients or push them away. Getting it right can determine whether your phone is ringing off the hook or you are twiddling your thumbs hoping someone will call.

Just by changing a word or two or combining a couple of phrases, you can increase your response rate dramatically. Book publishers know that a book’s title can make the difference between it becoming a best seller or a loser. Wouldn’t you like your service and products to be best sellers?

In the past if you wanted to be sure you’d found the best name for your business or the right phrases to use in your marketing materials, you needed to hire a marketing research firm to get a reliable answer. Using phone surveys and focus groups, a market research firm can tell you which names turn prospects off and which make people want to buy your services and products. While marketing research firms may still be the best answer for mid to large businesses, most independent professionals and small business owners, don’t budget tens of thousands of dollars for this type of in-depth analysis. So how do you find out which key words and phrases will attract clients to you?

You can research and test words and phrases to dramatically increase the response to your marketing. Thanks to the development of the internet and a couple of free and almost free on-line tools you can easily research which words pull in prospects and which push them away. Use the steps outlined below, to refine the words you use in your marketing.

Start with a focus on the client’s problems
Don’t make the mistake of marketing your services and products by focusing on your name, professional label, your credentials or processes. Your prospects are concerned about their own problems, issues and needs. For example, the phrase ‘back pain’ is searched for on the internet one and a half times as often as ‘chiropractor’.

In self storage, your marketing materials should focus on solutions such as storage space, boxes, more room, storing personal belongings. Start with words that focus on prospects’ problems. If you can’t think of any, use words that describe the solution to their problems. What problems and solutions are your clients looking for?

Use attention-getting words
Everyone knows that certain words like ‘sex’ attract attention. The problem is ‘sex’ won’t help attract customers for a lawyer, cleaning service, caterer and certainly not self storage. Other words that get attention are ‘how to’, ‘secrets’ and ‘free’.

Fish where the fish are
Certain category phrases exist to describe most types of businesses or tasks. If you are a web designer, the phrase ‘web design’ is one. If you sell pyrotechnics, the more commonly used term is ‘fireworks’ by a factor of twenty-two. Improve the response to your marketing by using the common phrases people use to search on-line, the same ones used commonly in association with the services and products you sell. Wordtracker provides free on-line tools to help you find the words and phrases your prospects are interested in. Place in the search words you think people will use and word tracker will make a list of the top search strings association with this.
www.wordtracker.com

The easiest tool to test word or phrase popularity is Google trends. Type in possibilities from your list and look at how many times they were used in a Google search. You can compare different word searches, look at data from Australia, New Zealand, even Australian states if there is enough data for that search criteria. Make sure the keywords you use to describe yourself, and the ones you use on your web pages to help the search engines find your site are ones your prospects use too. A real trick with Google trends is not just to look for the most popular search items, but to find those words that are popular with searchers, but not as commonly used within the industry, hence not often on websites. Everyone will be competing on the top three search items, but you could be one of only a few businesses with top results for the less popular search items, which could still represent hundreds of searches a day.
www.google.com/trends

Inexpensive market research
Once you know the category phrase that best describes your services and products,t he next step is to develop your tagline, or the copy you use in your website description or even yellow pages advertising copy. If you are a lawyer you might have a listing in the yellow pages under attorneys, but what should you say to prompt people to call your office? Do you know which of the following phrases is most likely to pull in prospects?
– Free consultation for serious injuries
– Need legal help?
– Find the right attorney
– Maximum cash compensation

Without doing some market research you won’t know which phrase, if any of these, is the most effective. Thanks to www.google.com.au/adwords it’s easy to test out your ides. Depending on the popularity of your key words and how long you run your test, it will cost twenty to fifty dollars or more at Google. You can sign-up, put up as many variations of your ad as you want, and see which ones people respond to. You may be surprised that changing a word or two can increase your response by factors of five or more. Once you see which phrases are working, try combining them to improve your response even more.

Even if you never run an ad, researching which phrases pull in prospects can help your business grow. Use the results on your business card, in your tagline, as the title to your website or as the title to an article and pull in many more clients and customers.

Keeping Staff Motivated

The greatest single obstacle to the success of any business is the mismatch that occurs between the behaviour we need from our people and the way we reward them.

Motivation is harder in today’s business climate. Not because people are under more pressure (people are always under pressure – that’s not new), but rather because the pressure is different – and it is igniting feelings of uncertainty that people haven’t felt in a long time – if ever. It was not that long ago that many industries had a steady in-flow of customer. Now, that work flow has slowed down and, in some cases, almost stopped. In response. we are now required to be a lot more proactive with our existing clients, become involved in lead generation, attend networking functions, up-size or value add our sales/rapport building skills, and get back on the phone. Less work, less leads, and (a lot) more rejection are now a daily pressure…and many people are not prepared to handle it.

The main symptom is an increase in personal frustration and a reduction in motivation. Not only does this measurably impact productivity and profitability of your business, but it also impairs the morale and motivation of the culture. To spark motivation to achieve something, people need to feel that their efforts are being noticed and bringing them closer to their targets. The traditional approach of setting a target and providing incentives to reach it, won’t be enough in today’s climate. This was fine when the goals were attainable. Now, the effort (and resilience) required to reach those targets is exponentially bigger, making them feel unreachable and, thus, people are giving up on being able to reach them.

For people to feel motivated, they need a to feel a sense of accomplishment even when they aren’t achieving the outcome they want. Therefore the focus needs to shift from only rewarding outcome to include rewarding effort.

The things that get rewarded get done!
People need to feel a sense of accomplishment for the consistent effort they put in regardless of the outcome. For example, if you need to contact 50 clients with enthusiasm, your 47th call needs to emanate the same enthusiasm as your first call did – even if you have faced 46 replies of ‘no’. THis is only achieved if you are felling a sense of accomplishment just for making the calls – regardless of the outcome.

Reward goal-focused activity
Set an activity goal. Whether it is making calls, contacting clients, etc. If the activity brings you closer to your target it can be measured and rewarded. ENsure that people fell a sense of ‘moving forward’ based on the activity they are generating.

Reward attitude and ambition
Negativity can spread like a virus through your workplace. It is easy to become part of the doom and gloom and form a culture based on self-pity and whining. We need to reward those who are prepared to break away from the negativity and stay committed to their vision and sense of purpose.

Reward risk taking instead of risk avoiding
We all have a tendency to avoid making mistakes. It’s a natural part of being human. We all want recognition and acceptance and one sure way of achieving this is to ‘look good’ and don’t do anything ‘wrong’ that will attract attention or criticism. Many businesses operate under the ‘go ahead and do it, but don’ do anything wrong’ rule. Successful businesses encourage people to take smart risks, give them boundaries to work within and realise that making intelligent mistakes are part of the price you pay for personal and company growth. Every time you try something new you run the risk of failure. Worse than this, is the consequence of not taking risks…boredom, frustration, stagnation and ultimate decline in company performance.

Reward applied creativity instead of mindless conformity
It’s true that no business can be effective without a certain amount of conformity and good systems. However, the important capital asset is not money, buildings or equipment, but ideas! Back in 1976 a young engineer got bored with the repetitive routine of installing computer chips and asked his bosses if he could design a personal computer. His bosses said not. Undeterred he built his computer from hone and named it Apple…

Anybody can come up with new ideas. All you need to do is gather people around and brainstorm solutions to a problem. You will be surprised at just how creative your people really are! In a lot of cases, management asks for new ideas and quickly rejects them or the people who come up with new ideas are not rewarded; instead those with the ‘proper’ credentials are given the accolades. The key is to create an environment that encourages new ideas and make innovation and continuous improvement part of everyone’s job.

Reward decisive action instead of paralysis by analysis
Good managers promote innovation and growth by giving their staff the freedom to decide and act. They tell their people to ‘make up your mind and do it. If it isn’t working out, fix it or try something else. The key here is not to penalize for making a bad decision but reward for taking action.

Reward simplification
With success usually comes complexity. You hire more people and create new systems and procedures to handle the complexity – which leads to things becoming more complicated. The paradox which faces management is to keep everything as simple as possible so people can get on and do their jobs. The advantages of a trim organisation, is that it is more responsive, flexible and better equipped to cope with change and seize opportunities.

Simplify jobs
– what results do I produce in my job?
– why am I producing them?
– what am I doing that is unnecessary?

Simplify procedures and controls
– can we eliminate it?
can we combine two or more steps?
can we change the sequence of the steps to make it more efficient?

Simplify communication – the current business environment thrives on knowledge and producing volumes of information. The challenge is dealing with information overload which can confuse and immobilize people. We all need to work hard at keeping our communication as simple but as informative as possible.

Reward quietly effective behaviour instead of the squeaky wheel
Every business needs reliable people who know their jobs and do them without calling a lot of attention to themselves. Too often the deeds of the quiet heroes are drowned out by the squeaky joints who spend their time talking about how great they are. Most people don’t mind working hard, so long as they receive due recognition for their efforts, rather than feeling like they are being taken for granted, used or exploited. Before you know it, the quiet achiever will move on looking for recognition of their efforts elsewhere and you’ll be left with an expensive squeaky wheel.

Business owners need to look more closely at where the results are coming from. Has someone delegated a large proportion of their work to someone else so that they can concentrate on the flashy project? Who is rarely if ever absent? Who can you count on to take up the slack when someone else is absent or on holidays? Resolve to spend time encouraging and rewarding dependable people. Remind yourself just who is important, loyal and fully dedicated to the organisation.

Reward loyalty instead of turnover
We hear a lot of business owners lament in saying that they can’t understand why young people aren’t more committed to work. Every business needs loyalty, but few actually reward it. Instead they hire, fire and manipulate people according to current economic needs. Worse yet, many organisations encourage people to be disloyal. Often the most recent hired gets paid the most. Overlooking the loyal long-term employee’s salary can cause resentment and guarantee the loss of a great member of staff. Advancements and career paths promised at the initial interview go to outsiders rather than promoting from within. Sometimes the only way to get a pay rise is under threat of leaving for a better offer elsewhere.

The key to getting loyalty is by following a very simple principle: you get loyalty and commitment from people by giving it to them.

If you ask employees who say they are loyal to their employer, they will say they belong to an organisation that cares about them, challenges them, believes in them and wants the best for them, not just as employees but as human beings. Employee loyalty and dedication doesn’t just happen. Management must make it happen. Here are the basics that you need to get right:

  • Provide job security
  • Build trust by keeping channels of communication open and clear
  • Promote from within
  • Invest in the long-term growth and development of your people
  • Pay and benefits must be perceived as fair
  • In short, treat people as you would like to be treated (think about how you would cope if they left)

A Simple Lesson In Trust

Are you like me? Do you get ahead of yourself? Do you take it for granted that people already know things about you or your business, only to find out later that they didn’t and they don’t?

I just had an experience like that. I recently got a phone call from a member of the SSAA who has several facilities.

He said, “I’m very interested in solar power (which is what we do), however I’ve always had one problem with it, but a board member of the SSAA has assured me that you are the person who can help me with the answer”.

“Sure,” I said. “How can I help?”

I expected to hear the common questions or issues that people have with solar – like quality of products, prices or how does it work etc.

So I was very surprised when he said, “Well my problem with solar power is how do I know who I can really trust?”

Of course I know innately that being trustworthy and doing good work is important, but I realised that it’s just something that I do and don’t really think about. Basically, I guess I take it for granted that people would know that about me…or anyone.

That got me wondering just how many other members of SSAA are in the same boat. The financial benefits of solar are huge for storage businesses, and so I have been confused as to why some members jump on it right away while others sit by and do nothing.

So I thought I’d help everybody out by putting together a check list you can use as a basis to evaluate solar providers when you’re ready to make the move.

(Now I will be honest and tell you that this is my personal checklist of how I and my team behave as a Solar professionals, so it is a little biased to our character and culture. Nonetheless, I’m sure it will be a good foundation for you to use for your own list.)

  • Do no harm
    – Just like a doctor our first intention is that our client never does any worse and, if we help them, will do better.
  • Always do what you say you will
    – This is just good manners. And my parents would whack me in the head if I didn’t!
  •  Evaluate before diagnosing
    – It’s very easy to look at a client as an opportunity to push whatever system makes the most profit for the vendor and, therefore, just say “here’s what you need…” even if you don’t. We don’t recommend anything until we know exactly what is needed.
  • Never over prescribe
    – Even after the diagnosis, it is easy to go overboard and order a system that is bigger than what is needed – again a benefit to the vendors profit. We always match the size of the system to what is needed. No more, no less.
  • Long term quality always beats short-term cheap
    – One of the harder parts of our work is selecting the panels that will be installed. Just like any other product industry, there are ‘Rolls Royce’ panels and ‘Kia’ panels. People will usually default to using cheaper panels because, being outside the industry, they think all panels are the same. It’s my job to explain that the point of a solar power system is to deliver for 20 years, so every decision has to be made with this in mind.
  • When a problem occurs, take care of it with all of the above at the front of your mind.

I feel very blessed and grateful that I work in an industry where I can make new friends and clients and build these layers of trust. And when the results show up it’s just icing on the cake.

Let’s face it, we are looking for circles of safety in which to live in, do business in, play sport in or whatever the situation is.

Surely all our clients are looking for the same thing! What’s your check-list for choosing the best Self Storage facility? Get cracking!

Mike Sutton
Michael Sutton, the CEO of Platinum Solar, has 20 years experience in the sales and marketing of energy-efficient products and technologies combined with strong business management. Michael’s passion is in helping businesses keep their money and not give it away to utilities. For more information visit: platinum-solar.com.au