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Richard Keeves

IQ Seven in the news: Small Business ICT feature (Business News)

Posted in News by Richard Keeves on June 13, 2018

IQ Seven highlighted in a major feature in Business News (published June 4, 2018).

The newspaper feature included several innovative solutions designed to help small business owners successfully navigate the changing technology landscape. You can read the full feature article here at Business News online or download a PDF version.  The extracts from the feature are published below with the kind permission of Business News.

Richard Keeves (left) and Gareth Lane (photo courtesy of Business News)

Richard Keeves and Gareth Lane have worked with numerous small and mid-sized businesses over the years, and they are worried by what they have seen.

Despite the plethora of information about technology trends, they believe many SMEs are struggling, even with the basics.

“What I’ve observed over the years is that most businesses have websites but most don’t work very well,” Mr Keeves told Business News.

Mr Keeves ran web development company IBC until it was sold in 2008 and since then has operated a digital consulting business.

He recalls running a series of seminars for retail businesses.

“Seeing them struggle in the world of ecommerce was not just an eye opener, in a way it was sad,” Mr Keeves said.

“They really wanted to do well but they didn’t have the resources or the technical skills to match it with the big guys.”

Mr Lane, who heads digital agency Concise Digital, said one of the problems was the lack of regulation.

“Anybody can be a web designer and there are lots of sharks making promises they can’t deliver,” he said.

“I’ve seen a lot of people sign contracts for two years on the promise they will be top of Google, without having any real knowledge of how it works or the fact you can’t actually do that.”

Mr Lane said a lot of small business operators missed the basics.

“A lot of people think it’s all about SEO,” he said.

“Or people love to hear about social media, but it isn’t relevant for a lot of people.”

Results driven

Messrs Keeves and Lane are also looking to make life easier for SMEs by launching iQ Seven, which is a finalist in the WAITTA Incite awards to be announced later this month.

It’s an online business designed to supply information and advice to subscribers on managing their web presence.

“We’re trying to empower business owners so they know what needs to be done so they can get the results they want,” Mr Lane said.

The two founders will continue to run their consulting businesses but recognise most SMEs cannot afford to hire experienced consultants.

Instead, they have drawn on their collective knowledge to design the new service, which was launched in February this year.

“We wouldn’t have been able to do this without our real-world experience; we’ve seen what works and what doesn’t work,” Mr Lane said.

The name of their new business stems from the founders’ belief there are seven areas that need focus for a web site to be effective.

You need to be easily found, you want to attract the right visitors, and then engage and build trust.

The website needs to generate leads and convert them to sales, and to encourage social sharing.

Mr Lane said there is a lot of information in the public domain, which can be found via the likes of Google, but it can be out of date, misleading or wrong.

Even when people found useful information, many SMEs struggled to determine what was most important, he said.

iQ Seven seeks to tackle this by scanning the internet every day, tracking changes in web services, search engines, social media and web technology.

It then sends alerts to subscribers, prioritised to meet their needs.

The system also checks each subscriber’s website, and their use of social media and search engines.

It alerts subscribers about problems to fix along with ideas and opportunities to improve results.

Mr Keeves said a key aspect of iQ Seven was that it was fully independent.

“We don’t do web design or SEO or marketing services or anything like that, it’s an independent advisory system,” he said.

 

Here’s the full Business News article as PDF.