John-Paul Mclean, of Ryder Technologies and Stampngo, talks about Covid-19 lockdown and the future.
What have your main challenges been?
Our main challenges essentially revolve around how the business will look and operate for the short to medium term. As an entity who derives the majority of income from overseas this will now have to change to an internal New Zealand focus for the short term at least. Another significant challenge has been communication with our stakeholders; with no one knowing how the business landscape will look it is extremely difficult to provide a concrete plan/forecast to them. People look for certainty and it just is not something we can offer to them in the current environment. Presenting different scenarios helps but the message to everyone at present is that we just have to be adaptable to the market.
What have your successes been?
We have had a lot of successes during lockdown, mainly because it gave us time to focus on new solutions for our business and clients moving forward. One key success was building a stronger relationship with some key customers and suppliers. It is great to see some of our corporate clients like Repco, PMA Global and suppliers like Paymark being willing to work with us to get through the alert levels and how we can build better digital products for the future together.
Another key success was the ability of the staff to adapt and change focus. We have designed and built new products that we believe will be in demand entering into level 2 and beyond; we have created new websites, sales funnels and content for these products in a matter of weeks. The ability to collaborate digitally with tools like Miro will become a cornerstone of how we operate in the future. We have adapted to running workshops to get away from unproductive meetings and the results have been phenomenal.
Another great success has been the adoption of the StampnGo App by cafes and restaurants as we entered level 3 for a pre-order, contactless payment and pick up solution. We had a massive spike in new sign-ups and adoption during that alert level. I think we would have had a year’s worth of learnings / data within a two week period, which as a digital product designers is really awesome and helps the team plan out the road map for that product.
What difference has moving to Level 2 made for you?
One critical difference to us is our gift card side of the business is back in operation now. During lockdown levels 3 and 4, with the retail shops still closed we had zero transactional income from this side of the business. It is great to have it back up and running now as we still had to pay for the infrastructure to run the system during lockdown.
In respect to our other business it is still too early to tell but we have lots of “catch-up calls” booked to get a better feel of what people are thinking. We have some large quotes for new work that were in the pipeline prior to going into lockdown, so it will be interesting to see if these will carry on as planned or if they will be put on hold or cancelled.
What long-term changes do you see yourself making to the way your business operates?
Look to create more recurring monthly revenue streams. Currently it sits at around 40 percent of our monthly invoice percentage and we want to get this to 70 percent. As digital designers of web platforms and apps we are going to change our charging structures for building products. We will move to a build fee and monthly fee as opposed to just a build fee. This will reduce the initial costs to clients but also provide a better monthly cashflow to Ryder Technologies.
We will also put more energy in developing better payment solutions for both our Gift Card and the StampnGo products. Hopefully this will be in collaboration with Paymark as it would be great to have products that are just suited to Kiwis.
No one knows how this is going to play out. All we can do is be responsive and adapt to the changing markets. I have heard plenty of stories of smaller to medium sized businesses not coping with the change due to the lockdowns as they were not up to speed with technology changes over the last 5-10 years. Now is the time to get educated about how technology can make your business better and get the training to implement these products. I can see it being quite normal now for people to do the accounts/HR/marketing part time remotely from home. It will be more productive and there will be a larger talent pool for remote workers now. SMEs need to have the infrastructure in place to attract remote workers.