How adopting an innovative approach to business took CEOffice Concepts from a small local operator to a national player.

CEO Office Concepts is a locally operated Corporate Office Furnishing business owned by Craig Hess and his wife Michelle for the past 15 years. The business services customers both locally and Australia wide providing industry leading, office furnishing solutions. Innovation is at the heart of the business today, but it was not always the case. Their journey from a traditional operator in an ever-increasingly crowded industry, to innovator delivering customer value beyond their competitors wildest dreams, is a case study in how doing things differently can deliver a different result.

Craig Hess, “We purchased the business 15 years ago and like many other business owners at the time we computerised the systems where we could but that was about it as far as innovation”. The marketing channels available to the business were typical of the industry at the time, catalogue driven and rep focussed. Likewise, the general business operations were largely manual, time-intensive and people, not systems, focussed. “It was a successful model for a long time but the industry has evolved rapidly over our journey in it and we had to be responsive”.

The Corporate Office Furnishing industry is extremely competitive and increasingly dominated by large multi-nationals with buying power and marketing budgets to match. How does a small local operator stay relevant? They innovate and do things differently. 

“We knew we had to do something different but it started with getting our online presence up to speed”. CEO turned to Ben Carter of Yoonet for help. 

Ben Carter, “At Yoonet we are passionate about providing opportunities for small business to access enterprise-level innovation. The big end of town have enjoyed the benefits of innovation for a long time and we like to provide the avenue for small business to do the same. When Craig approached us we knew that there was an opportunity to really improve the business”. 

Yoonet redesigned the CEO website and digital presence, optimised their digital assets through ongoing technical SEO services and developed low cost, pay-per-click solutions to increase brand awareness and reach. But that was just the start!

Craig, “With Yoonet’s assistance, we completely digitised our workflow from initial customer engagement through to quoting and correspondence. We automated a lot of processes which saved time but more importantly, added capability. Having systemised the business in a tech solution meant we could then utilise Yoonet’s dedicated staffing solution to administer the processes within the system and allow my high-value staff to get on with high-value things even as we grew rapidly”.

The catalyst for that growth was further innovation. “Most people are visual in nature, they need to see things to conceptualise them and it is of particular value in our industry”. 

The problem - digital visualisation is a highly skilled, costly and hard to come by skill in a traditional context. The Solution - Yoonet’s dedicated staffing. 

Yoonet were successful in recruiting qualified talent to provide visualisation services to CEO at a cost that was affordable. “While our competitors are preparing largely standardised proposals, we are providing lifelike, 3D visualisations of their actual proposed office. Our clients can truly visualise what we are offering and that articulates our value proposition better than anything”. And the next step, Augmented Reality, visualising the office space via mobile devices. 

The end result, “We have significantly increased our revenue in 18 months since embarking on our innovation journey with Yoonet and I have reduced the administration time within the business by 50 to 60% meaning I can get on with engaging my customers and not pushing paper, and reduced admin means reduced cost”.

So how do you apply this in your small business? Ben Carter, “Innovation needs to be approached as a journey and Craig's story is a testament to this approach, it starts with your digital assets and ends with automation, and then you do it again!”.

Yoonet recommended innovation approach for small business:

Step one: Get your digital assets in order, maintain them like any other asset, consistently and concertedly. Give your customers somewhere to go to get your message - it is cost effective and relatively easy to do.

Step Two: Digitise your process and access global talent to administer that process. Add capacity and capabilities to your business at a fraction of the cost of a traditional approach. 

Step Three: Automate. Further, reduce the burden of administration on your business by automating wherever possible. You will be surprised what software, AI and robotics can do. 

Step Four: Rinse and repeat - it is all about continuous improvement. 

Ben, “Craig and Michelle's journey with us is a blueprint of how local businesses, regardless of industry or size, can access and leverage innovation to improve business outcomes. We are incredibly grateful for the opportunity to assist CEO not just now but into the future”.

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