There is so much happening at PayrollHero these days. We are adding new team members, new clients and new features and functionality to the platform as part of our continued growth.
Part of that growth is focused around customer driven product development. At PayrollHero, we don’t build any new features without a client sponsor. Meaning all new functionality has a client that is a champion of that feature and will work with us on the design and implementation.
Yesterday some of our team went on client visits, not to meet with the owners, managers, payroll admins or HR, but rather the employees, the end users of our platform in their environments.
Labor day is a regular holiday meant to celebrate workers everywhere! Little known fact the first Labor day celebration was in 1903 in front of Malacañan Palace held by the Democratic Laborer’s Union which pushed for Workers’ Economic Rights!
Restaurants in the Philippines looking for more ways to promote their businesses can use this handy infographic. Nine ideas on how you can promote your food and beverage business that include MetroDeal.com, MunchPunch.com, Looloo.com, Meetup.com plus many others.
Wingstop, the 5th fastest growing brand in the United States is coming to the Philippines thanks to an exclusive development agreement announced a few weeks ago. Wingstop Philippines, Inc. plans to open 50 restaurants across the country with the first stop opening shortly.
Wingstop Philippines is part of the CBTL Holdings group which is a big supporter of PayrollHero. The Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf Philippines was our second client and we have been able to grow along with them as they add more stores each month. So it is exciting news that they have chosen PayrollHero for Wingstop as their platform of choice for time, attendance, scheduling, HRIS and Philippine payroll needs.
It was an amazing video and a fantastic night. We had tech entrepreneurs from all over Southeast Asia fly in to join the event and take in one of the most entertaining movies on entrepreneurship. Of course a big thanks to EO Philippines and Amazon for stepping up and sponsoring the event so that it could all be possible.
Is your restaurant chain growing? Are you expanding your retail stores? Are you bringing a new brand into the region? If you are, you are most likely identifying and implementing new systems and procedures in your business to help you manage your growth.
Here are some events that your management team should attend;
Zendesk.com April 22nd, Zendesk’s Zen U – Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia (details)
April 25th, Zendesk’s Zen U – Jakarta, Indonesia (details)
April 30th, Zendesk’s Zen U – Manila, Philippines (details)
These are free events open to anyone interested improving their support process and customer experience.
PayrollHero.com May 2nd & 3rd, PayrollHero’s TAS Certification – Manila, Philippines (details)
May 6th & 7th, PayrollHero’s TAS Certification – Manila, Philippines (details)
May 9th & 12th, PayrollHero’s TAS Certification – Manila, Philippines (details)
These are free events open to customers of PayrollHero who want to have their team time, attendance and scheduling certified.
May 10th, 1:30pm, PayrollHero Unwrapped – Cebu, Philippines (details)
May 1st, 1:00pm PHT, PayrollHero Webinar – Online (details)
These are free events open anyone who wants to learn more about PayrollHero’s time, attendance, scheduling, HRIS, analytics and payroll platform.
May 10th, 3:30pm, TradeGecko Unwrapped – Cebu, Philippines (details)
These are free events open to anyone interested improving their inventory management systems and procedures.
New Leaf Ventures
May 10th, 10:00am, Better Business Brunch – Cebu, Philippines (details)
Entrepreneurs and soon-to-be entrepreneurs who are passionate about building their businesses.
Any others we should know about, let us know in the comments.
PayrollHero’s Philippine payroll platform enables payroll administrators from all over the Philippines to quickly and easily run payroll for their organizations. We get many emails from employees asking how to compute their BIR taxes or if their taxes have been calculated correctly. Here is a quick example of how it works and how you can double check your Philippine payroll numbers.
At PayrollHero we are big believers in knowledge sharing. From pair programming to private online forums for open discussions about our business to sharing online, we believe that transparency and leaving artifacts behind is the best way to succeed. So in keeping with that, I thought I would share the 10 tools that we are using today at PayrollHero.
Communication: HipChat – We use HipChat as our water cooler. We have multiple rooms setup so that we can keep the conversations on topic. From Business Development to Developers to Customer Service, each department of our business has a room to chat in. Plus, with the iOS app and alerts, our team can stay up to speed with the progress of the business. One of the neat things about HipChat is that you can integrate with other tools so that they update the HipChat rooms. For example, in our Developers room, it is common to see messages from Bugsnag, GitHub, CodeClimate and many others. In the Customer Service room Zendesk and Intercom contacts show up. It is a great way to keep on top of your business and the different departments.
Google Hangouts – Every morning at 7:37am PHT and 3:37pm PDT most of our team gathers for our standup meeting. Because we are situated in two locations, we do our daily standup meeting via Google Hangouts. Hangouts are stable, reliable and free enabling us to keep both offices in constant contact with each other. Outside of our standup meetings Google Hangouts are commonly used for department meetings, client support calls and sales calls.
Skype -Everyone should know Skype, but we use it quite a bit as some Google products have trouble in China. Skype enables our client happiness team to speak with clients, share their screens and demo the platform. Our business development team uses it for webinars as well as sales calls. Overall it is a reliable platform that helps us grow our business.
Asana – Asana is a task tracking system built for web and mobile designed to reduce email clutter within a workplace. We use it for tracking our engineering tasks, onboarding tasks and any group projects that we are working on.
Zopim – We switched over from SnapEngage to Zopim for the live chat on all of our marketing sites recently. We made the switch based on features and pricing and found that Zopim had all the features we needed at a lower cost that what we were paying before. (Zendesk just purchased Zopim)
CRM: PipelineDeals – We moved over to PipelineDeals (from Highrise) recently as we were looking for a change in how we managed our leads, deals, contacts and clients. PipelineDeals is a great platform for B2B businesses that want an easy to use, slick interface that does not require tons of setup time. PipelineDeals plays nicely with our MailChimp account and our team instantly loved it. Plus their customer support has been quick and helpful. (Watch for PipelineDeals pushing more into Southeast Asia)
Intercom.io -I really like Intercom and how it lets us communicate not only with our clients who require support, but all of our clients. It gives us an in-depth dashboard to all activity on our platform and makes it really easy to communicate with our clients. Their automated, action trigged messages are really helpful and have changed the way we support our clients.
Zendesk.com –Zendesk is where we manage client support requests and tickets from Intercom that require more time to resolve. We used to use Zendesk alone, but added Intercom for its complete client view and the two platforms work nicely for our client happiness team. (My guess is that Zendesk is going to either do buy Intercom or replicate some of their features in the near future. Time will tell.)
Google Drive – Our whole world lives in Google Drive. We store our financials, employee docs, communal spreadsheets/documents, photos, videos, memos plus much more. It is a quick and easy way to keep everything in the cloud and searchable at a moments notice.
Expensify – Expensify is how we track all receipts that need to be reimbursed. We use the iOS app to take photos of the receipt, quickly document the details around the receipt and it stores it for quick reporting.
Bonus Tools – We are also playing with a couple tools to test how they workout within our world. They include Peak (see what people are working on), DropCam (to take a peek into each office) and Ghost (for release notes, trying instead of WordPress).
————- PayrollHero was born out of our own need. In 2008 Michael Stephenson and I were looking to outsource our customer service for our real estate software company. We flew to the Philippines in search of a BPO (read: outsourcing company) and soon decided that instead of outsourcing to someone else, we should get into the outsourcing business. We setup a BPO in Manila, and it was in this BPO that we learned about the pains of time, attendance, scheduling, HRIS and payroll in Southeast Asia. Thus, PayrollHero was born. Here are a few of the lessons we have learned thus far.
The Market Is Huge
Over the past few years we have learned some valuable lessons when it comes to focusing on emerging markets and specifically Southeast Asia, but my friend Steven Goh sums it up quite nicely;
“Within 8 hours flying around Silicon Valley, you reach markets representing less than 10% of the world’s population. Within 8 hours flying around Singapore, you reach more than 50% of the world’s population. These markets represent the next 2 billion internet users, are more unknown and less structured than many in the first world. And therein lies opportunity.” ~ Steven Goh, CEO and Co-Founder of Mig33
The big learning is that the markets are massive. The Philippines has almost 100,000,000 people, Indonesia has almost 250,000,000 and mobile phones, internet, smart phones, wifi, etc are coming fast. Facebook sees the opportunity and are working hard at getting the next billion people on the internet. Interestingly, they choose the Philippines as their test market for doing just that. Facebook and Globe Telecom inked a deal that gives all of Globe’s 36,000,000 subscribers free Facebook access. It is initiatives like this that make this region very interesting for technology startups as the landscape is changing quickly and there are wide open opportunities.
“We see Singapore as as one of the logistics hubs of the world, basing TradeGecko there was a strategic choice to capture and service this market and a great place to target global companies.” ~ Cameron Priest, CEO of TradeGecko.com
Of course there are challenges. Southeast Asia has multiple currencies, languages, cultures and customs. Each country needs to be looked at with a different lens as there are many, many differences. A payroll example, in North America, when an employee is let go they are “terminated”, in the Philippines that employee would be “separated”. A small difference, but an important one. The same goes with the exchange of business cards, in North America I find business cards are used less and less each day, but in Southeast Asia, the act of exchanging business cards in many cases is a two handed procedure that is very deliberate and thoughtful.
Family businesses are everywhere, which sometimes makes it difficult to sell into it as the CEO is sometimes not totally in charge. There are occasions where you are speaking with the CEO, only to find out that Mom or Dad, who retired some time ago, still makes many decisions within the business. This environment is not impossible to sell into, but needs to be understood and considered when dealing with family businesses. On the flip side, some family businesses operate much quicker than a traditional corporation. In some cases there are less hoops to jump through and quicker deals to be had. The important thing is to know which one you are dealing with so that you can navigate it quickly and efficiently.
Talent Shortage is Everywhere
Finding engineers is a challenge that you constantly hear about in Silicon Valley. Wages are through the roof and big firms like Facebook, Amazon, Google and others snap up engineers quickly and with packages many companies can’t compete with. That problem is not unique to Silicon Valley. We had trouble in the Philippines hiring Ruby on Rails engineers. We tried for a few years to attract and retain top Filipino engineers, even paying them at least $51,000 USD a year but without success. We found a couple solid engineers but struggled to build out our team. We switched gears and did what no one expected. We opened an office in Whistler, Canada and designed an “Adventure Engineering” program as a way to attract talent. It worked, and we have been able to build out an amazing team of adventure engineers from all over the world who wanted to be a part of PayrollHero.
Fun tip, the Canadian government has very progressive immigration policies and incentive programs (SR&ED, IRAP, Get Youth Working, etc) to make doing business in Canada easier. Plus there is the Provincial Nominee Program that we have used to help engineers from the USA, Philippines and India get Canadian work visa’s followed by Permanent Residency (including their family).
We are a bit unique, we use Canada as our back office for our Southeast Asia focused business. (click to tweet)
Internet, Power and Traffic Internet disruptions, power brown outs and out of control traffic congestion is common. These issues can get in your way if you let them, but planning ahead can reduce interruptions. Secondary internet connects, battery backup or choosing buildings with generators can ensure life continues when the internet or power goes down. As for traffic, well, not much you can do here except plan your travel accordingly, leave enough time to get to your meetings and make best use of the time in the car. Uber.com operates in many Southeast Asian countries and is a great way to get around. I find that I’m “calling” Uber from my iPhone as my meetings start to wrap up so that it is downstairs or close to downstairs when I’m ready to go. Before Uber, I would be out on the street looking to find a cab to take me to my next destination. (Bonus: Uber’s use iPad Mini in each of their cars, I use their power all the time to power up my phone while on route to my next destination)
Get Out There
Of course these are not all of the lessons we have learned, just a few examples. Lots more to come as we continue to build out PayrollHero and grow in the business. If you have some tips to share, be sure to drop a note in the comments with how what you have learned.
Many people state that blogging is an art not a science but sometimes you can’t disagree with data. Everything that is specific to your company or organization requires a certain finesse to be unique but you cannot ignore the science behind your readers if you want it to be successful. Your blog posts are directed towards one audience so you must do your best to engage people of all different preferences and reading styles. Because blog posts are more commonly distributed through social media, it is just as important to understand social media tendencies as well as content curation.
Before I begin, I want to remind you how important your blog is to your company. As quoted by Hubspot, “46% of people read blogs more than once a day”. Although the type of blog will vary, it is important to remember that companies that blog have 97% more inbound links than those that do not blog. As a digital marketing nerd, that makes me feel sorry for companies that try to compete SEO wise without a blog or massive budget.
According to Kiss Metrics, posting content with a photo or video results in a 84% higher click through rate than just word content alone. Post adjoining content that is memorable, surprising, informative, funny or in other words anything that derives emotion and you will see your click through rate vastly increase. Studies on Twitter show on average a tweet with a photo or video is 150% more likely to be retweeted than one without. Considering the way your brain works is identical in how it processes information across social media, it is wise to respect the data and improve your virality.
Know your Traffic
Knowing the traffic of your website and blog users helps you understand peak times to be submitting news articles, tweets and posts. Traffic levels will vary by the industry and site type but data wise for example, Facebook experiences 18% higher engagement levels on Thursdays and Fridays which falls in line with a high percentage of web based sites. Twitter also experiences similar effects with brands engagement raising 17% on weekends according to the research of Dan Zarrella of Hubspot. In other words, posting that extremely impressive news about your company can wait a day or two, it is in your best interest to be smart not too eager.
Know your Users
Simply posting content and hoping for high engagement and sharing is not going to work consistently if you are not taking an educated approach to it. Review the content you place on the web constantly. Any marketing specialist can tell you the styles, subjects or approach that lead to posts receiving the highest levels of attention. Learn what made those posts work well and plan for how to implement that going forward. Continually measure these results and reevaluate with new and existing hypothesis. (Can you guess yet which I believe is more true, science or art?)
Many companies make the mistake of constantly pushing their product via their blog hoping to attract buyers. Does anyone think this works? Always write blogs that provide value to your reader, otherwise they will click off easily and quickly. Always put yourself in the readers shoes as you create and distribute content to your user base.
Title Title Title
Anyone that ignores how much of an influence the title has in a post must learn from the best. Websites like UpWorthy, VancityBuzz, and Buzzfeed.com have it down to a strict process on creating titles that attract readers with ease. Buzzfeed has been quoted before stating for every story they write, a small team helps create at least 150 titles before they narrow it down to 2. They then submit their post with 2 different links to perform an A/B test to ensure which one performs better. While many consider this far too much work, you cannot argue with the results they experience.
At the minimum good titles use power verbs and intrigue people with terms like “Did you know..”, “Are you this person…”, “how do you know he is the one…” and multiple other forms of a question that could pertain to anyone and is just enough intrigue to make you click the link. Despite the links being about trendy subjects, there is far more to their success than jumping on trending topics. They know exactly how to word every title to create extremely high engagement levels across the board. You must also try to keep titles between 40 and 70 characters for SEO purposes in engaging multiple words in a post but not too many to create a negative keyword effect.
The average web user judges content in under 8 seconds. Being concise and to the point helps retain readership from people who have clicked on your link. A study done by Bufferapp states that Facebook posts with 80 characters or less have 66% higher read through rates. Make a blog post with the direct information you want to convey and no filler and the read through rates will increase. People are busy enough as it is, do not increase your chances of readers bouncing before you have established your point or purpose.
Lastly, I encourage you to read other peoples blogs! It is easy for a blog to feel stale or monotonous when you are not inspired. I make a rule to myself that I will not try to write anything if I feel dull energy wise as it will quickly be conveyed in your posts. Reading other blogs gives you insights to and new angles to approach issues and subjects of interest.