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TechCare Team Spotlight Interview – Peter Hull

4th December 2020

TechCare by day, army by night!

Here at TechCare our team is at the heart of everything we do. They are our family. That’s why every so often we like to catch up with them to find out a little about their role, what they enjoy about their work and what makes them tick. Here, we speak to Peter Hull all about his role as the third line escalation point within this business and his work as a teacher for the army. 

How long have you worked at TechCare, and what attracted you to the company? 

I’ve been here for two months. I was attracted by how much my role would be developed from what I was doing before. In my last job, I was providing support, whereas now I’m a bit more involved in the builds and projects. My job now is much more technically involved than it was.  

Can you tell us a little about your day-to-day role? 

Day-to-day I manage third line escalation, meaning I’m the escalation point for the first and second line engineers. I’m the person that people come to when projects need more detailed investigation! I also manage some of the project builds for the future go-lives and future migrations, and I work on the site visits for the migrations too.

What’s your favourite aspect of your job at TechCare? 

I really enjoy how varied my role is. I’m not pigeon-holed into one area. I do lots of different things like support, builds and project work. I have a really varied input, which as an MCSE certified professional means I can really put my skills into action. I like working across multiple projects during the day as it never gets boring. 

How do you like to spend your time when you’re not at work? 

I like to run, and I also teach for the army reserve. I used to be in the RAF, which led me on the path to teaching for the army. I currently teach ‘skill at arms’ which is how to handle a rifle safely and the loading processes – so a very different role compared to my work within TechCare! I also teach drill, and this weekend I’m taking a group of students out camping to learn lots of different skills that they would need in the army. It’s exciting, and I’ve loved being a part of it over the years. I’ve been involved with the armed forces since I was 18, but now I’m 51, and so I feel the time has come to hang up my army boots, so I’m finishing my involvement at the end of this year. 

Would you like to meet our other team members? Head to https://techcare.co.uk/meet-the-team/ for more information.

TechCare Spotlight Interview – John Hoey, SEO Executive

4th November 2020

Self-taught John is excited about the future with TechCare. 

You know about TechCare’s dedication to excellent service, our passion for everything tech and how much we care about our customers. But every so often we think you might like to learn more about our people. That’s why we like to bring you regular interviews with members of our team so you can find out all about their background, what led them to us and what makes them tick. In our latest TechCare Team Spotlight interview, it’s the turn of John Hoey, TechCare’s new SEO Executive.

Q: Can you talk a little bit about your background? 

A: When I finished my degree in Graphic Design, it was quite challenging to break into the Graphic Design industry, and so I worked in various admin roles for several years. In 2012 I started to play around with web development, and at the time, my Dad was paying a lot of money annually to a company to look after his website. One day he asked me if I could do any better and I said ‘Yes’! So I started there; I began learning the basic code elements, then WordPress and other areas such as JavaScript and then in 2015 I started working part-time at the Guild of Students at a University. My role there was to look after the website, and I ended up completely redeveloping it because it was so outdated. 

During this time, I started my own freelance business, as well. I was carrying out web development for companies, both B2B and B2C. From there, I found a lot of companies were looking for help with SEO because they wanted to be at the top of Google. So I thought I’d give it a go and teach myself. So from there I began working with clients on SEO and then the breakthrough came with a digital marketing agency in Staffordshire where I did a few bits of freelance work which led to a full-time position as SEO Manager. Then I got to know Karl, the MD of TechCare, through them after meeting at several networking events, and then a few weeks ago, we began the conversation about me coming on board with TechCare. It’s all happened very quickly! 

Q: Have you always had an interest in technology, and if so, why? 

A: Yes, definitely. I’ve always loved figuring out how things work. My Dad is a Business Improvement Manager, and so he’s done a lot of work on operational excellence and similar things, and so it’s very structured in breaking things down to a process level. I like to think about things in that way, asking how does it work and why does it work? Anything from computers to guitars, I’ve always been a bit of a gadget geek – I like having a good play around! 

Q: Do you have any significant professional goals you’re still aiming for, and if so, can you tell us about them? 

A: Yes, of course. The word ‘guru’ gets thrown around a lot in the SEO business, and although I wouldn’t necessarily say I want to be a guru, I do want to be the subject matter expert for TechCare. I want people to see that I have a good reputation and a good grounding, and I’d like to be able to build on the trust I have with clients to be able to offer this type of service. I want people to come to TechCare and me for help with improving their Google search results. And then from there, I want to expand onwards and upwards to other areas and help the team out where I can, with things such as UX and web development. 

Q: What excites you about the future with TechCare? 

A: Speaking to Karl about the thoughts he has for the future. He has some big plans, especially in the area that he’s brought me on board for and so that’s exciting for me. With Covid-19, we’ve seen a significant shift lately with people’s digital footprint. There’s a lot of companies coming online now that probably relied on a more retail-based plan rather than the digital side of things, and I think it’s perhaps brought forward a lot more companies’ plans to move towards a digital platform than 6 months ago. We’re seeing across the board that a lot of people are starting to build new websites and build up their digital marketing experience, plus we’ve also seen a lot of people asking about SEO contracts over the last 5-6 months and I think that’s only going to increase as we move forward. 

Q: In your opinion, is education or on-the-job experience more important for someone who wants a job like yours? 

A: It’s always good to work with people who have experience. Other people may have expertise in areas that you don’t, and you can learn from that. Everything is interlinked in marketing so there’s going to be things that you can take from SEO for example that you can implement in other areas of marketing. Also there are parts of general marketing that you can use in SEO, like customer personas and things like that. You really can’t beat on-the-job experience to teach you how to be proactive as well as reactive to various situations and client needs.

Look out for our next TechCare Team Spotlight interview where we’ll be sharing insights from another team member very soon!

TechCare Spotlight Interview – Debbie Toombs, Executive Assistant

12th October 2020

‘The TechCare team is the most dynamic team I’ve ever worked with!’

Here at TechCare, we like to think of our team as a family, that’s why we want to get to know them properly. And we believe you would like to get to know them too! To that end, every so often we like to have a chat with our members of staff to find out a little about their role and what makes them tick. This month we chat with Debbie Toombs, our Executive Assistant. 

Q: Can you tell us a bit about your role?

A: I have worked at TechCare since October 2018, and my role has developed significantly over that time. I predominantly look after Payroll, HR, Cash Flow, Accounts Payable, Staff Training and Health & Safety. So as you can imagine, my job is varied, busy and I rarely have a dull moment! I try and make sure that the whole team can carry out their roles without having to think about the smaller details. 

Q: What’s your favourite aspect of your job at TechCare?

A: Multi-tasking and problem-solving. I love the variety of the role and taking on new challenges.

Q: Tell us about your team. What’s it like working with them?

A: Having worked for several years in a variety of roles within administration and business management this is, without doubt, the most dynamic team I have ever worked with.

There is a culture here that no one is above anyone else, and everyone is positively encouraged to contribute freely. It’s a friendly, positive and highly-skilled team with the same common goal – providing excellent customer service and making TechCare the best! It is an absolute pleasure to work with them.

Q: How do you like to spend your time when not at work?

A: I adore my family and have two granddaughters who I spend as much time as possible with. They often spend weekends with my husband, Paul, and I in Stratford.

I am an avid reader and particularly enjoy crime fiction. I am currently reading the work of Karin Slaughter. As a child, I loved Enid Blyton and the classics.

Thirdly I love a game of golf and was honoured to have been the lady captain of Walmley Golf Club. At my lowest handicap, I was off 8 and currently playoff 11. It’s such a fantastic way to spend a day, especially when the sun is shining, and there is a nice cold beer at the end of the game.

Q: If you could sum up your job at TechCare in 3 words, what would they be?

A: Rewarding, supportive and friendly.

Look out for our next TechCare Team Spotlight interview next month!

Improve Cash flow with technology

6 ways you can use Technology to improve Cash Flow in your SME or SMB business

18th April 2020

All businesses are having to adapt to the changes and challenges they are facing as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic.

Speaking to other business executives, I found that managing cash flow is a primary area of focus in these times of uncertainty.

Here are a list of six ways that you can use Technology to improve cash flow in your SME or SMB Business.

  1. Set up automatic statements and invoice reminder emails in your accountancy software. This obviously differs between accountancy systems, but the chances are that you may be in a position where you have fewer human resources available right now. Using these automated reminders to send emails to your debtors can be a great  way to stay on-top of Cashflow.
  2. Switch your hardware and software renewals from yearly to monthly. Some of the services that you have to renew in your business such as firewall services, anti-virus subscriptions, and cloud-based software services, maybe renewing annually right now. Some vendors can switch you to pay monthly plans without affecting service. Doing this can move you to more of an Opex model and reduce these larger, and sometimes unexpected renewal bills.
  3. Automate manual processes. Now is a great time to take a closer look at your existing processes to see where there are potential inefficiencies. There may be opportunities to automate job/project management and the associated invoices. In this scenario, you could use software (off-the-shelf or bespoke systems) to automatically raise invoices when projects are completed or products are sold. If you currently invoice manually and there is a delay from when the project or sales complete, and the point where the client receives the invoice, then automation could improve cash flow.
  4. Enable online payments. With more people working remotely, make getting paid as simple as possible. Integrating payment gateways into your website or invoices can break down the payment barrier. Of course, there will be a charge for these services, but providing clients with the ability to pay in numerous digital ways such as Debit Card, Direct Debit or Paypal can improve cashflow.
  5. Introduce an online marketplace for new or existing products or services that can add value to your clients at this time. If you have shippable goods or educational material, now might be a great time to introduce them to your audience. It’s unlikely that you are going to sell big-ticket items right now, but if you can find products or training materials that can truly help your clients in this climate, then making them available online could be a great way to generate a different revenue stream, with shorter payment terms.
  6. Reduce IT spend. If you haven’t reviewed your IT spend lately, there may be ways that it can be reduced. Speak to your IT team or partner to make sure you are benefiting from the best pricing to suit your current needs. If you have hardware coming up for renewal, now might be a great time to take a closer look at cloud computing. Cloud computing resources are hosted by providers such as Microsoft, Google, and Amazon rather than on server(s) on your premises. Your move from a Capex model to an Opex model will mean you benefit from a scalable service (up and down). You will then only pay for what you need, and can easily adjust the resources based on requirements. If you’re already in the cloud, then ensure you are benefiting from some of the discounts available for reserving capacity of resources rather than ‘pay-as-you-go’. Cloud isn’t a fit for all businesses and scenarios but it may be worth exploring.

If you need help implementing any of the above then give us a call on 0333 015 5100 or contact us and we will be happy to discuss your requirements.