Icon: RSS Icon: Email Icon: Twitter Icon: Facebook Icon: Linked In Icon: YouTube Icon: Leaf

Co-operative Education Programs: How Students and Employers Benefit

Posted on February 10 2016 | Author: Kelly Laidlaw

Co-operative (co-op) education allows students to alternate periods of academic study with periods of work experience from across several fields in both the private and public sectors. Over half of Canadian undergraduate university students participate in co-op education and internships, spanning numerous majors, and those numbers are on the rise.

Co-op education is an excellent opportunity to provide “hands on” industry experience to students before they enter the workforce on a full-time basis. Additional benefits of co-op education to students include:
 

  • Co-op students are able to test theoretical concepts that they learned in the classroom in a real-life work place setting. This provides students with a more well-rounded and realistic view of industry than academics alone can provide.
  • Co-op placements help students evaluate the suitability of their career choice before they commit to a full-time position.
  • Co-op students are able to build a network of industry contacts, learn to communicate professionally, and develop relationships with mentors.
  • Career-related experience will help to build students’ résumés, providing them with a clear competitive advantage when applying for jobs.
  • Co-op students are provided with the opportunity to learn new skills and build relationships with employers that could lead to a position post graduation.
  • Co-op education provides students with financial resources to help pay for their education, while earning credits toward their degree.
  • Co-op students are able to test skills learned in their studies, and to expand their knowledge through related work experience.

The benefits of co-op education also extends to employers, including, but not limited to:

  • Employers benefit from staying on top of new knowledge, trends and perspectives coming out of the universities.
  • Co-op students provide an infusion of bright, passionate, and enthusiastic people to the workplace. Students can bring innovative thinking to workplaces, improving business operations.
  • Co-op programs provide employers with the opportunity to meet short term staffing needs due to sick or parental leaves, vacation schedules, or transfers.
  • Existing employees get the opportunity to develop their management skills and gain the satisfaction of mentoring co-op students.
  • Co-op students can strengthen relations between academic institutions and industry.
  • Employers have year-round access to co-op employment opportunities, which can significantly reduce labour costs.
  • Co-op placements allow employers to vet and gain access to well-qualified employees upon graduation.

There are options available to help employers add a co-op student to their team. One example is the Co-operative Education Tax Credit, which is a refundable tax credit. It is available to employers who hire students enrolled in a co-operative education program at an Ontario university or college. This allows corporations to claim 25 per cent of eligible expenditures (30 per cent for small businesses), with a maximum credit of $3,000 for each work placement. For more information visit: http://www.fin.gov.on.ca/en/credit/cetc/.

Additional funding opportunities for Canadian co-op education programs are listed here:
https://uwaterloo.ca/hire/recruit-waterloo/financial-support#Topfundingopportunities

Bioenterprise has seen the value in participating in co-operative education programs for several years now.  In fact, we are a proud recipient of the University of Guelph’s “Co-op Employer of the Year” award. We hope to continue to support the learning goals of students who are looking for opportunities to gain experience in the agri-tech industry. In the long term, we see the importance of contributing to the increasingly productive and innovative future workforce that Canada needs to compete globally, as driven by the next generation. 

Sources:

Kelly Laidlaw
Program Manager, Corporate Relations

 






Email this page to a friend
Comment

Farmer-Entrepreneurs Adding Value to the Agri-Food and Products Sector

Posted on January 27 2016 | Author: Carolyn Dowling

Primary agriculture in Canada plays a significant role in the economy as one of the most prominent and complex industries. As a result of fluctuating variables in the agriculture sector, including changing weather patterns, transportation, and global economic shifts, Canadian farmers are increasingly seeking alternative routes to market in order to mitigate risk and extend their market season. These farmers transitioning into agri-food and agri-product processors and manufacturers are a unique type of entrepreneur who demand specialized resources and support to enter the space, gain traction, and deliver on the bottom line.

The Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA) provides critical resources to start navigating the value-added sector:

If value-added food processing business is the next venture, OMAFRA’s online 2015 Guide to Food and Beverage Manufacturing provides commercialization considerations that every entrepreneur needs to make at the product development stage. The considerations covered in the Guide include quality assurance, marketing, pricing and distribution, as well as zoning and tax considerations.

The On-Farm Processing Recipe Based Costing Tool is another user-friendly online resource from OMAFRA which can help determine if value-added food processing is the right opportunity for you.  It analyzes the effects of ingredient, packaging and other costs on the product margin when scaling up to commercial format.

The Food Processing Human Resource Council (FPHRC) has launched the Innovations Road Map for Food and Beverage Processors , which is a start-to-finish online interactive platform for entrepreneurs moving from conceptualization to commercialization.

From a farmer-forward perspective, Farm Management Canada (FMC) has started bridging the gaps in the value chain by introducing Canadian farmers to sustainable business management strategies, including diversifying their market opportunities to increase their bottom line. FMC offers comprehensive online resources targeting the range of farmers from those individuals exploring their options to progressive farmer-entrepreneurs looking to make their next move. The following resources also include real-time case studies of Canadian farmers who travelled the road to commercialization before them:

The Agri-food Management Institute (AMI) provides complementary resources to both OMAFRA and FMC through two initiatives with Georgian College:

  1. Transition Smart- Farmers to Processors: This program is being rolled out in February 2016, aiming to connect farmers with the appropriate tools to enter agri-food processing, including operational planning, distribution and sales from a business management perspective.
  2. Food Entrepreneurs: Building Ontario Innovation One Product at a Time: This is a new food entrepreneur-focussed conference launching in March 2016, which will showcase local farmer-entrepreneurs, expert speakers and resources for new entrants to the space.

Although these resources are accessible to all Canadians, there are some additional programs targeting farmer-entrepreneurs in the Maritimes. These resources include:

  • The Future Farmer Program through PEI’s Growing Forward 2
  • THINKFarm through Nova Scotia’s Growing Forward 2
  • Innovation PEI provides programs that promote productivity, innovation, development, and commercialization in the value-added food and product space
  • Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA) supports the processing space more so than the primary production space through their funding opportunities that are focussed on business development and innovation. 

Bioenterprise has worked with a number of farmer-entrepreneurs who have turned creative farm equipment solutions or niche food products into a successful value-added business ventures. These individuals accessed available resources to realize their dreams, including connections to local incubators and hubs, professionals in product and market development, and public and private funding opportunities.

The aforementioned resources, programs and tools act as a springboard for Canadian farmers to explore or upgrade their natural entrepreneurial business acumen. Farmers are enabled to hone in their focus on the innovation, competitiveness and market development necessary to advance and capitalize on the emerging market opportunities in the agri-business space.  

Carolyn Dowling
Senior Analyst






Email this page to a friend
Comment

“Rome wasn’t built in a Day”…

Posted on January 14 2016 | Author: Laura Millson

The ancient Roman Empire is renowned for its architectural and visual splendor.   It took the patience and commitment of many and attests to the fact that we simply cannot hope to achieve anything great within a short period of time.

We experience daily how our lives and work can be simplified if we were able to consolidate information in one place.  It is an intimidating task to research and model a database.   Patience, persistence and planning are key elements before you even get to the bricks and mortar.  This is the foundation of database development.

The challenge...

Perhaps the most important rule and phase to designing a database is the initial design and brainstorming phase.  A good database starts with a good plan.  Determine the purpose, the scope and the functionality of what you want the database to store, what you need out of it and how it will help you work.  This gives a developer all of the information upfront to begin a design.  Spending time on the planning process ensures you have a clear idea of the type of database your organization needs, can afford and support.  Only with all of the necessary information available can a great database “empire” design be created with proper linkages and best practices intact.

The goal…

The goal of any database is to be efficient and scalable.  Data is always edited, added and deleted so it is important to keep it organized in order to maintain this constant changing set of data.  Identify your organizations overall objectives, what data needs to be collected, what reports are required, user needs and overall benefits of the database and what it will offer.

The design…

The core of the database design can be complex and the process of planning can vary greatly.  Start with a general and complete view or “wish list” Be realistic about the planning process and collect the information about the needs of those who will be using the database.  It can often be more difficult to add in items later rather than get it right the first time. Decide what you want, prepare a timetable and scope of the project.  It can be streamlined as you progress.  An excellent feature worth investigating is the option of an administrative module to manage data, permissions, and security.

Creating a plan will serve as a guide when implementing the database and as a functional specification for the database after it is implemented.

Think outside the database.

  • Consider search features, uploads, messaging links to web browser and email functionality.
  • Decide what fields and tables your database will contain and the content and layout requirement of those tables  - be specific.
  • Define how data in one table is related to data in another table.
  • Do tables need to be linked together; or does data within each table require sorting.

Assess...

  • Who will lead the project?
  • Who will use the database?
  • Who will maintain the database and what experience do they have, in hardware and software requirements?
  • Are there any limits created by your current setup such as the age of computers or whether they are PC or MAC and their varying operating systems?
  • Do you have a network, require remote access; is there a budget for upgrades?
  • What staff will be trained in the use of the system?
  • How will it be delivered?
  • What support do you require?  (i.e. upgrades, potential new features, troubleshooting)

Plan your time…

No matter who is leading the project, the amount of time taken for planning is often under estimated.  Before the technical details, think through the commitment and ensure you have the budget and support needed.

  • Staff time to develop the database plan.
  • The cost of buying or building the database.
  • Staff time to test/data entry.
  • Training of staff to use the database.
  • Time to manage, maintain and use the database.

The budget…

  • Your estimate of time and budget will become more and more accurate as the planning process continues
  • Identify the problems that need to be solved and the benefits it will bring
  • Staff time, streamlining productivity and efficiency
  • Improved quality of service or delivery of information
  • The value of these potential benefits will help set up an initial budget which can be modified as you talk to suppliers and contractors.

The Key to Success…

Ensure you have the clear support and involvement of senior management.  Developing a new database cannot be seen as a technical issue – it is likely to affect the entire organization and it needs senior level support.  Which is vital once the development process becomes more technically driven.

Now that the foundation blocks have been assembled you can begin the intricate architectural build of your database project.

Laura Milson
Special Projects Coordinator






Email this page to a friend
Comment

Sustainability and the Start-Up: The Value of Implementing Sustainable Measures into Your Business Plan

Posted on December 09 2015 | Author: Emily Hartwig

This month, France will chair and host the 21st Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. The main objective of the Convention is to create a new international agreement on climate change – a major focus of which will be sustainability and creating a sustainable future for our global economy. You might be wondering, “What does sustainability have to do with my business?” and “is incorporating sustainability really worth it during this development stage of my company?”

Traditionally in business, a company’s bottom line includes profits, return on investment and shareholder value. In today’s market exists John Elkington’s business theory: the Triple Bottom Line. This hybrid of traditional and modern ideals is an accounting framework that incorporates three dimensions of performance into a company’s business plan: environmental, social and financial. Sustainability planning allows companies to incorporate various tactics to elevate their influence and impact on these three dimensions of performance, and ultimately, accelerate their business. 

Ellen Kappes, an MBA focused on sustainability in business, details the benefits of sustainability planning for start-ups and small businesses:

“Sustainability concepts naturally align with the core values of most entrepreneurs and therefore can easily be embedded in a start up business”. Sustainable measures can include energy reduction planning by means of energy efficient devices, and waste diversion by means of recycling and composting programs. Both of these initiatives create cost savings, a core value among entrepreneurs and start-ups.

“Engagement at the early stages of a business will build a culture and competitive position that will be harder to create later on”. Enacting a sustainability plan in your early stages of development will reduce costs incurred as a result of potential future government mandates for these types of programs such as water use reductions and pollution prevention measures.

“Formalizing sustainability goals early on will ensure that you make good on your intentions and will force you to build organizational capacity”. Not only will incorporating sustainability in your business produce financial savings, but they will enhance your public image as well. Sustainable planning will improve your company profile and reduce the risk of negative public opinion. A company that exhibits social responsibility will garner customer loyalty and retention, which are highly valuable traits to financial inventors when you wish to expand your company.

“Time spent identifying sustainable solutions fosters creativity and innovation”. Sustainable planning initiatives will foster creative thinking, and creative thinking will result in an overall revolutionary business!

Emily Hartwig
Regulatory & Sustainability Assistant

Photo Credit: GreenBiz






Email this page to a friend
Comment

Sole Proprietorship, Partnership, or Corporation?

Posted on November 25 2015 | Author: Philippe Piche

Organizing a new business can be challenging as entrepreneurs are faced with many options on how to start their business. Choosing whether to establish  a sole proprietorship, partnership, or corporation is a common challenge for start-ups. The decision can have a significant impact on the business management of risks and tax exposure.

It’s important to first understand the different types of business structures. This will help entrepreneurs select the most appropriate structure for their business needs.

Sole Proprietorship
A sole proprietorship represents the situation in which an individual holds all the legal rights and responsibilities of their business activities. As such, the owner personally assumes the risks of the business activities including legal action and tax liability. The owner is responsible to declare business net income or losses as part of their personal tax reporting. For a start-up business, personal income tax rates can be higher than small corporation tax rates but start-up business losses can be offset against the owner’s other income. And legally, since there is no distinction made between the business and the owner, the owner’s personal assets are at risk if the business is not successful.

Partnership
A partnership is similar to a sole proprietorship for legal and tax purposes, except that the business’ net income/losses, liabilities, and management decisions are shared between two or more individuals. Its similarity to a sole proprietorship model makes it relatively easy and inexpensive for business to start-up and operate.  Because liabilities and taxes are shared between the partners, it is considered less risky for entrepreneurs. But this also means that the partners share in management decisions, and can therefore create difficulties if the partners do not have the same vision.

Corporation
A corporation is recognized by law as a single entity, or in other words, recognized legally as a person.  This takes much of the risk away from the owner's personal liability, as the company itself is now responsible for its debts and taxes.  While incorporating can reduce personal risks and taxes for the owner, it is more expensive to set-up and administer.  

There are different types of corporations that can either be private or public type corporations.  Private corporations are most commonly used among start-ups and owned by few shareholders, including the founders.  Public corporations sell shares of the company to the public through listings in stock exchanges. Listing through a public stock exchange makes it easier to access the financial markets by selling “shares” in the company. However, filing and reporting requirements for a public corporation can be considerable and expensive, whereas privately held corporations do not have the same disclosure requirements.

When starting a business, knowing the advantages/disadvantages of the different types of organizations (sole proprietorship, partnerships and corporations) can make choosing the right one an easier task. The entrepreneur's own situation and initial business prospects will be important criteria to the type of structure selected. The legal structure of a business is an important decision and should be based on the entrepreneur's budget, revenue, profits, expenses, size, and industry.

The most common business structure for a start-up is a sole proprietorship, which makes up 73% of all new small businesses (the rest being partnerships and corporations). Many start-ups are on a tight budget and may not be able to afford the costs and management requirements of a partnership or corporation.

Philippe Piche
Program Assistant

References: http://www.canadabusiness.ca/eng/page/2853/
Photo Credit: pixabay.com 






Email this page to a friend
Comment

Are You Fit to Fly in the Field?

Posted on November 19 2015 | Author: Doug Knox

The proliferation of UAVs or Drones for both recreational and business usage is presenting some potentially difficult regulatory conditions to navigate. AAFC published a short note in the Agri-info Newsletter in May 2015.

You may need permission to fly.

You are responsible for flying your aircraft safely and legally. If you are using a UAV to support your agricultural operations, you may need to apply for a Transport Canada Special Flight Operations Certificate (SFOC). The process allows experts to review your specific situation and determine if extra precautions are needed.

If your unmanned aircraft weighs less than 25 kg, you may qualify for an exemption that would allow you to fly without a SFOC.

Agriculture Agri-Food Canada, Agri-info Newsletter, May 2015

I have supplemented the information with a slightly broader survey of the issues and risks of ignoring the regulatory scene.

IT World Canada addresses the regulations and provided some resources for UAV operations.

Transport Canada has published the current status and requirements for UAV flying.

Transport Canada Infographic for a quick assessment of how the regulations apply.

The Canadian Bar Association comments on the need for legal understanding of the UAV usage.

Legal firm, Fasken Martineau provides an overview of the regulations and their application.

Doug Knox
Vice-President, Technology

Photo Credit: Flickr

 






Email this page to a friend
Comment

Handling Consumer Mistrust

Posted on November 12 2015 | Author: Mary Dimou

Consumers are demanding transparency. The rise of the tech revolution has propagated a deluge of new information and new avenues to reach consumers. With advances in technology allowing information (of varying quality) to be readily available at a user’s fingertips, it’s no wonder that the nouveau consumer feels confident enough to make “informed” judgements on new innovation.

As an entrepreneur, your invention could be a revolutionary solution to assist in global issues such as the sustainability of our species or our environment. Inopportunely, this intended solution has the probability of intersecting with the plethora of great controversies in the life science sector, including genetic engineering (GE), genetic modified organisms (GMOs), vaccinations, animal welfare issues, antibiotics and many more.

For a select few businesses, providing transparency and reaching consumers will be an uphill battle. Although their numbers are few, the reality is some activists will seek to discredit your efforts irrespective of facts and evidence. Accepting early on that some of these individuals cannot be reached is essential. It will enable you to reallocate your efforts to the majority of consumers, the skeptics. Skeptics will seek your answers and should be viewed as an exceptional communications opportunity for your business. Immersion into the controversy will impact your business model. In this era, successful tech businesses must include appropriate education and communication efforts in their business planning.

The nature of this post is not to focus on any of the aforementioned controversial topics, but rather provide recommendations for educating and guiding your consumers through the labyrinth of available information.
 

 1.       Evaluating both viewpoints of the controversy carefully. Informing considering both polarized viewpoints increases your credibility to your audience. 
         
 2.       Collecting scientifically substantiated evidence. One of the greatest challenges that we are facing as an industry is the credibility of the knowledge being obtained. Recommend that your customers review various peer-reviewed articles, primary literature, as well as national government resources (.gov). Your role as an educator should also include assistance with the curation and dissemination of this information and translation of this knowledge to the general public.
         
 3.       Communicating in a palatable way. Consumers require easily digestible information. This knowledge transfer can often require creativity on your part. You may try providing examples that are relatable to their day-to-day life, in an easily understandable format such as an infographic or cartoon. For example, the recent statement regarding glyphosate as a carcinogen was based on the risk and hazard scale by WHO’s International Agency for Research on Cancer. Although glyphosate carries a carcinogenic risk, the associated hazard of glyphosate causing cancer is minimal (1). In fact, the amount of glyphosate required to produce these carcinogenic effects would be enormous! A similar day-to-day example could use driving. Driving is an inherent risk; however, driving in a snowstorm is an increased hazard.


Managing consumer mistrust is an essential task that has been under prioritized by tech businesses, especially in the Ag sector. Although potentially daunting and difficult, engaging and educating consumers has now become an integral function of any successful technology business. So get an early start!

 

Mary Dimou, M.Sc.
Sr. Analyst, Regulatory Affairs & Sustainability

Reference:
(1) http://www.iarc.fr/en/media-centre/iarcnews/pdf/MonographVolume112.pdf  
Photo Credit: freedigitalphotos






Email this page to a friend
Comment

Investment in the Agri-Technologies Ecosystem

Posted on October 28 2015 | Author: Dave Smardon

I recently returned from a Global Investor Conference in Montreux, Switzerland. It was quite the eye-opener. Participating were large family offices, fund of fund organizations and institutional investors like pension funds and endowments. What was particularly noteworthy was the growing interest in agricultural technologies, food security, and water security. One could make the argument that up to 2 years ago, very few investment organizations were paying close attention to these areas.  Much has changed in a fairly short period of time and it is not hard to understand why.

One of the presentations at the conference was from the U.K. government. The U.K. is committing £70 million for the creation of the Agri-Tech Catalyst Fund and a further  £90 million targeting the support for creation and commercialization of agricultural innovation. The U. K. is not the only country that has trained its sights on agriculture. The Netherlands, France, Brazil, Ireland and New Zealand have each launched similar programs to support their own home grown agri-tech companies. Word on the street is that Germany will be next.  Add to this the fact that the European Economic Commission has designated agriculture, food, and water as key targets for their European programs to support research, development and commercialization. Countries like these are taking steps that they perceive will position them as future global leaders in the development and commercialization of new and innovative agriculture, food, and water technologies.  Some of this government funding must be matched with private capital and is often matched at conditions that are most favorable to the private investors. 

In the U.K., funds can be invested in new venture capital and private equity funds as long as there is a critical mass of private capital and the recipients are willing to establish a local U.K. office. No doubt they will be able to attract investment firms that see the U.K. as a viable source of capital, investment deals and a logical place for an office. Once again, New Zealand, Singapore, and others are taking the same approach. Offer up some capital, match it with the private sector, and domicile it locally. Admittedly, its not a bad strategy to build and grow your investment eco-system and benefit the targeted sector; agriculture.

So as I return home to Canada, I cannot help but wonder where are we in this race. Historically, Canada has been a global leader in agriculture commodity production and our governments have funded an enormous amount of agricultural R&D.  But where are we with respect to our investment in agriculture, food and water technologies, and specifically as a catalyst in driving our investment eco-system. Canada’s agricultural revenues as a percentage of GDP rank way higher than many of the countries previously mentioned. And yet, we have no such focus on our agri-tech eco-system.  Furthermore, while other countries have recognized the dire need to attract investment capital into this sector and have developed aggressive programs to do so, Canada has not. This is worrisome!  If we are to maintain our leadership position in agriculture, we need to focus on agri-technology and implement programs that will position Canada as future leaders.

Dave Smardon
President & CEO
 






Email this page to a friend
Comment

Are you making the most of your team?

Posted on October 14 2015 | Author: Jessica Taylor

You aren’t unleashing the full potential of your team until they are collaborating.  Collaboration isn’t just another 21st century buzzword; it is an integral part of all successful teams. Collaboration in the workplace allows for new, innovative, and creative solutions to problems.

But how is effective collaboration achieved? How do we avoid working in silos with individual roles and responsibilities?

It is important to recognize that forced collaboration can actually prove to be more detrimental than no collaboration at all. Collaboration should be built into your company culture and processes. Consider the following as you work on fostering collaboration in your organization:

Clear, Open Communication
Management teams must clearly communicate their company goals and mission. When employees understand the bigger picture goals and how they impact their individual role, they will naturally identify areas of collaboration with other team members. It is also important that lines of communication are open and welcoming to ensure all members of the team feel comfortable to interact.

Recognition of Individual and Team Success
Historically, workplace recognition involved promotions, salary increases and bonuses. While all of these incentives can motivate employees, it is equally important that effort is acknowledged in alternative and less formal ways.  These types of recognition create a sense of comfort and confidence within a role and encourage employees to share their ideas and questions with others.

For example, creating interdisciplinary task forces or teams to strategize and provide solutions to ongoing issues, implementing employees’ ideas or having them take the lead on a project, activity or meeting are all ways to empower your workforce.  Be sure to emphasize individual successes as well and promote the benefits and outcomes of working as a team. This will empower the team with the confidence to engage with both internal and external stakeholders

Cohesion & Understanding
Everybody thinks differently, works differently and approaches problems from a different angle. Getting to know how each of your team members prefers to work and communicate enables you to work together efficiently. 

Where possible, include as many team members as possible in ongoing conversations. Not only does this allow you to get multiple perspectives, but it also demonstrates your understanding of your colleagues’ strengths. Frequent conversations around workflow and goals, both team and individual, helps the group stay on task and avoids duplication of effort. Another way to build cohesion is making time to learn about your colleagues’ roles and projects. This helps to create a better understanding of your workforce and allows you to identify ways you can collaborate.

Atmosphere
Get together and talk. Hosting both formal and informal brainstorming sessions on a regular basis gets people thinking outside of the box and encourages creativity.  A sense of community and support goes a long way in encouraging people to work together.

Be open-minded. Don’t let your colleagues department, job title or educational background decide whether or not they should be involved in a conversation or project. Their ideas and experiences will provide valuable input.

Bridge Geographic Gaps
With employees situated in various locations locally or internationally, companies need to be flexible and creative in collaborative efforts. Making use of technologies such as online project management tools, document sharing, and instant messaging platforms allows even the most geographically dispersed teams to work together effectively. It is also important to include human interaction via videoconferences, phone calls and face-to-face interactions as often as possible. Water cooler conversations are few and far between with groups outside your office so you need to ensure that there are other open and active lines of communication.

These considerations aren’t just for the CEO or managers. As an employee, you are a member of a team. Empowering your colleagues to work together is important for the success of the company and your own professional goals. Not only will you reap the benefits of collaboration as you find unique, effective solutions for your own projects, you will also be participating in a dynamic process, a process that will increase company productivity and success.

Jessica Taylor
Senior Analyst, Food and Food Systems

Photo Credits: Flickr, Flickr






Email this page to a friend
Comment

Why your website needs to have a responsive design

Posted on October 01 2015 | Author: Jennifer Kalanda

In any market today, having and maintaining an online presence is practically mandatory.  There is also no shortage of elements to consider, but your company’s website will likely be the first thing your potential customers will see.  So, how will they see it?

Are you mobile-friendly?

Did you know Google now uses mobile-friendly criteria as a ranking signal? 

According to comScore, within Canada, USA and UK, 50% or more digital media time is spent on a mobile device.  As so many users are only accessing content through their smartphone or tablet, it is important to have a mobile-first mindset but to also remember that desktop is still very relevant.

Be more than mobile-friendly.

Simply having a mobile version of your company’s website may not make your company more accessible or generate more business.  Mobile sites are essentially created as separate websites, which are often stripped down, or different from the content offered on the desktop version.  This can result in high bounce rates.  Google may even then interpret high bounce rates as a sign that a website isn’t offering relevant content to users and could lead to a drop in rankings.

Responsive website design.

Responsive web design is a method of design using intelligent coding which helps a website determine what kind of device it is being viewed on and then alter itself to fit to the screen size without any distortion. 

Responsive design ensures the best viewing experience across a wide range of devices, from mobile phones to tablet devices to desktop computers.  This design method increases the ease of reading and navigation with minimum scrolling and resizing.   This also ensures consistency for the user when viewing a website from one device to another.  Sites designed exclusively for mobile devices don’t offer the advanced navigational techniques found in traditional desktop websites.  

Google likes it.

As a website owner, it should be your goal to keep both your customers and Google happy.   A responsive web design means your website only has one URL which enables Google to easily index a website’s content within your domain.  This means that it can improve a site’s Search Engine Optimization (SEO) results.  

Time and money are precious.

A responsive website ensures the best use of your time, since it does not have to be spent on content creation for two versions of a website.   Managing multiple versions of a site also increases development, support and maintenance overheads. 

Generate new business.

If your customer encounters a problem with your site on their preferred device, it is likely you could lose that potential business.  Enhancing a users journey and experience will increase conversion rates and ultimately improve sales.

According to Google’s Think Insights on Mobile, 51% of smartphone users have purchased from a company/brand other than the one they intended to because the information provided was useful.  And when a brand’s mobile site or app makes it easy for a smartphone user to find answers, 69% of those users are more likely to actually buy from them.

Success with social media.

If your site is responsive you can build social shares for just one URL and when the site does get shared, wherever the link is viewed – whether on a mobile, tablet or on desktop – all of the content will be clear and easy to navigate.  Social shares impact SEO, having multiple versions of the same page dilutes the impact of any shares.

 

Jennifer Kalanda
Marketing Manager






Email this page to a friend
Comment

Main Body Footer

Sponsors                                          
 

Our Commitment to Accessibility for those with Disabilities
© Bioenterprise Corporation. All rights reserved.