Small Business: Ben Ridler - gamification in the USA

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Results.com chief executive Ben Ridler. Photo / Supplied
Results.com chief executive Ben Ridler. Photo / Supplied

Results.com's journey in the US: With offices in Canada and LA, the NZ consultants advise USA and Canada based business how to implement their business strategies.

Ben Ridler, Results.com CEO

Like many Kiwi-founded companies operating in the global market over the past few years, the business execution specialists at Results.com have been prompted to take a look at our own model by the inherent challenge of being the market leader in a small market. Our company is responding by taking its own medicine - we teach businesses how to develop and execute strategy to future-proof their companies and implement a radical new strategy that will transform the company and lay the groundwork for the next 20 years.

The Results.com tagline is: Business Execution Software made simple.

As a company, we are currently focused on becoming the world's leading provider of business execution software to the small and medium sized business market. In New Zealand we have developed a reputation as a leading management, consulting and strategic planning company.

We have transitioned to the cloud (Software as a Service) as part of our adaption for the US market and now deliver cloud based software and consulting to clients around the world from New Zealand.

Our plan involves maintaining a business execution focus, but replacing a labour-intensive consultation model with a bundled execution software-licensing system and virtual consulting model that puts the power in the hands of business owners.

Gamification and how Results.com is using it.

Gamification uses both game mechanics (as used in video and online gaming) in business applications. In short, we use gamification to reward and promote people to perform in the businesses. Gamification is currently one of the biggest trends in enterprise and it is slowly making its way into small business.

At its simplest level it may be a badge for achieving a goal or seeing through a particular process. As businesses evolve, gamification can be used to recognise high performance and behaviours that align with a company's core values.

How small companies can use Gamification.

Any company can use this concept. Currently, the most enthusiastic customers of our business execution software are not tech companies but those that love being able to engage their team with the growth of their business. This simple product can be used to highlight achievements and encourage everyone to pull in the same direction.

New Zealand companies using Results.com include pharmacies, radiator repairers and a forklift company. The software is definitely not just for tech companies, but are for anyone who has an iPhone or a computer.

Doing business in North America

North America is geographically large and socially diverse; due to this, a lot more is done online. People meet online, purchase online and deliver services online a lot more than in New Zealand.

As the approach to sales and marketing is a lot more avert and aggressive, there is a need to do more to stand out. It has been a huge learning curve for Results.com and one we are really enjoying.

Our new business strategy has come from having to create a business model that can stand up to scale in the US market. We are now applying what we have learnt in New Zealand - this approach is allowing us to reach more of the market at a much more affordable price.

Results.com is a $10 million business, and that's not a bad place to be. We're focused on moving from a $10 million to a $100 million one, in principle aiming a smaller cut of the larger pie, rather than a big share of a relatively small market. North America and Canada will be important drivers of this growth. We see a lot of New Zealand companies have matured to a point where they can start to do the same.

Ben Ridler's GSummit Blog Post (June 19-21, San Francisco)

http://www.gsummit.com/

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Gamification/154518044579727

http://www.gsummit.com/videos/

I do travel overseas frequently both for the Results.com business and Entrepreneurs Organisation. Some would say I've seen it all. Well not this week. I feel like a kid in a candy store and the boxer in me is raring to come out of his corner and defend businesses right to have fun while working.

The complete contrast of speakers from the head scientist from Salesforce, to rapper, Chamillionnaire really help to break us out of our own "industry" paradigm of thinking.

Arriving at the GSummit it was interesting to first be told to download the app, then once you've logged on with twitter you check in to the speakers, rate them, tweet to share and earn rewards for doing it all.

A great way to showcase why we are here and get people engaged.

The differences to other conferences don't end there, speakers talk for 18 minutes and then do 5 minutes Q&A. Lunch is food trucks, and there are video games, Wii's etc all around the venue.

Gamification is expected to be a $2.8 billion industry by 2016, and is one of the hottest new spaces in software. In short it is about using game mechanics (the secret formula the $60 billion gaming industry uses) to increase adoption, engagement and retention in non-gaming applications.

It can also manifest in a company giving rewards for acting sustainably, points for recycling, catching the bus etc. One company is trying to increase engagement of their Government targeted finance software, and another rewards customers for tweeting them, referring, liking on Facebook etc.

The whole industry is very new so the speakers are very varied, from the airline loyalty programs, to Professor Richard Bartle, teaching how to Segment players by different types that are Achiever, Explorer, Socialiser and Killer. It's all about what you find fun, but also how to commercialise fun.

For Results.com, we know that the key to companies achieving better results is engaging their employees to execute their strategy, for years we had promoted quarterly themes, recognition programs etc. Gamification is taking that to a new level. Making it fun to work with others, achieve goals, share successes and be recognised visually as well as rewarded with money or prizes.

New Zealand SME's will absolutely get this and we are already experimenting with this in our "Water Cooler" function in the execution software. While Kiwi business owners are practical people, we also know that if we can improve productivity through engagement then this should be a major goal of business owners.

Having spent ten years working on improving business performance, this new set of tools is incredibly exciting and will improve engagement, retention and ultimately results, and make it fun to do it. I can't think of a better way to spend my time.

Why I think it will really work for Kiwis is it moves away from a punitive management system to a rewards based one, Kiwis prefer to have an inclusive relaxed culture in their work place, letting the software create the engagement and visibility takes a huge amount of pressure off business owners and managers.

For further information see here:http://nz.results.com/


Next week health experts will be giving tips to small business owners about how to avoid burnout when battling away in their companies.

Everyone knows that SME owners work long hours, skip meals, don't exercise enough, work late into the evenings and have patchy sleep patterns.

Tell us about your lifestyles since starting your own businesses.
Where do you need help and advice?
Email me, Gill South here, or at the 'email Gill' link below:

- NZ Herald

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