Work Habits are hard to change

by Brett Robinson, CEO Bizzio - August 2013

Recently I was talking with a colleague about a project she was collaborating on with a broker in another city.  She mentioned trading comments about the contract through email and being frustrated because one important file they needed to complete the contract draft was on a thumb drive back in her home office. 

Being a Bizzio fan and promoter, this was the perfect entree for me to suggest she try Bizzio-- except for the fact that she was already a Bizzio subscriber!  So, why wasn’t she using Bizzio to handle tasks like this?

“Oh, I know it would have made things much more simple,” she said.  “We could have shared files and completed the draft more quickly. “

Then, she said something that goes to the core of changing work habits.  “You know, when your livelihood is at stake, you tend to fall back on tried and true methods of getting work done.  It’s stressful to learn a new way of doing business and then trust that it will work as well as the old methods.”

Many of us held onto the Rolodex until the cards fell out of the holder.  Now, our smart phone not only has the entire contact list, but also our calendar, notes and mail.  But, giving up reliance on the old Rolodex was not an easy habit to break.

Change is difficult – especially when it comes to your livelihood.

We tell our Bizzio customers to start with one project.  Keep your spreadsheets and thumb drives and whatever else makes you comfortable – until you discover that you can trust Bizzio to simplify your work flow and keep your livelihood safe. 

 


HalfSlide Design Completes Bizzio Project

Halfslide Design recently completed a project for Bizzio, Inc. Bizzio is a project management Saas (Software as a Service) application that specifically targets individuals in the commercial real estate sector. We built an online application at http://www.bizzio.com, a mobile website athttp://m.bizzio.com, as well as an iPhone IOS application and Android application.

The purpose of Bizzio is to manage projects.  It’s full configurable to manage any kind of project.  In fact, we use Bizzio with the client to manage enhancements and bugs for the site itself.  The site has a few of the following features that we think provide a lot of use to Bizzio users:

  • Automatic Monthly billing through Stripe that provides a 45-day free trial and then bills the customer monthly depending on what pricing plan they’ve chosen.
  • The ability to drag and drop files onto their projects in order to upload them and share them with individuals linked to their project.
  • The ability to invite others to participate on a project and share files, assign tasks, and make comments on each project.
  • Users can fully customize the fields or properties for each project.  For example, a user can setup a date field for a property like “Due Date”, a currency field for a property such as “Price”, or a Yes/No field for a property like “Contacted the prospective owner?”.
  • Users can email files/comments attached to a project to anyone whether they are a member of the project or not.
  • Users can add comments to the project by replying to emails sent from other project users and those comments will automatically be attached to the project and emailed out to other users.

Bizzio has a mobile version of their site that is built on Sencha Touch 2.2.  The mobile site is a scaled-down version of the desktop site that provides most of the features in a light-weight format that fits on the smaller screen of a mobile browser.  The mobile site is fully compatible with most popular mobile phones such as Android, Blackberry, Windows Phone, and Apple iPhone.

The mobile version of the website has been converted into a mobile application for both Android and iPhone apps. While the iPhone application is not yet available in the Apple App Store, the Android version is available on Google Play here


Are your clients happy with your leasing style?

With so much chatter about cloud computing and slow acceptance of it by the commercial real estate industry, one has to ask, “How much difference could it make? Would anyone benefit? Is it another fad?”

Most of us evaluate new technological innovations from a personal work-a-day perspective – “How will this help me?” Sometimes the needs of the client are forgotten. Perhaps the better question is – “How will this help my client?”

From cloud computing to social networks, clients are looking to real estate professionals to make use of tools and technology that take the stress out of the transaction process.

For example, my partner and I were looking for office space last year and contacted a broker in the area. Over the next couple of weeks, the broker sent an email every other day or so with attachments. Sometimes I'd respond right away. But, more often than not, I would be doing something else and not have time to look at the attachment. Soon, I had received ten or fifteen separate emails, overlooked two or three options, and the broker had to resend the listings.

For us, the leasing experience could have been much easier and more organized. My broker could have used a web-based project management tool like Bizzio. Once our “project was created,” it could have been made available to us online. As the broker found new possible locations, he could have added new deals, information and attachments. When we had a few minutes to spare, we could have opened up the information quickly because it would not have been lost in an email box. We could have given him feedback at our leisure. As a client, the experience could have been much more orderly, less piece meal, and easier to work into our daily schedule.

Most changes are driven by the market place. The move by the CRE industry toward new technology may end up being driven by the clients who pay our bills rather than by real estate professionals content with our own leasing styles.

-Brett Robinson, RetailUnion Partners
 


 

The Cloud is Changing how CRE does Business

by Brett Robinson, RetailUnion Partners

April 12, 2013

"We don't manage deals from our email inbox."

Microsoft made it clear at their recent Microsoft Management Summit 2013 that they’re headed into cloud management in a big way.  Whether we totally understand cloud computing or not, most of us in commercial real estate are using some form of web-based software—just another example of how technology continues to dramatically alter the way we do business.

Not so long ago at ICSC, leasing agents eagerly handed out their expensive brochures and oversized lease plans to potential clients and tenants.  And, after ICSC, the FedEx boxes would start arriving with brochures and lease plans that agents couldn’t carry home in their briefcases.

Now, almost all the major firms have discontinued printing these expensive handouts and are making presentations on their iPads or desktops.  By the time a meeting is over, their lease plans and marketing materials are probably already in our email inboxes.

It's a popular idea to be “paperless,” but how do we organize all the digital materials that pile up in an email inbox?  It’s inefficient to spend time going through emails (the new version of going through the stack of papers on your desk). Organizing the emails into folders only helps when you want to retrieve a file. 

It’s one thing to help save the trees.  But when you can’t find a file or an email, working in the virtual world loses some of its charm.

To better serve our clients, RetailUnion Partners developed a web-based program called Bizzio, a virtual deal folder for commercial real estate. Emails attachments, such as marketing materials and lease plans, can be dropped/uploaded into Bizzio under the deal name.  They won’t be mixed up in cyberspace with a child’s birthday photo and vacation airline tickets. When we want to send an email out, we send it directly from a separate email deal file. All related information stays together – what is received and what is sent out.

Best of all, the info is stored in the cloud so our clients can access it from anywhere on any mobile device— from any computer.  Cloud computing is gaining wide acceptance for its mobility and immediacy, and desktop computers and filing cabinets may become as obsolete as typewriters and fax machines.

 


A humorous description of one way Bizzio saves time.

  (a short 1:25 clip)


 

Five Ways Cloud Computing Saves You Time

Posted by John G in Small BizStartup  February 12, 2013

 

Some nonconformists insist that the instantaneousness of today’s tech-geared society is a waste of time. This could not be farther from the truth. While in some cases technology has cheapened time, its benefits outweigh the faults by a long shot.

Such benefits are perhaps most evident in the instance of cloud computing. This revolutionary technology is proving to be an invaluable source for its users, being anything but a waste of time. Here are five examples of how cloud computing saves time for businesses and individuals alike.

1: Cloud computing offers instant backup of information.

Though external hard drives and flash sticks are still widely used, businesses and individuals increasingly prefer to store their data online. On an individual level, this is most apparent when considering how many people use the Apple or Android clouds to store their data across their devices. Gone are the days when a person had to waste time manually updating their smart phones, computers and tablets to ensure that their information could be accessible on each device. Syncing is old-fashioned since the cloud can instantly update all connected devices from one server.

Similarly, businesses save valuable time by backing up their essential data to The cloud. According to this Open Forums article, businesses can retrieve valuable data within minutes when necessary instead of having workers sift through files to find what is needed. This aspect of cloud computing even saves time for medical researchers and doctors who can diagnose patients quicker and research more effectively based on prior data that can be accessed within minutes

2. Cloud computing enables instant sharing of information.

If Email was a phenomenon in the 90?s, the future is here in the form of cloud computing. People on opposite ends of town, a country and even the equator can meet remotely and share data as they would in-person. Undoubtedly, this is a major time-saver. Coworkers can collaborate by holding virtual meetings and sharing information instantly via the cloud.

3. Cloud computing saves operational time for businesses.

According to a report on two case studies involving businesses using the cloud, the time it took to implement operations for each business was reduced significantly thanks to their cloud services.

It is definitely easier to access and add information when it is stored in a general database that can be accessed across the board. This speeds up processes and accounts for a seamless environment.   Read more?


        
 

Bizzio: Lose The Three Ring Binder, Track Real Estate Deals Like a Pro        

Over the past several weeks, for whatever reason, we have run into several products and startups focused specifically on the real estate industry. While most have focused on data and analytics, we recently spoke to a startup who’s main goal is to simplify the sales/property management process. As the real estate industry has been slow – at-least slower than many other industries – to adopt new technologies and software, the key to any startup or product entering the space is ease-of-use and simplicity; Bizzio does just that.

Bizzio is web-application built specifically for real estate professional to track deals. Brett Robinson, Bizzio’s CEO, began building the application because, “There was not really product out there that was simple enough that every one of my clients and everyone in my office could understand and easily use.” While there are a great many applications and software programs built specifically for the real estate industry, they have tended to be bulky and mainly contact-based. This is truly what sets Bizzio apart from the pack. Rather than being contact-based and internally exclusive, Bizzio is deal-based and allows for the inclusion of outside users.  Read more