MyOnlineToolbox – What It Could Become

Myonlinetoolbox


Editor note: the title of the article was edited to reflect the real purpose of the review, which is to announce to our readers an online business management tool of great potential.

Are you familiar with that half melancholic, half regretful feeling one sometimes has when looking back at a project or relationship that did not go very well and thinks of what could have been if only a few little aspects would have turned out differently? Change few to a lot and you will get my feeling after testing MyOnlineToolbox for a couple of days.

What MyOnlineToolbox wants to be is a complex, yet easy to use business management platform, and an online one nonetheless, mainly designed for the repairing, construction and computer service industries. It provides an integrated interface for invoicing, contracting other company’s services, requiring and sending out estimates and creating projects and assigning them to your team. Basically, it takes over all the accounting, project and customer management effort, leaving you with the time you need to develop your business, promote it and see it grow. Or at least it tries to.

MyOnlineToolbox error

No1 error in frequency

While there are so many options for each item you create, navigation between several pages and tabs can be a pain. First off, because of the many errors. Errors when loading, errors when logging in (I had to confirm my account twice and then it finally was ok), and many others. The most frequent error which happened every other 3-4 page clicks is depicted below. To clarify, I have a pretty good Internet connection (6MB per second) and I am a Mozilla Firefox user. I did most of the testing on Internet Explorer because for some reasons unknown to me, the menus don’t always work properly in my favorite browser (which by the way is the second one in the world in terms of user numbers, not an obscure piece of software launched yesterday). They do say they support version 3.5 and I am using 3.6, but usually there are errors on old program versions, not on new ones… Plus all field adding cancel buttons seem to function on their own terms that I failed to comprehend. They insist on keeping me on the same page and not allowing me to click on the tab I need to see displayed with no error message to help clarify things.

User interface

User interface

Other than errors, some buttons don’t act as one would expect. If I have a Select/Add new customer option, I expect it to allow me to either select a customer from a list or enter details for a new one. All details, not just the name, to then force me to go in the dedicated Customer section to enter the remaining information.

The cool part is that you don’t have to use your contractors. You have an entire directory to select from, network with and create new business opportunities. There’s only one problem to this networking heaven… I haven’t managed to find any easy way of browsing through the many companies offering a various services. There is a forum, but you can’t see it once you’re logged in and there are only a couple of mostly irrelevant posts in it. The only other way to find your peers is to import their information in your contractor list, then click their profiles, then pray for some relevant info, such as a website, customer references, a list of services, something other than just the industry segment they activate on.

Bottom line, MyOnlineToolbox promises a lot. It could make your business run smoother, it could create opportunities to find new customers or get better business partners. It could free up more time for you to market your business, promote your services and see your revenues grow. It fails to deliver a lot of it simply because the interface is a bit annoying and it does not work properly and because the networking options are invisible or nonexistent or maybe the fairies from tales… Yet if they manage to clean up their code and make their site run smoother and actually get some social dimension integrated in what they offer, they’d actually be an amazing service!

 

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Comments

  1. says

    Thank you for your suggestions. Unfortunately I find it strange that the communications did not arrive since the activation links did make it. So in this case the suggestion would contradict your statement that you did not get the email questioning whom you were, directly from me no less. I disagree with certain statements since you are making assumptions not directed at my target audience, which is understandable and which is why many of competitors are having a diffifult time. Again, no bad feelings and I will be more than happy to reply directly and not in the open forums. Thanks again for the comments and opinions.
    Brian

  2. Alina Popescu says

    Hi Brian,
    Sorry for not personally replying sooner. Just to clarify, I would like to tell you that there has been no email from MyOnlineToolbox sent to me other than the account confirmation email. If I would have received any such email, I would have replied immediately. And I do check the spam folder regularly. As for the errors, some time outs occured when just browsing your website, not while having an account or being logged in.

    If you allow me, I’d like to make a suggestion: rather than setting traps all over your website when detecting anything wrong about an account, why not simply have a warning pop up and ask them to email your sales/support team? I think it would be fair and would help those who want to check out your product. I know from experience most companies who are just test driving a software solution are usually using bogus names and addresses. Mostly because they get too much spam :) Besides, if they have enough patience, your competitors would still get to see everything on your site, it would just take them longer:)

  3. Mihaela Lica says

    Excellent, Brian. :) I will send you a few questions as soon as I get the chance. In the meanwhile, know that we really really appreciate what you are doing.

    Always,
    Mig

  4. says

    Your review was very fair for the most part, and in no way can we ask Alina to be someone she is not … and that is a field person. I am not one either and is the same reason why I am smart enough to know to ask my customers for their opinions first since it is too easy to think the business is simple enough to understand their needs. Most of the first time early adopter contractors seem to use IE as opposed to FireFox.

    But let me be clear, I do see your review as mostly positive and have no ill feelings since you and Alina are just doing your job. I guess what caught my attention was the title which I would like to think of as MyOnlineToolbox – What Could Be. Keep in mind that we are positioning for tommorrow and the review was insinuating the past.

    I would enjoy assisting in turning around to be a more positive feature. I have a few ideas that I think you can work with. Just send me a note via my direct email.

  5. says

    We are curios what made you write about us, especially from so far away? We are honored that something got your attention. Any insight would be helpful. And forgive us again for the protectionism on the technical side. Regards.
    Brian

  6. says

    Thank you Mihaela,

    First let me say publicly that we do not know one another and this is the first interactions we are having (since others may not know this). I think your site and method of review as well as diplomatic follow up is very nice. I realize that it is hard for you to always do your job when companies such as mine may not be available for any-and-all reviews.

    In any case, I appreciate your commentary back to me. I also did see this as a fairly positive review but still have to protect “perceived” not so favorable comments since other readers may not follow all the details.

    Yes …. I am more than serious about intentional occurrences. We are laser-beamed focused on the people who this platform is designed for. We are aware that our competitors are lurking trying to coat tail off our experience and awards. We have some tricks up our sleeve and nothing is wrong with this in my book, especially when it is my job of protecting our initial growth.

    We play like a game of chess where we want to be positioning a few steps ahead. Why not make a perceived competitor jump through hoops? Why not make someone who shouldn’t know the details be brought on a wild-goose-chase on how to use the system? I can go on how to manipulate the competition but have to be reserved.

    Please keep in mind that the person who signed up raised a lot of alerts (based on IP address, no company name, no response).

    One of the items mentioned were correct (and thanks for noticing it) and I added it to our development list (yet will not reference the details in this open forum). The remaining items were a combination of intentional roadblocks.

    Again, we do appreciate the positive review and wish for our comments to be taken in stride since our competitive positioning is what also makes us stand out.

    Brian

    PS. Feel free to personally connect with me outside the public forums. We like your style, especially that you allowed us to reply and then you replied openly.

    • Mihaela Lica says

      Brian, I understand your concerns, but let me reassure you that Alina was not, in any way, trying to harm you. On the contrary. She reviewed your company on my request, as you were one of the Forbes 2009 finalists, and I personally found MyToolBox one of the most interesting startups featured there. Our intention was to help you see see potential user concerns and issues. An all positive review does not look all that credible anyway, but this was not the reason for the negative notes. I am sure Alina will clarify more. In the meanwhile, let me reassure you that we are trying to be as fair as possible in these reviews – we aim to provide them as “resources” for PR companies and freelancers who read this site. I would be more than glad to give you the possibility to turn this review to a more positive feature. Would you like to be part of a feature interview?

  7. Mihaela Lica says

    Brian, this was a very good, positive and in-depth review. Are you serious when stating “Perhaps some of your technical occurrences were intentional?” What about trying to fix those little bugs? I see that they were the only negative aspect in the article. Everything else is praising your startup, well deservedly.

  8. says

    Thank you for the comments pertaining to MyOnlineToolbox promises a lot. There are a few items that I would like to clarify, being President & Co-founder that I hope you will allow to post word for word.

    We detected that you signed up on March 30 but did not identify yourself as a contractor in home repair and remodeling in the United States, our target market for now. An email was sent out to you to confirm your identity and you did not reply. We are an evolving company (2008 Dell Top 10 Innovator and 2009 Forbes America’s Most Promising Company) and assume various competitors, etc. may come in and our company does what it has to in order to protect competitive advantages. Perhaps some of your technical occurrences were intentional?

    I disagree with the statemet that we want to be complex, since that is not our goal. We are looking to be as “complete” as possible while being easy to use.

    Keep in mind that you are not our target market. Contractors operate differently than many other industries and it is a delicate balancing act to ensure you meet the needs of an evolving user new to embracing technology.

    I do thank you for mentioning that we are only servicing US based customers (at this time), and feel it is important to emphasize that you are not personally based in America. Not that anything is wrong with that, but people and cultures are different and that is why our target user based is so focused. My instinct is that you reviewed the product from solely a technical perspective when it has to be viewed from operational perspectives from the very intended users. Our focus is the 1000+ members (as of today) who give us constant feedback as to their desires.

    Thanks for your opinions and we hope you allow my replies to stay word-for-word.

    Brian Javeline
    President & Co-founder
    http://www.MyOnlineToolbox.com
    2008 Dell Top 10 Innovator
    2009 Forbes America’s Most Promising

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