Category: Blog (Page 3 of 4)

7 Bookkeeping tips for small businesses

Most business owners dread going through their books of accounts. After all, math is not for everyone. But whether you like it or not, bookkeeping is a vital recipe for the success of your business.

You need to be involved in your business’ finances. The books are your scorecard to determine your business’ performance, helps you to work faster, and be more efficient. Here are seven sure-fire tips for proper bookkeeping

  • Getting the right software

Bookkeeping software came in handy when business owners had to record their financial transactions manually. It was an uphill task calculating figures and recording data.

Today, we have thousands of bookkeeping software to choose from which come in different levels. These levels include;

  • Cashbook
  • Ledger and cashbook
  • Ledger, cash book, and inventory.

As a small business, you don’t need expensive software. You are on a tight budget, but you still need software that is easy to use and understand. The software should perform functions such as help to invoice customers, combine different aspects of reporting, and produce charts for references.

  • Time-Tracking Software for Employees

The employment industry is changing fast. Today, most companies pay their employees for the time they have worked and the output. This way of payment strengthens employee performance and puts aside those who don’t work hard.

As a small business, you should start preparing for the future by paying your employees by the hour. How do you count the hours? There are many cloud-based tracking software that records the time an employee clocks in the office, used a computer, and the amount of work done.

These software eases bookkeeping records. You only have to log in and determine how much you owe your employees, the overtime they’ve worked, and vacation. Look for a tool that resonates with your payroll for easy integration during payment.

  • Keeping A watch on Late Paying Customers

If you don’t act on time, late payment customers can degrade the financial position of your business. You depend on their payment to pay your employees and keep the business functioning. 

The best strategy to avoid this is reaching out to the customer fast when they are overdue. Ask them when they will make the payment. If they have financial difficulty, draft a payment plan. The plan should not infringe on both parties.

  • Separate Personal and Business Finances

Mixing finances is common mistake business owners make when doing their bookkeeping. And the result is not good either. You find yourself tangled in a tax web that may tarnish both your personal and business financial records.

To avoid the long days of pain in the future, open a business bank account that’s under the business name. Also, get a business credit card to start making the credit rating that is separate from yours.

  • Record all your Business Expenses

Many changes take place in the taxation sector every year. You don’t want to find yourself at loggerheads with the taxman. The best way to do this is to ensure you record all your expenses. A simple act like scanning the digitized receipts will save you time.

Ensure that you also notify your accountant of any purchases you make. He should have a say in the investment if it’s worthwhile to the business or not. 

  • Do Frequent Check-Ups

Whether it’s a weekly, monthly, or quarterly check-ups, they’re essential as you can identify trends that affect your business. If they’re positive, leverage on them, if they are negative, solve them. 

For instance, you’ll notice some of the customers that pay late. You can reach out to make a payment plan. Or you may see that one of your product records high sales than others. You can get more inventory to keep up with the demand.

  • Don’t Introduce New Systems Without a plan

There are thousands of systems available today that might increase your business’ performance. However, implementing too many of them may do you more harm than good.

Your employees are human beings. If you swamp them with many systems, the chances are that they’ll lose time learning the new system. They’d instead use this time doing important stuff that brings more income to the business. 

Implement a system only if it is promising, but do it in a strategic way that does not affect the performance of your business. 

Bottom-line

Bookkeeping is not for everyone. However, with a few tips we’ve given you above, you can pull it off. If you need someone to hold your hand on your quest to becoming an expert in bookkeeping, you should check out this Bookkeeper Business Launch review. This course will teach you the ins and outs of bookkeeping which is what every business owner should know.

Use These Desktop Apps to Manage Your Remote Team

Building a business that is composed of remote workers is a great way to save money on your initial startup expenses, and it also gives you the luxury of hiring talent based on what someone brings to the table, rather than whether or not they are located within commuting distance to your office.

A combination of remote workers and outsourced tasks, you can scale the growth of a new business fast. And when you learn how to outsource properly it can free you up to work on growth initiatives.

You will be in front of your computer a lot if you are managing an entire remote workforce. So, it’s a good idea to arm yourself with the best desktop apps to help you manage and communicate with your team. Here are some solid recommendations to consider.

Slack

Slack is the most popular team communication tool and has been for some time. It has endless customization options and it really allows you to tailor it for your exact needs.

There is a free option available for small teams, so it’s worth exploring. Once you see just what can be unlocked in terms of communication you will be addicted to this tool.

Long email chains are a thing of the past when you learn how to use Slack. It keeps all of your messages and communication in one place for easy reference.

Google GSuite

Google’s GSuite is an entire collection of its best team collaboration tools. Things like Google Docs, Sheets, Slides and Forms are its version of Microsoft Office and the sharing options make it a better choice for remote teams. From gathering info for online resources that provide todays horse racing tips, to e-commerce brands working on inventory — this toolset helps in all aspects.

Gmail is the best email option as well for organization, and it also syncs up with all of the GSuite products.

Google Drive is also great for hosting large files and sharing them with the team. The admin has full control over who can see, share and open files.

Zoom

Video communication is important for a remote team. With video, the entire team can feel as if they are one, even if they are all working from different parts of the world.

“When working with a remote team, video conferencing is a great way to keep everyone ‘connected’ and Zoom is the best option for this,” says Henk Schipper of Jaloezieen Fabriek.

It’s a good idea to schedule regular video calls, just so everyone always feels connected and part of the team. There will be some team members that are doing their own thing, so you need to make sure they don’t become isolated.

Even a weekly video call just to check in and have a 15 minute session is very healthy for a remote team.

Trello

This project management tool keeps everything in order, and is a great way to break down large projects into several smaller ones and assign tasks accordingly.

You might be working on a large travel accessories e-commerce website and one team might be creating the product images for suitcases, while another team might be writing the product descriptions.

You can keep everything nice and organized with Trello.

How to Convert More Website Traffic Into Sales

Sales are what make the wheels turn in any business, so anything that can be done to help get more sales should be fully explored. Online traffic is what every business with a website wants, from a blog to an HVAC repair company.

The thought of people visiting the website and making purchases 24/7 — even while you are asleep at night — is very appealing and the ultimate goal.

You could have a lot of traffic and steady traffic, but if it isn’t converting into sales then it’s essentially useless. You might get 1,000 visitors to view a product you are selling, but if they don’t hit the “buy now” button and complete the checkout process you might as well have had 2 visitors.

The end results is still $0 sales.

Well, there are things you can do to optimize your website for conversions, which will help you turn more visitors into customers (and revenue for your business). Here are three to explore.

Offer Exit Incentives

What if you were walking out of a retail store and someone ran up to you as you were about to walk out the door and said, “Wait! Don’t go — here is a 70% off coupon!” – would you turn back around and go buy something?

More than likely, yes. And the same thought process applies with an exit offer. If someone is leaving your website, you can prompt coupon codes and other special offers to be presented to them, in an attempt to get them to stay and buy.

Now, if someone lands on a blog like this one here, there isn’t anything to distract them from doing what the intent is — read the content. But, if someone is in your checkout process and tries to leave you can offer them an incentive to finish the purchase.

Highlight Reviews and Trust Badges

A lot of people won’t make a purchase on a website that they don’t trust. There are a lot of scammy looking websites out there. So, you need to do everything you can to highlight why someone that doesn’t know you should trust your business.

“You will get more sales if you appear more trustworthy,” says the owner of National Pool Fences. “Is your checkout process secure? Then mention it. Have you been featured in the media? Then let the people know.”

Also, if you belong to any organizations, either national or industry related, highlight those as well. Anything you can do to look more credible and trustworthy, the better.

Create FOMO (Fear of Missing Out)

Have you ever been on a website and when you put something in your shopping cart it will say something like, “Hurry up, there are only 3 more in stock and there are 17 people currently viewing this product!”

That is done to create a fear of missing out, and it works very well.

If you were selling a product like this car subwoofer, then you could have a countdown timer with a discount code. Even something like a 3 minutes countdown timer and a 10% off coupon or a free shipping offer, will get more people to convert simply because they don’t want to miss the deal.

What to Look For When Hiring a Freelance Web Designer

There is a never ending source of freelancer web designers available to hire online and with so many freelance marketplaces it makes locating them and viewing portfolios easy.

These platforms also make the transaction safe, where most will hold the funds and only release them to the freelancer once you are satisfied with the work. But, money aside, when you hire a web designer you are locking up valuable time. You might also have a deadline and need to get the new design live as quickly as possible.

So, time is precious so you need to make sure you hire the right web designer the first time. Here are some things to consider that will help.

Look at Recent Portfolio (and the actual websites)

All freelancers will have a portfolio available for you to review. This is a good starting point, but do some digging beyond it. Go visit the actual sites and see if the design is the same. If not, that is a good sign that it just didn’t flow well or didn’t convert well.

A portfolio on a freelancer site might look good, but how do you know that freelancer actually did that work? From a CBD oil company to a service provider, look for actual examples of the work done. Look for real-world examples on your own to really see their work in action.

Ask for Referrals

“Never be afraid to ask for referrals. Any designer that refuses this probably doesn’t have the best work to showcase,” says Chris Moberg of Slumber Search. “It never hurts to shoot a past client of theirs an email and just ask how their experience was.”

If a designer pushes back that is a red flag. Also, do some Google searches to see if you can find any other information about the designer. Do they have a website? A company? You might be able to stumble on their main website and see if they have client testimonials there.

Test Their Communication Response Time

One of the biggest gripes when it comes to hiring freelancers is the communication, or lack thereof it.

“You always want to know what you are getting into response-wise before you hire,” advises Darryl Howard of NuWays MD, the o-shot experts. “Ask specific questions and see how long it takes them to reply. If they go days without answering that could be a sign of things to come.”

They will usually be more responsive in the early stages before you are a client because they want to impress you and win your bid. So, be fully aware of this.

Ask for Input on Your Design Ideas

You should also test their creativity — after all that is why you are hiring. You don’t want someone that will just take any idea and slap something together. Look for a designer that takes pride in his or her work and wants to deliver the best possible web design to you.

“Get their feedback on your ideas,” says Chris Dziak of Pure Nootropics. “You might have some great ideas, but you want to make sure they make sense from a design perspective. Finding a designer that will give you quality feedback is important.”

7 Marketing Strategies Every Startup Should Know

Marketing is critical for any startup because if people are not aware of the startup’s existence, they will not buy from it. However, when done the conventional way, marketing campaigns can be very costly, particularly for startups. Startups can use non-conventional marketing strategies to reach their target audience and grow their business. These marketing strategies that ride on modern trends that include the use of postcards newsletter template builder, email templates, content creation, search engine optimization, social media, and landing pages.

Sometimes even promotional products, and promotional products of Personalized Basketballs. Startups need to use as many of these strategies are they can to promote their products and services. Here are seven marketing strategies that every startup should explore: 

  1. Sending Email Newsletters

Emails are effective marketing tools that can help startups attract customers at minimal or no cost. To use this strategy, startups need to build an email list of prospective and existing customers in order to send them emails that promote their products or services. You can do this through your website. For instance, you could include a newsletter subscription form on the website to collect email addresses from visitors. 

The other way of building an email list is by asking customers to share their email addresses directly, even if you run a podcast. To interest customers, ensure that you include non-commercial information on your newsletters. For instance, a startup could feature content such as infographics, videos, articles and guides that empowers its target audience on the newsletter.

  1. Use of Social Media Posts

At this time and age, businesses cannot underestimate the power of marketing through social media platforms. With more than 3.5 billion people currently using social media across the globe, these platforms are taking marketing to a high level. Startups can use social media to promote their products or services by sharing posts such as videos, articles, infographics, offers, and promotions with their followers. 

In addition to marketing products, social media platforms serve as great spaces for engaging existing and prospective customers to understand their pain points and feedback on how they experience the products or services being offered by the startup. Some of the leading social media platforms that each startup should consider using include Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, and StumbleUpon. 

  1. Use of Blog Posts 

Blogs are great marketing tools that can give business startups the exposure they need. Statistics show that through blogging, businesses can generate up to 126% more leads compared to their competitors who do not blog. Using blogs, startups can position themselves as leaders in their industry and drive organic traffic to their sites through internet searches. 

The best way to create an effective blog is through publishing content that your target audience is seeking for or interested in. When such content is valuable, search engines will rank your blog highly on search results. This translates to high traffic as more people get to know about your startup. 

  1. Generate shareable content

Internet marketing thrives on sharing. This means that the content you create about your startup should be interesting and valuable to make your audience want to share. The more people share a piece of content, the more that content goes viral and reached more people. Some of the content formats that entice people, encouraging them to share include visual content such as short videos, infographics, images as well as blogs, stories, and articles.

 In creating content, consider information that is related to your business or is about your business. Of importance to note is that providing additional information to your followers or customers could entice them to become more curious about what you are offering. 

  1. Use Referral Programs

To grow your business fast, consider using the referral marketing strategy. This strategy thrives on allowing customers to promote your products or services to their friends and family. Most successful companies set up referral programs because people tend to believe in personal recommendations from people they know more than they believe company adverts.  

Every startup can reach more customers through a referral strategy by getting current customers to refer other people to the business. Find creative ways to encourage existing customers to refer their friends to your startup. For instance, you could offer customers who refer people to your business commissions, discount vouchers or coupons that they can claim in the future. An example of this could be ‘refer 2 friends and get free shipping the next time your shop’. The audience you attract through referrals can be a strong lead for your startup. 

  1. Hold a pre-launch event

When you are launching your business or product, create a buzz about it and let your target audience about it online and offline. One way to do this is by issuing raffles. Though this will cost you, it will entice them to get raffles and market the business. Through raffles, you can also encourage your audience to follow your business on different social media platforms. Once they connect with you on social media, you will be able to get their feedback about the products or services you offer. You will also be able to develop a contact list for use in future events or communication. 

  1. Use Search Engine Marketing

Search engine marketing is a strategy that involves driving traffic to your website and other online platforms through search engines such as Bing, Google, and Yahoo. For this strategy to work, you need to focus on optimizing your website for the search engines so that people can find your startup without having to call you. 

Statistics show that every day, millions of internet use search engines to find stuff on the web. If you optimize content such as blog posts, articles, images, videos and social media posts for search engines, you will attract visitors to your website and begin connecting with them to grow your customer base.  

Since you will be driving traffic to your website, ensure that it is loads fast so that visitors can access it without having to wait. To achieve this, you need to avoid the use of many heavy images as those will slow the website. Instead, use images only where they are really needed. 

Simple Barcode Inventory System for Small Business to improve efficiency

Inventory control is an essential element of any business. By maintaining effective control over your inventory, you can minimize losses and increase productivity. 

An effective inventory control system in place allows companies to offer more accurate stock information, faster shipping services, and improved customer experience. 

Small businesses sometimes assume that they don’t require a comprehensive inventory system. Many believe that implementing an inventory control system will be too costly for a start-up business or SME. 

However, small businesses and enterprises can benefit from advanced inventory systems, even more than larger organizations. As small companies generally have less staff and fewer resources, anything which streamlines processes and enhances productivity is beneficial. 

Furthermore, an effective inventory control system needn’t be costly to implement. 

What is a barcode inventory system?

A barcode system is one of the easiest and most efficient ways to maintain control over your inventory. Put simply; a barcode is a visual representation of data. When you scan this information which a barcode scanner, it updates the data in the system accordingly. 

1D barcodes are, perhaps, the most familiar type. They consist of vertical straight lines and a series of numbers along the bottom. However, 2D barcodes are becoming increasingly popular. 

Usually square, they consist of dots and various small shapes. As 2D barcodes can hold more information than 1D barcodes, more businesses are upgrading to 2D systems. 

Using a Barcode Inventory System

To use a barcode inventory system, you simply assign a barcode to each product in your system. You can then print out quality labels with the barcode on and apply it to the corresponding product. When you scan the barcode, it will automatically update your inventory system. 

Similarly, you can achieve the opposite effect when using a barcode system too. By using a different setting, you can enable the system to deduct a product from your inventory when you scan the corresponding barcode. 

As you can see, a barcode system enables you to record stock as it enters and leaves your premises. More importantly, it increases the accuracy of your data and allows you to manage your inventory far more quickly than if you were to do it by hand. 

What are the benefits of a barcode inventory system?

There are numerous advantages associated with using a barcode system to monitor your inventory, including:

Efficiency

Printing barcodes on to quality labels and scanning them allows your inventory to updated in record time. This will streamline your processes and increase productivity significantly, thus freeing up staff members for other tasks.

Functionality

If you introduce a new product, you can simply add a new barcode to the system and update your inventory. Similarly, if you discontinue a product line, it can be removed from the system in seconds. With the ability to make swift changes, the functionality of a barcode inventory system is second-to-none. 

Flexibility

Barcode inventory systems can be used on all types of products. Regardless of what packaging materials you’re using, quality labels will ensure that you can adhere barcodes to products of any shape or size. 

Reduced costs

When you manage your inventory manually, it can take a significant amount of time. Whether you’re doing this yourself or assigning staff to the task, it will cost you a considerable amount in terms of productivity. 

Switching to a barcode inventory system ensures the job can be done more quickly and by fewer people. As a result, you can minimize your outgoings, cut your wages bill and reduce overall costs.

Accuracy

Manual inventory management inevitably leaves the door open for human error. However, conscientious your staff are, they will make mistakes from time to time. 

When using a barcode inventory system, however, you can minimize these inaccuracies and maintain comprehensive stock information at all times.

Real-time data

Depending on the system you choose, you can access real-time inventory data when you use a barcode system. This means you can check stock levels and locations whenever you need to and access the latest information. 

Keeping track of your stock in real-time negates the possibility of ordering or producing too much and minimizes waste, thus reducing your costs even further.

Implementing a barcode inventory system

Small businesses, in particular, need to operate as cost-efficiently as possible. With the right packaging materials, printing equipment, barcode scanner, and quality labels like Zebra Printer Labels like the one from enkoproducts.com, you can implement an effective barcode inventory system straight away. 

Barcode inventory systems make life easier. They increase efficiency and lower costs, which is why they are an excellent investment.

5 things that make a mobile app amazing

It’s no secret that mobile is the future. Fewer people now view content on laptops or computers and more and more now reach for their mobiles. We all know it’s much more convenient, and in May 2019, just over 41% of web traffic came from mobile devices.

So why do so many shy away from making their content mobile friendly? It’s imperative that your business gets up to date with mobile users to ensure you continue to attract custom as technology evolves.

Mobile apps will not only increase the demand for your product but profits, too – as you will be opening up your company to a whole new audience. You’ll have a competitive advantage, as customers are much likely to come to your business first if they know you offer an app which is easy for them to navigate and use on the go.

Showing you’re keeping up with the times and doing more to push your brand will get you recognized within your industry and show that you really mean business.

Now that we have you convinced, what should you actually include in your mobile app to make it stand out from the crowd and gain traffic?

Here are 5 things that make a mobile app amazing.

Knowing your target market

According to Digital Authority Partners, for every 10,000 mobile apps developed, only 1 will make a dent in the market while the other 9,999 will get lost in the crowd.

To avoid being part of that 99.9%, you need to make sure to conduct thorough research on your target market.

You need to make sure that your app is filling a gap in the market, either by addressing a problem or targeting a direct target audience.

A study from the Journal of Business Cases and Applications states that since 2009, the number of niche app stores has doubled annually, while the number of general app stores has decreased. This proves more than anything that users are bored of seeing the same apps rebranded, and want to see something fresh.

Using fresh, professional designs

If you’re looking to create an app that people will want to download and use, it’s important to not only consider what you want to achieve, but how it will actually look on-screen.

The likelihood is that if a user doesn’t find the app appealing, they will delete it and may even leave a bad review. This will leave all of your hard work in the gutter.

Focus on a color scheme and styles of imagery and text that suit and blend with your brand, then develop from there.

If you are looking to work with a developer, make sure they are familiar with your brand and know exactly what you are looking for.

Blog Writer advises working with a team that already has experience in your industry, and to ensure you receive a timeline for the work to watch over and manage your budget carefully.

Science Direct has used the app CAMPER Weather as a great use of design when it comes to mobile. The weather app is designed to put a smile on the user’s face, no matter the weather.

This is how the shoe brand has demonstrated its understanding of optimism: half imagination, half craft. The app uses vivid imagery and colors to bring its brand to the customer in a way that doesn’t feel invasive or pushy.

Creating a robust SEO strategy

It’s obvious that you can’t really create an SEO strategy for a native mobile app, however, you can push your website to effectively market and create leads towards it. Combo App claims this all starts by finding the best keywords that fit in with your brand, location, and what you’re marketing.

Google only starts to pick up SEO after 60 to 90 days, so it’s important you set up the right time frames to make sure your site will push your app at the time of launch. Creating content based on your app will also help to boost its rankings on Google and the traffic it gets.

Remember, it’s important to make sure your app is in the 1% that gets noticed and downloaded!

Using video

The attention span of the world is getting shorter and shorter. An infographic from Wyzowl even goes as far as to claim that the average adult attention span has gone from 12 seconds to 2000 to 8.25 seconds in 2005.

This means that apps now need fewer words and more video, especially when it comes to explainers and demos. Using video will keep the user much more entertained and more likely to stay on the app.

It will also ensure that they understand how to navigate the app without confusion. This is particularly important as those who can’t figure out how to use your product in a short amount of time are much more likely to give up and close down than to persevere.

Marketing to boast about your product

Your app may not make front page news, but for many technology websites, or even the business pages of a newspaper, your efforts to modernize your company and try something new will not go unrecognized.

Sending out press releases may seem like a lengthy process, but even if just one outlet decided to use it out of 50, you will have still increased the word of mouth surrounding your app and will probably attract more custom.

If your copy is easy to read and ready to go, titles are much more likely to use it. Make sure to find a clear angle to promote your content.

Whether that’s your business branching out or your new way to solve gaps in the market, people will want to know.

And if you don’t tell them, the likelihood is that they won’t find out.

This article comes from Michael Reddy @ Digital Authority Partners

Where to Hire Experienced Freelance Web Developers

While it would be nice to have a team of web developers in your office available for all of your needs, the reality is that it would be very expensive and it’s not something that is cost-effective for many small businesses. As technology becomes more in-demand, so do the costs.

An experienced developer can cost you well over six-figures in salary alone, and then when you add up the other costs, like health care and other benefits, it becomes out of touch. But, that doesn’t mean you can’t have access to top quality developers when you are in need.

There are a lot of talent available on freelance marketplaces, giving you the ability to hire talent from all over the world and only pay for what you need done. Many developers like to work under this model because it allows them to pick and choose their projects and work when they want, giving them the ability to take time off when they please. Many of these are educated and have a college degree. Here are the best places to hire a web developer online.

UpWork.com

This is a great option for developers as well as any other freelancer available. You can also search by location if you are looking for talent close to you.

“UpWork is great because there is a lot of great talent with different rates available,” says Hill Web Marketing’s Jeannie Hill, an expert at understanding a searcher’s intent. “I suggest taking the time to not only look over experience and portfolios, but also spend the time to dig through the reviews.” You can often save yourself a lot of time and potential issues by looking for freelancers with solid feedback.

You are also protected by UpWorks payment system, which gives you control over the amount and frequency you can be charged.

Freelancer.com

One of the original and most popular options, this has probably the largest pool of talent to pick from. There is a lot of entry level, so you have to be prepared to spend time interviewing before you hire.

“You can usually find the lowest rates here, but make sure you see previous work history,” offers Darryl Howard of Blogger Tips. “This can also be easily faked, so put a potential hire through the test first, and be sure to test his or her knowledge with some questions to help you feel confident. The good thing is Freelancer acts as an escrow service, and you pay only when satisfied.”

HireGeeks.com

While a lot of freelancer marketplaces offer a lot of different services, from developers to graphic designers and content writers, HireGeeks is geared towards more technical jobs, like development and coding.

“There are a lot of solid technical experts that can be found here, and this is a good resource for those odd one-off jobs, like having a custom plugin coded or a new application developed to handle pulling API data,” says Irene McConnell of Arielle Executive. “No matter how technical the task, you can usually find someone here capable of getting it done.”

Toptal.com

Looking for the best possible freelance talent when it comes to development projects? Look no further, as this is where many of the largest companies in the world come when they want the best.

“The name says it all, as it’s short for ‘Top Talent’ and they claim to have the top 3% of talent when it comes to developers,” says Oliver James of Perth Web Design. “Along with top talent comes top prices, so be prepared to spend more than you would on some of the other platforms that doesn’t have a barrier of entry.” If someone is on Toptal, then they are highly regarded when it comes to programming and development.

While there is no need to hire from here when it comes to simple jobs, this is a great resource if you are a Fortune 500 company with deep pockets and you demand the very best in everything.

Fiverr.com

When you need a quick simple job done, this is a good option. You won’t find the top talent here, but you will find capable people for simple tasks.

“There are often times you need something done that may seem complex to you, but some someone with basic computer skills it can be done in a matter of minutes,” explains Pedro Del Nero of Vaporizer Vendor. “Something as simple as placing tracking pixel code in a website header might give a business owner anxiety but a freelancer can do it in 2 minutes.”

In a simple situation like this, it’s work paying someone $5 or $10 and not having to deal with it. They make a quick dollar and you get the task done correctly.

Guru.com

This is another marketplace with a lot of developers actively looking for new projects. On here, you have access to more than 3 million experts. But, be careful because anyone can claim they are an expert.

“Guru is a great user friendly marketplace to find help, but just be aware that it’s such a large database and there are no prequalification or testing done before someone can offer his or her help. The due diligence falls entirely on you,” suggests April Gillmore, CEO of ClickFirst Marketing. “I would suggest using this for very basic projects to start.”

The good thing with these type of marketplaces is that they are great at finding talent and using small tests to see how capable and reliable they are. Over time you can assign more difficult and complex tasks to those that have proven themselves.

PeoplePerHour.com

This option has grown in popularity, and it’s similar to UpWork in the sense that you can find almost anything here, from logo designers to blog writers for a health and fitness blog.

“You will want to really test potential hires before offering any complex development work,” says Tad Thomas of Thomas Law Offices. “You can literally hire by the hour, so the initial capital requirement to test options is low. For a new business or a SMB with limited resources, this is a great affordable option.”

You are also protected by their payment gate, which only releases the funds to the freelancer when the customer is satisfied and signs off on the completed job.

The Best Must-Have Software and Programs Every SMB Owner Needs

Running a small business isn’t easy. It take a lot of time, so whenever you can use software to help run, manage and operate your business, it should be something you at least look into. Often times it makes the operational process, which can free up more time for you to use in areas that help grow your business.

The last thing you want to do is suck up all your time doing meaningless tasks that could be handled using the correct software applications. To help you do a little software and program audit, here are several must-haves that you should look into if you’re not already using them.

QuickBooks

If you are still doing your books the old fashioned way then you are wasting time. Manually entering data into books by hand is wasting resources. And while there are many accounting software options available, QuickBooks is the all-time favorite.

“QuickBooks is standard, and I would be willing to bet that the majority of small businesses are using this option,” says Andrew Tran of weighted blanket manufacturer Therapy Blanket. “The nice thing about this is that you can grant access to your accountant, so they can easily get to any information needed.” This is a much more convenient option than dumping it all on them right before April 15th.

There are a few different option available, but the basic one is adequate for most SMBs.

Microsoft Office

Are you doing word processing, creating spreadsheets or making presentations? Or are you reading these type of documents? If so then you need to have an active Microsoft Office subscription.

“Not only do you need a MS Office account to create and read documents, but if you want to use Outlook as your email client you will also need this,” says Loren Taylor of Soothing Company. “You can get access for as little as $69.99 a year, and that allows you to install your license on multiple devices, like a desktop, laptop, tablet and mobile device.”

There are some knock-off products that are similar, but they never work properly. Always go for the original.

Google GSuite

“Google’s GSuite product gives businesses the ability to use its Gmail email platform for their email system, which is the primary reason most opt to go with this option” Says John founder of Full Face Snorkel Reef Masks 

Gmail is a great email client, and if you are using emails on your own domain, like on this Gold Coast pest control company, then you can use GSuite to run them through Gmail. It’s a great solution and it’s very inexpensive, at around $5 a user per month. Aside from the email, you also get cloud storage and Google Docs, as well as access to all of their other applications.

It’s a very affordable software that will enhance your business. Nothing will come close to this in terms of dollar value. It’s first in its class. You can launch a fitness blog and use GSuite to create custom email addresses that use your domain name, but Gmail’s functionality.

InfusionSoft

If you have a CMS need, then this is one of the most powerful options, as you can integrate it with almost anything out there and it allows you to create custom rules that will automate a large percentage of your marketing effort.

“InfusionSoft’s autoresponder and automation process is top of the line and you can set custom rules and features that act differently according to how and when a prospect responds or takes action to either another email or to a piece of content on your website,” offers Chris Moberg of Slumber Search.

Because InfusionSoft is so complex, it can take some time to really understand all of its features. There are a lot of InfusionSoft experts out there that you can hire to not only set it up for you but walk you through the entire platform and really explain all its capable of. The more you understand it, the better you can leverage its full power.

InterCom

Installing Intercom on your website is like hiring a fulltime customer service agent and having them work 24/7 for you and never asking for a day off. If you are a service provider or an e-commerce website then this is a great addition.

“Intercom is great for live chat as well as for initiating conversations offline in the event that it’s afterhours and your office is closed,” says Ignacio Soria of CANN & Co. “If a visitor clicks on the chat icon and it’s when your business is closed you can have it pre-set to ask them to leave a detailed message and a contact number so you can answer their questions as soon as you reopen.”

It’s very affordable and the analytics and data it collects can be used to really improve your business.

Slack

Slack is something that almost all remote teams use. It’s an internal communication platform that keeps all conversations, notes and ideas in one central location for all to see and access.

“Slack is great for all businesses, from large creative teams consisting of dozens of people located all over the world, to local businesses with a few employees all in one small office,” says Pat Skinner of AnswerFirst, a company you can read more about here. “I like it just for the communication capabilities. Rather than having people using multiple different chat platforms, emails, texts, etc., you can keep all communication on Slack.”

When you make it a rule to keep all communication on a Slack channel you eliminate excuses, lost communications, etc. It’s all there, all the time, and for all to see.

5 Top Tech That Will Give Your New Business an Edge

Let’s face it, running a business takes a lot of hard work and also requires wearing many hats if you’re to succeed and become profitable. For example, you’ll need to market your products and services, keep in touch with clients, manage your staff, and ensure that the business stays ahead of your competition at all times. One of the easiest ways to improve your overall productivity and boost your output is by incorporating useful technology that automates crucial tasks in your business.

Here, we describe the top five technologies that will give your new business an edge and dramatically improve your chances of success.

Security tech

Security threats exist left, right, and center irrespective of the niche your business is operating in. Some of the areas where security risks exist include:

Physical boundaries

These are the walls within which your business resides. Properly manning the likely entry points helps prevent undetected intrusion. For small businesses, installation of security cameras and alarm systems will effectively mitigate the physical threats. For large businesses where exit and entry points are busy, personnel identification systems such as fingerprint, biometric, and card authenticators are necessary.

System units

These include the devices you use in the ordinary course of your business such as computers, printers, routers, and servers. The best way to secure them is through the use of strong passwords, monitored access to company computers, and adoption of strong internet firewalls. Additionally, you can synchronize important data to Cloud Solutions to add that extra layer of security in case of accidental data loss.

Financial tech

Any business has to be accountable for its finances in order to streamline its monetary tasks. Financial technologies assist you to manage payrolls, taxes, vendors, creditors and other stakeholders that your business works with. Some of the top apps that you can easily integrate in your system unit include:

QuickBooks

This accounting software assists businesses to monitor activities that relate to sales and expenditure. You can use it to view financial statements including profit & loss reports, invoices, tax deductions, creditors report, and debtors accounts. Another outstanding feature is its ability to link up with multiple sources of finances such as bank accounts, PayPal, and credit cards.

Did you also know that you can use QuickBooks on mobile devices? There’s the QuickBooks Online which synchronizes business data across various devices including mobile handsets.

You can also check out many other related financial tech software available for businesses today including Xero which is another top player and an industry leader alongside QuickBooks. See how Xero compares to QuickBooks here to help you decide which between them best suits your business model.

Communication tech

A business needs to communicate uninterruptedly with customers and other stakeholders that are critical to its operation. Communication apps give your business an edge by:

  • Facilitating better management of your contacts
  • Enhancing meetups with your peers and clients via teleconferencing
  • Managing messages and ad campaigns
  • Automating responses to customers when you’re offline or busy
  • Coordinating team projects by centralizing objectives

Some of the communication technologies that you can quickly adopt include Skype, Outlook, Bots, and social media apps.

Marketing tech

Marketing technologies help you promote your ideas and solutions with the sole aim being to reach your target audience. They also sell your uniqueness in the face of competitors to help your brand stand out. Some of the marketing technologies to consider here include:

Social media

It’s estimated that over 3 billion people worldwide have access to social media platforms. These forums are not only easy to join but also designed to serve all classes of people including businesses. Social media promotes business marketing by:

  • Allowing direct interaction of prospects with business owners
  • Placing ads of products and services
  • Facilitating brainstorming, idea exchanges, and networking

Email providers

Modern businesses have shifted their attention from land-based mailing services to online providers that are more affordable, quicker, and more convenient. Today, most small and medium-sized businesses with limited advertising budgets credit email marketing for the majority of their profits and recurring income.

Time management tech

Time is the only asset that you cannot afford to lose once your business is on its feet. In the past, watches were the only appliances that people would use to manage time. But today, technology has revolutionized things allowing you to organize your schedule and remain focused on crucial tasks. Here are several handy technologies you can consider when running a business:

RescueTime

This tool tracks and reports the time you spend on your everyday apps. It also allows you to set alert alarms, reminders, and block distracting sites. It works across major operating systems including Linux, Android, Windows, and iOS.

Omnifocus

This task manager assists you in creating and organizing projects in your to-do lists. The app supports synchronization of data across various devices too.

Wrap-up

How are you leveraging technology to improve your business and make it more profitable? We’d love to hear about the tools you’re using to make your work easier.

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