Small-business owners no longer need to fear or ignore shaping their business operations to meet today’s society of plugged-in clients.
With costs of operating a business increasing steadily, small-business owners must take advantage of any and all avenues in running an efficient, organized business and building clientele, and, most importantly, net revenue.
Simple and Affordable Transactions
Toni Dowdell, a self-employed nail technician and hair stylist in Greenville, Michigan, provides 24-7 access for her clients through a variety of apps on her smartphone.
“I use my smartphone to keep in constant contact with my clients. My clients know they can call, text, email or Facebook me for an appointment,” she said.
One phone app that handles transactions from a simple debit card to a business credit card at American Express and other credit cards is an app called Square, a sort of electronic register that allows a business to accept credit card payments from a smartphone.
“The Square card reader and app have given me a low cost alternative to a credit card machine that can travel wherever I go,” Dowdell said. “The credit card reader has saved me hundreds of dollars in finance charges and monthly fees that I would normally have to pay to a traditional credit card company. The great news about all of these apps are that they are free!”
Keep Accounting in Hand
For small businesses, the phrase paperwork is becoming as archaic as the words white-out, pencil eraser and adding machine. Trendy words are replaced with app names like within the plugged-in small business realm are app names like Google Analytics, Dropbox, EchoSign and Mint.com. And for good reason. Cost savings, simple organization and easy access is finally giving small businesses an edge.
Google Analytics for the small business owner, especially those just starting up, is a great way to analyze traffic on a website. Zone in on how much traffic your website pulls in, see the demographics of target audience and percentage differences in traffic drivers, and compare statistics during a day, a week and within a month on user-friendly charts and graphs.
Avoiding the hassle of bulk email and email storage limits, Dropbox offers small business owners the ability to mange and share photographs and documents with a sharer through all devices with less clicking. Dropbox offers free accounts with up to 18GB of storage. More available options are offered, at a price, for iPhone, iPad, Android devices, Blackberry and Kindle Fire.
Similar to Dropbox, EchoSign allows small business owners the ability to upload and transfer documents. EchoSign extends the courtesy of making its program user-friendly as possible, touting “eco-friendly” usage — doing away with paper, printer ink and scanner.
Another free smartphone app is Mint.com, which, as its website boasts, “does all the work of organizing and categorizing your spending for you,” and “does all the work of organizing and categorizing your spending for you.” Mint.com provides a small business owner colorful graphs, charts and information on savings, checking, investments and event personal financial stats on auto financing and mortgages, a one-stop-shop for business owners looking to file all finances.