As a small business owner, you’re always looking for clever – and most importantly, inexpensive – ways to keep your costs down while getting the word out about the products and services you offer. Technology is the key to this dilemma, and don’t assume that just because your knowledge of gadgetry and the internet ends with Facebook means that you cannot maximize these tools to their highest potential. The following are a few of the best smartphone apps and services that you, as a small business owner, should be taking full advantage of, but likely aren’t.
Purchase a Smartphone
You might belong to the school of thought that phones are exclusively for making phone calls, but that notion is outdated. No matter if you stick with an iPhone or venture into the Android market, purchasing a smartphone is one of the best and least expensive investments you can make. Imagine being able to track your packages through the FedEx app while your customer pays for a purchase on your smartphone’s credit card reader. All of this is possible with the help of a device that can cost as little as $99. Not to make mention that many of the apps that small business owners now consider indispensable are completely free.
mSecure Password Manager
Make a list of all the accounts you have that require passwords. There’s your bank account, personal email, company email, the store’s website and so on. If you’re still carrying around tiny slips of paper covered with undecipherable alphanumeric combinations, don’t hesitate to download the mSecure Password Manager app on that smartphone you just purchased. Through the power of encryption, the app keeps track of all your account numbers, passwords, credit card numbers and any information you want kept secure.
Intuit Quicken Home and Business
“Keeping the books” is a phrase many business owners dread, which is probably why so many hire accountants. Your accountant or business manager might be keeping everything in order, but there is a method to track your business and personal finances, without breaking the bank. Intuit Quicken Home and Business is a software program that has been around for several years, and with good reason. It allows you to keep track of your losses and profits, create invoices, analyze your return goals and manage your assets, net worth and liabilities. On top of all those capabilities, Quicken Home and Business also allows you to easily import all of this information to your tax software, making April 15 a little less frightening.
Your business is expanding and you now have branch offices, employees and customers from all over the world. It’s time to hold that weekly sales meeting or yearly training conference, but how much will it cost to squeeze everyone into the same room? This is where screen sharing technology comes into play, and don’t assume this service is too advanced, or expensive, for your business. Screen sharing allows you to share what’s on your computer screen with any number of participants scattered across the country or world. Imagine being able to show potential clients stationed several thousand miles away your projected profits for the year or sharing a PowerPoint presentation with your sales staff in another continent. Screen sharing makes this, and so much more, possible.
Facebook, Twitter and the multitude of other social media sites are for more than sharing your vacation photos. Many small businesses are beginning their own fan pages on Facebook, or keeping their Twitter followers informed about the latest promotions available at their store or website. Straight advertising on Facebook and other social media sites is also another inexpensive, simple technique to get the word out on your small business, as well as to reach out to more potential clients or investors.
Those are just a handful of the tools, services, apps and technological advances that will vastly improve the success of your small business. Once again, some are pricier than others, but there are still many that are, and will remain, free.
Author Bio: Lane Beckett is a small business owner and guest blogger. When he’s not installing the latest apps on his iPhone, Lane can be found searching for new and inexpensive ways to promote his website. He has lately been experimenting with Twitter, to some considerable success.