Improve your efficiency with the latest business tools
Whether you are a sole trader or a growing concern, chances are that you never seem to have enough time to complete all the tasks your business demands. Technology helps the entrepreneur expand his or her efficiency to stretch those precious hours. You can improve your own productivity and that of your enterprise by employing the latest business tools. This list covers six handy services and apps that will solve the problems you face in your working day.
New businesses pop up everywhere. You don’t need to pay high rental fees for big-city offices to be a success. However, every salesperson and product designer will tell you there is no substitute for face-to-face contact, and getting to meetings with faraway customers can be time-consuming and expensive. If you feel that email contact isn’t enough and you want to work with collaborators and customers all over the world, consider using a video-conferencing business tool. Thanks to improvements in broadband speed, video conferencing is now a very effective way to get face-to-face contact without having to travel. The Fuze video-conferencing system offers HD-quality video and sound. Best of all, there is a free version.
The biggest trend in web access during 2014 was the shift from access through desktops and laptops to access via smartphones and tablets. Since January 2014, more Internet access time in the U.S. has come from mobile devices than from desktops and laptops. That fact sent big Internet companies, such as Google and Amazon, scrambling to produce mobile-friendly versions of their sites. The IDG Global Mobile Survey 2014 found that 77 percent of executives use a mobile device to research products and services, which shows that you need to get a mobile-formatted version of your site prepared. Small screens require different layouts compared with those traditionally used for webpages, and getting an expert to produce your mobile version can be expensive. DudaMobile is a business tool that enables you to quickly create a mobile-friendly site for your business via a series of templates and apps. You can also add “click to call” buttons and interactive maps to help boost your conversion rates.
Many entrepreneurs find they now access their emails from their phone more often than from their desktop computer. MailBox is an email system specifically written for smartphones. This mail app business tool is formatted to be mobile friendly and includes some special features. It learns your habits and sets priorities for emails from those senders that it notices you access immediately, and it gives less priority to emails from senders you tend to ignore.
Tripit “automagically” converts all your travel-booking confirmation emails into a travel itinerary. If you have ever gone on a business trip to a conference or seminar, or made a customer visit, you know there is enough to worry about, such as making sure you have all your notes, brochures, and samples organized, without having to keep track of all the printouts of hotel confirmations and electronic boarding cards. The Tripit business tool can be accessed from a range of devices and is even available on your phone or laptop when you do not have Internet access.
You are legally required to keep sales and employment records for a number of years, depending on the nature of the data. However, you do not have to store all the original paper documents to comply with these requirements. Still, if you digitize your records and your computer crashes, wiping out everything, you could be in big trouble. Therefore, it is very important to back up all data, although having a backup device on your premises is a bad idea. If your office gets robbed, the thieves are likely to take any USB memory sticks they find, along with the computers. Fortunately, many online-data backup business tools are now available. CrashPlan offers cloud-based storage that enables you to back up all your data on the Internet and protects your business from data loss.
Every website and online service that requires a log-in advises you to choose a password that is different from those you use for other services. Having the same password for everything would enable a data or identity thief to get access to all of your business’s online services after learning that one word. However, keeping track of all the different passwords you need to log in to all of your essential services can be a headache, and you certainly shouldn’t write down a list of them. LastPass fixes this problem by providing a secure list that is password-protected. You write all of your passwords into the system, and then it logs you in to each site you visit, prompting you only for your LastPass password. With this business tool, you only need to remember one password.
These six essential business tools will enable you to run your business even when you are on the move. Savvy entrepreneurs know that acquiring and adapting to new technology provides a business edge that improves productivity. The rapid proliferation of mobile-friendly business tools shows just how important it is for your business to have a website that can be accessed from a mobile device. The World Wide Web is going mobile. Make sure your business doesn’t get left behind.
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