|4 tech tips for small-business owners|
|Ease the stress with these tools and tips.|
|Published Thursday, January 17, 2013 8:30 am|
|Small business owners can ease the stress of entrepreneurship by using simple technology tools and tips.|
It truly costs to be the boss. So much so that small-business owners say that managing their business creates twice as much stress as maintaining a healthy relationship with a spouse or partner, according to a recent Bank of America Small Business Owner Report.
Entrepreneurs also report that running a business is nearly three times more stressful than raising children.
While technology can enhance productivity, increase sales, provide access to wider audiences and ultimately, maximize profits, it also can be a major source of stress for the small-business owner.
As industries change, small-business owners often experience fear and frustration as they strive to keep up. It’s impossible to be competitive without taking advantage of today’s technology. However, when it comes to implementation, many business owners find themselves faced with two main challenges – time and money.
Fortunately, there are affordable ways for small business owners to use technology to grow their businesses and save valuable time. Here are four turnkey technology strategies that can be implemented today:
1. Re-think your cash register
Until recently, millions of small businesses used antiquated, time-consuming methods of taking payments, causing them to miss out on the ability to capture useful sales data for inventory and sales tracking.
Now, with today’s tablet capabilities, even mobile businesses can enjoy technologies that were previously only available to their larger competitors.
More affordable cloud-based point-of-sale software, such as NCR Silver, is made specifically for small businesses. More than a simple credit card swipe system, NCR Silver provides inventory support, profitability analytics, accounting integration and live customer service and support.
2. Amp up and automate your marketing efforts
Sending meaningful and relevant communications has never been easier or more cost effective than it is today. Consider starting a Facebook or Twitter account exclusively for your business to interact with core audiences and engage consumers.
Email marketing also makes connecting with customers quick and easy. Seek out systems, such as Constant Contact or Mail Chimp, that allow you to set up automatic email marketing campaigns. But remember, no one likes spam. Be sure to communicate with your customers in ways they actually want to be reached, otherwise they’ll opt out and move on.
3. Make sure your website is up to speed
Customer impatience is at an all-time high. Customers won’t wait around if your site is slow to load or if transactions are too time-consuming. Make sure your site can handle the traffic peaks 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Google Analytics is free and offers a simple snapshot of your customers’ experiences and how fast your pages load. Also, make sure that visitors can see and navigate your site no matter what device they’re using to view it. Test your user experience on smartphones, tablets and various email services.
4. Protect your computer system
Every day, viruses infect approximately 1 million computers around the world. Viruses can travel in anything from a USB flash drive to an email message, and can completely halt the productivity of a small business.
To minimize your company’s exposure to viruses, worms and hackers, be sure you use the latest patches, system updates and firewalls for your software and computer systems. You can usually find patches and program updates on the software manufacturers’ websites.
If you choose a cloud-based sales system, make sure your information as well as that of your customers, is safe by adopting an encryption strategy, such as NCR Silver’s encrypted card security feature.
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