Ten years ago there were significantly fewer easily available and inexpensive tools -- like credit card machines -- for businesses to use to make their lives easier, more profitable and less cluttered. The advantage of this was that there was less choice (and, therefore, less confusion) and less risk of FOMO (fear of missing out). The drawback of this was that companies didn’t get to enjoy greater profits, stronger brands and more organisation. Luckily it’s 2016, and there are all kinds of easy to use technologies out there just waiting to assist you. Let’s take a look at seven of these.
High up on the list of most valued inventions in the last decade has to be accounting software for people who are not blessed with the gift of numeracy. It helps you keep track of your incomings and outgoings, lets you draft quotes and statements and also makes reporting a breeze. What’s more, it’s all based in the cloud, so you can access those key numbers where ever you are.
Instagram might be home to every type of person and business, but it can be a great marketing tool if used properly. The one benefit it has is that (almost) everyone is on it -- people like looking at pictures. It also makes your brand and business more friendly and easier to engage with. Use Instagram if your business’ services or products have a visual component to them -- food and drink producers, beauticians, personal trainers and retailers, for example.
Time is a precious commodity -- especially when you bill for it. Keeping track of time is a task on its own. The free Toggl app makes this easy, so you never lose track of a minute again. Perfect for freelancers who bill per hour, or for those who find time just runs away with them, no matter how meticulously they plan their day.
TripIt is the travelling business-person’s dream travel mate. Forget about keeping track of booking references, reciepts and timetables yourself -- this nifty app will do it all for you. Whether you make a weekly or monthly trip from Jo’burg to Cape Town, or have to travel further afield, this app will give you back the headspace you need for more significant things.
Ever been in that situation where you’ve scheduled a meeting with someone you don’t know, and then struggle to remember which business they work for and what they do there? Given how busy entrepreneurs are, you’d be forgiven for failing to find the time to do a thorough background check of everyone you meet. This is where Charlie comes in. It syncs with your calendar and then does the background investigation for you, sending you a one-page summary in time for your meeting. It searches hundreds of sources to find mutual connections, business news, shared interests and even any blogs they’ve written.
Hubspot is like a centralised control system for all your digital marketing labours. It’s like a cockpit with which you can steer the online sphere with ease. Unlike ad campaigns or telelvision adverts, inbound marketing is quantifiable, scalable and substantially more tweakable. Hubspot lets you do all this: from posting blogs, to scheduling social media posts to creating landing pages and forms and tracking how many people are viewing your site. What’s more, the system is incredibly intuitive to use.
Credit card machines
Credit card machines and credit card processing have altered the nature of business itself. People can pay in ways and places they never could have before -- and securely too. Not only do they create a better experience for clients, they make it easier for you to get paid too -- a win-win situation. Being able to store and keep track of transactions digitally makes admin and bookkeeping a lot easier. If you opt for a mobile credit card machine, you have even greater scope for where you do business -- even if there’s load shedding.
Are there any other tools or apps that your business can’t do without? Tweet us and let us know. If you’d like to find out more how credit card processing with a mobile point-of-sale device like ZipZap can do for your business, download the ZipZap brochure.