The end of summer is an ideal time for business owners to take a moment and reassess their business operations. Hopefully, you got away and took a vacation this past few months but now it’s time to get back to business. As small business owners, we have two key considerations when it comes to purchasing new technology: affordability and usability. None of us have money to spend on new technology that doesn’t really solve a problem. It is necessary that business tools are cost-effective and easy to use. Here’s a list of areas you may want examine as opportunities for improvement in your company as part of your end of summer checklist for your small business:
Is Your Credit Card Machine EMV Compliant?
EMV Chip technology (as found in EuroPay, MasterCard and Visa) is becoming industry standard Oct. 1, 2015. All retailers in the U.S. are required to be equipped to handle EMV credit card transactions. If you don’t swap your swipe-and-sign card reader out for an EMV card reader by October, your business will be financially liable for any fraudulent charges after this date.
Example: Try First Data’s Clover Mini payment terminal. It provides business owners with an “all-in-one” solution to streamline operations, expand business and customer intelligence, and improve the customer experience – all while facilitating EMV payments in a safe, secure environment.
Smart Organization System
A smart organization system is a cloud-based service where your business documents are securely stored and are always available to you wherever you may be. A smart organization system keeps things organized and allows you to instantly share information with others and keep version control.
Example: Try Dropbox. It’s a free service that keeps your files safe, synced and easy to share. Bring your photos, docs and videos anywhere and never lose a file again.
Accounting software is an invaluable resource that allows for detailed tracking of financial transactions and offers comprehensive capabilities for reporting and analysis. Sophisticated software can be used for many functions including accounts payable, accounts receivable, payroll and inventory.
Example: Try QuickBooks Online. What I like about Quickbooks online is that I can access any financial statement whenever. It syncs with PayPal, my bank statement and all my business credit cards allowing me to have a total view on my business financial picture.
Contact Management Solution
Contact management solutions help small businesses deal with the task of managing your contacts, organizations, partners, vendors and suppliers. An effective solution provides contact information, background, contact history and other important information necessary to maintaining effective business relationships.
Example: Google Contacts. If you use Gmail, this is a good CMS system. Google Contacts is an online address book that integrates with Google Calendar, Drive, and other Google products.
Email Marketing Software
Email marketing software allows businesses to design and automate effective emails that deliver news and products to customers. Software can track the results of your campaign and offer you data on how to grow your audience.
Example: Infusionsoft makes email and marketing automation a reality for small businesses. They help use every customer touch point as an opportunity to build meaningful relationships and drive transactions. InfusionSoft’s email marketing software works best for information marketers, professional services firms, niche retailers and e-commerce businesses.
It never hurts to look under the hood every once in a while to make sure your business is road-worthy. I’m sure all small business owners could benefit from using some of these tools.