Technology has become an essential part of everyday life for most Americans. According to the Pew Research Center, nearly two-thirds of adults in the U.S. have smartphones, as of April 2015. Now with the increasing popularity of tablets, as well as wearable technology like smartwatches, more of people's daily tasks can be streamlined and connected through apps and other technologies.
Adapting these platforms to running the day-to-day tasks required for operating a small business can save owners time and money. Here are a few ways these products can be tailored to improve the way a company runs.
Connect with consumers through social media apps
Social media can do wonders for a limited advertising budget. The most popular social media sites, which include Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, allow users to make profiles for free. Apps that work on smartphones or tablets make it easy for users to log in with the push of a button and quickly write posts with ease.
The result is a convenient, free way to advertise new products, sales or changes to store hours. Consumers can directly reach out to the business and receive responses that help build better customer relations and build brand loyalty. Having social media pages for a small business makes that business more visible to potential customers who may not otherwise know of its existence. Rating websites like Foursquare, Yelp and TripAdvisor will also recommend businesses to users who go looking for new establishments to patronize.
Increase payment options
According to a survey conducted by American Consumer Credit Counseling, 80 percent of shoppers report using a debit card for everyday purchases while only 14 percent reported using cash. That means that small businesses need to invest in the technology to allow consumers the option of using credit and debit cards. Otherwise, they could miss out on sales just because consumers may not be able to complete a willing transaction.
Fortunately, there are many affordable ways to use smart technology to read cards. A device can be plugged into the phone that can scan cards. These scanners partner with apps on the phone that can process information, as well as store and analyze data for the business owner, which can save time and offer valuable insights that improve business decisions. The apps can even email receipts to customers to reduce paper costs.
Stay more organized
Smartphones also have a number of programs that can increase organization and productivity. Calendars will buzz with reminders, while task managers and document filing systems can help a business owner to keep track of to-do lists and important information. These apps can even go a step further by allowing voice-recorded notes or talk-to-text applications that allow managers to speak commands at their devices, which permits them to keep their hands free and take important notes at the same time.
Equipment purchases are essential for keeping a small business operating. Owners can help reduce their costs by using these sorts of all-in-one technologies, some of which they may already have, and finding ways to adapt them to some essential, everyday office tasks.
Equipment and business industry piece brought to you by Marlin Equipment Finance, a nationwide provider of commercial lending solutions for small and mid-size businesses. Marlin's equipment financing and loan products are offered directly to businesses, and through third party vendor programs, which include manufacturers, distributors, independent dealers and brokers in the security, food services, healthcare, information technology, office technology and telecommunications sectors.