As an entrepreneur, you don’t have to embrace every new technology, but you do need to stay abreast of the latest trends, so that you can determine which ones will truly benefit you and your company.
Here are six must-have new technologies for any small business.
1. Mobile Wi-Fi Router — A portable router that lets you connect wirelessly to the internet via your mobile phone service when you’re on the road or when your traditional broadband goes down.
Benefits: If you run a store or office, a mobile Wi-Fi router can keep all of your systems connected to the internet (and provide access to customers, if you choose). If you’re a mobile business, you’ll never be without full access to the web when meeting with clients, taking lunches, or traveling.
2. Scanner — A device that scans images, printed text, or handwriting and converts it into a digital image that can be stored on a hard drive or a flash drive.
Benefits: Instead of finding space to file all of your important paperwork (invoices, contracts, receipts, and other documents), why not store everything digitally? A reliable all-in-one printer that can print, scan, fax, and copy will give you even more bang for your bucks.
3. Mobile-Payment System — A portable credit card reader that plugs into your smartphone or tablet PC, giving the device the capability to process credit card transactions.
Benefits: You’ll never again have to worry about needing a phone line or an internet connection to process credit card transactions. Just swipe the customer’s card through the reader, ask them to sign the phone or tablet PC touchscreen with their finger, and email them a receipt.
4. Social Media and Blogs — All of the online social networks that bring people together, plus the blog on your company website, enable you to generate buzz.
Benefits: If you don’t have a Facebook page, a Twitter handle, and/or a blog to attract new customers and build relationships with existing ones, you’re at a competitive disadvantage. Use these tools to promote sales, offer discounts, and solicit feedback from your customers.
5. Portable Projectors — Pocket-size projectors can now display images nearly as good as a larger projector does.
Benefits: If you give presentations of any sort, a projector is essential for your business. Portable projectors easily sync with laptop computers, tablet devices, and smartphones to display video and images on any flat surface.
6. Cloud Computing Services — Hardware and software services delivered via the internet allow you to work and store or backup data remotely.
Benefits: Tired of having to shell out more cash to expand your information technology or data storage devices? Moving many, or even all, of your business functions to the cloud gives you unlimited storage space and frees you (or your IT staff) from dealing with most hardware problems.