Technology of all types is inextricably woven into the fabric of modern life. From social media to email and e-commerce, being “plugged in” is a trend that’s here to stay. If you are a business owner, you should incorporate technological innovations to attract new customers and keep existing ones, as well as help run your company.
Mobile phones and tablets are increasingly replacing use of desktop computers, making it possible for consumers to transact business and make product purchases from anywhere at any time. If you already use a website to highlight and sell your products, it’s important that you make your online site compatible with mobile technology. Even sites that were launched a few years ago may not be properly formatted for mobile display. In order to be mobile-friendly, your web page needs to feature legible text, easy navigation for smartphones and tablets, touchscreen-friendly page elements and buttons, and fast download speed. Even if you don’t currently allow customers to purchase goods from your website, making sure they can access it on the go will give you a precious opportunity to feature your wares and heighten interest in what you have to offer. When customers perceive you as tech-savvy, you will be seen as a dynamic enterprise dedicated to keeping up with the times.
EMV-Compliant Payment Processing System
On October 15 of 2015, the credit card industry underwent a revolution of sorts. After that date, major companies such as Visa, MasterCard and American Express as well as banks and credit unions began transitioning to credit and debit cards equipped with an EMV chip. By now, you probably have at least one of these “chip cards” in your own wallet. From a consumer standpoint, they offer heightened security during and after a purchase because the entire transaction is encrypted. At no point does the merchant have possession of the card, and data are given a one-time token as they are passed on through the gateway and into the merchant account. Criminals can no longer commit fraud by simply copying a 16-digit number and using it to make their own purchases. From your standpoint as a business owner, EMV cards also give you improved security. If your business is equipped with EMV-compliant payment solutions, you will not be held financially liable if a data breach occurs. By contrast, those entrepreneurs who have not yet converted to EMV may be left holding the bag if a security problem happens. While those who use and accept EMV cards still have some complaints – most notably that the transaction time is significantly longer than it takes to do a traditional swipe – companies are working to address the glitches. Most European and Asian countries have been experiencing a consistent reduction in fraud and other security problems since implementing EMV cards several years ago. No doubt, U.S. merchants will also find over time that this new technology removes some of the difficulties that have so often occurred with debit and credit card transactions.
Running a small business involves juggling a seemingly infinite number of balls. One that you cannot afford to drop has to do with your invoicing and financial affairs. In years past, business owners had no other options besides written records and drawers stuffed with receipts. Thanks to modern technology and software, those days are drawing to a close.
Take invoicing, for example. One of the most frustrating aspects of owning a business is collecting money owed to you by customers. Late payments tie up capital that you could be using for a host of other priorities, and you probably find it challenging to keep track of who owes what and when it’s due. That’s where invoicing software can save the day. Take some time to research the top options, and you will discover that a good invoicing program can automate many of the tasks you dread, including billing customers and charging credit cards. After incorporating a good invoicing system into your business’ infrastructure, you will find that it readily interfaces with all of the other software that you have running. With speed and efficiency, it will take care of tasks that, if neglected, could cost you thousands of dollars. In addition, your invoicing program can make tax time infinitely easier. No longer will you be scrambling like a madman through drawers and filing cabinets in a frantic quest for receipts and other documentation. Instead, all of the information will be at your fingertips, ready for printing whenever you need it.
Dedicated Phone Lines
If your company is small, you might be tempted to simply take calls from your cell phone. When every penny counts, it may seem extravagant to spend money on monthly business phone charges. However, there are some compelling reasons why having a dedicated business phone is important. First, it is always a good idea to keep work and personal affairs separate. That is the case for bank accounts and credit cards as well as for telephones. The bottom line is that keeping them apart will help you stay sane both on the job and at home. In addition, having internet technology-based phone service lets you take advantage of features such as out-of-office messages and timed call forwarding. With these features, you will look professional and will never miss an important call. Furthermore, a dedicated business phone line is not nearly as likely to experience interruptions and dropped calls as is your mobile phone. Clarity and continuity lead to a positive customer experience whenever people call your business – even if you are not available and they need to leave a message.
In today’s competitive commercial environment, it’s important to keep up with the latest technological innovations. You will soon recognize what a difference technology can make in your day-to-day operations, as well as in customers’ perception of your business. And that just might help you pad your bottom line.
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