Biggest differences between iOS and Android devices

One of the biggest differences between iOS and Android devices is their messaging capabilities. iOS
devices come with a feature called iMessage, which is essentially a built in messaging app that allows
its users to send messages, images, videos and more to other iOS users over the internet, free of
charge. An Android device on the other hand does not come with this feature. Google has yet to decide on the one best messaging app that comes built into to Android devices, therefore users have to make their own decision on which they wish to be their default application. As a result of this, it is commonplace for user to have to repeatedly switch between apps when talking to different people.

Although it is not the most user friendly solution, it is one that Android users have to deal with.
WhatsApp is definitely an app that is worth considering to be made a default messaging solution for
an Android device. In addition to being able to send and receive messages, images, videos and
documents for free, it also allows for free phone calls just as long as you have Wi-Fi. For people that
travel a lot this is a vital feature as it allows them to communicate with people all over the world
without paying a penny. Additionally, it was one of the first messaging apps to be created, therefore
a lot of people have it on their phones ready to be communicated with.

Facebook messenger is also key app to consider as chances are you already have a Facebook
account, and therefore an extensive contact list ready to communicate with over the app instantly.
However, the app will also support contacts through adding a phone number, so people you want to
communicate with don’t have to have a Facebook account. This app has a few fun features that sets
it apart from other apps such as a huge collection of stickers, online games that you can play with
friends and the ability to take part in large group chats. In the future, it is looking likely that
Facebook messenger will also introduce company bots, so that users can communicate with
companies that they want to purchase products or services from.

Other potential apps that Android users could download include Line, Viber and WeChat. Depending
on where you live in the world, different messaging apps are popular, so it is best to consider what
apps are popular around you before making a decision about which will be your default. There are
thousands of apps out there to choose from, each with various feature and benefits that sets them
apart from others. There is also nothing stopping people from having multiple applications to use if
necessary. The method to make an application your default various between devices.

Although some people may not like the fact that Android phones come without one set way to
message, it can also be argued that it gives users the freedom to choose the app that is perfect for
them.

Beginners Bookkeeping For Small Business Owners

On the road to building a viable business, certain things are not to be compromised. Your small business needs a robust foundation and a great deal of support to thrive.

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The foundation is made up of important pillars such as a flexible workforce, a digitally-savvy marketing team, a knowledgeable IT desk, a business website hosted on servers with sufficient resources and featuring a domain name that communicates brand values, business insurance and a well-rounded leadership structure.
Equally important though, is a robust bookkeeping process. Regardless of how all the important fragments enumerated above line up, poor bookkeeping can hinder the business from making any progress. In worst case scenarios, the business will fail.
Profit tracking, cash flow and paying tax are important aspects of a business, and are the key reasons why you must keep an eye on your bookkeeping. A lot of businesses that fail do so because they overspend and don’t track their cash flow closely enough.

Sorting through receipts, invoices, taxes and other bills may seem like a lot of work in the early days. To help you stay in control of your bookkeeping, here are guides especially for you.

Create a system for proper documentation:

It is very important for you to always send out invoices and issue receipts when due. You need to also keep tabs on all the bills that you have to pay and be in control of your company’s finances.
The good news is that there is help to keep up; you can make use of tools like our online invoicing software right here on Cloudbooks.

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Time to Organize:
No! It is not sensible for you to keep stashing those receipts together in a basket besides your desk as your business keeps expanding.

Make it easy on yourself by sorting the different documents out in files. Start by getting
a) A lever arch file
b) Plastic punched pockets
c) A set of dividers, labelled for each month

Religiously keep each document where it belongs- invoices, bank statements, employee expenses, phone bills and whatever other documents you use in your line of business.

You could also create an Excel sheet. it may seem like a lot to ask to do daily entry, but once you make the habit of making a record of every transaction, it becomes easier to keep track of all you do. Using software like the Microsoft Office 365 makes it even easier for you to enter data anywhere, on any of your device.

It will also save you a lot of mental stress to use an online document management services to help you keep your house in order. You may then customise the categories or use their pre-set categories as you file away.

Be careful how you handle your cash:
It is tempting to use the cash you have at hand for daily expenses. If the cash is from your business sales, ensure you remit it to your business bank account.

Aside from the discipline it gives you as a money manager, it makes it easy for you to also keep track of your sales.
It is absolutely imperative that you have a true record of your business ins and outs.

Separate your accounts

It is easy to muddle together personal expenses with business expenses, especially when you just start your business. It will save you a lot of stress to separate your finances by keeping your personal expenditures out of your business expenses. This is sure to save you a lot of trouble. To start with you need to have a separate account for your business. If you do not have separate accounts, then you should be disciplined enough to carefully highlight what you spend on your business and record it accordingly (in the appropriate journal or sheet) going through your bank records. Plan to get a business account as soon as possible.

If you keep separate accounts, then your work is partly done. You may, however, still find yourself drawing from your business account for personal use or using your personal funds for your business. The key thing here is to have a record of all these transactions. Beginner bookkeeping suggested making regular weekly or monthly drawings in the form of a wage/salary to meet personal needs, instead of withdrawing frequently or at random times, which makes it hard to keep track of the withdrawals being made.

You should also keep track of when personal funds are being used to fund business supplies or services. If you need to fund the business from personal money then consider it a loan to the business, and do it in a lump sum, rather than ad hoc.

Reconcile your accounts

Having a properly reconciled account is the ultimate goal in bookkeeping. Reconciling your account is when you compare two accounts and make sure they are in agreement. This is what you do when you compare your bank statements with the financial records you have been keeping.

It is important that there are no discrepancies between the numbers you have recorded and the ones from your bank statement.
If all this seems too much for you, there are lots of great tools and resources to facilitate and educate. Technology has made keeping the books easier than ever; so make use of it!

Improve the Customer Experience for Your Small Business Using Technology

As any small business owner knows, the customer is king. Creating and constantly improving a great customer experience is the key to steady business growth, especially for small businesses looking to scale. Technology is the practical answer to smoothing processes and improving efficiency and delivering enhanced service levels without having to charge uncompetitive prices

Customers are attracted to Superior Service

What attracts customers in the first place is superior service. Customers want to be valued when they choose to use your company’s products and services. What makes them stay is when they see they are getting good value for their time and resources.

When time and attention is drawn away from implementing the benefits appropriately selected technology can offer to improve the customer experience it can contribute to the downfall of a small business.
There are probably hundreds of companies in competition with your own, and it is increasingly harder to compete. Investing in good technological upgrades can help to proffer a needed boost in different areas of your business, from reception to storage, and, most importantly, sales.

How to Use Technology to Improve Customer Experience in a Small Business

● Automate emails to customers
● Build a strong web presence
● Use the Cloud
● Manage data electronically
● Create a mobile app
● Leverage social media
● Create a more intimate channel of contact

Automate Emails to Customers

Email is a simple yet effective way to reach out to customers, keeping in constant touch with them, manage issues and complaints and to maintain new leads. It is also a useful way for small businesses to keep tabs on your customer base as it grows. Some services are highly productive for automating interaction and communication with clients via email. The important thing is to discover one or a couple that is well suited to the needs of your company and provides the best customer experience. Examples of such services include big names like Gmail and Microsoft Outlook or other equally effective services like HubSpot and Marketo

Build a Strong Web Presence

A web presence is more important than ever before for both online businesses and brick and mortar companies. Make a great first impression with a value-rich website that provides solutions to customers’ questions and their wants and needs. Customers tend to look online and browse through a site first before they make a decision on whether or not to patronise a business. Make such a decision easy for them by providing useful information on every page of your website. A strong presence can be achieved through a detailed “About Page” and “FAQ Page”.
Make sure you smooth the experience by keeping your code clean, plugins light and by getting a good web host with servers in the country/region where your visitors are. This will ensure that that visitors don’t abandon your site out of frustration before they get a chance to absorb your offering. Website visitors are extremely impatient, and won’t wait for a low loading page unless they have a very good reason to do so.

Use the Cloud

Cloud storage technology and cloud hosting have made information sharing, managing an online presence, and work processes much easier. Your clients want you available as much as possible, and having documents on the cloud and processes there too, like with our cloud-based application, will make you super efficient while you commute, use time waiting for a meeting, or work from home. If you use cloud hosting, from a company like Umbrellar Cloud or UKFast, you won’t have to worry about site uptime, site monitoring and site security. Such services take all the time out of the server management process, leaving you to concentrate on your core activities.

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Businesses that are not using the cloud as an integral part of their business these days are at a distinct disadvantage.

Manage Data Electronically

Managing data is easier when relevant technology is applied. Customer experience is improved when you can appropriately match each customer with the data they provide to create fantastic services tailored to their specific preferences. Making use of high-tech customer intelligence and web analytics platforms as a small business gives you an edge over the competition when it comes to satisfying a client with an unforgettably pleasant experience. Two examples of platforms that can provide your business with this advantage are Kissmetrics and ClearStory Data

Build a Mobile App

Mobile apps provide interesting ways for customers to interact with businesses and vice-versa. Small businesses can achieve omnipresent status through mobile apps. Your availability as a source of particular products and services is a form of heightening customer experience in itself. Your current customers and potential customers use smartphones and tablets, so you can reach out and connect with them no matter where they are. An app will also afford you the chance to send customers information concerning any changes or upgrades to your services.

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Leverage Social Media

Active social media for a small business is useful to keep you within easy reach of your customers, and also to keep open channels of communication with them where you can collect relevant information about their interests and suggestions. Different social media channels exist, and with supporting tools, you can employ to aim excellent customer experiences towards your users. A critical aspect of improving customer experience is by communicating with your customers at the right time, right place, and through the right means. You can achieve this by using social media.

Create a More Intimate Channel of Contact

The more customer-intimate or customer-centric your company is, the greater the chance you are providing your customers with a high-quality customer experience. A more intimate channel of communication between you and your customers will result in strong, long-term relationships. So if you haven’t done this already, now is the time to begin to transform or transition into a small business with a big focus on valuing your customers.

Using technology to improve the customer experience for your small business can be as simple as closing the gap between your clients and your business. Some handy software is available to ease this process. They include Interakt, Kayako, Freshdesk, and Crisp. These can be integrated into your website design to add value and improve your customer journey.
These are simple ways to use technology to enhance customer experience for your small business. They improve your company’s value to customers and create informal channels to reach out and interact with customers, both existing and potential.

Creating and sending a quote has never been easier

When you first start chatting with a new client, one of the first things they’re going to ask for is a quote regarding your services. Creating and sending a quote has never been easier! We’ve found that the best method is to create a couple standard quote templates, all of which can be modified if you need to customize for a specific client.

When creating a new quote, you’re met with a very easy to follow system. You have 3 options for adding pieces to your quote: Standard Quote Items, “Choose One” Options and “Choose Any” Options.
Creating and sending a quote has never been easier with

Standard Quote Items are for items/services that the client must have. For example: if you have a certain travel radius and this project would require additional travel expenses, you would enter those as a Standard Quote Item. Anything the client has no choice on when working with you would go here.

Creating and sending a quote has never been easier

“Choose One” Options are for items/services that your client gets to choose between when working with you. For example: if you offer several different photography packages, you could create a different option for each package and your client would need to select only ONE of them to complete the quote.

“Choose Any” Options are for extras, add-ons and are not required. For example: if you offer additional hours of photography, add-on albums, extended engagement sessions, etc., this is the perfect place to add them and your clients can select all, some or none of these when completing their contract.
Creating and sending a quote has never been easier

Is your brain swimming with all the possibilities yet?! CloudBooks is seriously loaded with everything you need to make your business work smarter, better, easier and faster for you, giving you back the time you’ve been spending on so many tasks by automating them and allowing you to put more time into focusing on the parts of your business (and personal life) that you love.

Five Tech Solutions Your Small Business Needs

Five Tech Solutions Your Small Business Needs

New businesses pop up every day while thousands of businesses close shop too. Numbers are thrown around that makes it scary to start a business at all, but statistics shows there is a 50% chance a small business will survive its first five years. While 50% chance isn’t as scary as saying there is a 10% chance, there is still a lot of responsibility on a small business owner to make sure your business doesn’t become one of the numbers that fail. Running a small business can be challenging especially in the area of time management and funds allocation. As a small business owner that desires to grow, a lot depends on creating or finding efficient ways to get work done.
Doing business requires way more than having brilliant ideas, there is the need to put up a structure that works, get the best out of your employees and make the most of your budget.
Nobody said starting out will be easy, but there are things you can incorporate into your business for greater efficiency and productivity. If you have been sleeping on technology, then it is time for you to wake up and smell the coffee.

Saving time and cost are goals for every small business that seeks growth. There has been a lot of advancement in technology in providing workplace solutions that guarantee excellent efficiency. Small businesses should look into tapping into the wealth of application software available for ease of business. Some applications can help you get the most out of your business without you over shooting an already tight budget.

Below is a list of things that your small business needs:

First, you need a good website. In today’s world, many people search the internet for services and products. As a small business, you do not want to risk missing all the advantages and traffic being found on the internet brings. Getting a good website should be top of your list. This is because you will be able to meet and attract customers that are far from your physical location. The entire process starts with finding a suitable domain name, but it doesn’t end there.
Your website speaks volumes about your business, so it isn’t enough to have just a website, you must make sure it gives your customer a wholesome experience. This means you have to make sure the pages load very fast and the tools that get you connected to your customers such as live chat are incorporated.
It is always good to talk to IT experts who can provide you with a not just a great website but great support to aid your business growth.

Cloud Computing: Keeping an eye on your finances is tantamount to your survival. It is important always to have a balanced account to help you keep an eye on progress made. You can save yourself a lot of time and headache by using software like Cloudbooks which helps you quickly compute data on projects, staff salaries, contractors, invoicing, billing, time tracking and more.
With these apps, you can easily evaluate your business just by signing on from anywhere and on any device. The apps have an easy to use interface which makes keeping your books so simple. This is set to increase your efficiency, and it is relatively cheap too.

Cloud Storage: Data is very important, and you do not want to risk losing yours. The good thing about this is that all your data will be well backed up and safe from whatever form of disaster you may suffer. You also get to save a lot of money from not purchasing hardware that would have been used for the same purpose. Applications like Dropbox provide data storage options that are secure coupled with giving unrestricted access to your documents from anywhere. It is also at no added cost to you thereby saving you time and money.

Social Media Applications: It is no news that social media is important for SEO. Having a great social media plan for client engagement and sales conversion is absolutely necessary. For increased efficiency, get the HootSuite application that keeps you abreast of all your social media accounts from one account. HootSuite provides a platform that makes it easy to plan your social media posts and campaign effectively without having to switch through different applications. This saves you the immediate cost and need for a social media manager too.

Video Conferencing: Productivity is key. Technology has made meetings so much easier. You do not have to make a trip outside town just to ‘talk business’. You can pitch your ideas to intending clients through applications like Skype, Google Hangouts, etc. This also saves you time that could have been wasted on the road. You are also saved cost.

Conclusion:
Do not be caught unprepared; planning goes a long way in running your business efficiently. Make plans and put them into practice using any of these apps.
Always be on the lookout for solutions that can help you make the most of your time and budget.