Small Business Tech—8 Tips for Working More Efficiently

Whether you’re looking to create a more productive workforce or better connect with your customers, technology helps small business teams accomplish more with fewer resources and personnel. In many ways, today’s technology is the great equalizer—never before have SMB leaders had access to so many tools and applications that can help them outperform their more sizeable competition.

With so many tools and resources available, it can be difficult to determine which tech opportunities will help your small business the most. That’s why we’ve shared a few insights for small businesses looking to update their tech usage in order to work more effectively on the day-to-day.

Invoice more accurately
If you’re looking for a solution to your invoicing woes, look no further than an internet-based invoicing software. While some invoices are promptly paid off, there’s a good chance that your business struggles to manually check on invoices that are either overdue or partially paid. Having a professional invoicing system will not only help you keep track of each invoice your business is due but will also help ensure that you get paid in a timely manner. Even better, by hosting your invoicing information online, you can easily collect relevant information for tax season and set up recurring payments for repeat customers.

Connect with Social Media
From responding messages on Facebook to sending out your daily tweet, you can build a better online presence through a social media management tool. Social media is one of the most powerful methods for businesses to connect with current and potential buyers. As a result, your customers often require instantaneous engagement from your business when it comes to their questions, comments and concerns. Designed with the small business in mind, these platforms allow you to collaborate with several of your team members to schedule posts and address customer inquiries in real-time. With the aid of messaging templates and knowledge bases, you can also ensure that your team’s responses are on-brand and have the right tone.

Consolidate your communication
In order to improve your communication with both internal teams and external customers, you can support all of your communication channels through a simplified unified communications platform. This technology streamlines your approach to team chats, web conferencing and even phone calls by hosting them in a single place, allowing you to scale with ease and switch between different communication channels to meet your current needs. For small businesses specifically, this type of tool is effective because it lessens the need for on-site IT support and maintenance, giving you the flexibility that comes with online communication without the hassle of having to manage it yourself.

Manage your allocations
Creating accurate billing statements is even easier with the help of a project time tracking tool for small businesses. Especially when your teams are bouncing between multiple projects for an array of customers, it’s imperative for small businesses to track the cumulative time spent on each task to ensure that your customers are paying only what they owe. Time tracking software can also help on the front end by helping you properly allocate resources for each project. By recording the amount of time spent working, you can begin to gauge how much time and how many people will be needed to deliver your products or services before the deadline.

Create a customer support system
Designed to better manage customer priorities, a small business help desk software offers a single digital space to track your customer inquiries and prevent any tickets from falling through the cracks. Help desks are no foreign object for larger companies, and many providers of help desk systems now offer solutions that target challenges that are unique to a small business customer base. Many come equipped with a knowledge base to help you understand and make use of the many features this software can provide, and depending on your subscription package you’ll be able to assign tickets to specific team members and automate certain requests. Not only does this help you remain better organized, but it can also help you address customer concerns strategically for reduced response times and higher customer satisfaction.

Go paperless
Remove the hassle of paperwork, contracts and confidential documentation by adopting a cloud-based storage and backup solution. Paper documents are difficult to store, organize and keep secure; they take up valuable office space and can be easily damaged by water, mold and office fires. That’s why many small businesses have decided to go paperless by migrating to a cloud-hosted solution. Because your information is stored through the internet, accessing these documents is as simple as searching for them, regardless of your current location. However, it’s important to do your due diligence and pair your cloud system with a backup and disaster recovery tool to keep data losses reversible.

Unify employee training
Since small businesses rarely have the time or extra staff that training new hires demands, many SMB owners now use an interactive learning management system to keep your trainees engaged while they learn and develop the skills they need to succeed at your organization. Perhaps most importantly, LMS software helps small businesses create a repeatable and uniform process for training new hires in each role, which helps prevent any accidental omissions of information and promotes a more logical sequence of training activities. As your business grows and you hire more people, having a concrete training strategy in place will help your employees become proficient more quickly without requiring additional work on your end.

Secure company data
Any small business looking to digitize their work processes should remember to secure their information with a cyber-defense platform. It’s certainly true that cyberattacks previously targeted larger, corporate entities, but as technology has become more integrated with small businesses, even smaller organizations have found themselves the victims of data breaches and hacking attacks. Phishing emails are one specific type of cybercrime that small businesses are susceptible toward, as it only takes a single click from one of your employees for the hackers to have access to confidential information. By educating your team on some cybersecurity best practices and proactively investing in cyber tools, you can ensure that your employee, customer and business information stays in the right hands.

How to unlock web content. Quick VPN guide

Nowadays, we hear lots of buzz around these three simple letters – VPN. VPN stands for Virtual Private Network and this app (usually its an app) can be a real lifesaver in some of the situations. We’ll try to quickly guide you on how VPN works, what it can do and if you should get yourself one.

What is a VPN?

Virtual Private Networks are physical or virtual servers that allow you to browse the internet safely and, more importantly, privately. VPN’s simply route your traffic to another server and your ISP (Internet Service Provider) or government are not able to see your activity online.

Are VPNs legal?

Being honest – it literally depends on the purpose. VPN as a commercial service is relatively new, so there are not many laws that could limit usage of the software. In all European and Western countries (including The US, of course) VPNs are completely legal and you can definitely look for one. However, there are countries where usage of VPN can get you in trouble. Here are a few of them:
Singapore – Moral reasons
Jordan – Political stability
Libya – Political stability
Russia – National security
North Korea – Political stability, national security, moral reasons
China – Political stability, national security, moral reasons

How can VPN help me to unblock content I’d like to watch?

Streaming services like Netflix or Hulu are the most common use cases for a VPN app. As you probably know (or not), Netflix libraries are different in each country. People pay the same amount of cash, but receive different types of content. Most of the TV series are available in the US, however, Europeans, Asians and everyone else are not able to see the particular shows (e.g. The Office is not available in Europe) at home. That’s a situation when a VPN comes in handy. VPN simply removes location filters created by Netflix, Hulu or any other streaming platform and will allow you to enjoy any content you prefer.
https://www.netflixvpn.com/static/upload/image/20190415/1555308418782558.png
Keep in mind that not all VPN providers unblock specific streaming platforms, so be careful when choosing your provider. VPNroom.com experts have a list of the best VPN providers and here are their TOP 3 picks for Netflix:

1) NordVPN – best overall
2) ExpressVPN
3) Surfshark

Steps how to unblock any content you want

1) Get yourself a VPN subscription
2) Download a client depending on device/OS you use
3) Connect to a US server (or any other you prefer, of course)
4) Connect to Netflix and boom. You are able to see the full library.

Is it worth using a free VPN?

A good VPN service requires some heavy investment. Everything costs money – powerful servers, infrastructure, employees, etc.. If the company is willing to provide all of this for free, there may be a catch involved.

Also, on top of a sketchy catch, there are some technical issues that also occur with these providers. Eg.:
Limited bandwidth
Limitations on server location and availability
No quality guarantee
Data may not be secure

Conclusion: VPN is a great thing if you love to watch TV series, travel, or use free Wi-Fi zones. Of course, number 1 reason why people use VPNs is to strengthen their privacy on the intenter, but it can be a really nice to have tool for your free-time activities as well.

Online Business for Students: Your Winning Instruction to Build It from Scratch

Have you ever thought it would be awesome to start your own business and make big money? Many people get this thought, but what holds the majority from transforming their ideas into action? There are plenty of reasons – fear, lack of motivation, time, etc. However, is starting a business as a student that hard? Hopefully, our article will change your mind!

The 21st century and the development of technology have started a brand new era in the sphere of business. Today, on the Internet, we have plenty of earning opportunities and even more opportunities for implementing our ideas.

It may be quite challenging and stressful at first. The chances are that in the early stages, you will lack time for different college or uni assignments. However, there are plenty of tools that will help you with that.

Remember that whenever you are short on time to perform a college task, you can contact a reliable writing service. Whenever you need someone to fulfill your request write my essay online, the job will be done as soon as possible.

Now, let’s dive into the details of how to start a business in e-commerce and succeed!

Top E-Commerce Niches for College Students

In the modern world, young entrepreneurs have plenty of opportunities. However, it is fair to say that not every niche is suitable for a student due to a number of reasons.

Ideally, a perfect and easy-to-implement idea for a student should satisfy the following characteristics.

Flexibility – you should be able to run it without harming your performance. Thus, it has to be flexible enough to allow you to manage it from anywhere and at any time.

Lack of product-related issues. Businesses that are tied up on manufacturing, stocking, buying and shipping physical goods can cause busy students too much stress and problems.

Affordability. It is evident that young people are often on a tight budget, which means they can’t afford to invest lots of money in the implementation of their ideas.

These limitations define the perfect venture for a student. Now, let’s take a look at the best niches to engage in without burdening yourself with timing or product issues and overly high startup costs.

Affiliate Marketing

Building a business in affiliate marketing is one of the best ideas for college students. It doesn’t require investment, can be run from anywhere. You can start earning good money using your social media accounts, and it is an excellent way to gain a bit of experience in e-commerce. Besides, affiliate marketing can become a passive source of income for many years, even when you move on to a more ambitious venture.

Dropshipping

Dropshipping is the easiest way to sell goods online without having to worry about manufacturing, logistics, and other issues.
Besides, a small dropshipping venture has all the chances to grow into a full-scale business in the future, so it gives you good perspectives.

Blogging

If you are looking to engage in an entertainment-related e-commerce niche, blogging might be just the right solution.

Running a blog, you can share your talents, thoughts, and ideas with a broad audience and then grow your business to start selling advertisements, personal services, or goods via your blog.

Explicit Guide to Start Making First Steps in E-commerce

Engaging in any e-commerce venture, you are going to face lots of issues. However, with the help of our guide, it should be less stressful and much more effective.

Choose a Suitable Niche

First of all, you should have a clear idea of what niche suits your needs. Above, we have outlined some of the best ideas to consider. However, you can also think of other suggestions that sound good to you!

Pick the Right Product

Your next move is to decide what kind of products you are going to promote/sell/recommend to the audience. When selecting the product, make sure that it is relevant, demanded, and something you are interested in.

Define Your Target Audience

Apart from deciding what you are going to offer, it is vital to know who you are planning to reach. To find your target audience, think of the product you provide and who would benefit most from it.

This will help you outline your “perfect customers” and give ideas on how to reach out to them.

Pick the Right Selling Channels

As you might know, there are plenty of ways to sell goods. Some of the most commonly-used channels are selling platforms like eBay, websites, and social media.

Which one to choose? For students, various social media channels such as Instagram, Facebook, and others are the best choice!

First of all, using social media for sales won’t cost you as much as creating and maintaining a website. Besides, social media are a comfortable and familiar environment for most learners, so you shouldn’t have any problems figuring out how it works.

Improve Your Time-Management Skills

Lack of time is a pressing issue for most students. Thus, before starting a business, you should think of how you will separate working hours and studying.

Ensure Your Safety

Finally, when almost everything is set and ready, you should find an appropriate payment method that will allow you to ensure that you will get paid and not scammed as a junior entrepreneur.

Selling goods online can be somewhat tricky when it comes to billing. The Internet is full of scams, so it is crucial to ensure your safety.

To do this, we recommend using only trusted and secure payment methods. PayPal is currently the most favorable option, so it can be a good starting point for your e-commerce venture.