Taking Your Small Business to the Next Level

If you’re a small business owner, one of the biggest challenges you face is getting the business past the tipping point; that point where you are doing everything yourself, and you begin to use the services of employees and other small businesses to complete some of the tasks.  If you’re at that point in you business, I congratulate you.  But, I don’t have to tell you about the challenges that you now face.

If you’ve been doing most of the business tasks yourself, it can sometimes be hard to let go of the level of control that you have, and hand some of it over to employees and services.  Finding quality employees can sometimes be difficult.  and, once you have employees, there are a whole number of things that you have to take care of, that you didn’t before.  Obviously, employees will want to be paid.  But, it’s not as simple as just calculating their paychecks and writing a check to them.  You’ve got to worry about all the payroll taxes like medicare, social security, unemployment, and tax withholding as well.

Maybe you already have employees, and have been doing a lot of those things already.  But, maybe those tasks are taking up too much of your time.  While you may consider having a local firm perform you payroll tasks, there are also a myriad of online payroll services that can manage the tasks as well.  In many cases, it can be as simple as forwarding the payroll information on to the local firm, or the online service, and letting them cut the checks and calculate all of the payroll taxes and paperwork.

As your business grows, learning to delegate the tasks to employees and services so that you can dedicate yourself to continuing to grow the business.  Finding the tasks that you need to delegate can sometimes be just as challenging.  Some tasks within your business don’t require your full attention to detail, and can easily be done by employees and services.  Perhaps you run a sales oriented business.  The more sales you do, the less likely you are going to be able to continue to do all of the sales and will need employees to perform some of the sales calls.

Delegating tasks within your company can free your time to focus on growing the business you built.

Game-Changers that Your Small Business Can’t Afford to Miss

Innovations to watch in the next year

Even in a challenging economy, small business ownership has never been more exciting: the technology and organizational resources available to small business owners is unmatched in history, giving them the ability to reach a global audience and compete with heavy hitters. Here are a few of the biggest innovations that will change the way your small business operates in 2013.

1. Cloud-based storage and team management

Especially if you have remote workers, you can’t afford to integrate your business via email attachment: duplicated effort, miscommunication, and scheduling conflicts are inevitable. You can seriously tighten up your operation by sharing files, schedules, and goals in the cloud.

If you’re looking for stress-free, small-scale cloud storage, Dropbox is the obvious choice, with a simple drag-and-drop interface and automatic syncing. However, if 2 GB of free storage doesn’t sound like much room to you, you might want to look elsewhere; Dropbox’s paid plans aren’t cheap. If you’re comfortable with a slightly less user-friendly interface, Google Drive is your best bet.

2. VoIP service

Internal calls can be a serious waste of money, especially if you have mobile workers or telecommuters reporting in frequently. Get all your employees signed up for Skype Mobile or a similar VoIP provider, so all your internal calls are free.

Video teleconferencing also makes it easier to hire and manage remote workers, which gives your business the freedom to hire from a much broader talent pool. One-on-one video chat is generally free, while video conferencing goes for about $5 a month.

3. Mobile payment

If you do any face-to-face business, you can’t afford to stay cash-only. Not only does accepting credit cards demonstrate professionalism and security, but it also allows you to strike while the iron is hot with your customers, instead of waiting for them to run to an ATM or dig up a checkbook.

Most mobile credit card processing services will send you a card reader and mobile app free with your merchant account, and then simply deduct their processing fee (around 2.75%) from the sale price. Giving your team the green light to accept secure payments on-site will increase your sales and reduce customer headaches.

4. Cheap tablet computers

If you do any kind of pitch for clients or prospective customers, a brief interactive Prezi on a tablet can do wonders to impress and persuade. A presentation that your customers can actually play around with and flip through themselves puts forth an air of professionalism and authority—and with less expensive tablets finally falling below $100, it’s a tool you might be able to provide for your entire team.

Tablets are also a solid medium for delivering invoices and estimates, taking inventory, or filling out requests and applications—you no longer risk misplacing loose papers, and you can post information directly to your database without a data-entry middleman.

 

Shawna Davies is a staff writer for Going Cellular. She has a talent for organization and helping people navigate new technology. She’s a confessed gadget freak, but when she gets out of the house, she loves spending time at the lake with her husband and young son. They live in Beaumont, Texas.

Blogging for Better Business

For the small business owner, there is not a more valuable tool than the internet. Despite the nature of your business or the scope of your small operation, it can benefit from the opportunities that the internet provides. Some of the most sought-after advantages of syncing your small business operations with the internet include an increase in visibility to your target customers and the availability of affordable and sometimes even free marketing tools. One such popular route that businesses of every size are taking is that of blogging. Internet blogging has become a common ‘go-to’ method for marketing products and services online which is why it’s unfortunate that so many small businesses are still apprehensive to take the leap and start a business blog. Some of the most frequently used reasons (AKA: excuses) are below:

  • Business owners don’t believe that they have the time or resources, so they completely write it off since it seems too time consuming and overwhelming.
  • The technical aspects that are presumed to be involved in blogging are a bit scary.
  • The process of creating, developing and maintaining a loyal and engaged following of readers on a business blog may seem challenging, especially when the blog is focused on one topic or industry.

Brian F PrinceThese excuses are all easily blown out of the water when you realize that most of the fears are unfounded. With the sophistication of tools and availability of comprehensive, user-friendly information to explain how to use these types of tools online, literally anyone can start and maintain a successful blog – regardless of how busy or inept they think they are. A good example of the success of a business blog for someone who is extremely busy is the Brian F. Prince Blog. Not only is the author of the blog exponentially busy, he has garnered the use of a free blogging portal to help promote his business successfully. So, tell us again, why haven’t YOU?

Creating and maintaining a blog could not be easier and if whatever reason, you are STILL on the fence, here a few reasons you should start blogging for better business today:

  • A business blog is an excellent way to establish yourself as an expert in your particular industry.
  • Through continuous development of original and dynamic content, you will be able to create and maintain a loyal community of customers.
  • Where sales are concerned, repeat business is of paramount importance. A blog is a great way to establish personal communication with your existing customers and thus encourage them to re-purchase with you now and in the future.
  • If potential customers are uncertain that they want to place trust in you, your blog will inspire confidence. As you continue to upload content, your wording won’t just market your product or service, it will market your integrity as well.
  • Having a blog builds respect and much needed support from other leaders in your industry. You will be able to socially network with fellow business people and keep abreast of developments in your industry, all in real-time.

Conversion Vans Make Road Trips Possible

Road trips increased in popularity during the latter half of the 20th century. With all the new roads and interstates built, Americans were able to travel more places with ease. At the same time, the increased prevalence of multiple vehicles in the home made it possible to travel at a moment’s notice.

While the 20th century has come and gone, the popularity of road trips remains the same. The difference, however, is that you can now travel in much more comfort than you used to. Gone are the days where you were crammed into a large sedan or small mini-van, traveling for hours and days with little comfort. Conversion vans make road trips much more comfortable. Due to new technologies, you can even make your conversion van feel a bit more like home with a variety of different add-ons you can choose from.

Features for Road Trips

Open Road TripNo matter what type of road trip you plan to embark on, nothing beats the comfort and style exuded by conversion vans. These might seem like ordinary vans at first glance, but these vehicles are actually transformed into luxury vans that comfortably support multiple travelers on the road. From extra cushioned seating to reclining chairs, you can ensure that everyone is comfortable while you travel across the country.

Some options include:

  • Extra-large seats
  • Reclining seats
  • Sliding sofas
  • Power lumbar seats in front
  • Sunroof

There is also a need for entertainment on road trips. This is especially the case if you have children or teenagers traveling with you. The great news is that you can add a variety of technological features into your conversion van. Some of the many options include:

  • HDTV
  • Built-in DVD player
  • Blu-ray player
  • Multiple speakers
  • IPod connections
  • Multiple USB ports

The exact options you choose are up to you, but the more features you have, the longer you and your family will likely be able to stay on the road. You want to make your road trips memorable as you travel across the country.

Purchasing a Conversion Van

Purchasing a conversion van has never been easier, thanks to the wide selection and quality service found at Dave Arbogast. Dave Arbogast vans are sold out of Ohio, and there are a variety of models to suit your specific road trip needs.

The best part is you don’t have to be a native Ohioan to partake in the selection process at Dave Arbogast Conversion Vans. The dealer helps customers across the nation select the perfect van, whether it is a new or used version. Before you go on your road trip, the van is delivered right to your driveway. All the conversion vans sold at the dealer meet quality safety standards, too.

Now that you know the ins and outs of conversion vans, it is time to plan your road trip. The good news is that a conversion vans also allows you to roam freely without having each day mapped out. See where the road takes you from the comfort of your very own conversion van.