Many years ago, you might have looked like the savviest techie ever when you pulled out a new laptop computer during a business meeting. But now that laptop might look excessively clunky compared to the latest tablets. And in today’s mobile world, American businesspeople are only as flexible or connected as their tablets allow them to be.
Sure, plenty of people pass their leisure hours gaming or watching videos on their tablets. CMO’s senior and strategic editor Giselle Abramovich describes tablets as a lean-back device, and says that by next year, the “68 percent of U.S. tablet owners who use their devices while watching TV use them to surf the Web.”
Even though tablets are largely used as personal devices, they also provide access to plenty of business applications for fast-moving entrepreneurs in a variety of fields.
With tablets, you never have to worry about forgetting your thumb drive at home. Jonathan Blum of Entrepreneur says that tablets “can be handy for one-on-one demos, but try using a projector for larger groups.” Projectors might cost an extra couple hundred dollars, but, depending on what type of meetings you need it for, the tablet still will be far easier to tote around than a laptop.
Blum also recommends web-based slideshow apps like Prezi and SlideRocket to go beyond the staunch presentations in Powerpoint. And, those apps provide HTML5 presentation capabilities built for the tablet screen.
Traditional painters and sketch artists can use their tablets like an easel. For instance, the Tayasui Sketches app is the top art app available for tablets, and is “one of the most delightfully simple drawing and painting iPad apps,” according to Creative Bloq. The app comes equipped with several virtual brushes that range from pencils to charcoal tools to classic brushes.
For artists or creative-visual thinkers, there’s a serious benefit to drawing digitally via the tablet. Everything is located in a central location, and you can take everything with you. Because tablets are so mobile, you can take your entire portfolio to present to colleagues or business associates, or you can work on the go. Saving a new piece of art is as simple as creating a JPG file and sharing it electronically.
In addition, the Samsung Galaxy Note has an S pen , which allows users to be more precise than a finger on the touch-screen. This is not only great for artists, but is useful for startup businesspeople who need to jot down quick notes, draw out diagrams or blueprints or even doodle during meetings.
You never know when ideas will come to mind, and carrying a laptop, notepads and other gear can be cumbersome. Consider using your tablet as your de facto brainstorming device. Apps like Air Sketch and Power Presenter allow you to put sticky notes on everything from documents to websites so you know exactly what you wanted from them.
Furthermore, the app Zamurai works like a virtual whiteboard . Instead of taking a photo of the whiteboard after a meeting that can’t be changed or adjusted, this app enables entrepreneurs to build and capture discussions in real time. Now, it makes that whiteboard interactive and accessible. It’s also a great way to consolidate media from PDFs, slideshows and other materials into a place where you can dissect them as a team.
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Ever wish you had a user manual for maintaining your business page on Facebook? Well, now you do, thanks to the folks at ShortStack.
The Facebook Maintenance Manual includes:
• How (and Why) to Convert a Facebook Profile to a Page
• Facebook Admin View
• How to Change a Page’s Name
• Why It’s Important to Assign Admin Roles and Establish Rules
• How to Choose Whether You Post as the Page or as Yourself
• How to Customize Status Updates
• Tips for Better Timeline Posts
• How to Choose the App Provider that will Give Your Facebook Page Super Powers
• How to Manage Your Timeline Apps
• How to Make the most of Your Facebook Page’s Cover Photo
• Facebook Maintenance Schedule
Head over to ShortStack.com today to get your copy of The Facebook Maintenance Manual .
Decades ago, the “ring ring!” of the cash register signaled robust sales and a happy shopkeeper. Small business owners still love a busy cash register, but our increased reliance on technology may bring more headaches than joy. Sales go unrecorded, recorded inventory doesn’t match what’s actually in stock, and it’s tricky to accurately record cash flow. Switching to a point of sale system saves time, reduces accounting errors and permits sophisticated analyses of sales data.
What Is a Point of Sale System?
Technically, the “point of sale” is the location and moment at which a sale takes place. In today’s business parlance, a point of sale system includes a digital replacement for traditional cash registers. Rather than reconciling cash register sales figures with inventory using a manual system, point of sales technology allows real-time tracking and analysis of sales. At the moment a sale is made, the system records the sale and deducts the item from existing inventory. Point of sales systems are highly flexible and work in numerous business environments, from Web-based businesses to small brick-and-mortar outfits and restaurants.
Benefits of a Point of Sale System
As a small business owner, your time is too valuable to waste taking inventory or correcting errors made by your sales staff. Investing in a point of sale system can help you streamline workflow and grow your business.
Improve Pricing Accuracy and Promotions
With a point of sale system, you can easily run a promotion on specific items and identify goods that qualify for an advertised discount. It ensures your sales staff gets the promotion correct every time. You can also include additional pricing information, such as percentage of cost, margin percentage or custom values. This more sophisticated pricing information enables you to run new promotions and monitor the relationship between pricing and sales. This markdown management is one of the most valuable functions of a point of sale system, according to Entrepreneur.
No More Inventory Crises
With a point of sale system, inventory lists are automatically changed as items are sold or returned. This allows your sales staff to know exactly how many of an item are in stock. For many systems, you can set up automated alerts to let you know if inventory runs low.
Integrate Sales with Payroll and Accounting
Between your accounting software, sales information and payroll management, you’re swarming with programs that don’t play well together. Investing in a point of sales system brings your most important business information together. Many systems can track expenses, monitor customer preferences, and analyze sales data. For example, integrating your system with Intuit payroll allows you to track employee hours, calculate payroll taxes and factor in bonuses based on sales commission.
Check in Anytime
Perhaps you’re taking a much-needed vacation or hopping a plane to meet with a potential investor, but you still want to stay up-to-date about what’s happening on the home front. A point of sale system enables you to maintain control by monitoring sales figures and promotions when you’re gone. Plus, because your employees know you’re watching, they’re less likely to behave badly while you’re away.
The costs experienced by U.S. businesses from cyberattacks each year has reached $140 billion, Forbes reports. Every business needs to protect their digital assets, but the small business owner may not have the budget or human power for sophisticated cybersecurity . These tips will help any business, including the smallest, prevent computer attacks.
Implement Better Passwords
One of the favorite, and easiest ways, cyber criminals break into companies is by guessing passwords. People still use “weak” passwords for their logins. These passwords are easiest to break and are often made up of pieces of personal information, such as:
Passwords derived from this information are not only easy to remember, but they’re also easier for cyber thieves to crack. To slow down or prevent break-ins, implement mandatory strong passwords. These consists of a random mixture of upper and lower case letters, numbers and special characters. The password “d1#F0&x4″ is much harder for a thief to guess than “Janice12.”
Educate Your Staff
Training your staff is a key way to prevent cyberattacks, because your employees are one way unwanted viruses, malware and spyware get into your system. People receive unfamiliar emails from outside of the company and open them. They save email attachments to the system and run them. The P2P file sharing threat is there, as people connect with other systems and exchange files. The more your staff knows about these dangers, the more careful they can be.
Accessing unfamiliar websites also puts the company at risk with the various ways hackers can use them to break into your system. Teach your staff about the latest hacking, phishing and malware techniques, so they can be on the lookout for suspicious sites. For example, sites with expired security certificates should never be accessed, unless an IT person first checks the site for authenticity. These can be pirate sites that will try to load malware onto your computer if you access it.
A Little Protection Is Better Than None
Make sure each computer has a virus protection program running on it with regularly scheduled scans. These programs need to check websites accessed, files downloaded from websites, incoming email and any attachments to the emails. These programs can be free or cost hundreds of dollars. Any protection is better than none, so even the most frugal small business can implement something on its computers.
Encrypt Your Data
Protecting your company’s information as it moves across the Internet is just as important as protecting it within your system. The use of data encryption keeps your data unreadable as it goes out of the company. Cyber thieves who use packet-sniffing techniques may be able to collect your data, but they can’t read it. You can encrypt the data on your hard disks, or in the cloud, as well. Software encryption programs are available to encrypt almost any type of data in your business.
The Personal Device Dilemma
The bring-your-own-device (BYOD) model opens businesses up to more risk from cyber attacks. People enjoy using their own laptops, smartphones and tablets to do their jobs, but you will need to impose some controls to keep your company safe. A mobile device management (MDM) solution allows different devices to access your computer system. But it also monitors their activity, controls their access to company information and restricts the types of applications used.
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Getting ready for the holidays can take several months, depending on how much preparation your digital business requires. Yet most Internet professionals don’t have that type of time on their hands, leaving many worried as November approaches and their holiday strategy is still incomplete.
Luckily, there is time for Web professionals to wrap up the loose ends of their holiday digital strategies – from sprucing up their websites to creating engaging social campaigns. Finish your holiday prep with this checklist:
• Test website performance to make sure your site’s load time is up to speed. Get started by checking out these five tools to measure website response times.
• Incorporate customer service features into your site in order to increase conversions. This can include live chat or virtual assistants. In fact, a BoldChat study found that 21 percent of online shoppers in the U.S. prefer live chat. Look at companies like Moxie Software or BoldChat for live chat solutions, or CodeBaby and Nuance for virtual assistants.
• Test your site’s navigation to make sure that customers can find what they are looking for. While implementing a live chat or virtual assistant on your site can help consumers find what they need, some visitors may not use customer service features and will instead move on to the competition’s website. In addition, consider updating your product categories for the holidays. For example, adding categories like “Gifts Under $25” or “Gifts for Her” might help visitors find something that they weren’t even looking for in the first place.
• Optimize your mobile site so shoppers can browse and purchase items while on the go this busy holiday season. Start by testing the performance of your current mobile site with tools like Plunk or MobiReady .
• Address your customers’ needs. Holiday shopping isn’t just a Western phenomenon thanks to global digital sales platforms. If you’re selling to a worldwide customer base, Scott Heimes, CMO of Digital River , suggests preparing for an uptick in sales across all regions. In addition, Heimes recommends that merchants understand and accommodate local preferences, including preferred regional payment methods. Customer age groups also matter. For example, younger shoppers are more likely to use PayPal, whereas older customers typically use credit cards.
– See the rest of this checklist at http://www.websitemagazine.com/content/blogs/posts/pages/2013-holiday-prep-checklist-for-smbs.aspx
LEXINGTON, Ky. – In anticipation of the many business opportunities that could stem from the construction of a new federal prison in Roxana, the Kentucky Small Business Development Center, in partnership with Letcher County Fiscal Court, is sponsoring When Opportunity Knocks, a luncheon and resource fair from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. EDT June 22 at the Pine Mountain Grill in Whitesburg.
During lunch, local business owners will share how they answered the knock of opportunity and found success. The event is free and seating is limited; preregistration is required. Reservations can be made online at http://tinyurl.com/j9rdjtf .
At the event, organizers will discuss a three-part series of training events. Series topics will include general business and government contracting. The first event will take place 6 p.m. Tuesday, July 12 at the Whitesburg campus of Southeast Kentucky Community and Technical College. Training will also take place at 6 p.m. July 26 and August 9. Prior to each training event, a resource fair will begin at 4 p.m.
For more information, visit http://www.ksbdc.org/moving-forward-letcher-county or email Shawn Rogers at firstname.lastname@example.org .
KSBDC, part of the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture, Food and Environment, is a network of 13 offices located throughout the state. The center helps existing and start-up businesses succeed by offering high quality, in-depth and hands-on services. KSBDC is a partner program with the U.S. Small Business Administration. For more information on KSBDC services, visit their website, http://www.ksbdc.org/ .
Other partners include: Kentucky Small Business Development Centers at Pikeville and Ashland, Southeast Small Business Development Center, Small Business Administration, Southeast Kentucky Community and Technical College, Kentucky Procurement Technical Assistance Center, Southeast Kentucky Economic Development, Kentucky Highlands Investment Corporation, Mountain Association for Community Economic Development, Kentucky Innovation Network – Pikeville , Kentucky River Area Development District, Eastern Kentucky Concentrated Employment Program, Federation of Appalachian Housing Enterprises Inc. and Kentucky Finance and Administration Cabinet – Minority and Women Business Enterprise Certification.
LEXINGTON, Ky., (May 3, 2016) - Kentucky’s finest small businesses and the small-business community were celebrated in the Capitol Rotunda in Frankfort during Kentucky Celebrates Small Business, an awards ceremony presented by the Kentucky Small Business Development Center and the Kentucky District Office of the U.S. Small Business Administration May 3.
Gov. Matt Bevin opened the awards ceremony by signing a proclamation recognizing National Small Business Week in the state.
"The vibrant entrepreneurial spirit in the commonwealth is a fundamental force driving Kentucky's economy and creating valuable jobs for our communities," Bevin said. "I understand, from personal experience, the sacrifice it takes for small business owners to survive. Every day they strive anew to secure a better life for their customers, their employees, their families and themselves. I am grateful to these men and women across Kentucky for taking the risk necessary to succeed."
WLEX-18 chief meteorologist Bill Meck served as emcee, along with his wife, Connie, whose small business, Sign Language Network of Kentucky, provided sign language interpretation for the event.
The Kentucky Small Business Development Center presented Kentucky Pacesetter awards to six businesses. Winners were chosen based on how they are changing Kentucky’s economic landscape by introducing innovative products, increasing sales and/or production, boosting employment and serving their communities.
This year’s outstanding Kentucky Pacesetters are D&D Shoe Company, Mayfield; Ingram Brothers, LLC, Morgantown; JSB Industrial Solutions, Inc., Tollesboro; Maynard Studios, Inc., Lawrenceburg; Trunnell’s Farm Market & Family Fun Acre, Utica; Flavorman and Distilled Spirits Epicenter, Louisville.
“We owe so much to the small businesses across the commonwealth that make our economy strong and diverse. It is a pleasure to recognize them and say thank you,” said Becky Naugle, KSBDC state director.
Each year, the U.S. Small Business Administration recognizes outstanding small businesses and entrepreneurs with awards across the country. The Small Business Person of the Year winner from each state will be acknowledged at both regional and national levels.
The 2016 Kentucky Small Business Administration award winners are:
Kentucky Small Business Person of the Year: David Dafoe, founder and CEO of Flavorman and Distilled Spirits Epicenter, Louisville
Kentucky Southeast Region 8(a) Graduate of the Year: Kathy Mills, president and CEO of Strategic Communications, Louisville
Kentucky Financial Services Advocate of the Year: Bill Fensterer, president and CEO of Capital Access Corporation, Louisville
Kentucky Minority-Owned Small Business of the Year: Harsha Wijesiri, president of Integrated Engineering, LLC, Lexington
Kentucky Veteran-Owned Small Business of the Year: Scott Matheny, president of Semper Tek, Lexington
Kentucky Woman-Owned Small Business of the Year: Desiree Sloan Harmon, founder and owner of Club Fit Studio, LLC, Paintsville
“The creative genius that drives our commonwealth forward lives in the minds of our entrepreneurs. This year we are honoring entrepreneurs from the far corners of Kentucky. We are deeply grateful for what they have done to sustain the economic vitality of large and small communities,” said Ralph Ross, district director of the Kentucky office of the U.S. Small Business Administration. “We are also grateful for our local, state and federal partners who work with us to help these entrepreneurs along their way.”
The Kentucky Small Business Development Center, part of the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture, Food and Environment, is a network of 13 offices located throughout the state. The center helps existing and start-up businesses succeed by offering high quality, in-depth and hands-on services. KSBDC is a partner program with the U.S. Small Business Administration. More information on KSBDC services can be found on their website, http://www.ksbdc.org/ .
Writer: Roberta Meisel, 859-257-0104
UK College of Agriculture, Food and Environment, through its land-grant mission, reaches across the commonwealth with teaching, research and extension to enhance the lives of Kentuckians.