By Gina Blitstein
Thanks to technology, it may be easier and more convenient than ever to perform common tasks within your business. By implementing certain smartphone apps or utilizing tablets, routine management or operational tasks can be automated, alleviating the need for unwieldy machinery or duplication of efforts. How can upping your portability increase your business’ efficiency and productivity? Here are three ways technology comes to the rescue:
1. Create a virtual presence
Considering that, in many ways, a website is the showroom of today, a tablet can bring your complete product line to any location you choose. Represent your business remotely by demonstrating a product or service, displaying options, showing slideshows or instructional videos.
Here’s a scenario: You’re an independent shoe manufacturer attending a trade show, making the rounds, meeting and greeting your fellow vendors (who are also potential clients). You obviously can’t carry your entire line of shoes around the convention center – but you can bring your tablet where you can show interested people your website with your complete selection of styles and colors. Using a tablet, you can show-and-tell your business on the spot, without the need for people to visit your booth to see your presentation and experience your wares in person.
A tablet is also an ideal tool for collecting contact information from those folks who may want to be added to your email distribution list or receive more information about your offerings. Entering it then and there ensures you get the contact information you need, efficiently – and correctly – without the need to collect a briefcase full of business cards.
2. Collect and track data on the fly
Gone (hopefully) are the days of taking inventory on a clipboard and manually trudging through rows and rows of line-items, only to turn around and transfer those numbers to a database to keep track of it electronically. There’s an app (actually many of them) for that, assisting those with merchandise to count and track to do so easily and accurately.
Here’s a scenario: Your business provides fresh-baked items to restaurants and grocery stores. When the weather begins to turn nice, you anticipate that customers will be thinking that it’s “hot dog and hamburger” time. Portable inventory software can help you make certain you have enough inventory to meet customer demand for the necessary buns they’ll want to buy from your vendors. When inventory information is immediate and at your fingertips, distribution practices can be more responsive to actual demand – which is especially important for a perishable product like baked goods.
Collect on-site payments
In the past, it was impractical to collect anything but cash payments when you were away from a brick-and-mortar location. Thankfully, technology has brought about the means to ring up sales and collect credit card payments from anywhere you’re conducting business on the same device on which you can demonstrate and track inventory.
Here’s a scenario: Your business sells handcrafted items at festivals and fairs. Your sales floor is a booth with customers milling throughout as they peruse your offerings. It’s a much more casual atmosphere than a usual retail store, so you’ll want the portability to take your means of accepting payment to the customers, instead of them standing in a “checkout line.” Handling the transaction on the spot allows for the type of personal attentiveness customers appreciate at these types of venues. Additionally, running transactions through your tablet or smartphone is easy and seamless, allowing you more time to sell and interact with your clientele.
Technology continues to streamline procedures and automate processes that can help your business run better. It’s a good idea to keep apprised of technology that can help your particular organization do what it does more efficiently to optimize your productivity and increase your profitability.
Gina Blitstein combines her insight as a fellow small business owner with her strong communication skills, exploring topics that enhance your business efforts.
The information provided is presented for general informational purposes only and does not constitute tax, legal or business advice. Any views expressed in this article may not necessarily be those of Nevada State Bank or its affiliates.