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The top 8 tech essentials every small business should invest in

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To be successful in your business, you need to have all of the right tools. Equipping yourself with the right tools will be the key to progression and development. Investing in so many pieces of technology may seem like a huge and costly investment, but it will so be worth it in the long run. Technology changes all of the time so you will need to adapt and update equipment when necessary to stay relevant. Maybe have try and win the casino jackpot at Easy Slots to cover some of the costs!

Desktop computer

The desktop is the heart of all business operations no matter what your business does. You don’t necessarily need the latest desktop with all of the cutting edge technology, you simply need a desktop which helps you deal with every day work including word processing, internet access, email and spreadsheets. Not getting the latest Apple desktop may actually be better as you’re less likely to be distracted by the other tools such as the multimedia hub which could become a distraction. Make sure your desktop is easy to use for everyone and has at least a 2GB of memory so it meets the power and pricing requirements for your business.

Smartphone

Mobile phones are also another vital essential for all businesses. Mobile phones have advanced so much over the years, you can now even play mobiles slot games with brands like easyslots. Smartphones provide lots of useful tools from productivity tools to remote-access solutions and can even allow business owners to control all facets if their business from the palm of their hands. There are so many helpful apps too which can help businesses greatly including Skype, Paypal, Xero, Quickbooks, Evernote and Trello.

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Laptop

It’s always useful to have a laptop as it can be accessed anywhere. You can answer emails on the train or do Skype calls in the local cafe. Having a laptop just makes life a bit easier. The majority of small businesses are likely to take their work home with them whether they catch up on admin in the comfort of their own home over the weekends or take their laptops on holiday to answer any urgent queries. Your laptop should do everything that your desktop does and should have similar processing power and memory. However, it’s not just a desktop alternative, you also need to consider the weight, size, battery life, wireless connectivity and screen dimensions when making the purchase.

Office Suite

Microsoft Office is an absolute essential for any business. It helps you to stay organised as everything remains in one place and also helps you to deliver great customer service. Excel is vital for creating spreadsheets regarding to the financial aspects of your business (recording incomings and outgoings and profits etc) and recording relevant data. PowerPoint is great for creating presentations which are professional and clear and Word is great for creating documents and invoices. You’ll also have access to the office suite solution which integrates email management functions, the calendar and address book.

Accounting software

When it comes to a small business, every penny you make makes a difference. This is why it is so important to keep track of your income, expenditures and customers to get an idea of when money is coming in and when it is going out. To track all of your financial data, you’ll need to have accounting software which can help manage your billing effectively as well as inventory and payroll. You can get basic accounting software for free which is great if you’re just starting out or don’t have much money to spend on your business at the moment. In time, you should invest into software such as QuickBooks Simple Start which has a lot more to offer than the basic versions.

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Portable memory storage

Portable memory storage is another important tool to have. Devices such as USB flash dries and thumb drives allow businesses to run wherever they may be with the promise that their data is secure and their documents, presentations and all other business files are stored safely. If you want a cost-effective alternative to the more expensive hard-disk encryption software, you may want to invest in password-protected flash drives. These can effectively transfer data between computers and can copy information for partners and employees so that they can be gained at a later date.

 

Website

Not many customers flick through the Yellow Pages to find business information these days. Alternatively, they rely on search engines like Google, Bing or Yahoo. If you don’t have a presence online, how does your business exist? Your website is like an online version of your business card. It provides customers with essential information about what you do, who to contact, where you’re based an what hours you operate. It also portrays an image of you’re business. First impressions certainly do matters so you want your website to be clean, professional and to show the personality of your business message. If you don’t know how to create the website yourself, hire a web designer who can make the website look sophisticated for you.

Social media profile

As well as having a professional website, it’s also essential to create a great online presence. You need to have social networking profiles on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest which all have the same vibe as your website. Social media channels provide a space to convey messages about upcoming deals, events and important information. It’s also a great way to communicate directly with customers (particularly customer service). It’s also a good way of promoting your goods and services for free and just one tweet or post could potentially reach thousands, if not millions. Shorter messages work best as no-one can be bothered or has the time to read through a lengthy post. It’s also a good idea to add in an eye-catching picture with the small text which promotes what you’re trying to sell or what service you’re providing. Social media makes a great marketing tool.

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5 Ways For Small Businesses To Fight Established Companies In The Local Market

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“Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning.”
Bill Gates

The pressure on small businesses is much more significant than anyone can imagine. Only if you are a small business owner, then you can understand what it means to fight established corporations to sustain your business and keep your neighbourhood yours.

Most small businesses lose the fight because they lack the right resources, like enough capital, effective strategies or a powerful team, etcetera. However, they don’t realise that they still have a chance to keep their share of the neighbourhood by believing in themselves and employing the correct approach.

Read ahead to learn about some incredible ways that will help you win, summarised by Arcadia Online experts:

Personalise

The advantage that small businesses have over big corporations is the knowledge of the neighbourhood. “With knowledge, comes wisdom”, and they can use it to personalise their marketing and sales approach. Whom would your customers’ trust: a local brand that they know and who knows them or a company, who consider them just a bunch of numbers on their sales sheet? The answer is pretty straightforward; however, the approach needs more significant efforts than usual. The next method will help you understand this further.

Tap the emotions

Emotion-selling has proven that you can sell anything if you can tap into the emotions of your target audience. Apart from explaining the benefits of your customers, you must tell them how your products and services are designed especially for them. Your target customers should feel valued, and if your marketing strategy can achieve that, your sales will skyrocket in no time. Be it cleaning services, promotional mugs or dietary eatables; it does not matter what you are selling, what matters is how you are selling it. Make them believe that you value them, and they will be convinced to make a purchase.

Your employees can make a significant difference
Treat your employees like gold. Although you may not be able to pay them as much as established organisations, if you treat them right, they will ensure wonderful results. The primary concerns that local businesses have are lack of skilled employees and lack of financial resources to sustain them. If you can be a great leader, then they will be an efficient team; always remember this. Your employees may have the same mindset as your customers because they are locals, they know the market better than anyone. So have an open-mind regarding opinions. This will make sure that your products and services are well suited for your target audience.

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Don’t target the entire neighbourhood
Grab a niche and run with it. Yes, you heard it right! As already mentioned above, you may not have sufficient resources required to hire and sustain skilled employees, let alone target the entire market. If you can produce products and services for a niche and are able to attract them towards your brand, you will see significant growth of your business. This will reduce your market research, suppress your production abilities and make sure that your quality is up-to-the-mark.

Prefer quality to cost
Quality triumphs price at all times. Most established companies have earned trust and loyalty because they don’t compromise with their quality; however, their prices increase as the fame does. This is a drawback that they have, which you can exploit to your advantage. If you are catering to a niche audience, then you don’t have to increase the number of employees or the spend on raw materials and other expenses, right? You can use these savings to drop your margins a little further because you should focus on sales maximisation and profits will follow. Never compromise with your quality and keep your products & services within the range of your neighbourhood.

You should not lose hope if you are not able to fight the established companies; believe in yourself and follow the tips mentioned above to ensure success at all costs.

“The important thing is not being afraid to take a chance. Remember, the greatest failure is to not try.”
Debbie Fields



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Safaricom Home Fibre Users Get Optional Internet Plus Package Bundled With Mobile Data and More

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Safaricom has been on a roll recently, releasing new products every other day in what the company terms as responding to their customers’ needs. The latest product off the Twaweza train is targeted at Safaricom Home Fibre users.

The service which has been gaining traction slowly across the country has connected over 48,000 households with an internet connection and has laid over 5,000 kilometres of fibre optic cable. The new Safaricom Home packages will be accessible to existing and new users.

At the moment, Safaricom Home offers internet packages of 5mbps (Bronze), 10mbps (Silver), 20mbps (Gold) and 40mbps (Platinum). The new Internet Plus packages will be built on top of these existing packages but offer additional mobile data, talk time and SMS. The Internet Plus packages are as follows:

  • Bronze: 5mbps + 2GB mobile data + 100 on-net minutes + unlimited SMS at Kes.3,000
  • Silver: 10mbps + 4GB mobile data + 200 on-net minutes + unlimited SMS at Kes.4,499
  • Gold: 20mbps + 4GB mobile data + 200 on-net minutes + unlimited SMS at Kes.5,999
  • Platinum: 40mbps + 4GB mobile data + 200 on-net minutes + unlimited SMS at Kes.10,999

Safaricom Home Internet Plus

The new packages are already available and can be accessed through USSD *400#. As part of the packages, customers have the option to either keep the data, minutes and SMS to themselves or sambaza all of them to another Safaricom user, not necessarily a Safaricom Home subscriber.

Despite the SMS being labelled as “unlimited”, it will be under a fair usage policy which could mean that there’s a ceiling of how many SMSs one can send, this is to prevent abuse.

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7 Impactful Web Design Trends For 2018 for Designers

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You have to admit that the digital world is continually evolving. Aside from the massive impact brought about by the rise of social media, a lot of mix and matches are coming out for web designs that will surely demand a better experience for all types of business.

The web design experts claim, considering the reality that when you have a business no matter how small or big, a good way to make it into a success is to include, develop, and build a website for it. However, building a proper website doesn’t just end by introducing your products and services.

Hence, choosing the latest and trendy landscape for your web design should promote an incredible customer relationship. If you’re looking for a great web design that’s a sure hit in the market, these trending points and tips will help.

Deliberately Crafted Typography

Admit it or not, carefully choosing your website fonts will surely catch the interest of every website visitor you have. The evolution and diversity of fonts in web designs is impactful to all of your prospective customers at any given time and situation.

More Innovative Formatting

Formatting in web design refers to your exploration of colors and patterns. When you choose the type of web formatting, it should be engaging and dynamic. Always take advantage of an updated CSS grid and explore available operating systems which gives an on-point layout.

Fiery Colors and Bolder Gradients

Choosing colors will always be a basis for all web designers to show their creativity. Pantone and Ultraviolet colors will give a trendy vibe for your website as this would establish an eye-catching and vivid design.

Shadows and Depth

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Due to the diversity of the digital world when it comes to graphics display, a drop shadow will give a massive impact to your website. Drop shadow is a technique wherein designers would try to achieve a more natural way of shadowing. Obtaining a more natural shadow is working on the image depth rather than overwhelming it.

Geometric Elements

Due to the complexity of the digital world, people nowadays tend to experience nostalgia. On the other hand, because of the more complex geometric elements that a website has, the more people become interested in it. These geometric elements come in every shape and size that a designer can work with.

Website’s Micro-Interactions

Interactivity is a strong trend that is favorable for any business. Consider creating micro-interactions on your website will surely be a hit for your customers in any given market. This website micro-interaction refers to subtle animations you include that may convey a more immersive and interactive dialogue between the visitor and your website.

Master Wide-screen and Mobile Designs

Since most of us are living in a digital world and wanted everything to work on the go, mastering wide-wide screen means being able to access your website’s information using mobile devices. Make your design more dynamic, so it can work and look the same when visitors use a mobile phone.

Takeaway

We are in the last quarter of this year but the evolution of Web design is continually happening. Therefore, your goal of achieving an impactful web design should rely on the trendy tips listed above and a question “Does it keep my site visitors interest and capture their attention?” You decide.



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