Category Archive For "Technology"
Small Business Accounting Software Reviews
AHHHH! The thought that strikes many new entrepreneurs when they think about their accounting. Accounting and book keeping is something that most entrepreneurs have little patience for, yet it is an essential component to small business cash management. Years ago, you were stuck using QuickBooks or other similar software. Today, a plethora of products exist on the market that small business owners can tap into and use. Different software brings different features and compatibility issues, so peruse our list below and see which offers a solution that works best for you.
Quickbooks by Intuit
For the diehards, QuickBooks was and still is the number one small business software. It is not cheap, but has a lot of the standard features one comes to expect in small business accounting software. Today, QuickBooks is also available in cloud based, monthly subscription models, ranging from $12.95 to $39.95US, with a free trial to help you evaluate before you buy. The online version does not offer the full suite of functionality that the desktop versions have, but I suspect this is something that will continue to evolve with each iteration, and more features will continue to be added.
Imagine a free online accounting software program that integrates payroll for a minimal charge per user – this is Wave accounting. Created in 2010, this platform has undergone a series of iterations over the years to become the awesome product it is today. Integrating invoicing, payroll, accounting and more under one platform, Wave offers small businesses affordable solutions to their accounting and financial management problems.
A cool product that is focused around a top downloaded iOS app, this software, while not as easy to use as Wave, is straightforward and has all the basic functionality of an accounting platform. Prices start at $20 per month and increase depending upon number of users and transactions. A cool feature is the ability to integrate photos of receipts.
This company has become one of the top small business accounting platforms. Aimed at the small business or their accountant, this product will help you get started and invoice, track expenses and receipts; it also allows for multiple users. Slightly more expensive than Wave, this product allows you to start for free to manage one client, and prices start at $19.95 per month for multiple clients.
There are many more options on the market, but this gives you a start. With these helpful solutions on the market you have no excuse to not be in charge of your finances and help build a strong foundation for your business.
If you are like most small business entrepreneurs or small organizations, a website is something you rarely think about. However, a website is an absolute necessity in business today. A decade ago, you threw up a site and forgot about it. Today, to be relevant and connected to the engaged consumer, a website has to be much more. A website also has to be responsive.
A responsive website is one that adapts to the size of the user’s screen. So if a user visits your site with an iPhone or an iPad, or other device, the text won’t be too small, the menus will work, and the overall appearance is a professional. However, this is not the only reason you should have a responsive site.
On April 21st, 2015, Google updated its dreaded search rank algorithms. This means that its criteria for determining which websites are shown at the top of search results was drastically altered. If your website is not responsive – i.e. does not display well and clearly on smartphones and tablets, then you are in big, big trouble for three key reasons.
1. The web has gone mobile.
Each day there are more mobile users. The web is no longer a tool limited to computers, and it won’t take long until mobile devices are the predominant way to access information online. Smartphones are easier to use than PCs, cheaper, and growing at astonishing rates in emerging markets. In short, mobile is not just some fad that will go away.
2. We love our phones.
Sure, some of you reading this may decide that you hate being perma-connected, but for the most part we love carrying around Google Maps, checking Facebook on the go, sending emails and texts, and some of us even use smartphones to make phone-calls! With all of this convenience and functionality, it’s no wonder that smartphones are not going away.
3. Google has started to punish you if you are not mobile friendly.
Like it or not, and whether your visitors use mobile devices or not , this has already happened. If your web presence is not responsive, then you are on Google’s naughty list, just waiting for one of your competitors to overtake you. This alone should be reason enough to make your website responsive.
Making a responsive site does not have to cost a fortune, and the benefits in this case, far outweigh any investment required.
Not sure how responsive your site is? Still have questions or need help? Contact me to learn more.
So it’s finally time to build your first app. Whether the app is just a part of your business (like an easier way to access information) or if it is the core of your business (like instagram), before you discuss your idea with a developer or engineer, you should start with a Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA) before you really discuss your app in detail – while most developers aren’t out to steal ideas, it can certainly help to avoid any misunderstandings. While several templates are available online, it may be best to consult with a legal professional – especially if your app idea is your business.
Next, think about how unique your idea is, and, does it need to be unique? If this app is a compliment to your business and meant to be used by those that are loyal to your brand (maybe someone who buys from you online), than it doesn’t really matter if their are dozens or even hundreds of similar apps. If the app is the business model, than it is definitely worth going through the Apple App Store and Google Play to see what else is out there. See what you like, dislike, and how you might be able to differentiate yourself. You don’t need to reinvent the wheel, you just need to add your own special touch to it.
Making an App is a lot to explain, but I’d like to condense it into three main parts. Making an app from nothing into a usable product requires:
– Business Skills
– Technical Skills
– Marketing Skills
Business Skills: Having the right business model may not make you a millionaire, but it could mean that your app at least gets downloaded and used. In this step do a Break-Even Analysis on the idea; how many times does it need to be downloaded (and at what price), and if the numbers are unrealistic then don’t build the app. Also, if this is your first app, there is a very good chance you will run over time and budget. The reality is that you will run into unseen roadblocks, want features that you didn’t originally plan, and might have some trouble integrating an app into your existing infrastructure. Plan for delays and overcoming mini failures. Once you’ve got the business mindset down, then you are ready to move to the next step.
Technical Skills: This is where people like me come in. Unless if your business is technology, you really can’t expect to learn how to build your app and somehow still have enough time to run a business. Interview a few different professionals, get references, go with your gut. Find a developer who matches your style and personality, because for the next little while you are going to be spending some time together.
Marketing Skills: Marketing and promotion is an essential ingredient to building any app – after all, why spend the time and money to build something that no one is going to use? There are so many good apps on the store which fail to market themselves and end up failing because no one know about them. So assuming you got the first two requirements down, you need to figure out how to conquer this step before deciding to proceed. Questions you need to ask yourself are: how do I get my app into everyone’s hands? How do I get my customers to keep using my app? How do I get my customers to share with their friends about it?
There is certainly more than this to building a great app, but hopefully this tips will get you started.