5 Best Ways to Get Paid Online

The Internet is truly a wondrous invention. If three decades ago, you’d told people you could earn money virtually, via a computer, they would have looked at you as if you’d lost your mind. Yet here we are, with more and more of us now receiving online payments than ever before.

It doesn’t matter whether you’re a freelancer or a business owner, there’s a good chance that you receive payment, at least in part, online. But exactly what are the best ways to get paid online? Well, in truth, there is no right or wrong way, as different people prefer different methods.

For example, nowadays, some people earn their money and are paid in digital currency, such as in BitCoin form. Others, however, prefer a good old fashioned, tried and tested bank transfer. Some of you out there reading this, may not actually care how you are paid, providing you receive your money, but you should.

Here’s a look at several of the most popular and most efficient ways to get paid online, so take a look and see what you think.

Credit cards and debit cards – First and foremost, we’ll begin by looking at credit and debit card payments. If you’re a larger business, as well as making use of the various forms of accounting software currently available, you may also wish to enable your clients to pay you via credit card or debit card.

Now, if you do decide that this feature is for your business, you will need to decide whether you wish to use an intermediary holding account, or your very own dedicated merchant account. Whichever one you choose, will be based on a variety of different things, so do your research.

Ideally, you want one which will accept all major credit cards, including Visa, American Express, and MasterCard. If you go with credit and debit card payments, there is the bonus of the fact that payments can often be made right away, plus, as virtually every single person you deal with will own one card or the other, there will be no excuses for not receiving a payment.

Click-to-pay email invoice – Accounting software is now becoming more advanced than ever, and when it comes to invoicing your clients, you will instantly understand why that is. Nowadays we have what is known as click-to-pay email invoicing, which is where your client will be sent and invoice, and will then be able to pay you with a few simple clicks.

This is ideal for you and them because they can pay in seconds, you can receive payment in seconds, and they can instantly receive a receipt in the process. This payment method helps streamline your entire operation, plus it helps with security, it saves time, and it is better for the environment as it is paperless.

PayPal – You’ve heard of PayPal, right? Of course you have, everybody in the world pretty much knows about PayPal, and of course, PayPal is certainly a very viable method for receiving payment. With PayPal, funds can be taken from your account to make payment.

This could be a PayPal account, or the account itself can be linked to your bank account so it will automatically remove the funds for you. You then send the money to the recipient of your choice, often via their email address, and they then simply accept the payment and hold it in their account.

PayPal is simple, it is quick, and it is dominant, as pretty much everybody in the business world will own a PayPal account. PayPal is simple but there are processing fees as PayPal obviously have to take their cut, so you do not receive the total amount you have invoiced for, as you obviously have to pay your PayPal fees. With that being said, their charges are very reasonable, and using it does make life that little bit easier.

Stripe – When it comes down to the battle of the online payment gateway giants, it is often Stripe VS PayPal that people tend to focus on. Just as we have Apple VS Samsung we also have Stripe VS PayPal.

The thing that tends to make stripe more appealing than PayPal for some people, is the fact that Stripe charge 2.9% + 30cents for every successful charge. This is the same rate as PayPal, except for the fact that PayPal sometimes decides to throw in additional fees.

For example, with PayPal, if you charge cards from your website, you pay $30 per month, whereas with Stripe it is free. For recurring billing, with Stripe it is free, whereas with PayPal you pay another $10 per month. There are also many other small charges with PayPal, which, although small, do quickly build up. For these reasons, if you are a fairly small business, Stripe could be the better option for you.

Bank wire transfer – You can talk about advanced accounting software all you like, but sometimes, a simple bank wire transfer is all that is needed. With this, you simply provide your clients with your account sort code and bank account code, and they then simply send money from their account, over to yours.

Whilst this is considered very simple and straightforward, the biggest concern with this is the fact that people are in possession of your account number and sort code. Whilst this alone is nowhere near enough to be deemed dangerous in terms of being hacked etc, if they were also able to gain access to your bank card or pin for whatever reasons, they would theoretically have access to your entire account. As you’re probably aware, however, the chances of this ever happening to you are incredible, incredibly slim so truthfully, there is very little to worry about at all.

Now put these tips into practice and get paid faster with SlickPie!

 

 

Image: GraphicStock

Why Automated Receipt Data Entry Works

It doesn’t matter whether you’re a new small business owner, the owner of a huge corporation, or a freelancer looking to expand your reach and grow your client list, if there is one thing we can all agree on, it’s the fact that you simply must ensure you have your finances in order.

All businesses, no matter how big or small, will have numerous aspects of their finances to consider, and when it comes to your finances, you simply cannot afford to cut corners or take any risks. Pretty much every business out there will be familiar with accounts payable and why it’s such a pain in the backside getting your receipts and finances in order.

This, however, is why accounting software and automated receipt data entry tools are so popular. Sending out invoices, chasing up discrepancies and missed payments, and general inefficiencies regarding your billing processes can make life much, much tougher than it needs to be.

This is where it pays to automate your accounts payable processes. In the world that is becoming increasingly reliant on modern technology, it pays to stay with the times rather than being stuck in the past. With that said, if you haven’t yet embraced automated receipt data entry, here are a few benefits associated with automated payable processes.

Paperless – If you have not yet gone paperless, you will only be able to fight natural progression for so long, before you eventually forced to do so in one way or another. Switching to paperless, however, is not a challenge, it is actually a reward as there are numerous benefits to enjoy.

Not only are you helping the environment, but you are also helping your business in general. You see, by getting rid of paper, you make info available right away. Take receipts for example, with paper receipts, if your clients require one from you, you will have to send them out, which takes time, effort, and money.

With automated receipt data entry, however, the receipt is digital, so it can be sent to them virtually and can be viewed instantly. This will cut back on manual labor, you will save money in the form of less paper being used, fewer postage costs, less electricity being used on printing, and less printer ink constantly being used. Ultimately, you get all of the rewards, with none of the drawbacks.

Keep your finances in order – Another very useful benefit associated with automated receipt data entry is the fact that it will allow you to keep your finances in order. Whether you make use of accounting software yourself, or if you pay an expert to handle your books for you, with everything being automated and digital, keeping things more efficient and better organized is easier than ever before.

Everything will be available to you with just a few clicks of a mouse so you will save time, and you can keep everything neat and tidy. If for example, you are being audited, rather than having to dig through mountains upon mountains of receipts for the tax man, you can simply hop onto your computer or smart device, and find whatever it is you need to find, all in a matter of seconds.

Less room for error – Let’s face it, we’re all human and we all make mistakes, that is what sets us apart from machines. However, in business, human error can cost money, and can potentially be catastrophic.

When it comes to your invoices for example, if you’re going with a paper-invoicing approach, these invoices must be filed by hand and entered into various types of the accounting system. If for example, this piece of paper was lost or even stolen, it will take time, money, and effort to put things right. In business, time is money, so it pays to have everything as streamlined and as efficient as possible.

With accounting software, automated accounts payable processes run smoother than ever, as it cuts back on the risks associated with human error. By going with an automated process, often you can set up the system so that, each month, without fail, it will automatically send an invoice to a client for you, for a pre-determined amount of money.

Basically, the software takes care of all of the hard work for you, so you don’t have to. This cuts down the risk of a lost invoice, duplicate invoices, incorrect invoices, or anything else associated with paper-based systems.

Improved staff efficiency – In most businesses, you will find that a lot of the time, staff members have to spend a significantly long amount of time answering telephone calls, emails, and queries in general, regarding misplaced invoices, duplicate invoices, or incorrect invoices. With automated accounting software, however, as there is a much, much smaller risk of a discrepancy, this frees up your staff members and allows them more time to focus on other aspects of your business which were perhaps deemed to be more important.

Speed things up – As mentioned, in business, time is money, so every second count. You need to receive payment for jobs well done, and if you don’t, your business may suffer. You have bills to pay like everybody else, and if your clients pay you late, or fail to pay you the correct amount, because a paper-based invoice was lost in the post, or was unreadable for whatever reasons, you then have the foot the bill some other way.

Put simply, you need paying on time to ensure you pay your bills on time, which is why automated accounting software is so useful. You see, rather than having to print out the invoices, seal them in an envelope, and take them down to be posted, you can simply set them up in advance to be sent out whenever you like.

If you invoice the same company, on the same date, for the same amount, you actually won’t need to lift a finger once you’ve set the software up to do just that. The quicker your invoices and receipts are sent out and received, obviously the better this becomes for your company.

Put these tips into practice and improve your business today!

 

 

Image: GraphicStock

Why Every Small Business Should Have a Website

People often ask me “do I really need a website for my small business?”, my answer to this questions is always the same: “absolutely, if you own a business, you should have a website even if your business is small and sells products or services that you don’t think can be sold online”.  Most customers prefer to visit your website to check your company or products than to visit you in person. A study conducted by MineWhat showed that “81% of shoppers research online before buying.” This statistic shows the importance of owning a website for your business growth.

There are many ways that your business can be benefited from owning a website. I summarized five main advantages of owning a website for your business below.

Gain business credibility

A study conducted by Verisign stated that 84% consumers consider small businesses with a website are more credible than ones without. Nowadays, most consumers are surfing the internet to search for local products and services they need. With this in mind, your small business will gain credibility by owning a website.

Your business online identification card

Similar to your identification card, your website is your business online identification card. It is the first place where your customers or clients will do research about your company, and your products or services before they decided to do business with you. Furthermore, your website provides an instant visual presentation of your business. It is quite expensive especially for a small company to advertise on a local television, but your business website can provide those visualization elements and it is always available to anyone. If a customer has questions that can be better answered on your website than over the phone or email, this will be a good addition to your customer service.

Increase your potential target market

One of the major advantages of having a website is that you get more exposure nationally and internationally. Although it may not be the goal of every small and medium size business to go international, your business website can help you to increase exposure to more people all over the world. For a company that provides niche product or services, your website can be a very powerful advertising tool to reach out to your specific target customers.

Increased convenience for your customers

In this day and age, many business transactions are happening online. This is because people seek convenience shopping experience and your company website can fulfill those needs. Your customers or clients can get information on a specific items or services easily, they can purchase your products anytime and most importantly, they can conveniently contact you through your website and give you feedback.

Access to valuable information

Your website is a good place to collect valuable information that can be used to evaluate your business performance. For example, you can use digital market intelligence platforms like SimilarWeb to get statistic data on how many people have visited your site and your website ranking. In addition, your website can offer other information such as how many people have messaged or emailed you. You can utilize all these valuable information to make an update and make an adjustment to your product and marketing materials anytime.

Conclusion

Overall, the money and time that you invested in creating a website will be all worthy because it can improve your business performances significantly by facilitating online presence for your company, marketing channel to target your target audiences and statistical information to monitor your business growth. Apart from an Alexa ranked website as SlickPie, you may need good online accounting software to run your bookkeeping and accounting tasks. SlickPie is free online accounting software designed for small businesses, offering a delightful and easy-to-use interface with many great features. Try it now and see it for yourself!

The Many Advantages of Doing Online Business

The Internet opened a door of opportunities to a new economy and it has changed our perception of the traditional way of doing business. Just a few years ago, traditional brick-and-mortar companies were dominating the retail industry. Now, immense companies such as Alibaba and Amazon have successfully conquered the online retail market. Nonetheless, to be successful in the online business industry, you don’t have to run a massive corporation like these. Many small businesses have managed to seize their share of profit from online markets. In fact, the latest trends show that the growth of e-commerce market in the upcoming years will come from small to medium size businesses.

E-commerce is growing rapidly and more business owners are now taking advantage of this opportunity to grow their business online. However, not many entrepreneurs are aware of the benefits that online business can bring to their operations. Here are 5 advantages of doing business online.

Cheaper start-up cost

For new business owners, overhead costs can be overwhelming and it may impact your financial health negatively. However, high start-up and overhead costs only occur if you are planning to open a brick-and-mortar business. Online businesses, on the other hand, only require you to purchase a domain name and hosting packages. You may incur extra cost to hire a professional web designer to design an elegant and professional-looking website for your business. Alexander Reichmann, iTestCash, pointed out “It also saves us money on taxes and rent that we would have to pay for a storefront.” Thus, online businesses are comparatively cheaper than brick-or-mortar businesses in term of start-up cost and overhead expenses.

Low Marketing Cost

The internet is a cost-effective tool. There are numerous online platforms you can utilize to market your product such as online advertising and social media. Online advertising is relatively affordable and it allows you to track your communication value. This means you can identify which advertising message is working and which isn’t. One way to advertise your product online is through social media such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Social media is known to be a very powerful tool to increase product awareness because customers tend to spend a significant amount of time surfing there. Regarding ads, Andrew Legrand, SperaLawGroup, mentioned that a great “advantage of doing business online is the business’ ability to target its audience with online advertising and converting that audience into paying customers. This means that marketing efforts can be more efficient with regards to time and money, and the business’ customer base is expanded beyond the local audience.”

Flexibility

Unlike traditional brick-and-mortar businesses where someone has to be present in the store at all times, online businesses allow you to run your company from anywhere, anytime. Thus, online businesses give you that work-life balance. Brady Keller, Atlantic.Net, added “[the] benefit of an online store is that you can operate 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Since your retail store is virtual, you can potentially be making money while you sleep.” Hence, the flexibility of online businesses can be translated into flexible location and time of doing business.

International Market

One of the significant impacts of the internet is globalization. Online businesses can facilitate the demand from global consumers by allowing business owner like yourself to sell your product internationally without setting up the physical vendor in that region. Najeeullah Babar, Interloper Inc., said: “It expands your reach from local to national and international no matter how small a company you are.” Another unique advantage of online business is that you can set your website in different languages to accommodate people from different locations. Therefore, online businesses allow you to capture a wide range of customers globally.

Easier and faster financial transaction

Online payment services such as PayPal and Stripe allows you to receive a transaction from customer directly to your bank. This will save you a lot of time in term of the transaction process. For your global customers, they can make payment conveniently in their own currencies because online payment services will automatically convert their currency to the currency that you will receive. You can also utilize free accounting software like SlickPie that offers all these payment gateways with multicurrency features to help you to manage your day-to-day business transaction, sending invoices and tracking your financial performance.

In a nutshell, an online business can offer you cheaper, easier and faster business environment. Online business is suitable for those who are seeking to start a new business but having a tight budget. Start-up and overhead costs are relatively low and you can start implementing zero-marketing strategies through online advertising and social media from day one. Furthermore, transaction process between your business and customer can be done in a matter of seconds and you have the flexibility of doing your business in terms of time and location.

 

How to Use Cloud Software to Improve Your Business

Do you remember the time when you have to drive to the computer store in order to purchase a physical copy of a software? If you do, you probably used to live in the era before cloud computing. Nowadays, people do not have do that anymore. With cloud technology, you can simply sit at home and download you desired software directly from the internet. The cloud technology is so fascinating that it allows people to share files within seconds. Many business owners have been taking advantages of this opportunity to improve the level of productivity and efficiency of their businesses.

Below are some of the comments from business experts about the advantages of using cloud software in their businesses.

Everything we do is in the cloud, from using Google Docs to Google Spreadsheets. All of our files are stored in the cloud through Dropbox. It allows my employees that span from San Diego to Serbia to work on the same files at any time, from anywhere. It also allows our team to access the same files from any device. From their phone to their home computer. Not only does it allow the world to be flat, but it also gives me the pieces of mind that everything is backed up. Since moving everything to the cloud, we have not lost any data. Plus, it is even easier to find since you can search everything. – Daniel Passov, Greek U, Inc.

The cloud-based software I can’t live without that helped me start and manage my business is Trello. I use a framework called the problem/solution canvas” We have it set up in Trello and it’s a repeatable framework that we use on a weekly basis to identify our top three problems and how we are going to solve them for that week. The best part is their mobile app interface is simply amazing it is intuitive and extremely powerful allowing you to upload ideas, pictures, notes and files from your mobile on the go. You never know when a good ideas going to come to you and you need to appended to a certain thing that the team is working on. This allows us to make small changes that compound off of one another inching our way towards the end zone rather than making huge bets we make small ones. Because it’s cloud-based, Trello allows us to coordinate tasks across or 20 members team distributed across four different countries. The best part that I love is that you can set due dates for each individual task that will nag your teammate until they get it done, it’s the ultimate set it and forget it cost to get stuff done. – Bryan Clayton, GreenPal

About 90% of the software we use on a daily basis is in the cloud now and we would never go back to the old way of using software. The main benefits to using a web-based software is the cost savings. Desktop software always cost more and constantly needs updates or security patches. With a cloud-based system, you do not have worry about any of this. The vendor takes on the maintenance and security risk. This software is also always much easier to scale. If you hire five people you can get them setup in minutes versus having deal with getting more licenses and then installing the old software. – Mark Tuchscherer, Greeks Chicago

Cloud databases are critical to our product. As a small business it can be extremely difficult to manage the hardware in such small numbers of a workforce and time can be much more effectively spent elsewhere. We look for the most scalable systems to utilize as our cloud infrastructure which means we can easily expand and shrink our cloud database footprint as our customer base grows and shrinks. Our model of business would be nearly unsustainable if we had to maintain the same size and costs without the customer data to fill it with. We are able to process data at the same speed and performance as the big guys which puts us at an even playing field that 10 years ago would be almost unheard of. – Ty Van Ry, RYIT SOLUTIONS

The biggest advantage would be it much more mobile, in that I can login to it from any PC without having an agent installed on my workstation. Another benefit is that the vendor is always doing updates to the software without the end-user having to do anything to make sure the updates are functioning properly. As far as functionality, the cloud-based software performs 100 percent of the functions we had with the old software system. It is a good fit for many small businesses in that it has all the functions you will need for finance and reporting, along with so many business moving from brick and mortar offices to employee home offices. It can be used in any location without the server costs associated with putting the software on. Vertex needs are well met with our new cloud-based solution. – Kip Sharp, Vertex Innovations

This is some of the ways you can use cloud software to improve your business. Another great way is by using SlickPie and being able to run your entire business accounting from anywhere with absolutely no effort, try it out now and see it for yourself!

 

The Advantages of Starting Your Own Business

The idea of starting your own business is very alluring to many people, especially those who have been living on yearly salaries. In fact, there are very limited rewards for our hard work when we are working for a Company. Starting your own business is not an easy quest. There are a lot of things to consider such as looking for investors, finding good distributors, marketing efforts with minimum cost, and many more.

David Karp, Tumblr founder and CEO, once said “Entrepreneur is someone who has a vision for something and a want to create.” He believes that as long as you have strong ambition and willingness to make your dream becomes reality, you will be rewarded handsomely from your own business.

Below are some of the comments from business owners and experts about the advantages of starting your own business.

When you start your own business, you are really creating something from scratch, and if you solve a problem, provide a service or make a product that makes people’s lives better to the degree that they are willing to pay for it, you are really creating value in the world. Earning a dollar that you created out of thin air is more rewarding than earning a dollar being a cog in someone else’s wheel. Also, when you start your own business and it’s successful enough to hire people, you are really changing people’s lives. To me, when I hire someone, it feels like I’m taking on a great responsibility to make sure I make the right decisions to be able to keep providing for them and their families. It can definitely keep you up at night, and for me that responsibility is a reason to really give my all to the company. When you employ people, they are putting their trust in you, and I believe that there is a tacit contract that you will give them your best as a leader and steward of their career, stability, and livelihood. There are great risks in starting a business, not only the risk to your money and reputation, but also including opportunity costs of the salary that you are forgoing. But if it does work out, the rewards can be more meaningful than you can earn at a salaried job. Not only in terms of absolute dollars, but also in terms of career satisfaction. – Steve Benson, Badger Maps

[First,] “You’re your own boss”. You set your hours, and you don’t have anyone telling you what to work on next. [Second,] if you work from home like I do, my morning commute is to the coffee pot, and the only traffic jam I deal with is my dog and cat racing down the stairs. [Third,] I can do my job from anywhere as long as I have an internet connection. [Last,] I don’t have to worry about using up my vacation days or sick days. – Marry Ellen, Parker’s Voice

No more commuting, you are in control of your own schedule, and have the freedom and flexibility not to have to make tough choices but rather have your cake and eat it too. You are only doing the work you love, and working with only people you love. You don’t have to feel guilty thinking about home when you’re at work and vice versa. You are getting paid what you worth,and having the ability to travel while working, and no more wasted time! – Melissa Smith, The PVA

Starting your own business can be the best thing you do in your life, if you get out of your own way. What I mean is that many start it for the ego, and that is what adds to the 2-5 year failure of most small businesses. Rather, start off strong, with a solid yearly, monthly, weekly plan in the areas of finances, marketing, and operations and you will beat those statistics. Starting your own business is easy. Keeping it open and thriving is the tough part. The advantage is that your success all depends on the decisions that you make. The world can be at your fingertips. You can make your own hours and you can create your own destiny. – Bella Vasta, Jump Consulting

I would say some advantages are being able to set your own schedule. With 2 small children it can be tough working nights and weekends sometimes but if anything is important I will always be there. One example is that my 5-month-old son usually wakes up around 5:30 am and I spend 20 minutes every morning hanging out with him in bed. This is something that might never be possible if I had to set an alarm and be somewhere at a specific time. By setting my own schedule I can make sure to carve out quality family time every week. -Doug Darroch, 21st Renaissance

Some huge advantages of owning your own business:
The Thrill of the Chase – As a business owner, you are largely responsible for business growth. In my role, that’s business development in the form of new partnerships with industry leaders. Every new partnership is hugely rewarding and another chance to gain feedback on your product and learn more about future growth opportunities.
Variety – Being a business owner, every day can be a new challenge. This is the biggest change from being in a day-to-day position where your role is well defined. On any given day, you may have to tackle anything from IT to Marketing to Legal. It’s like a giant real-world MBA wrapped up in a jigsaw puzzle.
New Relationships – The best part of my position is the new business relationships. If you have a good product and can confidently show it to new business partners, the feedback you get that validates your direction and product is hugely rewarding. – Kelly Bedrich, ElectricityPlans.com

These are the advantages of starting your own business. SlickPie is great all-in-one accounting software for small business owners to run their entire business accounting from anywhere with absolutely no effort, try it out now and see it for yourself!

6 Tips to Make a Killing Product Pitch

 

 

Presentations can be quite intimidating, especially for those who are not used to it. This is because you need to stand in front of people and talk about a certain topic. For some people, this can be a very uncomfortable situation in which they have to draw a lot of attention to themselves and one small mistake can lead to embarrassment. Although having confidence is important, a great presentation must also have well-thought and well-organized content. In product pitch presentation, investors are looking for specific details of both your product and your aggregate business performance. They require you to be precise, knowledgeable, and informative in short amount of time.

Below are the 6 tips you need to know to be successful in your next pitch.

What are you going to tell them?

The first step is to tell investors about your idea or product. The key to success is to keep it short and interesting. This step is very crucial to your whole presentation process because it is your chance to capture your investors interest so they will want to hear the rest of your presentation. You may use personal story to engage with the investors but the important point is to rise their interest level.

What is your vision?

The next step is presenting your idea or product in short details so you can start by talking about your vision. For example, what is currently happening in the world? Then, you can talk about your analysis of the situation such as the problems that people are having and how your product can be the solution to those problems.

Is there space in the market for you?

Your investors want to know how well you know your industry and your competitors. Every businesses faces competition. Otto van Bismark once said “Only a fool learns from his own mistakes. The wise man learns from the mistakes of others.” What he meant by that is it’s important to be able to identify who your competitors are, and what they are doing differently, so it can help you to make your product stands out in the market. There are a lot of things you can learn from your competitors such as their marketing and distribution strategies. Investors want to hear that you are able to identify your competitors and what can you learn from them. Also, research on the competitors can help you to position your product in the market and help you to build strong competitive advantages in the future.

How will your product benefit your customers?

Customers are not just the most important part of your business, they are your business. The first thing you need to tell your investor is your target market. For an example, the kind of customer or geographic area you are targeting. Investors also want to know how much do you know about your customers. What they want from your product, how customers can be benefited from using your product, and why customers want to use your product again. These are the questions that you can ask yourself to get an idea of your customers’ behavior and their value to your product.

How do you make money?

In this part, you need to be able to tell investors how do you deliver your product to customers. For instance, do you use any online platform, social media, outlet, or delivery services? It is important to disclose your expenses and sales revenue to your investors. This is to give them an idea of how effective your distribution channels are.

What are you asking from your investors?

Last but not least, you need to tell your investors what do you want from them. You need to be specific on what you are asking for. You can ask for mentorship, networking, or money, then you need to explain to them why you want it.

5 Reasons Why You Should Take Your Business to the Cloud

The Cloud computing technology has brought so many benefits to businesses. With the growing number of web-enabled devices, such as smartphones and tablets, being used in business environments, it becomes essential for many business owners to utilize cloud computing technology to be more efficient and improve their business performances. In order to understand how cloud computing system works, let’s think of it as a virtual invisible storage. Users can retrieve or access their data from this virtual storage through internet network. In other words, as long as users are connected to the internet, they can do their businesses anywhere, anytime.

In today’s reality, many small businesses require the latest technology to run their business with very limited amount of time, space and even expenses to waste. Cloud computing system provides the solution to these problems. Below are the 5 main reasons why you as a small business owner should take your business to the cloud.

Cost-Efficient

The main goal for any business is to make money. This can be achieved by maximizing profit and reducing expenses. Cloud computing system allows your company to cut back a lot of expenses by spending less money to buy hardware, facilities and equipment to store data. Your company will also save a lot of office space that can be utilized for other important things.

Accessibility

In order to be more efficient in your business, you need a great tool to access data from anywhere and anytime. This is possible with cloud software because your data is stored in the invisible storage system and it can be access anywhere as long as you have connection to the internet.

Collaboration

Every business owner understands that effective collaboration within the company is one of the most important aspects to build good organization or businesses. In the old days, businesses used e-mail to communicate with one another. Imagine how many hours you need to spend to send e-mails with the same content to thousands of people. Cloud computing technology can solve this problem by making it easier to share files. For example, you can simply upload the file to the cloud and give access to people that you want to share the file with. Then, they can simply download the file from the cloud. This process will save a lot of time since you only need to upload the file once.

Automatic Software Updates

The Success of your business relies heavily on the latest version of the software that you use. The are no perfect software and that is why software companies are constantly enhancing their software. In order for the software company to improve your experience in using their software, they need to constantly give you the updated version of their software. Some software updates can happen numerous times in a year. Cloud computing system allows your system to be updated with the latest technology. This can include upgrades to the software as well as updated version of the software.

Security

The Loss of the data is one of the major problems that many businesses have to faced. This is because the cost of retrieving the data is expensive and can take a lot of time. Many unexpected events such as stolen laptop, damaged computers, or even fire are some of the factors that responsible for business owners to lose valuable information. Cloud computing system can prevent your business to lose valuable data in case one of these incidents happens. Since your data is stored online in the cloud, you can still gain access to it no matter what happens to your computer. All you need is to access it with different computer. Furthermore, in case your computer is stolen or lost, you can remotely erase all the data from the stolen or lost computer to prevent your data falls into the wrong hands.

Environmentally Friendly

When your business is in the cloud, you will use less papers in your office. The Cloud technology makes it easier for you to access your business files in digital format. This is not only saves your business from using a lot of papers, but also reduce paper waste to the environment.

After checking these 5 amazing reasons for why you should take your business to the cloud, I bet you are feeling like start doing it right away. So, waste no more time and kick things off with SlickPie today!

 

So You Want to Work for Yourself?

9 out of 10 small business starting this year, will fail. The 10% that succeed, execute on a careful business plan. How do you know that you have that will succeed and what steps you can take to ensure you don’t become part of the 90% that fails?

Failing to plan is a good plan to fail. Many quit their job in the hopes that there are plenty of contracts or freelancing work. Even though it may look like that guy over there is making a ton of money, the truth may be something different. They may be successful but it does take years of connections, effort and work to reach a certain level. Let’s discuss what exactly is the secret ingredients for success that will avoid failures.

Failure to cut costs

You should be ready to ruthlessly cut costs in the initial years of your business. Being a business owner doesn’t mean that you need to buy everything. That is the wrong mindset.  If you can start your business from a small warehouse, you don’t need to lease huge commercial space in downtown. Lease or rent the equipment whenever possible instead of buying it (you could even take advantage of an equipment leasing calculator to assist you with that). If you are someone with the mindset that “I need to buy everything upfront so that I can focus on producing”, buy used hardware or equipment from Craigslist instead of brand new. I met a business owner in Canada who drove more than 150 miles to buy and pickup equipment’s from a USA based business who happened to be upgrading themselves and thus saved more than $12,000. These savings are of immense value when you are just starting out. If your business is successful, you will get plenty of opportunities to buy brand new stuff.

Cash Flow is important

When you are new and have little brand awareness, your prices may not be at the top level. Asking for 50% or more deposit as soon as an agreement is signed, can protect your bottom line. Most clients will agree to it as they know they are getting a good deal.

You may not know all about tracking income and expenses in the beginning. Start using online accounting software’s like SlickPie, right from away when you met a client for a coffee or paid for something from your pocket. Doing this will ensure there is no leakage of your money. Send your invoice right after work is done. Most businesses fail due to poor cash flow. What if your biggest client where you spent your most of your time didn’t pay? Or if they pay late in 60, 90 or even 180 days? There would be always some surprising extra costs that you didn’t plan for foresee. This all can lead to long sleepless nights. A good accounting software should follow up with clients that have not paid you on time and allow you to take an action to save the day.

Be ready for lifestyle change

Mostly qualified and experienced employees do earn more than freelancers. They have a stable income and a nice lifestyle. If you are someone who thinks that have something that will take you to the moon, go ahead and start your own business but be willing to live at basic income for years without any social life and no lifestyle. You will end up working 12-14 hours a day during the prime years of your life, but there is also a possibility that any success will bring more money and a better lifestyle with the option of being your own boss.

Most freelancers start small, providing superior services to a small set of clients for a few months and build upon that base. Ideally, current employers should be your first client. You know the process, they have the tools you need to perform and you just sell your expertise as a contractor without any social security net that you get as an employee. This potentially puts more money in your pocket to save or reinvest into your nascent business. Never steal clients from your employer, but build those valuable relationships and they will start referring you some of their friends from their group. Bounce ideas off your existing connections to see who can be a part of the team at some other stage of your business.

5 Business Lessons to Learn From Pokémon GO

pokemon-1513940_960_720

You must have heard about Pokémon GO. I mean, if you have used any social media channels, accessed any business portal, or even stepped foot in any slightly popular public place in the past couple of weeks, then you must have heard about it. But in case you’ve just got out of whatever hibernation chamber you’ve been living in and have no idea of what Pokémon GO is, I’ll give you a brief.

Pokémon GO is an augmented reality (AR) game developed by Niantic for mobile devices. The game was released in the US, Australia, and New Zealand on July 6th, 2016. Despite the fact that the game was officially released in only three countries on that date, millions (seriously, millions) of people used “alternative” ways to play it all around the globe.

The game is based on the Pokémon franchise (*shocking*) and the main goal for the players is to catch all the 150 little monsters (a.k.a. Pokémon) from the original Pokémon game and that exist in this first version. That’s pretty much the same style of original Gameboy versions, right? Wrong. There is one small detail this time, the players have to catch them in the real world! This is possible thanks to the augmented reality technology in the game, which uses a mix between a map system with real life locations and virtual features that make the little creatures appear on the player’s phone screen as if they were right in front of them in the streets.

OK, now you know what this crazy thing called Pokémon GO is all about, but why is it causing such massive impact all over the world? What is triggering this sort of behaviour from customers? And more important, what can you learn from this phenomenon to leverage your business to grow? Check it out:

1. Taking risks is the price for success

Pokémon is a franchise owned by The Pokémon Company, which is partially owned by the videogames giant Nintendo. Nintendo was facing some big challenges to compete in the domestic consoles market with its Wii U against Sony’ PlayStation 4 and Microsoft’s Xbox One, so they had to come up with an alternative source of income.

Nintendo has been leading the portable games scenario since their first Gameboy was launched decades ago, and leading by far. However, the exponential growth of mobile phone gamers led them to rethink their strategy in the segment. In what is arguably one of the biggest risk-taking actions in the company’s history they decided to launch their franchises on phones two, which could end up jeopardizing their own handheld dominance with the Nintendo 3DS, but they did it anyway and they delegated the production and development of the game to Niantic and they just hoped for the best. As you can see, the decision paid off big time!

2. When innovating, be disruptive

Augmented reality has been around for fairly quite some time now, but this is the first time that it’s really hitting the masses. Several other companies tried to pull off a hat trick by implementing augmented reality into their services somehow, even the almighty Google with its Google Glass took a shot and didn’t succeed. Apparently, augmented reality wasn’t going to get into customers’ hearts and companies pulled off investments in it and started investing in virtual reality instead. You can tell by now that AR wasn’t the problem, innovation was.

AR is an innovation itself, but it’s a mean rather than an end. It’s a mean for people to get more benefit from another activity, in Pokémon GO’s case that activity is entertainment. Pokémon GO managed to deliver an over satisfying experience through AR to customers, and this was the first time this was ever done the right way. Fans were provided with the possibility of crossing the virtual-real barrier and play their beloved virtual game while interacting with their cities in real life, and this can be considered a disruptive innovation since it likely changed the AR scenario for good.

3. Branding, branding, branding

Branding plays a huge role in Pokémon GO’s success. Chances are if another game would’ve been released having exactly the same characteristics of Pokémon GO it would hardly achieve the same results. The Pokémon brand has been carefully nurtured for 20 years by Nintendo. Pokémon fans were treated with massive amounts of new videogames, new little monsters, new cartoon episodes, new card game collections, new toys, and new pretty-much-anything-else related to Pokémon. The fans have an active voice in the franchise’s future and they absolutely love it.

The majority of the people that are playing Pokémon GO are in their mid-late 20’s, and that’s not hard to figure since they are the same fans that originally turned Pokémon into a worldly-known name 20 years ago. Their passion for the game/cartoon was so strong that it remained in them for all this time, and has emerged now with the advent of Pokémon GO. Turning a brand into something that customers love and are loyal to for years and years to come, that should be every company’s goal.

4. Social proof is the new rule

In a society in which no one goes to any restaurant before Yelping it, asking a friend, or hearing about it in social media, social proof has become the new standard when it comes to credibility. Most likely you know a few people (if not a lot) that are totally addicted to Pokémon GO and are playing it night and day. They are on you Facebook feed, in the malls you visit, in the parks, and basically everywhere else, making Pokémon GO one of the greatest examples there is about the power of social proof.

“If everyone else is playing then it must be at least worth trying the game out”. That’s what is triggering the interest of most non-Pokémon fans out there. Most people see the incredible social presence Pokémon GO is having and they automatically see it with positive eyes, especially when they see influencers playing it. The hype naturally (no ads!) created about Pokémon GO is so big that it’s almost impossible to resist downloading the app just to check what the game is all about, and that’s how things start. The best salesperson in the world is a happy customer, and that’s one of the main reasons for why Pokémon GO is spreading across the globe so fast.

5.  Reduce the barriers and they will come

Niantic was brilliant on this matter. Pokémon GO is such a simple and easy-to-play game that its learning curve is almost a line (oh, so funny). All players have to do is download it and play it right away. There are no formal tutorials or anything like that because the game simply doesn’t need them. That is a huge incentive for people with all sorts of backgrounds to start and to keep playing the game. It’s just pretty straightforward fun like in the good ol’ days.

Another major point here is that Pokémon GO is free-to-play. That’s right, this globally hyped game is free to download and play from the App Store and Google Play Store. This eliminates the risk on the customers’ perspective since they have literally nothing to lose if they don’t like the game (besides the five minutes it takes to try it out). Customers need to feel comfortable while making the decision to use your product, and eliminating the adoption barriers is crucial for that.

Bonus 

The idea behind Pokémon GO came from an April Fool’s Day prank made by Google (that teamed up with Nintendo and The Pokémon Company to make the prank). In 2014 the search engine company told the world that a real life job called Pokémon Master was being offered by Google. Applicants should access Google Maps to hunt for Pokémon spread out through all sorts of places including, cities, deserts, and forests, but everything was just a joke (you can watch the prank video here). Niantic was owned by Google at the time and they liked that idea very much. Two years later they launched Pokémon GO, a game that broke the record for the most downloads from the App Store and added 7.5 billion dollars to Nintendo’s market value within the first week from its release. Guess who’s laughing now…

 

Image: https://pixabay.com/en/pokemon-pokeball-pokemongo-red-1513940/