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With the flood of new technologies inundating the market, it is somewhat comforting to know that not all high tech tools, designed to increase business efficiencies, equate to a major capital expense. Myriad web-based tools and apps exist to help small businesses level the playing field and compete with larger operations, communicate more easily with clients, and be more nimble. You may be using several already such as GoToMeeting, FileShare, Dropbox, Skype, Google Analytics, and others. With the focus of this issue so tightly lasered in on new high-tech innovations, here are a few online digital business tools that may not be on your radar yet and might prove useful and/or less expensive than those currently being used.
Long distance bills and busy signals have been a thing of the past for audio conference calling using online tools such as GoToMeeting. Now Speek (speek.com) and UberConference (uberconference.com) take the concept one step further. Both are much like GoToMeeting, except no long pin numbers and access codes have to be passed among participants for online meetings or conference calls. Each also supports file and screen sharing, and both offer an app that can be downloaded onto any Android or iPhone. Also, calls can be initiated from your desktop browser.
Funding Gates (fundinggates.com) is another interesting tool that automatically syncs daily with QuickBooks and other accounting packages to track and organize accounts receivables. Whether at your desk or on the go, you can use your browser or mobile phone to take action, or check what action has been taken, on past due or delinquent accounts and either call the client or email a reminder with a tap or a click. Analytic tools also provide account history, generate interactive aging reports, and keep a record of all interactions with customers.
Have you attended a tradeshow or meeting and found yourself without a business card or fumbling awkwardly to find one in your briefcase? Now you can leave those business cards back at the office and exchange information automatically using the iPhone Bump app. This ingenious and uncomplicated tool allows two iPhone users to exchange contact information in seconds. Open the app, and select the information you each want to exchange. By “bumping” the phones together, the selected information is saved directly to the iPhone address book. No more business cards to file or sort through when you return to the office.
One last tool that may make business and personal life easier as well as save time is DocuSign (docusign.com). This cloud-based service digitally manages document-based legal transactions securely and allows users to sign documents from any mobile device or computer. No more faxing, scanning, overnight mail, or other inefficient means to get an important document signed and returned. This tool completely automates the process and keeps the captured documents securely retained.
Digital technologies are impacting our personal and business lives at an unprecedented rate, closing the gap between the physical and virtual worlds. Often confusing, definitely exciting, but sometimes frustrating, this flood of new innovations always leaves us wondering: What’s next?
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