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Archive

Small Business IT Roundup: The Latest Business Technology

Small Business IT Roundup: The Latest Business Technology Credit: Dreamstime.com

Whether you're just starting a business or have owned a small business for a long time, technology is the thing that can help you succeed or keep you going. Here's the latest technology to help you…

Get a better handle on your company finances…

Small businesses owners need a simple, reliable tool to easily understand the status of their business and to help get ready for tax time. The new Balance Sheet in FreshBooks allows you to do just this. A balance sheet is a picture of your business as of a specific date, and typically calculated at the end of the quarter or year. Gain a detailed picture of your business and a summary of your company’s assets, liabilities, and equity or to get a detailed account capture for end of quarter reporting or for those important discussions with your accountant.
 

Package and share online identities…

Vizibility offers Mobile Wallet Cards, a durable plastic card that harnesses the power of Near Field Communication (NFC) and QR code technologies to allow professionals to instantly share hand-picked profiles, videos and other curated online content or download vCards and view common LinkedIn and Facebook connections by simply touching the card to a smartphone or scanning the QR code. Larger organizations can connect all their Mobile Business Cards into a mobile directory. In a world where we are who Google says we are, Mobile Wallet Cards can help professionals build credibility, showcase relevant links and project a tech-savvy image.

 

Better manage your email…

theSwizzle is a free email organizer that helps consumers organize their inbox and better manage their communications with brands. In a matter of minutes, The Swizzle leads users through a simple process to safely unsubscribe from unwanted email subscriptions, ridding inboxes of clutter that can be overwhelming. Once the clutter is gone, users then choose to receive a single "Daily Swizzle" email combining deals from their favorite brands into one simple email each day.

Find the best business checking account...

To help small business owners choose the best business checking account, NerdWallet has developed a business checking account comparison tool that calculates a small business owner's likely fees (monthly service, transaction, and cash handling) based on a user's inputs to our questionnaire. The tool provides dynamic calculations based on what you tell it about your business. For example, if you say you can maintain an average monthly balance of $X, the search results will automatically sort out checking accounts with more restrictive minimum balances. NerdWallet's business checking tool takes into account static factors, such as the location of the business and a business owner’s preference for financial institution type (credit union vs. bank), and further incorporates business-specific behavioral factors, such as transaction volume and minimum balance, to help small business owners find the best checking account tailored to their individual businesses.

Find customers using social media…

GraphDive helps online vendors create a more personalized shopping experience, thereby improving user engagement and driving revenues. The GraphDive Social API parses through and interprets billions of social data points using Facebook Connect to discover what shoppers are most interested in and infer key demographic insights. This ability to "make sense" of social media activity allows businesses to make highly calculated inferences on what shoppers like, which can then fuel personalized product recommendations and advertising. GraphDive’s Social API finally unlocks the power of social data for just about any merchant, empowering them to turn personalization into monetization.

Help customers book appointments…

Doodle has launched a new service called BookMe that's designed to help service providers streamline their booking process online. BookMe can act as a standalone Web presence, and customers are able to book appointments with just a few clicks. There’s no back and forth communication because the available times are the only ones that are displayed due to the live synchronization of an electronic calendar. For smaller service providers that can’t afford a dedicated receptionist, BookMe is an attractive option that provides reception, Web presence, reminder, and even marketing functionality.

Improve your data backup…

Unitrends, a provider of all-in-one backup solutions,  has launched Recovery-943, the industry’s first tiered backup appliance. Recovery-943 enables customers to back up more data faster than ever before. The design provides tiered storage inside a single appliance – taking up minimal rack space, while maximizing backup performance and optimizing data access. Operating system (OS), metadata and backup sets are separated and stored on three different drive offerings inside the box: high-performance solid-state drives (SSDs) for OS data, and RPM disks for metadata and the backup storage pool. And since stored data is only as good as its level of accessibility, Unitrends combined Recovery-943’s tiered storage design with tiered redundancy for maximum protection of both the data sets, as well as the drives inside the appliance. Recovery-943 is the latest addition to Unitrends’ Recovery Seriesof scalable, all-in-one backup, archiving, instant recovery and disaster recovery appliances.

Ease mobile Facebook payments…

Bango now provides Facebook mobile web carrier billing, as part of an improved mobile payments flow. This enables Facebook's mobile web users to easily purchase digital content without the use of premium SMS messages or the limitations of credit cards. Instead, users enjoy frictionless operator billing, paying on their phone, without the need to register personal details.

Make it easier to share video…

Viewbix makes ordinary videos instantly interactive with the integration of apps and sharing capabilities that engage viewers and present them with immediate calls-to-action for significantly increased reach and ROI. Viewbix players support YouTube, Vimeo Pro, Facebook and other third party videos and can be embedded and shared across the web, mobile devices and social networks.

Conduct a better webcast…

ON24, the global leader in webcasting and virtual event solutions, has developed a next-generation presentation interface for its do-it-yourself webinar solution, Webcast Elite. Designed to meet the unique needs of the webinar presenter, the new Presentation Manager XD is an easy-to-use interface that allows presenters to focus on what they do best—presenting. Presentation Manager XD features an interactive storyboard to dynamically respond to audience needs and deliver greater presentation control. Its enhanced Q&A functionality increases audience connectivity and engagement.

Increase your social media influence…

SocialToaster introduces your brand to a new audience that would have never been exposed to it on social media. Most importantly, the message is delivered as a 3rd party endorsement. We give your super fans super powers by allowing them to consistently and easily share your message across their social networks. Why do your super fans opt in? To get exclusive news and content from their favorite brands and to be rewarded for their participation! Real-time reporting makes it easy to evaluate the effectiveness of your social media marketing campaign and identify your top influencers.

Getting your video to customers…

Qumu’s new patent-pending Pathfinder technology provides an intelligent solution available for prepping and routing video content to viewers in a multi-device world. It automatically detects who the user is, what type of device is being used, and what network the user is connected to, and serves the appropriate version of the video.  This gives administrators the power to cap bit rates for specific scenarios, thus protecting the corporate network. And, the viewer doesn’t have to know anything about what format or screen resolution works on their device; A single link is presented to play the video.  Qumu Pathfinder is flexible. It can run in the Cloud or on-premise, and has the ability to add new rules for the devices of the future.

Create a great business presentation…

Count Me In's Small Business Perfect Pitch offers users a convenient way to access proven tools, tips and exercises designed to help entrepreneurs best present their business to banks and investors, potential clients, through media opportunities, and even in social situations. It also provides helpful lessons on how to avoid common mistakes that can distract target audiences from key messages - from how to avoid "ums" and "uhs" to non-verbal cues many entrepreneurs are not aware of when speaking.

Other features include: Count Me In pitch tips, video demonstrations and exercises that can be viewed without internet access to maximize convenience. It also includes a pitch calendar that users can sync with their phone's Google calendar and a Pitch Notes tool to allow the user to track and manage their presentations and follow up opportunities


Create mobile apps…

ShoutEm Mobilizer allows users to rapidly deploy cost-effective mobile apps with its drag and drop system. It allows even those who can't build a simple web page to build an app for iPhone, Android and mobile web consumption. Small businesses, restaurants, clubs, tourism boards, radio stations, events, wineries and many other types of businesses are already using the platform to further engage their customers. 

ShoutEm does not charge users to build an app. Small business owners simply drag-and-drop the elements that they would like to see in the app and then publish. They are only charged based on how many downloads the app gets. And for less than 2,000 users it's only $19 a month.

Create a web site…

vFlyer, the online marketing company dedicated to providing cost-effective and efficient marketing tools for small and midsize businesses, recently unveiled a new, improved and freeversion of its website building service, vFlyer Sites. With vFlyer Sites, small business professionals and independent service providers can not only build a website in minutes, but also manage the website through its entire life-cycle. vFlyer Sites simplifies website creation and content management with a three-step site creation wizard and intuitive Site Editor and provides powerful capabilities normally available only in high-end content management systems. New features include structured content templates, a safety net feature, marketing listing integration, preview and live environments to view adjustments before they become visible to the public, and advanced page templates, etc.  vFlyer Sites isthe perfect choice for small business owners who want to build credibility and win customers by having a great-looking, highly functional, and easily updatable website.

Create a mobile app…

Tiggzi is an online platform for mobile development that was created by Exadel, Inc., and offers an easy and comprehensive way to develop mobile apps. Tiggzi, a cloud-based service, enables rapid software design, building, testing, and delivery of cross-platform mobile apps (iPhone/iPad, Android, the mobile web, and soon Windows Phone and Blackberry).  Through Tiggzi’s powerful drag-and-drop visual editor,  developers – even those new to mobile – are able to build industry-leading applications efficiently, incorporating the broad range of services offered via APIs across the Web.

Manage your email

Unroll.me is a free online service designed to organize and prioritize unwanted email subscriptions into a daily roll-up overview made just for you.  By selecting the emails that are overloading your inbox, unroll.me automatically unsubscribes you all at once, making your inbox a more efficient place to manage your personal and work related emails.

Access your bookkeeping software on the go

FreshBooks has launched a new mobile app designed to fit the lifestyle of today’s small businesses owners, giving them the freedom to run their business anytime, anywhere. The FreshBooks iOS app has all the key features of the web version of FreshBooks, including the streamlined ability to send professional-looking invoices, get paid online with Paypal and attach expenses directly to invoices. Invite staff or sub-contractors to projects to log hours as you work and generate invoices from timesheets to enjoy seamless collaboration. FreshBooks is designed to support businesses of all types: lawyers, marketing and IT professionals, plumbers, interior decorators, even an architect–anyone who creates value for their clients by applying their time and expertise.

Sell ebooks or music downloads

reKiosk is a way to sell ebooks and music directly to your fans, and tohave fans sell for you. reKiosk is the first platform of its kind to
provide an easy, free and shareable way to sell digital files online whether it's your own original work or someone else's. It's great for
musicians and publishers and it's great for bloggers, critics and other curators who want to open a digital store where they can recommend ebooks and music and get paid to do so.

View PowerPoint presentations on your iPhone

Brainshark, Inc.'s free SlideShark app enables users to view and show PowerPoints on their iPhones. This new app provides users with the unprecedented ability to view and show PowerPoints properly on the iPhone or iPod touch, zoom in to better view content, share and track presentations, and connect to projectors or TVs for presentations to larger audiences, among other features. And for users with multiple iOS devices (iPhone, iPad, iPod touch), they can access all of their content, conveniently, from the same free, secure, cloud-based account.

Jeanette Mulvey
Jeanette Mulvey

Jeanette has been writing about business for more than 20 years. She has written about every kind of entrepreneur from hardware store owners to fashion designers. Previously she was a manager of internal communications for Home Depot. Her journalism career began in local newspapers. She has a degree in American Studies from Rutgers University. Follow her on Twitter @jeanettebnd.