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Best Low-Cost Tech Tools for Small Businesses

All small business owners are looking for ways to cut costs and increase profits. Fortunately, technology can make both those tasks much easier!

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Creative Commons image found here courtesy of Reuben Ingber

Find out which technology tools and strategies can help your small business save money, operate more efficiently, and earn even more profits.

1. Online Business Training

Nearly every aspect of the business world is in a never-ending cycle of change and evolution. To stay on top of things, you must instigate a lifelong-learning mentality.

Online learning is one of the best ways to glean more knowledge about a particular aspect of business. Self-paced training means you can squeeze lessons into your day when it is most convenient for you and your business.

If you are interested in taking an online course or two, here are some great resources to consider:

2. The Cloud

Cloud computing is quite possibly the easiest way to help your small business save money and increase productivity. Here are just some of the perks of using the cloud:

· Employees can work anywhere, anytime. They aren’t tied to their desktop computer.

· Files are easily accessible by everyone on the team.

· Data is always safe and secure.

· It usually costs less to secure accounts with cloud computing than purchasing individual licensing agreements.

Right now, some of the most popular office apps in the cloud include Zoho, Google Docs, and Office360.

3. Telephone Alternatives

It might be time to cut the cord – the phone cord, that is. These days, few people are tied to their offices. Life – and work – requires a more mobile option. Not only do landline alternatives allow more flexibility and efficiency for your business, they also help you save money. Perhaps your business needs to look into cell phones, VoIP or virtual phone lines.

4. Time Tracking Tools

Time tracking tools are very helpful in the business world – especially in small businesses where resources are limited. You’d be amazed at how long a task actually takes you – probably much longer than you thought!

Taking advantage of time tracking tools helps you bill hourly clients more efficiently; your project estimates will be more accurate.

Even if you don’t bill clients by the hour, time tracking tools can still enhance any small business. Use them to monitor your productivity and the productivity of your employees. Usually, you can speed things up quite a bit.

There are lots of time tracking tools available. Options range from simple pomodoro tracking (MyTomatoes) to online programs, software, and apps (1time, Bill4Time, and Cashboard to name a few).

5. Video Conference Services

Small businesses can save a lot of money by hiring virtual employees (or transitioning current employees to virtual offices). For this to work successfully, business owners must use video conferencing services.

Fortunately, there are plenty to choose from. Simple video calls can be made from Gmail. Other people prefer Skype because of its business-friendly features. These two are the most budget friendly, but other, more advanced options are available too.

6. Chargeback Protection

If your business sells products or services and accepts credit cards as a form of payment, you are vulnerable to a profit-sucking problem: chargebacks. If you don’t know what chargebacks are, you need to educate yourself immediately.

Chargebacks are usually based on one of two things: poor customer service or fraud. Since most chargebacks come from cardholders who didn’t authorize the purchase, it is best to start addressing your fraud detection practices.

Check with the credit card companies and your merchant processor. Tech tools like CVV2, Verified by Visa, and MasterCard SecureCode can really help cut down on unauthorized purchases.

By taking advantage of various technology tools, your small business can hang on to more of your hard-earned profits, increase productivity, and cut back on unnecessary expenses.

Do you have any tech tool suggestions we left off the list? Let us know!

Guest author Logan Flatebo is a business professional with years of experience. Right now, he is working with Chargebacks911 to educate business owners about the effects of chargebacks and the various ways to keep expenses low. With chargeback management companies and various online tools, it is easier to combat chargebacks and reduce unnecessary costs. He wishes some of today’s tech tools were available when he launched his own business!

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