Technology and small business

In an ever-evolving technological age, it’s vital that businesses embrace the technology around them and use it as effectively as possible. The world of business is a highly competitive one, so it’s one of your responsibilities as a business owner to educate yourself about the latest technologies and to integrate them into your business as much as possible.  

 

This will enable you not only to remain competitive, but also to meet the expectations of your customers, reduce costs and stay ahead of regulatory demands. Utilising the right technologies can also help a business to improve its relationships with its clients, enter new markets, as well as to increase efficiency and revenue – something that can ultimately lead to the impressive expansion of business operations.

 

With the introduction of cloud computing, businesses have multiple options when it comes to business management solutions. From digital platforms, to business applications and reporting tools, it’s now possible for businesses to have access to a range of solutions that are not only effective and reliable, but most importantly, affordable. The cloud offers simplicity and flexibility, and you’re able to access all your data from wherever you are, any time. Plus, all the information stored on the cloud is safe and secure, so you never have to worry about backing up data or losing it. What follows is five ways your business should be using technology to its advantage.

 

Accounting and Payroll Software

 

Online accounting and payroll software, such as that available from Sage One, means that those days of thumbing through file drawers and battling with complicated, inefficient systems are behind you. Sage One allows you to see your profits and losses at a glance as well as manage all your accounts, payroll and budgets quickly and easily. The best part is that you can do this where ever, whenever, all you need is an internet connection.

 

Automated Marketing

 

One of the common reasons for businesses failing within the first two years is a lack of marketing savvy. If your small business makes it past the two-year mark, then it’s up to you to find effective yet affordable methods to market the business and what it offers. There are many cloud-based marketing applications available that provide the perfect solution when it comes to marketing technology. Small businesses don’t have to rely on sophisticated and expensive technology to do a great job when it comes to marketing, and when used correctly, the cloud-based marketing applications available can achieve the same results to that of larger companies.

 

Social Media

 

Social media is one of the most powerful technological tools available and when used to its full potential, can help a small business grow in the best possible ways. A strong social media presence allows a business to interact with customers regularly, something that helps build brand loyalty, but also extends the business’s reach. For example, having a simple blog on your website that is updated regularly with relevant content will increase customer engagement and hopefully attract new business through it being shared across social platforms.

 

Planning Software

 

Every business should have a calendar system or some kind of planning resource in place. This will help you to be more organised as a business, meet deadlines and run daily processes more efficiently. With so many demands needing to be met on a day-to-day basis, business owners and their employees will benefit from a system that helps them manage their time effectively, because at the end of the day, time is money.

 

Mobile Technology

 

This is something that has become a “must” for all businesses. People are able to do more and more on their phones/tablets, and so it’s not surprising that they expect to be able to do everything via their mobile device. It’s in the best interests of a business to ride the mobile wave, both in terms of its utilisation of mobile applications as well as ensuring that its customers are able to connect with the business via their mobile devices.

 

When it comes to technology, it’s important that small businesses use it in a lean and smart way. It’s become a huge part of the business world and the reality is that it needs to be embraced in as any ways as possible, so keep up with the times and make technology your friend – it’s sure to serve you and your business well.

 

 

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Cloud Accounting is the key to taking your business to the next level

Talk to any small business owner and they’re bound to tell you how cloud accounting has helped to change their business… and their lives. When people mention “the Cloud”, they are almost always referring to using the Internet as a means of storing, managing and processing data. 

 

Cloud accounting will completely transform how you do business and once you experience how revolutionary it can be, you’ll wonder why you haven’t been using it all along. Read on to discover the reasons why cloud accounting is the way forward and what it has to offer that is sure to take your business from good to great.

 

Real time, all the time

 

With cloud accounting, as long as you have Internet access, you are able to see all your data at any time and in real time. Any changes you make are automatically saved meaning that you and others are always working with the latest versions of information. Also, more than one person can work on a single file at the same time, facilitating better communication between you and your financial expert (aka, your accountant) as queries can be answered and issues can be resolved there and then.

 

Manual data entry is a thing of the past

 

Gone are the days of having to manually re-enter relevant transaction data from your banking system into your accounting software. Live feeds from your accounts can now be linked to your cloud-based accounting system so that you not only have access to up-to-date, live data, but you also get to say goodbye to lengthy data entry time and slow downloads. In a nutshell: cloud accounting saves you time making it easier for you to focus on the aspects of your business that matter most.

 

Effective business decisions are made faster

 

Being able to access real-time information anywhere using a mobile device means that your business is no longer at a disadvantage because of its accounting data lagging behind reality. When it comes to making important and effective business decisions, it certainly helps to have immediate access to the up-to-date data that is needed to make the best possible decisions. Cloud accounting does just this – it assists business owners with making more informed business decisions more smoothly, and in the fast-paced business industry, this is hugely beneficial.

 

Flexibility with peace of mind

 

The Cloud is able to adapt as your business changes and grows, remaining a valuable business tool that supports the running of your business, rather than restricting it. In this way it allows you to have a great amount of flexibility when it comes to conducting business, something valuable in a world in which the business landscape is continually changing. The necessary security measures are also taken to ensure that all your data remains safe and protected in the Cloud so that you can proceed on a day to day basis without having to worry about the security of your business’s sensitive information. The added bonus is that you never have to be concerned about losing your data due to theft,disaster (such as fire) or even load shedding because the Cloud is not a physical thing. With cloud accounting you have peace of mind so that you can focus on the important things.

 

Cloud accounting software, such as that offered by Sage One, helps you maintain a bird’s-eye view of your business wherever you are, helping you to revolutionise the way you do business. It’s simple to use, hassle free and safe – what more could an on-the-go business person ask for?

 

 

Credit: http://myob.com.au

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Lumkani: Saving South African lives

South Africans are many things, but with the number of start-ups that have been launched in recent years, it’s easy to see how “enterprising” is fast becoming an accurate way of describing them. More and more aspiring entrepreneurs are attempting to make their mark in South Africa’s burgeoning entrepreneurial market, many of who are driven by their need to make a difference in society and help their fellow brethren – and Lumkani is one such start-up.

South Africans are many things, but with the number of start-ups that have been launched in recent years, it’s easy to see how “enterprising” is fast becoming an accurate way of describing them. More and more aspiring entrepreneurs are attempting to make their mark in South Africa’s burgeoning entrepreneurial market, many of who are driven by their need to make a difference in society and help their fellow brethren – and Lumkani is one such start-up. We take a closer look at this social initiative and how it’s attempting to save lives, not just in South Africa, but in other parts of the world as well.

A harsh reality

While conducting research for his Honours thesis in engineering, co-founder Francois Petousis found the devastating 2013 fire in Khayelitsha (in which more than 4000 people were left homeless) to have an acceleratory effect on his study. The unfortunate reality that many members of urban informal settlements face is that the outbreak of a fire can have devastating effects on the entire community. This is mainly because of how densely packed the settlements tend to be, and as a result, fires spread rapidly and leave a trail of damage in their wake. The 2013 fire further highlighted the great need for a solution that would create a social impact and finally address the challenge of shack fires.

The birth of Lumkani

Together with UCT electrical engineering lecturer Samuel Ginsberg, Petousis founded Lumkani, after which they were soon joined by other team members, including the start-up’s director, David Gluckman. Their mission was to design an affordable product that could function as an early-warning system in the hopes of increasing the chances of safety for informal settlement community members when fires break out. Beyond the issue of safety, there was also the need to help reduce the amount of fire-damage caused.

How does the technology work?

The Lumkani early-warning system is based on heat detection technology, as opposed to the traditional smoke detector. This is because many lighting, cooking and heating methods used by people in informal settlements produce smoke. Lumkani’s rate-of-rise of temperature technology was designed to monitor the temperature within a home, resulting in an alarm being triggered when the temperature becomes alarmingly high. The main goal here is to alert people earlier when a fire breaks out, giving them enough time to get to safety and call for help. Grappling with the core issues surrounding settlement fires, Petousis and his team acknowledged that it went beyond just a single shack and extended to the entire community. In short, in order to tackle this problem, there was a need for a communal alert. The answer: detectors that are networked within a 60 metre radius. This means that when one alarm is triggered, all the subsequent devices within its radius will ring as well, leading to a community-wide response to the danger. This makes for far more rapid detection, as well as faster and more effective responses, all of which mean less damage. The system also stores GPS co-ordinates and when an alarm is triggered, text messages are sent off to the affected members.

Looking forwards

The Lumkani team is now working on the next phase, which involves an alarm sending off GPS co-ordinates to emergency services – something which aims to reduce response time and limit the amount of damage by dealing with a fire before it becomes unmanageable. The start-up also has its sights set on the globe, where it hopes to bring about change in areas beyond South Africa.

In the meantime, since November 2014, Lumkani has made its way into many communities and offers close to 2000 households a fighting chance of beating devastating fires. It walked away with the prize for the best start-up in Global Innovation through Science and Technology at the Global Entrepreneurship Summit in 2014, and has recently won the South African leg of Chivas Regal’s Win the Right Way competition. It will now join 20 other entrepreneurs from around the world in Silicon Valley for a mentorship programme later this year, where it stands the chance of winning $1 million. Good things have already been achieved, but great things are yet to come for this amazing South African start-up.

Trust Sage One’s effective software to be by your side as you make your entrepreneurial dreams become a reality.

Featured image: http://www.destinyman.com

Cloud-based applications for SMEs I Cloud myth-busting

South African SMEs are enthusiastically embracing cloud-based applications such as Dropbox and Google Apps. Though the market is becoming more sophisticated, there are still a few myths that prevail about the risks and benefits of cloud computing, says Ivan Epstein, CEO of Sage Australia, Asia, Middle East and Africa. “The cloud promises to make the use of business IT resources online and on-demand as easy as services such as Gmail and Dropbox,” says Epstein. “It’s about having a flexible new way of buying technology applications and services you need. Many of the fears that surround the cloud are now out of date.”

South African SMEs are enthusiastically embracing cloud-based applications such as Dropbox and Google Apps. Though the market is becoming more sophisticated, there are still a few myths that prevail about the risks and benefits of cloud computing, says Ivan Epstein, CEO of Sage Australia, Asia, Middle East and Africa.

“The cloud promises to make the use of business IT resources online and on-demand as easy as services such as Gmail and Dropbox,” says Epstein. “It’s about having a flexible new way of buying technology applications and services you need. Many of the fears that surround the cloud are now out of date.”

Myth 1: It’s not secure

Many SMEs worry that their data will not be safe with a cloud software provider. But provided you choose a credible vendor, it will host and manage your application and data in a top-tier data centre underpinned by world-class technology, says Epstein. Such a facility will feature the latest and best information and physical security, he says.  “These facilities will be as secure as those where your bank keeps your confidential financial information locked up. No SME can afford to spend as much on security as a good cloud service provider does.”

Myth 2: An ordinary mobile broadband or ADSL line isn’t good enough

Many SMEs are already using cloud services on standard ADSL and mobile broadband connections with no problem. The user experience is more than acceptable for most services including accounting and payroll software. “You don’t need a fast, uncapped fibre line to use cloud apps,” he says. “Your ADSL line will do just fine and you won’t burn through huge amounts of bandwidth.”

Myth 3: You have to commit fully to the cloud or stay off it

Many SMEs think that taking advantage of services in the cloud means throwing out their existing applications and committing completely to a cloud provider. That’s not true, says Epstein, since you can opt for “connected services” that allow you to move over to the cloud at your own pace. “Connected services offer hooks into the cloud so you can benefit from working online while still using a PC software package,” says Epstein. “For example, a desktop accounting solution might allow you to access a range of digital transaction and payment solutions from within the package’s interface. We believe the future is in the cloud, but not everyone is ready to move completely over to using their software online.”

Myth 4: It’s just about cost-savings

The cloud can help you to save money on buying servers and installing software. It can also allow you to pay for your software per month rather than committing a big some upfront to buy a software package. Those are important benefits, but they are not as significant as the way the cloud gives your business more flexibility, he adds.

“The cloud turns IT consumed into a utility, transforming fixed costs into variable costs,” Epstein says. “It allows you to buy applications such as accounting not as a software suite but as a collection of services. You can buy what you need and increase your use of these services with a few clicks when you need to.” And the cloud makes information and business services available everywhere your employees have Internet access, making your workforce faster, more responsive and better informed.

Gathering clouds

“Judging from the demand for our online solutions, the cloud is gathering traction in South Africa’s SME sector. As the next step in Sage South Africa’s continued investment in the cloud, we have consolidated our Sage Pastel My Business Online, Sage Pastel My Payroll Online and Sage VIP Liquid offerings under the Sage One brand name.” Sage has built on this solid South African foundation, and applied global insights gleaned from the Sage One businesses in Europe and the US, to bring Sage One to South Africa, he adds.

Four ways the cloud is transforming HR and payroll management

Cloud computing and mobility bring a range of powerful benefits for HR and payroll managers, enabling them to become more efficient while offering their employees and the business a better quality of service. With software solutions like Sage One Payroll, there are no annual licence fees or upfront costs, meaning that you don’t need to dip into your capital to afford a powerful, modern payroll solution.

Cloud computing and mobility bring a range of powerful benefits for HR and payroll managers, enabling them to become more efficient while offering their employees and the business a better quality of service.

With software solutions like Sage One Payroll, there are no annual licence fees or upfront costs, meaning that you don’t need to dip into your capital to afford a powerful, modern payroll solution.

Here are four ways that mobile solutions and the cloud are making a difference in payroll & HR environments.

1. Employee self-service for all

Employees today live on their smartphones, so it makes sense to deliver company information and services to them on their handsets. You should select an HR package that includes employee self-service functionality, enabling your employees to apply for leave, file business travel expenses, and update their personal information from their computers, smartphones or tablets. This is convenient for the employee, and also saves managers and the HR department a great deal of paperwork.

Another useful feature is a mobile app that allows your employees to access payslips and leave balances from a secure online environment. Each employee will have access to a secure online profile where they can access copies of historic payslips in PDF format as well as detailed information about their leave records.

2. E-learning everywhere

Electronic learning has gained massive traction in workplaces around the world, though some South African companies have been slower to embrace its potential. Today’s cloud and mobile e-learning solutions give companies even more flexibility to deliver training and education to their workforces, wherever they are.

3. Service mash-ups

Cloud-based payroll and HR solutions can easily integrate with a range of online services that extend their functionality – for example, bank account validations and ID verifications. This allows you to easily ensure that the ID number and banking details you have for an employee are valid and correct from within the payroll application. These services are especially valuable when making use of electronic services to pay salaries, ensuring that you are paying salaries into the correct accounts and to the correct recipients.

4. Value-added apps for employees

Once you’re interacting online and on mobile devices with your employees through employee self-service, you can build a range of value-added services into your apps and internal websites. For example, a salary tax calculator could allow employees to perform comparative calculations using this year’s and last year’s income tax rates. This will allow employees to answer many questions for themselves instead of asking your payroll & HR departments for help. It can also improve employee satisfaction.

Sage One for mobile

This month saw the release of a range of updated mobile applications by Sage One as its mission continues to try and take customers’ business connectivity to the next level. In a world of ever-changing technology, Sage One knows the importance of staying up-to-date and providing business leaders with the relevant tools they require to run their businesses more efficiently and easily.

This month saw the release of a range of updated mobile applications by Sage One as its mission continues to try and take customers’ business connectivity to the next level. In a world of ever-changing technology, Sage One knows the importance of staying up-to-date and providing business leaders with the relevant tools they require to run their businesses more efficiently and easily. Forming part of the Sage One add-ons, these smart apps have been designed to keep you connected to your data, anytime, anywhere, on most smart devices. Committed to keeping you connected while on-the-go, this range of mobile apps are going to change the way you do business… for the better.

Sage One on the iPhone

iPhones have soared in popularity over the last few years and now you can access your Sage One data using this iPhone app. Log on to view customer information, record important notes and contact clients using your standard phone and email applications. Revolutionise the way you use your iPhone for business with the Sage One iPhone app.

Sage One on the iPad

When you log on using the Sage One iPad app, you’ll have immediate access to your Dashboard which will enable you to see your company’s performance at the touch of a button. Once again, you’ll also be able to get customer information, take notes and view any balances that are outstanding. Most importantly, you’ll be able to create quotes and invoices on the spot, and then e-mail those off to your customers directly. What could be easier?

Sage One on your Android Device

Available from the Google Play Store, the Sage One app for android is the one that will put you ahead of the rest. View a variety of customer information, create quotes and then convert them to invoices, and record notes in the To Do section on your Dashboard. You’ll even be able to find your way to your customers’ offices with the help of the map links made available – the options are endless when it comes to this ingenious app. Doing business on-the-go has never been simpler.

Sage One on the Windows Phone and Sage One Windows 8 App

Get an overview of your business when you use either of these apps. Keep track of your sales and purchases for the day, check your due and over-due tasks and have immediate access to your customer information. Of course you’ll also able to issue quotes and invoices directly to clients, all while on-the-go. Both of these are available from either the Windows App Store or the Windows Phone Store.

Please note: This app is for Windows 8 phones only.

The Latest Feature – Processing Business Expenses on the Go

This new feature allows you to process expenses even when you’re not in the office. In three simple steps, you’ll be able to transform the way in which you process expenses:

Step 1: Add a new expense from your phone and complete the expense details

Step 2: Take a photograph of the slip relating to a particular expense and then attach the image to the new expense you’ve created.

Step 3: Click save to process the transaction after which it will be reflected automatically on your Sage One Accounting banking screen.

You can then simply accept the transaction as is or you can reclassify it if necessary. Either way, the expense is captured together with the slip so that you can take a look whenever you need to do so.

Beta users have started to use this feature to capture supplier invoices as well, even when they’re in the office. This just goes to show how Sage One can transform the way you do business, in the office and beyond.

See all the add-ons available from Sage One, including all of the above mobile options, and discover how you can have your business at your fingertips wherever you are.

 

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The low down on data security in South Africa

When it comes to the matter of data security, it’s something that should be very high on the list of priorities for businesses that handle sensitive and personal information on a daily basis. This is especially true for companies that use the Cloud as a means of storing such information, which in this technological age, is almost every one – with Sage One being no exception.

When it comes to the matter of data security, it’s something that should be very high on the list of priorities for businesses that handle sensitive and personal information on a daily basis. This is especially true for companies that use the Cloud as a means of storing such information, which in this technological age, is almost every one – with Sage One being no exception. At Sage One, we’re committed to keeping our customers’ data safe and secure so that business managers can run their businesses smoothly using online software that they know is protected every step of the way. Read on to find out all you need to know about data security in South Africa.

First, let’s make sure that everyone understands what the Cloud is

“The Cloud” is essentially another way of saying the Internet. The software offered by Sage One operates within the Cloud – so ultimately, it’s considered “cloud software”. Because all data relating to the software is stored within the Cloud, upgrades take place automatically so that you’re always working on the latest version, and the best part about it is that you’re able to access the information you need at any time, wherever you are. Another prime example of cloud software is Facebook.

But how does this affect security?

Many people are weary of sharing important information online and this is a valid fear. Identify theft and unwanted contact from marketers are areas of concern for many South Africans, but there are ways to combat these and ensure that all data is safeguarded.

So, what security measures has Sage One adopted to keep your data secure?

When it comes to accessing your Sage One software, a unique password and username is required. Only invited persons are given access, using their own passwords and usernames. Remaining inactive for a prolonged period of time once logged in, results in the system automatically logging you out.

All your business’s Sage One data is stored in a managed hosted environment at a secure location. Access to this specialised data centre is restricted, with only authorised personnel being able to enter. Around-the-clock armed security employees together with CCTV ensure your data always has a watchful eye over it.

Furthermore, an industry-standard firewall is in place which makes sure that only intended traffic reaches the Sage One service. Injection attempts, service attacks and intrusions are avoided with the help of regularly produced logs and alerts that are reviewed frequently. Close attention is paid to all systems as well so that new vulnerabilities and possible weaknesses can be identified quickly and resolved even faster.

Lastly, all information is encrypted using a security certificate obtained from a reputable provider, allowing it to remain safe and protected while in the Cloud.

POPI Act

The Protection of Personal Information Act was passed as a means of keeping data secure and protecting the personal information of South Africans. Organisations need to take the necessary steps in accordance with this law to ensure that they comply with it and safeguard all the data with which they’ve been entrusted. Sage One does its part, now so should you.

Data security is highly valued in South Africa and when it comes to a business being dedicated to upholding it, Sage One is no exception. Rest assured that when working with any of the Sage One online products, your information remains safe and secure.

 

Featured image: http://www.buydata.me

Here’s what you should be doing differently when it comes to your small business

Sometimes in business, entrepreneurs just get it right. Others will look on in awe and wonder what the secret to their success is and what they could be doing differently in order to become as successful. Establishing, running and growing your own business is one of the hardest yet most rewarding things you can choose to do, and it requires consistent patience, persistence and dedication. 

Sometimes in business, entrepreneurs just get it right. Others will look on in awe and wonder what the secret to their success is and what they could be doing differently in order to become as successful. Establishing, running and growing your own business is one of the hardest yet most rewarding things you can choose to do, and it requires consistent patience, persistence and dedication. As a small business owner you need to be constantly re-evaluating your business to ensure it’s performing at its absolute best. Here’s our list of a few things you should consider doing differently, if you aren’t doing them already.

Tweak and diversify

In order to have a successful business, people have to buy what you’re selling, be it a product or a service. If you noticed that sales have taken a dip, it may be time to make some changes to the things on offer. This doesn’t necessarily have to mean complete replacement, but perhaps only a few tweaks here and there. For example, you may consider creating new packages for clients that consist of a handful of your products, thereby adding value. You may find this better speaks to the needs of customers, something that should be constantly being met by your business. Diversification can also be an effective route to go and involves branching out a little. If you own a fashion business, you could think about expanding into garment care by offering a range of products that can be used to maintain the items of clothing you offer. You can end up not only appealing to already existing customers, but to an entirely new consumer market as well.

Don’t just market your product – sell your story

The key here is context. Consumers will be far more inclined to buy your product if they understand how it can help solve their problems. So how do you as the business owner go about achieving this? It’s simple: you provide the story behind the business. People tend to connect with stories, especially when it comes to those linked to specific products. The story will automatically inject meaning and emotion into the purchase process, but most importantly, telling a story brings a human element to the often clinical business world. By putting a face to the brand and sharing the story behind it, consumers are bound to feel more connected to it, and connection can not only lead to more sales, but to brand loyalty as well.

Embrace technology

Whether you like it not, the reality is that the role technology is playing in the success of small business is becoming more and more important every day. You can’t expect to grow in a technologically saturated world by turning your back on it. We don’t mean becoming tech-savvy overnight and investing in every possible element of technology pertaining to your particular business, but rather embracing it slowly but surely over a period of time. A good place to start is with social media– when used correctly, it can completely transform your marketing strategy…and for the better. Another thing to consider is the power of the Cloud. Software that operates within the Cloud can help to change how you run and manage your business dramatically. Sage One Software provides you with a fast, efficient and simple way of dealing with the financial side of your business, such as payroll and accounts. Don’t shy away from technology – it could be just the ingredient you need to boost your business.

Don’t compromise your vision

Among other things, flexibility and adaptability are two important aspects to bear in mind when it comes to running your own business. There’s no doubt that you will experience bumps in the road that require you to adapt and make changes fast, but in doing that, it’s important that you don’t lose sight of your purpose and core values. This can be easier said than done, but at the end of the day, if you compromise your vision and the principles you hold dear, you may end up regretting it. By all means make adjustments at times, but that shouldn’t mean having to sacrifice your vision completely.

Part of running your own business is learning as you go. You will stumble at times but the important thing is to get up and keep moving forward. Observe the businesses around you – you can only learn from them.

 

Featured image: http://michaelhyatt.com

Sage One Accounting Software: How it can help you run your business smoothly

In a previous post we took a look at the reasons why your small business needs Sage One Payroll software, so in this post we’ll be showing you how Sage One accounting software can help you run your business more smoothly. Here at Sage One, we value the hard work, effort and commitment that goes into getting a new business off the ground and operating smoothly and efficiently.

In a previous post we took a look at the reasons why your small business needs Sage One Payroll software, so in this post we’ll be showing you how Sage One accounting software can help you run your business more smoothly. Here at Sage One, we value the hard work, effort and commitment that goes into getting a new business off the ground and operating smoothly and efficiently. We want to see entrepreneurs and small business owners succeed, and that’s why we’re dedicated to doing what we can to get you there. The online accounting software Sage One offers is designed to help you manage the financial side of your business in the simplest and fastest way possible – something that will hopefully take you and your business a step closer to becoming a serious player in your particular industry.

Saves you time

You’ve heard it before, but it’s true: time is money. In business you want to be able to use your time wisely and find ways to avoid wasting it unnecessarily. One way of achieving this is by incorporating simplified processes into the everyday running of the business – the easier things are, the faster they’ll be completed which will save you time. Sage One’s accounting software is simple to use and a lack of confusing jargon makes it a breeze to deal with on a daily basis. It has an “intuitive interface”, making it easy for you to navigate your way around the system and find what you’re looking for fast.

Hassle-free

Fewer hassles with your software and operating systems usually results in smoother running of things all round. There are numerous “hassle-free” features of Sage One software, such as:

  • Upgrades: Because you’re working in the Cloud, your work is automatically “updated” instantly whenever you make changes which ensures that you’re always working on the latest version.
  • Installation: Again, using the Cloud means there’s nothing to install.
  • Accessibility: Provided you have Internet access, you’re able to access the system 24/7 from where ever you are. What could be more convenient?
  • Security: The Cloud stores all your data safely and securely, so you never have to worry about it landing in the wrong hands.

Full over-view of the business

Having a bird’s-eye view of your whole business is best when it comes to running things. When you can see every aspect of the financial side of your business, you’re able to manage it in the most effective way possible. With Sage One’s carefully designed Dashboard, you can keep your eye on everything, from who are your best customers, to your sales history and which are your top-selling products. Having a full-overview of the business will help you spot problem areas faster, make changes where necessary and overall, have a better idea of your business’s financial landscape.

The Drill Down feature is an added bonus that allows you to look deeper into the information presented to you by the interface. Having immediate access to the details behind the information you receive will provide you with a better understanding of why things are the way they are and this will hopefully lead to faster problem-solving and improved relationships with customers.

One-stop shop

Sage One software provides the perfect platform for business owners to deal with many things at once. From managing customers, suppliers and inventory, to creating customised invoices using the Sage One Custom Layout Designer, producing reports and managing the business’s bank accounts, Sage One’s online accounting is truly a one-stop shop. Furthermore, your accountant can be granted access to the system, allowing him to keep an eye on the financials from where ever he is.

Sage One software is everything rolled into one, making it the ideal financial management tool for any small business. To find out more about this fantastic software and its features, take a quick tour on the Sage One website.

 

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E-commerce websites: The essential tools you need to get your online business up and running

Starting your own business requires a lot of planning, research and investigation. There are many things you need to consider and arrange before launch, such as devising a clear business plan, refining your product and registering the business. When it comes to starting your own online business, most of the same steps apply, yet added to those is also a string of other boxes to tick.

Starting your own business requires a lot of planning, research and investigation. There are many things you need to consider and arrange before launch, such as devising a clear business plan, refining your product and registering the business. When it comes to starting your own online business, most of the same steps apply, yet added to those is also a string of other boxes to tick. Because the Internet is so vast, it offers a variety of different opportunities for aspiring online business entrepreneurs, but it also brings with it a whole new space to navigate through. Read on to find out the essential tools you’ll need to get your e-commerce site up and running.

Web host

First thing’s first: arranging a suitable web host. Since it’s the web host that will form the technical backbone of your site, it’s important that it’s of a high standard. Whilst there are many free web hosting options available out there, you’d be better off looking into enlisting the services of a professional web hosting company because in this way, you secure a dedicated space in which your venture can exist through a virtual private server (VPS). Going this route almost always ensures you’ll get a high quality, sleek-looking site and you’ll avoid having to share any resources, as is often the case when using a free option.

Helpful hint: Before even looking for a web host, be sure to secure a domain name for your business. It should be concise – make it something easy to remember and fast to type (for example, avoid using hyphens).

Content management platform

Once you have your chosen web host, you’ll want to consider where the content you create will live. Having a platform that is easy to use and versatile is key, so you may want to go with something like Sage Online Tools. From the market leaders in business management software, Sage Pastel comes a platform that allows you to build an entire site,  Also, because it’s fully customisable, business owners are able to mould their site into whatever they want. However, if you have specific needs or a particular vision in mind, then you may want to consider hiring a professional developer who you can work alongside as they build the site for you.

Simple check-out system

Especially if as a small business, your main source of revenue comes from selling products online, a simple, quick check-out system is a must. Part of creating the best possible user experience (UX) for customers is ensuring that once they’ve found what they were looking for and added items to their shopping cart, they can easily pay and then leave the site. The last thing you want as a business is to make it complicated for your customers to get what they need. Offering a wide variety of payment options will also help make the check-out process as smooth as possible.

Social media presence

Since your business lives online, it only makes sense to utilise it as much as possible. As it is, most successful businesses make sure they use social media to their full potential as it is one of the most effective marketing tools. Establishing a solid social media presence is an important part of your online business model, as it will allow you to connect and interact with current and potential customers or clients, thereby marketing your business and ensuring your customer service is of a high standard. It can be used to build your community, as well as a social listening tool that can help you make changes to your online business so as to deliver maximum customer satisfaction.

Newsletter and mailing list

Consider putting together a mailing list and weekly/monthly/quarterly newsletter for those on the list. You can get visitors to sign up on your site to receive the newsletter and in so doing, provide you with an excellent opportunity to form a strong connection with your customer base. Having a mailing list will allow you to contact customers en masse and inform them of any deals or promotions, whilst also sharing any information from which you feel they may benefit.

Once your online business gets off the ground, why not consider another online tool such as Sage One to assist with all your financial business needs? Easily one of the most efficient systems available, having Sage One on your side will help you take your online business to greater heights.

 

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