This is a guest post by Joshua Bitton, a freelance writer for Echo Sign online digital signatures.
Modern technology has opened up so many doors for entrepreneurs and sole proprietors, making it easier than ever to start and run a business. With the ability to get email, phone calls, and even credit card payments on the go, and with Internet tools such as shopping carts and e-signatures, business owners today have fewer logistics to worry about when it comes to running their companies — leaving you more time to do the stuff you got into business to do, in the first place.
Online Store, Shopping Cart, Etc.
The Internet has been a favorite business solution for years, but today its capabilities are better than ever. Even more than simple business websites with “About Us” and “Contact Us” pages, company websites these days have sophisticated tools such as online stores, shopping carts, and the ability to accept payment online. In addition, many software programs for businesses now allow your customers to make appointments or fill out a request for service online, saving you time and money from having to pay an employee to do that for you.
Did you know that e-signatures are a perfectly legal form of signature? Ever since President Bill Clinton signed a bill into law making electronic or digital signatures legal and binding, it has enabled companies to do business over the Internet with more ease than ever. If you aren’t set up to collect a legally binding electronic signature, consider a service that will do it for you — you simply give them the signer’s email address and attach the agreement the individual is signing, and the service does the rest.
IPhone Credit Card Payments
The iPhone is the perfect business tool for small businesses and entrepreneurs. One of the greatest business solutions is the ability to take credit card payments with your phone. No more expensive card readers, and no more PayPal — you just have to download an app and, in some cases, buy a tiny little reader that plugs into your iPhone’s audio jack.
There are different services and apps available to enable you to take payments with your iPhone. Most allow you to either key in the credit card number (if the card isn’t present, such as in phone or Internet transactions) or swipe the card using a device that plugs into the audio jack. This is the perfect business solution for small businesses and sole proprietors such as freelance writers and designers, hairstylists, even veterinary practices who make house calls.
Hosted Groupware: Shared Email, Calendars, and Task Lists
Email is one of the modern age’s greatest inventions. Business that used to be done via expensive long-distance phone calls and snail mail can now be resolved quickly and cheaply with a few emails. But when email is the cornerstone of your business, it is especially important that you have a good system in place.
Hosted groupware enables all employees to access their email from any computer or device — some services are even available on smartphones and iPhones. In addition, employees have access to shared calendars, task lists, and all the other tools they are accustomed to using on their computer — only these tools can now be accessed by any computer or compatible device, enabling everyone at your company to keep in touch, stay organized, and above all, do their jobs better than ever before.
Toll Free Numbers and 800 Call Forwarding
Cell phones and more inexpensive toll free services have freed up many small business owners and entrepreneurs. You are no longer tied to your business line: You can get an 800 service to forward your toll-free number to any line, even your cell phone. Some services even allow you to change the number your calls are forwarded to throughout the day, to reflect your availability. Business solutions like this allow you to run your business without putting a damper on your life.
About the Author: Joshua Bitton represents EchoSign, the leader of the 2nd generation of electronic signature solutions – 100% web-based, fully digital signature solutions that do not require digital signature pads, digital certificates or scanning software.