Sponsored by Sage North America

By Rieva Lesonsky

Are you a small business owner, or preparing to become one? Whether your business is up and running or you are still in the planning stages, making the most of your time is key to your success as an entrepreneur. Fortunately, technology has made it easier to power up your productivity. Here are 6 ways technology can help you squeeze a couple more hours out of each 24.

  1. Use technology to do business at home or on the go. With cloud services, you can store your business data online and access it anywhere so you can work whenever and wherever you want to. Instead of heading to the office to work on the weekend, just do it from the coffee shop or your back porch and save commuting time.
  2.  Be prepared for the future. Mobile payments are rapidly making waves; if you’ve ever paid someone by swiping your credit card on a tablet or smartphone, you know how simple and convenient it is. Start off with a payment system that lets you accept a wide range of options—credit cards, debit cards, gift cards and mobile payments. You’ll save time now so you can focus on your business, and save time later when you don’t need to make major upgrades to an outdated payment system.
  3.  Stay on top of your finances. Getting paid is small business job No. 1, but if you use manual accounting systems, it’s tempting to put off producing invoices or let payments pile up. Next thing you know, your cash isn’t flowing and you’ve got a weekend’s worth of playing catch-up to do. Save time by looking for an accounting and invoicing system that lets you quickly apply payments to invoices and update your accounts in real-time. Sage 50 does just that and also has easy-to-use dashboards so you can view your business’s financial status at a glance, making sure you’ll always be on top of cash flow.
  4.  Put the information you need to make the sale in your pocket. You’ve got a hot prospect in front of you. Don’t let him cool off while you go back to the office, write up a proposal, etc. etc. Instead, grab a tablet and show prospective customers product photos, videos or demos you’ve stored in the cloud. When you’ve got current sales sheets, product specs and pricing information at your fingertips, you can create estimates on the fly—without giving that prospect a chance to slip away.
  5.  Eliminate errors. Correcting mistakes is one of the biggest time-wasters around. Avoid making mistakes in the first place by using a payment processing system that connects to your accounting software. This not only saves time re-entering payment information, but also eliminates extra steps that can introduce errors into your accounting process.
  6.  Sidestep payroll headaches. Even if you have only a few employees, figuring out payroll can be painful. Deductions, withholding, sick days, vacation…ouch. Simplify the process by using a payroll service that integrates with your accounting system. You’ll save time every pay period—and at tax time, too.