As a small business entrepreneur, you can use all the advantages you can get your hands on. That means staying abreast of the recent developments in business hardware—hardware that could help streamline your operations, grow your customer base and most importantly, keep your business happily in the black.
Mobile WiFi Hotspot
While most places feature wireless Internet in some shape or form, there are still plenty of places where the chances of finding a workable hotspot are slim to none. That’s what makes having a mobile WiFi hotspot a smart investment for those working from a virtual office, as well as businesses that rely on an always-available Internet connection.
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Mobile WiFi devices like the Netgear Zing Mobile Hotspot work differently from standard-issue wireless routes. Unlike the router you’re currently using, these devices rely on 3G and 4G services to deliver critical data to laptops, tablets and other mobile devices. This is a good thing, considering how global mobile data traffic is set to increase 18-fold by 2016, according to a recent Cisco report.
It’s no secret that laptops are an indispensable tool for keeping your business mobile. However, a tablet can do just about all the things a laptop can with the added bonus of being smaller, sleeker and easier to use thanks to its intuitive touchscreen. Paired with a wide variety of apps, a tablet can help keep your business moving forward.
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Lenovo offers a comprehensive selection of tablets with both Android and Windows operating environments. These include the practical ThinkPad series tablets and the Yoga multimode tablet. These tablets range from seven inches to 11.6 inches in screen size, measured diagonally. These tablets are also less expensive than their laptop counterparts, making them an excellent value for businesses watching their bottom lines.
For small businesses that rely on a paper trail (such as a legal firm) or any business that offers paper receipts, having a mobile printer in the field makes it much easier to get things done. Portable scanners and printers can also be a big help for auto repair shops and other businesses where an ordinary printer can’t be introduced onto the shop floor or is otherwise out of reach.
Credit Card Reader
When it comes to most transactions, cash is no longer king. According to market research firm Javelin Strategy & Research, only 27 percent of point-of-sale purchases were made with cash during 2011 and that number is expected to decline to 23 percent by 2017. A credit card reader, such as the one offered by Square, does wonders for accepting credit and debit card payments in places where customers least expect them to happen, such as flea markets and exhibitions.
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The Square credit card reader plugs into Apple and Android-based smartphones and tablets. Using the free Square Register point-of-sale app, businesses can accept payment from customers with all the major credit cards. Square takes a 2.75-percent transaction fee for each swipe, according to the company’s website.