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November 2019

There are about 30 million small businesses in America today and these companies are as diverse as the American economy as a whole. Ranging from restaurants and auto-body shops to construction and renovation firms, hair salons, and home repair businesses, they account for 48 percent of all U.S. jobs. You might say that small business IS big business. But even though they employ fewer workers and often focus on a local or regional customer base, small businesses are subject to the same forces as large corporations. Large businesses usually have an established customer base and steady cash flow to keep them afloat during periods of change. Small businesses often do not. They need to be nimble and responsive when it comes to marketing their company, developing customer relationships, and keeping records. Here are some of the best practices for small businesses entering 2020.

Paperwork has long been a mainstay of the business world. Documents, reports, contracts, bills, invoices, protocols. It's a never-ending list, and it all eventually turns into skyscraping stacks of files. Those files cost businesses a surprisingly steep amount of time and money to produce, store and keep track of. Businesses and their executives are becoming increasingly aware of these costs, and many are setting their sights on paperless operations. In fact, according to Device Magic, 80 percent of small-to-midsize businesses (SMBs) want to cut paper processes out of their workflows. Because they have fewer employees and less large bureaucratic structures in place, small businesses are in a unique position to embrace a paperless business model. Here are a few reasons why the paper-based processes are costing your business more than you know.

Whether you're a [lumber, an HVAC professional, electrician, repairman, mover, painter, or a general contractor, you all have one thing in common: being on the move most of the day. These pros go from one job, or service request to another, and they also need to ensure they're following protocol and moving through their queues with efficiency and diligence. In the past, the only way to keep track of field-based employees was over the phone. For operations heads, this has long been a limiting and often flawed way to manage their workforce. While field workers update you and tell you where they are in the field, keeping track of them throughout the day can prove to be a challenge.

Business software today does more than just automate the various recurring tasks that come with managing a workforce. These platforms can show small business owners how to better market their business. By 2023, it's projected to be worth more than $600 billion. Because the industry is always introducing new technology, it can be hard to get a firm handle on the basics. Small businesses sometimes struggle to make sense of how they fit into the complicated world of new technology.

2019 is as good a time as ever for small business owners to start getting familiar with new technology. There are more options with greater functionalities at more reasonable price points than ever before. As the competition in industries, such as HVAC, retail, and utilities, becomes more aware of how these solutions can help their businesses, the case for seriously considering them only gets stronger. Below are several frequently asked questions about business and home service software—with a focus on their value for small businesses.

Think about the last few purchases you made. How many of them were purely impulse buys? Where you hadn’t done any research on the manufacturer/provider, the product/service, or even spoke with someone who had? The fact is that 90% of people believe in brand recommendations from friends. Word-of-mouth marketing has never been more critical than it is today. In addition to the bump it provides in conversion rates, a huge benefit to utilizing word-of-mouth is that there’s no cost. Word-of-mouth isn’t the only cost-effective way to reach potential customers in a targeted way. The rise of social media has also given small businesses the type of publishing platform that used to come with a pretty expensive price tag.