8 Ways Smart Hustlers Are Using Tablets to Boost Business
By Karen Axelton
Sometimes small business owners are too tight-fisted, holding on to money when it’s actually smarter to spend it. Consider tablets. While some entrepreneurs swear by these ultra-portable devices, others dismiss them as a pricey luxury. If that sounds like you, think about purchasing tablets as investing in your success. Don’t believe me? Here are 8 smart ways to use tablets in your small business:
- Get paid. If your business is mobile or you frequently visit customers at their homes or offices to provide services, a tablet can be a great way to accept credit cards and debit cards so you never have to miss out on a sale—or wait for a check to clear. Use mobile payment apps like Square to make it easy.
- Travel light. Making sales presentations doesn’t have to involve lugging heavy equipment anymore. SlideShark is one of the apps you can use to create cool new presentations or share existing ones on your tablet.
- Go paperless. Instead of having customers fill out paper forms, provide them with tablets onsite so they can directly input their own information. You’ll save time (and be more environmentally-friendly) by not having to later input the information into your computer system.
- Provide better customer service. Tablets can help you shorten wait times by:
- Taking orders while customers are waiting in line or at the drive-thru at your fast-food restaurant;
- Checking out shoppers from anywhere in your store (so they don’t have to wait in line at busy cash registers);
- Enabling shoppers or sales clerks to quickly look up product information online.
- Portland, Oregon, donut shop Coco Donuts uses iPads in place of cash registers; the iPads hang on the wall when not in use, freeing up valuable counter space for serving food.
- Make it fun. Engage customers and get them to hang around longer by using tablets to entertain children in your retail store or restaurant, to play online games in your bar or restaurant or to let restaurant customers customize their own orders. Franchisor Buffalo Wild Wings, for example, is rolling out tablets at its restaurants nationwide to let guests order and pay for food, access complimentary content like sports highlights, play video poker and trivia games, and interact with other guests.
- Impress prospects. If you own a visually-oriented business such as an interior design firm, video production company or landscaping business, tablets are a great way to share photos or videos of your work. The high resolution makes images pop, and allows potential clients to get a detailed view of what you’re offering.
- Meet and collaborate. Tablets make it easy to stay in touch with the office or have meetings even when you’re on the go. All you need are earbuds and an app such as GoToMeeting to turn your tablet into a conferencing and collaboration tool.
- Make it legal. Sign contracts—or get your clients to do so—without bothering with paper copies and finding a fax machine on the road. Apps such as SignEasy allow you to get a signature right on the tablet.
Do the math. Consider what tablets will allow you to do, how much revenue they’ll help you earn or how much money they could save you (in lost productivity alone) before investing. There are many tablet options out there, so do your research and think carefully about how you and your staff will use the tablet so you can choose the one that fits your needs.