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23 Great Apps for Business Travelers

I’ve been a frequent business traveler for more years than I care to count. During that time, some aspects of business travel have gotten worse (like crowds, TSA checkpoints and airline legroom) but others have gotten much, much better (like airfares, hotel beds and mobile apps). Mobile apps can streamline business travel in ways unheard of even 10 years ago—and they’re getting more sophisticated every year. Here are 23 great mobile apps for business travelers to check out. (Unless otherwise indicated, all are free.) Smallbiz expert @Rieva shares her list of 23 apps that every business traveler needs Travel Arrangements Tripit: Forward all your hotel, flight, car rental, and restaurant confirmations to the app and it automatically creates a master itinerary for you. View it any time, on any device, even when you’re offline. The Tripit Pro plan ($49/year) comes with lots of additional features, like real-time flight alerts, rewards tracking and automatically sharing your itinerary with your chosen circle, that are more than worth it for a frequent traveler. TravelBank: Find flights and hotels with 24/7 concierge assistance and access to travel agents via phone, email or chat. You and your employees can snap photos of receipts and the app scans and processes them in seconds. TravelBank estimates the cost of your trip using the average prices of hotels, flights and food in the area you’re visiting on the dates you’ll be there—a useful feature for budget-minded entrepreneurs. You can even earn extra rewards points from TravelBank on top of your airline, car rental, and hotel points. Google Trips: If your business relies on a lot of Google apps, consider adding Google Trips to your arsenal. Google Trips gathers your travel information from Gmail and your inbox, then organizes it automatically so all your flight, hotel, and car rental details are in one place (and can be viewed offline). Are you mixing business with pleasure? Google Trips automatically maps out a half day or full day of suggestions for things to see and do in the local area, such as restaurants, museums, and attractions. Flights and Hotels Hopper: Looking…

4 Reasons Big Technology is a Must for Small Business

Small business owners wear a lot of hats and have many obligations, that include overseeing all of the technology in the workplace. As important as that task is, it’s easy for it to fall to the bottom of the to-do list. Staying on top of technology as it evolves is not only the best way to run your business efficiently, it’s also necessary if you want to keep up with – and stay ahead of – your competition. Despite understanding its importance, many business owners don’t understand the power of technology and just how transformational it can be. Here’s a look at what technology can do for your business. Find New Customers Digital marketing can help you attract more customers and raise awareness of your business, and there are plenty of tools available to help you get started, starting with social marketing tools. Nearly every business is using – or should be using – social marketing, and managing your accounts is now easier than ever before. Some of the most popular social marketing tools include: Google Analytics – One of the easiest to use, this tool helps you track website traffic, conversions, and opt-ins that came from social media. Hootsuite Impact – This tool can measure and improve the ROI of your social media efforts across paid, owned, and earned social channels by optimizing your activity. Facebook Pixels – Facebook Pixels allows you to capture the Facebook users that are visiting your site or other landing pages so that you can retarget them later with relevant Facebook ads. You can also use technology to help you collect information about your potential customers, making it easier to reach them and meet their specific needs. Email marketing is still one of the most effective tools used to build and enhance customer relationships. Build your email list by employ an opt-in form to collect visitors contact information and any other details that will help personalize their experience with your business. Starting from scratch? Once again, technology can help. If marketing is still new to you, don’t worry. There is a wide range of marketing planning software available…

Should You Let Your Employees Work from Home?

Telecommuting is on the rise. Some 3.9 million U.S. employees, or 2.9% of the total U.S. workforce, work from home at least half of the time—a 115% increase since 2005—according to the 2017 State of Telecommuting in the U.S. Employee Workforce report from FlexJobs. And for every employee who currently telecommutes, there are many more who wish they could do so: just 7% of U.S. employers offer flexible workplace options for the majority of their employees. Benefits of telecommuting for small businesses Telecommuting has many benefits for telecommuters, such as better health, more job satisfaction and improved quality of life. But employees aren’t the only ones who stand to gain from telecommuting. Here are a few ways telecommuting can boost your business. Helps you attract and retain workers: Some 62% of employees have left or considered leaving a job because it didn’t have work flexibility, and 79% say flexible options make them more likely to stay with an employer. With larger businesses more than twice as likely as small ones to offer telecommuting options to employees, FlexJobs reports, offering this perk can give your small business a real edge in attracting and retaining skilled employees. Saves you money: When employees telecommute, it reduces your business’s expenses for utilities, office space, parking space, storage space and more. It’s estimated that each employee who telecommutes just half their time saves their employer $11,000 a year. Plus, employees themselves save an average of $4,000 a year—the equivalent of getting a raise without you having to increase their wages. Increases business productivity: Time saved commuting can be spent working, making telecommuters more productive than in-office employees. A two-year Stanford University study found telecommuters were more focused and productive, were less likely to stop work early or start late, took less paid time off and took shorter breaks. All told, the average telecommuter gains back the equivalent of 11 workdays per year that would otherwise be spent on the road, according to FlexJobs. Is your business ready to make the switch to telecommuting? Smallbiz expert @Rieva explains why you should and how to get started…

How to Choose the Right Printer for Your Small Business Needs

Printer selection is wider than ever before, offering something for every business, of every industry and size. Yet rather than making your printer purchase easier, the scope of selection can feel overwhelming. In this post, we’ll advise you on the most important features to look for in your next printer. It should help you manage your costs Whether you’re ready to put a managed print program into place today or down the line, the printer you choose for your small business should be equipped with tools that give you the ability to track how your printer is being used. Apps like the Universal Printing Assistant can monitor all of your networked printers automatically, from anywhere, right on your smartphone or tablet. You’ll know when your printers are online, alert, or in need of toner. Understanding your printer usage can help you cut your print costs by reducing the number of documents you print and preventing documents from being left sitting in the printer tray, a move that is not only wasteful but also a security risk. It should have security features built-in A 2017 report from smallbiz.com showed that 43% of cyber attacks target small businesses. One of the most surprising vulnerabilities? The office printer. When making your next printer purchase, ensure it has these security features built-in: Authentication options ensure that the printer will only release documents when users enter their PIN or swipe their badge at the machine. Print encryption protects your data as it moves, ensuring it is safe from creation to destination. Password protected scanning allows you to password protect your PDFs so that only authorized people can access the data they contain. Xerox’s AltaLink® and WorkCentre® EC7836/EC7856 multifunction printers come bundled with McAfee Embedded Control software so you can rest easy knowing that your MFPs and any data associated with them are safe and secure. Common Criteria Reports are available for all of Xerox’s hardware devices, so you can be assured that every device you purchase meets or exceeds industry security standards. With so many different printers and multifunction devices on the market, how do you know which one…

Six Ways to Growth by Thinking Differently about Your Business

In the age of digital disruption, every company needs to think differently about their business – both to grow beyond their core markets, and to head off competition from new entrants. But often the exact skills that helped companies succeed in the past prevent them from finding success in the future. At Xerox, we have reinvented the company multiple times as technologies and markets change over time. While today’s chapter in our history is still being written, we have found several ways to think differently about our business. These six insights may be helpful to other companies with a similar need to transform and grow beyond their core business. Focus on what your customers want, not what you make Your customers buy from you for a variety of reasons, the most important is that you help them achieve the outcomes they want. But it’s all too easy to lose sight of that, and focus only on improving your product or service to keep up with competitors. This tunnel vision can prevent you from helping your customers achieve their outcomes in new and better ways, and exposes you to new entrants that have figured this out. With this mindset, you focus on how to deliver your core value to your customers in new ways. For instance, auto manufacturers will still be around in the future, but they are starting to define themselves as “mobility services companies.” They will increasingly deliver transportation as a service that meets the needs of young people who have little interest in car ownership. When you think about Xerox, it’s not wrong to think “Xerox makes printers.” But Xerox is not just a printer company. Fundamentally Xerox has always helped customers with work – using or inventing the best technologies of each age. Printing, scanning, and managing documents are key components of work, but only a subset of all the activities that define work. It is critical for us to understand how our customers define work. Our office customers don’t just want to print; they want to automate workflows and accelerate decisions and revenue. So we created…

4 Things Your Remote Teams Wish You Knew

Innovation isn’t always about the tools we use at work. Just as often, it’s about the way we work. As more and more businesses begin to appreciate the benefits of enabling their employees to work remotely, the size of the remote workforce is approaching record numbers. It’s easy to understand why. The idea of breaking free from the 9-to-5 mold is the goal of many an office worker. Being able to work where, and in many cases, when they want makes for a happier and more satisfied worker. Millennials, in particular, are embracing this change to the status quo, so it makes sense to consider this option when recruiting them (and you should definitely be recruiting them). But with rapid growth like this comes an inevitable learning curve. There is no handbook for how a remote office should operate; no precise guideline for what percentage of the team should work this way, or for what percentage of the workweek. Business owners who embrace flexible and remote work options are pioneering a new way to work. Due to the innovative nature of remote offices, best practices for managing remote teams effectively are constantly evolving. At Xerox, we spend our days talking to business owners, managers and employees just like you. Don’t you forget about me! Here’s the innovative technology you need to stay connected to your virtual teams & provide a full in-office experience from anywhere Here are the top four things your remote workers want their teammates to know: It’s Any Time, Not All the Time The flexibility of working remotely is one of the largest draws for most employees. But their in-office counterparts would do well to remember that simply because today’s mobile work tools make it possible to work from anywhere, at any time, doesn’t mean that virtual employees don’t struggle to balance work and home life just like anyone else. It makes sense that they want the same freedom as other employees to say no to meetings, phone calls or emails that take place well outside normal working hours. They also have the reasonable expectation of being able…

How the Right Supplies Can Maximize Productivity and Print Performance

Business owners and managers are faced with big decisions day in, and day out. They’re also faced with big challenges. Reducing overhead. Increasing productivity. Which MFP is right for our office? Should we let our teams work remotely? That’s why it’s such a relief to find that every once in a while, a decision comes along that is easy to make – and which yields big results, with little effort. In this case, the magic word is toner. That’s right: toner. The supplies you choose are as important to the productivity of your office and the cost of running it as the equipment you choose. It’s a gospel we’ve been preaching for years, but not everyone has gotten the message. That’s why we’re talking about it again today, to give you a detailed look at just what choosing the right supplies can do for your office productivity, and for another critical element of your office output: your print performance. Often overlooked, toner is the unsung hero of the modern workplace, having undergone significant changes in recent years that has made it easier to use and also less expensive at the same time. Not many office products can say the same. Here’s how today’s office supplies can help you build a better office, starting with everyone’s favorite: Lower costs. While cost isn’t everything, it is a driving factor for many office purchases. While genuine supplies are always a better investment in the long run, most people would be surprised to know that quality toner is more affordable than ever before. Technological advances in toner design have resulted in better, less expensive, and safer materials, as well as machines that operate faster and cleaner. An excellent example is the EA (Emulsion Aggregation) toner from Xerox. Because EA toners melt at a lower temperature than other toners, EA toners adhere to paper better without building up inside the machine. Because toner build up eventually leads to a service call, EA toners make for greater dependability. And because they melt at a lower temperature, they also result in lower energy consumption, saving you an average of 20%…

Declare Your Independence from These 5 Things

More than 240 years ago, our nation’s founders turned 13 colonies into a new country when they threw off the yoke of the King. Are you ready to declare your own independence? Here are five things to free yourself from for a more successful business. Declare your independence from the office. Take advantage of warm summer days by getting work done outside the office. Yes, those stock photos of businesspeople with a laptop in hand and toes in the sand can be you and your employees if you enable remote work. Whether you’re traveling for business or pleasure, or simply working at home or a nearby coffee shop, using cloud-based software, file storage, and collaboration apps allows access to everything you need wherever you are. With a Xerox® ConnectKey® Technology-enabled MFP, you can even print documents from the cloud for added convenience when working away from your office. Worried about printing sensitive documents in a public environment? You can require user authentication in order to print, scan or copy to protect your data. Download the Xerox® Mobile Link app to your smartphone or tablet, and you can scan, fax and print from your device by connecting with Xerox® MFPs. Xerox Mobile Link App – 3-in-1: Capture It, Manage It, Send It Xerox® Mobile Link is a mobile app that can scan, fax and print from your phone or tablet by connecting with Xerox® multifunction printers (MFPs). Declare your independence from out-of-control printing costs. Did you know that printing eats up 15 percent of the average SMB’s IT costs? One look around your office and all of the discarded sheets of paper in trash cans or recycling bins will confirm that fact. Set yourself free from excessive paper and ink costs by storing documents in the cloud whenever possible. You can rapidly scan existing print documents into popular cloud storage apps, like Microsoft 365, Google Drive and Dropbox, when you use Xerox Versalink® printers with ConnectKey technology. Even for those times you still need to use paper, there’s no need to waste money. You can save by choosing Xerox® printers that print…

What Does a Good MPS Offering Look Like?

If you’re yet to engage with a managed print services (MPS) partner, you may be wondering what to look for. Equally, if you’ve had a bad experience with a partner, you may be wondering what qualities they were missing. What Every Business Wants from MPS Printers and scanning devices still play a major role in businesses of all sizes. Whether you use them for internal documentation or for heavy-duty promotional work, the devices you rely on day-in, day-out need to deliver on quality and cost savings. And for that, you’ll need help from an MPS partner. When you consider your print environment as a whole, there are three key challenges an MPS partner should be able to help you with: reducing costs of hardware purchases, consumables, and stationery; raising productivity throughout the organisation; and obtaining a single invoice and the ability to recharge business units. If you run a multi-site operation, the above challenges are multiplied, but even if you’re a single-site SME, you’ll benefit significantly from an MPS provider that has a proven track record in building strategies, achieving cost savings and basing their work on solid industry experience. Xenith’s 3-Step Methodology In order to solve the challenges notes above, Xenith works with a 3-step methodology: Understand: A Business Analyst will work with your Account Manager to understand your people, processes and business requirements before designing a print strategy. Execute: Any changes to your existing system must be introduced carefully with user buy-in. Our Business Transformation Team will work with you to accomplish this. Improve: We continually improve your infrastructure during the lifetime of your contract and stay responsive to changing business requirements. A good managed print services (MPS) partner should be able to do these 3 things No More Sweating the Small Stuff The closer an MPS partner works with you, the more their efforts will benefit all areas of your business. For instance, by implementing analytical solutions, they’ll help you put an end to guesswork with data-driven analysis of your print environment. By acting as the conduit between your business and suppliers, they can also ensure you benefit from transparent…

How to Set Up the Perfect Remote Workspace

The number of businesses who are empowering their employees to work from home is growing larger every day. In fact, the size of the remote workforce is approaching record numbers. It’s not only a sign of the times, it’s proof that business owners are ready to embrace the benefits it brings, even when it means a brand new way of doing things. It’s a move that is succeeding. A recent Stanford study found that remote workers were more productive, got more done, worked longer hours, took fewer breaks, and used less sick time than their in-office counterparts. And those aren’t the only benefits. If you’re ready to reap the same rewards for your business, or if you’re an employee who is about to make this shift yourself, we’ve got a simple guide to help you get started. Choosing the Right Space If you’re reading this from your sofa with your laptop balancing on your knees, you’re not alone. Plenty of remote workers start their journey unsure of what they’ll need – or where they will put it. Not every remote worker will have four walls and a desk dedicated exclusively to office space. If you don’t, keep in mind that all you really need are just a few vital features: Quiet. Your remote workspace should be free from distractions when it’s time for a conference call or video chat. A neat, uncluttered, quiet corner will do. When it comes to getting the job done, if noisy neighbors, the doorbell, or your lawn care crew make it difficult to stay focused, try a pair of noise-canceling headphones. Light. Offices are beginning to recognize the benefits of having plenty of natural light in the workplace. Try to find a space that includes a window, and if that isn’t possible, try one of these alternatives. Comfort. Whether you’re there from 9-5 every day or you only visit your home office part time, it should be a comfortable space, and one you look forward to occupying. The great news is that a functional, stylish desk doesn’t have to take up a lot of space…

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