Business connectivity is the beating heart of the SME revolution. Is your Internet Service Provider helping you use it to drive profits or simply letting it become a drain on your expendable bank balance? Jarryd Chatz, CEO of BitCo, explores this question and explains how businesses can ensure they choose the right ISP.
New digital capabilities have blown the lid off the traditional start-up mentality, effectively levelling the playing field. Where business used to be conducted within a limited border, it has since transitioned to an infinite web and, according to the International Data Corporation, South African companies are expected to spend around $10bn populating this digitally connected business network in 2017.
With more prepaid options, WiFi hotspots and Fibre lines than ever before, internet connectivity is growing at an alarming rate. This opens the door to a previously untapped market of consumers and greater access to existing ones.
So, it makes sense that ICT products and services are getting a bump up the budget priority list, but do you know how your ISP could be negatively impacting the return on your investment?
Vague uptime guarantees tend to miss the mark
“Reliable” is a word a lot of ISPs throw around, but like “successful”, it’s a relative concept. Their idea of reliability might only be 80% uptime, while BitCo’s is 99%.
Without defined and agreed upon standards, you could find yourself running up a hefty phone bill and wasting productive hours to solve a problem that ends up costing you more than the initial cost saving.
External suppliers are as good as loopholes
Any ISP who is not a Tier 1 telecommunications operator uses external suppliers. This poses several threats to your bottom line. First, their assurances are limited or subject to change. If a supplier changes their offerings, your ISP may be forced to do the same, putting you in line for potential unforeseen costs.
Secondly, you won’t be able to place accountability squarely on their shoulders, because they can point the finger or pass the buck when something goes wrong. This makes recuperating lost funds a difficult, lengthy and often futile process.
The last inconvenience linked to a complicated supply-chain is a lack of priority. When it comes to contention, a carrier that uses third party suppliers cannot offer you an eternal greenlight, meaning that how and when you do business won’t always be up to you. This could get in the way of lucrative, time-sensitive opportunities.
Nothing stands without support
A house of cards stands well enough, as long as no pressure is applied. The same applies to your ISP agreement if you don’t get clarity on customer support. If you can’t respond to pressure quickly and in an effective manner, it could wreak havoc with your customer retention and conversion rates, as well as put a dent in your business’s reputation – all of which comes with a financial backlash.
Inflexible solutions block the way to progress
Integration and mobility are just two of the biggest trends businesses have had to adapt to in the last decade, and there will of course be more to come. These will force your business to evolve or to change its course in unexpected ways.
In this case, saving money in the long run means choosing an ISP with solutions that can change as you do. From wireless solutions that can run at 5Mbps to 100Mbps, or moving from IP to a virtual PBX – smooth transitions mean less budget dips.
Bigger is not always better
Large telecoms providers may be able to offer more affordable connectivity options, though less capabilities to customise solutions – not to mention less motivation to do so. This could result in you paying for more than you need to, or saving on some initial fees but having to settle for corner-cutting solutions instead of tailored ones.
At the end of the day, the competitive advantage SMEs have over large-scale and more established companies is their ability to adopt transformative technology with relative ease. That’s why it’s important for them to seek out service providers who enable that competitive edge, instead of those that hinder it, delivering little in the way of legitimately profitable products and services.
HP Launches New Ink Tank Printers For High-Volume Home Users
New HP DeskJet GT Series offer high quality printing at an extremely low cost-per-page.
HP Inc. unveiled the new HP DeskJet GT 5820All-in-One series targeted at high-volume home users looking for a wireless ink tank printer that never stops. This wireless all-in-one prints thousands of pages, all at an ultra-low cost-per-page. Our easy-access, spill-free refill system means no more mess, just exceptional quality and reliability for all your high-volume home printing needs.
“High volume home users are focused on efficiency and are constantly on the lookout for innovation that can reduce cost and minimise disruption to their work,” said Jane Geypen, HPS Category Manager for South Africa. “The new HP DeskJet GT series makes high-quality, reliable printing more affordable and wireless printing and ink refill easy and fuss-free.”
Longer staying power, renowned quality
The HP DeskJet GT series prints up to 8,000 pages with a set of three HP colour bottles or up to 5,000 pages with a HP black ink bottle out of the box. Original HP inks are specially formulated to deliver sharp text, vibrant graphics and photos that are water and fading resistant, while also offering professional quality and borderless printing.
Replenishing ink is also clean and easy with HP’s innovative spill-free refill system. The bottles can simply be plugged into the tank without any squeezing required. You can also easily monitor ink levels with the transparent ink tanks.
Connect wirelessly and work from anywhere
The working environment today needs to be connected and wireless. The new HP DeskJet GT 5820 All-in-One printer makes it easy for you while working remotely to connect via a smartphone or tablets. The printer can be set up out of the box using just a mobile device. Even without a wireless network, Wi-Fi direct enables you to directly connect your printer to your mobile device at home.
In addition, with the HP All-in-One Printer Remote app, you can quickly send scans to email or cloud storage through your mobile device. You can easily print from a variety of devices including iPhone® and iPad® using AirPrint™, or smartphones and tablets running Android™, Windows® 8, Windows® 10, and Google™ Chrome™ operating systems.
Quick, easy setup
The HP DeskJet GT 5820 All-in-One comes with a set of three Original HP GT52 colour ink bottles, plus an Original HP GT51 black ink bottle, so you can set up fast and start printing right away. High-yield HP GT51/52 ink bottles are the perfect match for high-volume printing. Original HP inks are specially formulated to work with the all-in-one, and ensure that printing is simple and reliable, with amazing results every time.
More information about the new HP DeskJet GT 5820 All-in-One series is available at http://www8.hp.com/za/en/home.html
Why You Need To Be Using The HP GT 5820 In Your Business
Extremely low cost per page. Innovative high-quality printing. Everything you’ve come to expect from HP.
HP recently launched their GT 5820, this All-in-One printer is ideal for high-volume users or small- and micro-businesses who need low-cost, high-volume printing. If you need to be able to print on-the-go the GT 5820 can give you the freedom to print from your smartphone or tablet, the 5820 model offers easy mobile printing options.
No matter which model you choose, you’ll get:
- Affordable high-volume printing
- A clean, easy refill experience
- Easy monitoring and maintenance, with minimal intervention
- Consistent, high-quality results for everyday documents and photos
- Borderless printing for brochures, flyers, photos, and more
- Convenient, quality copying and scanning.
Higher stamina at a lower cost
The new and innovative GT 5820 can handle high-volume printing, affordably. It can print up to 8,000 pages (colour set) or 5,000 pages (black), with extremely low cost per page with high-volume printing. You can print thousands of pages with the new and improved high-capacity ink tanks, and whenever you want you simply add more ink.
User-friendly ink refill system
Restore ink levels with our easy-access, spill-free refill system. It will help you to improve your workflow with productivity features and print longer without having to replenish ink. Monitor ink levels with transparent ink tanks, and easily replenish whenever you like with Original HP high-yield ink bottles.
You can now avoid messy overflow as HP’s unique spout design prevents ink from filling past the tank’s maximum fill line. Simply plug the bottle into the ink tank and let it drain, no squeezing, no spilling.
Exceptional HP quality
With the GT 5820 you can print crisp, sharp text, vibrant graphics, and so much more. If you’re looking for consistent, professional-quality results try using the world’s No. 1 printer brand.
This all-in-one is designed and built to HP’s high standards for reliable, long-term use.
The GT 5820 will help you to produce standout everyday documents with sharper lines, darker blacks, and reduced smudging on ColorLok® papers. Rely on Original HP inks for durable colour photos that resist water and fading, and last for decades. You can be sure your projects always look great no matter what you print. Create borderless brochures, flyers, photos, and more, right in your office.
Get the features you need for work and other tasks, in this all-in-one, including copy and scan functions, so you can save time and accomplish more using just one device.
What To Look For In Restaurant Management Software For Small Business
In this post we are looking at some of the defining qualities of a good Point of Sale system that can help you through your journey to purchasing a POS for your business.
You recently decided to start a restaurant business. You have found a suitable location. You have bought everything – chairs, tables, utensils – you think you will need to get started.
While that might sound like good news to you, running the business without a good POS system could make your lovely investment a huge money pit. Unfortunately, most POS systems come in different varieties and are made to serve a different set of needs. Finding a good POS can be a mind experience for many people.
In this post we are looking at some of the defining qualities of a good Point of Sale system that can help you through your journey to purchasing a POS for your business:
1. Competitive pricing
Small businesses often run into financial constraints. If you are new to industry, news is that you have entered at a great time. While most standalone POS systems have high price points, the advent cloud computing has made things a little bit better for you.
Today, you can easily find a reasonably priced model cut for your specific needs. News is, there are still many on the market today. And finding the best for you – competitively priced with transparent pricing – may not be easy.
2. Speed and ease of use
Your POS should be easy to single-handedly install and use. Even when it comes to training your employees, it should not be a month-long affair. Few minutes, even for part-timers it should suffice.
- Why is it important? A poor quality POS can be maddening to your employees.
- Does it have a steep learning curve?
- Is the layout too sophisticated for the average user?
Then chances are your cooks, managers, waiters will be intimidated by the POS. That means you will be treating your customers to a dreadful Breaking Bad experience that would surely hamper profitability.
3. Good for keeping inventory
Inventory woes scare every restaurant owner more than a warrior wasp’s sting. Poor inventory could be the easiest deathbed for your business. But if you have devised effective methods of inventory management and reporting, then you are able to tell when and where you make your most money.
Since restaurants are head-to-head with this extremely competitive space, a good inventory-capable POS can be your blessing in disguise. So you can easily and almost effortlessly keep track of every drink, item (and even every ingredient) sold.
4. Excellent reporting features
In the modern business environment, business intelligence is everything. And numbers do not lie. That means as a manager or business owner, you need to have a sophisticated, industry-specific system that gives you numeric insight into what all the departments are doing, items preferences, how time is spent, how many customers have been served, etc.
A good POS should offer real-time reporting and update you with pricing, logging times, inventory, promotional and procurement.
5. Above reproach customer/technical support
If you have ever worked in a restaurant environment, you must be familiar with the panic mode that engulfs the employees when the POS system breaks down.
If you can’t get anyone on the line to help, you troubleshoot the problem in less than 24 hours, think twice before taking the plunge.
Consider buying from the vendors who offer (and can guarantee) you prompt response to your call/emails just when things go awry.
The support team should also be ready to help you with credit card help, training and software upgrades if need be.
Related: Restaurant Sample Business Plan
Your POS should allow connections to other apps and tools that are equally important for your business. For example, if you want to collect customer emails for follow-ups campaigns, you may want to integrate your POS with.
That means when you are sending emails to your loyal customers, you can skip that point of having to update your email list. There so much integration you can do. It all boils to your specific needs.
While it is so easy to rent and equip your restaurant, steering it to profitability is not always easy. To succeed, you need to get efficient systems that help them manage their businesses. Unfortunately for starters, getting a good POS can be a daunting task. And it gets worse if you know your specific POS needs and how to choose the best system for your business.
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