Four gadgets every office should have

Beyond your laptop and printer, these items can have a major impact on your productivity and even ensure business continuity in the midst of a crisis.

You equipped each of your employees with the latest-generation Macs, wired your office with fiber-optic cables, established a secure high-speed network with built-in redundancies and even set up automated data backups. But have you really taken full advantage of technology’s potential to grow and protect your business? Not necessarily.

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I don’t blame you. With hundreds new business-oriented tech gadgets released yearly, keeping track of them all can easily become a full time job – and as a small business owner, your primary focus should be in growing your company. For me, renting in Jay Suites’ shared office space environment introduced me to some really cool technology. Based on my experience (both at Jay Suites and elsewhere) here’s the lowdown on four gadgets that can really make a difference; if you consider making any tech-related purchase this year, these should definitely be on your list.

Square

Accepting credit cards has never been so accessible. This revolutionary, tiny square chip attaches to your smartphone (most Apple and Android devices are supported) and allows you to process credit cards in a snap. Best part? You receive the chip for free when you sign up at the company’s website. There are no account fees, just a percentage that the company deducts from the amount you charge. This is obviously a must for retailers, but serviced-based businesses and independent contractors can also stand to benefit from the ease of payment processing that these devices promise.

NOTE: If you already have a PayPal business account, you might want to consider PayPal Here. It’s the same concept – free reader, and PayPal charges marginally less, although it isn’t clear whether this war-pricing-scheme will last – except that Square promises next-day deposits into your bank account, while PayPal may require a few days to transfer the funds.

VOIP phone

This is one of the two gadgets on here that I discovered at Jay Suites (their phones actually have speakerphones as well). Aside from providing advanced options generally not available on landlines – including forwarding calls to multiple numbers and voicemail transcriptions – these phones will ensure that your business can continue to run even during a damaging environmental disaster, such as a hurricane or earthquake. Most devices are now WIFI-enabled, so they will work as soon as your wireless network is running (which is often faster and easier to recover than infrastructure-heavy wires & cables). Bonus: number portability means that regardless of where you take your phone, your number will remain the same. In other words, you’ll always be accessible to old and new customers alike.

Digital whiteboard

Move over, static boards! These enhanced devices make illustrating as easy as using old-fashioned pen and paper, only prettier. They’re also much more neat when you want to erase your work and start over. Aside from eliminating paper waste or awfully-smelling markers and dirty sponges, you’ll never have to deal with board stains again. And yes, I really liked the ones at Jay Suites’ conference rooms, which were impressively responsive to my hand gestures. You can see pictures of them in their conference rooms page.

Cellphone handset

If you have a business that requires you to be on the phone for much of the day – which is really most businesses these days – and people tend to call your cell rather than landline, I highly recommend one of these. In addition to radiation exposure, which you’ll cut to pretty much zero by holding one of these to your ear rather than your cell, most people agree that these tend to feel more comfortable to cradle between your head and shoulder than the flat rectangles (aka modern-day cellphones) and even some cordless landlines. There are many manufacturers with different designs and features on the market, so I’ll leave it up to you to research specific one that answers to your specific needs and budget.

So that’s my list! I hope you’ll find these useful. Feel free to comment with your thoughts or share other gadgets below.

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