Mobile phones have become the one accessory we cannot live without – from answering e-mails, to contacting friends, or catching up on the news, we literally use them all day long.
That sense of dread that kicks in when you get to work and realise you left your phone at home often leaves people feeling “lost” – a sign that we cannot imagine live without our phones! But what happens when you lose your phone in a bar, restaurant, or in a taxi or public place?
The chances of recovering a lost phone are slim. It is believed that only around 2% of cell phones that get left in public transport vehicles (busses, trains, etc.) are reunited with their owners. Not only is it very costly to replace a cell phone, but the hassle of losing valuable contacts, photos and information if your phone is not backed up, is an even more daunting thought. So what can be done to avoid this?
Keys, mobile phones, cameras, i-pads, laptops, passports and wallets can all be a nightmare when mislaid. Yet, when they arrive at a lost-property office or police station, only approximately 25% are returned to the owner because there is no simple way to track them down. After less than a month, the 75% of items that are unclaimed are usually auctioned.
Up to 20 million bags are mislaid in airports every year, and in London alone, 50 000 mobile phones get left behind in taxis annually. South Africa is no different, with thousands of personal belongings making its way into Lost & Found containers nationwide every year. Cell phones are one of the most commonly misplaced items, and are seldom reunited with their owners. HomingPIN offers an innovative solution to this global problem with the HomingPIN tag.
HomingPIN offers baggage loops with tags, key rings and stickers that have a unique identification number on them.
This number gets activated online prior to using the tag, and is linked to the owner’s email address and cellphone number. If someone finds a cellphone, keys, baggage, or any other item that has a HomingPIN tag on it, they can easily notify the owner by visiting www.homingpin.com and entering the unique identification number, as well as their contact details. The owner is immediately notified via SMS and email, and is able to contact the founder to retrieve their belongings. Finders are not given the owner’s contact details, however, so it is up to the owner to make contact first.
HomingPIN is integrated with the worldwide World Tracer system, which all baggage handlers have access to. For airlines, HomingPIN will instantly provide information on the bag’s whereabouts when it is found. The airline will then contact the owner to arrange transfer of the goods. What’s more, is that HomingPIN can provide reasonably-priced transportation of your found goods, from anywhere in the world. Because HomingPIN works internationally, your phone will be protected anywhere around the world.
HomingPIN tags, stickers and key rings allow you to tag a variety of items including, but not limited to, luggage, laptop computers, mobile phones, keys, wallets and passports. Easy-to-use and practical, they’re a life-saver for the whole family. With this handy tool, cell phones have a much better chance of being returned to their owners, and owners have peace of mind too!
If you don’t measure your small business’ performance, you won’t be able to improve it. There are a range of indicators that you can use to measure your company’s growth and help you to determine whether your business is on track, as well as help you to meet your business goals, says Charles Teversham, MD at Sage Intelligence.
Here are a few indicators to determine how well your business is doing, as well as some tools that you can use to help.
Most small businesses today have a Web site and possibly even e-commerce capabilities. Use tools such as Google Analytics (it’s free) to measure the traffic to your Web site and to see how people interact with your Web content. You will soon be able to determine how people are finding out about you and which of your products or services they are the most interested in.
Also, look at your search engine rankings. For example, when someone searches for your product or service, is your company near the top of the results? Being on the first page of results is definitely first prize! If it is not, you need to do some work improving your Web site’s search engine optimisation. Understanding search terms used will also give you some ideas about how to refine you sales pitch or your product range to improve sales.
Small businesses stand or fall by how happy their customers are. Make a point of measuring customer satisfaction, whether it’s by talking to your customers directly, or by asking them to fill in a simple satisfaction survey. Online tools such as SurveyMonkey make it a snap to run your own polls for market research.
Very importantly, take action quickly based on customer feedback.
Do you have a presence on channels such as Twitter and Facebook? It is here where customers praise brands they’re satisfied with and a platform where they can address concerns that they may have toward specific products or services. You don’t need to spend all day on social media; use a tool such as Hootsuite (again, the entry level version is free) to schedule social media posts that are relevant to your target audience, perhaps once a week. However, do check for customer comments and responses at least once a day – you can learn a lot from interacting with customers on social media.
Monitor customer loyalty and satisfaction trends over time – if satisfaction is rising, you’re doing well. If it’s falling, take action.
Failures in financial budgeting, forecasting, and reporting are among the biggest reasons why small businesses fail. Keep comparing your current cash flow to historical performance to ensure you can budget effectively for the future. The right software tools can help you to track financial performance indicators and answer questions such as:
* Are you turning inventory around quickly enough so that you aren’t vulnerable to falling prices and so that you have money coming in to pay the suppliers?
* Is your revenue growth on track?
* How do your costs compare to the industry average in your market?
* Are all your products lines, customers, and territories performing as well as they should be?
* How much has profitability sales grown or shrunk against the same period last year? Why?
* What impact will the anticipated electricity tariff increase have on your profitability?
* How much income is each employee generating?
A financial reporting tool such as Sage Intelligence is affordable, intuitive, and delivers information in Excel, which most small business owners know how to use. These tools can help track the health of your business and having the answers to these and other questions can really help you improve your business’s performance. In a time of seismic technological change and digital invention, our smart people use the smartest technology to reinvent and simplify business accounting and reporting.
If you employ people, you should be able to measure how efficient and productive they are in a consistent manner. The measurement of productivity will depend on the nature of your business – it might be as straightforward as billable hours if you sell labour, or it could be measured in the quantity of items a worker produces per day or hour.
Try to compare yourself to other businesses – does you productivity align with the benchmarks for your industry? And compare employees to each other. Measure productivity trends by quarter or by year so that you can spot the trends and take action. For example, think about whether tablet computers could make your mobile techies more productive, or whether your artisans need more training to work more efficiently. Tracking and improving productivity is a sure fire way of beating the competition.