Vend Review

Our 2018 research and analysis of POS systems leads us to again recommend Vend as the best all-in-one POS system for small businesses.

We chose Vend from the dozens of POS systems we considered. To read our full methodology and see a more comprehensive list of POS systems, visit our best picks page here.
Why Vend?
Vend is an affordable, scalable POS system that gives you a choice of payment processors to work with and is compatible with third-party POS hardware, which means if you already own equipment, you may be able to continue using it. It also partners with a variety of companies to offer add-ons, such as appointment-scheduling features that make it a good option for retail stores, salons and other professional service-based businesses.

Competitive Pricing and Favorable Terms
Vend is packed with features at a price that’s very friendly to small businesses. Like most of the top POS systems, Vend charges a monthly subscription fee for its software and doesn’t require you to sign a long-term service contract, so you can cancel at any time without incurring an expensive fee.

Vend is transparent

Choosing a Payroll Service

Looking for an online payroll service in 2018? Here’s everything you need to know about what an online payroll service is, what it offers and how to choose one. If you already know what you’re looking for, visit our best picks page to see which ones we recommend, as well as a complete list of others that might work for you.

What is Online Payroll?
Online payroll services operate in the cloud. They don’t require any software to be installed or maintained, and businesses can manage and run payroll from anywhere.
They can be used to pay full-time and part-time employees as well as contract and freelance workers.
Online payroll typically includes a variety of services:
Payroll processing: Online payroll services automatically calculate how much employees should be paid each pay period. The systems take into account shift differentials, overtime, holiday pay and taxes, as well as Social Security and benefit deductions. They then make payments to employees by direct deposit or check.
File and pay payroll taxes: These services can withhold employee taxes, file quarterly payroll tax reports and pay tax withholdings to

TeleDirect Review

After conducting considerable research and analysis of call center services, we recommend TeleDirect as the best overall call center service for small businesses in 2018.

When it comes to a call center service that can cover both your inbound and outbound needs, you’ll want to be sure that the company you partner with offers extensive features on both sides of the equation. A quality call center service should be able to shift seamlessly from one task to another, be it answering customer service calls and processing orders, or conducting surveys and lead generation services for your business. And, of course, you need to trust that the call center service you choose will treat your customers with the utmost respect, just as your own staff would.

In order to help you decide which call center is best for you, Business News Daily reviewed a dozens of call center services. Ultimately, we recommend TeleDirect, which received an A-plus rating from the Better Business Bureau, as the best overall call center for small businesses in 2018 because of its comprehensive array of functions.
Why TeleDirect?
Full slate

Email Marketing Contact Lis

Developing a successful email marketing strategy starts with building a proper contact list.

“Contact lists are the foundation for successful email marketing because they’re more than simply names on a sheet,” Dave McCann, vice president of customer success for Constant Contact, told Business News Daily. “They allow you to keep track of, and engage, your customers instead of wasting time marketing to the masses.”

Quality over quantity
While you might be tempted to focus on building the biggest list possible, SEO and email marketing expert Brian Dean said it is more important to focus on quality over quantity. You want your list to be filled with people who have an interest in your business.

“You can have the best newsletters and the best offers, but if your contact list isn’t a good fit your emails are likely to fall flat,” Dean said.

The key to building a solid contact list is to first engage customers one-on-one online or in-person, McCann said. Then, based on the customer’s positive experience with your business, ask permission to continue the conversation through email. [See Related Story: Best Email Marketing Software for Small Businesses]

“As you add customers to your contact list and engage them, make note of their

Online Business Card

Are you trying to choose an online business card printing service for your business? We’re here to help you find the one that’s right for you. While some printing services are appropriate for larger businesses, we found four that we think are best for small business or freelancers’ needs.

Online business card printing
The best business card printing services for small businesses produce high-quality cards without requiring you to use special software or to have design skills. You should be able to create your new card design easily online, see high-resolution previews online, and receive your new cards in a timely manner. The best services also provide a wide variety of card stock choices, images, fonts, colors and card shapes.

Benefits of online business card printing services:

No design skills required
Low price options available
Wide variety of paper and templates
Quick print and delivery times
When you create your business cards, think about how you plan to use them. If you are using them for offering discounts or one-time opportunities, you can save money by choosing a low-priced option. If you plan on using them to give to contacts whom you wish to sell high-priced items to, you’ll want a card that

HubSpot Review

After conducting extensive research and analysis in 2017, we recommend HubSpot as the best marketing automation platform for small business. We chose HubSpot from a pool of the dozens of marketing automation solutions we considered. To understand how we selected our best picks, you can find our methodology and a comprehensive list of marketing automation software on our best picks page.

Why HubSpot?
HubSpot seamlessly unifies all your marketing channels and easily scales with your business. This makes HubSpot ideal for small, growing businesses – as you attract more customers, this software can simply grow along with you. HubSpot also eliminates the need for sophisticated IT or coding knowledge with its easy-to-navigate drag and drop user interface.
Features
HubSpot offers a healthy slate of features to make marketing automation easier. These features vary in availability depending on the pricing tier you choose. For a detailed breakdown on HubSpot’s plans, see the pricing section below.
Scalability
Scalability is what set HubSpot over the top for us. Its versatility as a marketing automation platform for the smallest businesses and growing startups through to enterprise level companies made it attractive even beyond its set of features.

For small businesses in particular, scalability is particularly useful.

Marketing Automation Software

Marketing automation is a holistic process that joins email, websites and social media channels into a unified force. Beyond simply streamlining the day-to-day work of your marketing department, marketing automation software helps it work smarter with automated workflows based on user interaction with your content. In this way, marketing automation better targets interested parties, more effectively wielding your advertising dollars and stretching your budget further.

With the right selection, marketing automation software can help you attract new customers, cultivate old relationships and reduce waste in your marketing budget. Business News Daily can help you sort through the noise and make the decision that suits your team best.

Here is a roundup of our favorite marketing automation platforms of 2017. For a comprehensive look at how to choose a marketing automation solution, read our Buyer’s Guide for Marketing Automation Software.

Best Marketing Automation Software for Small Business: HubSpot
HubSpot stood out as the best marketing automation platform for small business with its scalability. Its features are comprehensive and useful, but what really sold us was HubSpot’s ability to seamlessly grow with a young company into a full enterprise system. While there is a bit of a learning curve to overcome and the initial price

How to Choose Marketing Automation Software

Marketing and advertising often make up a sizable chunk of a business’s budget, but it’s usually difficult to judge how effective each advertising dollar truly is at generating more business. Luckily, marketing automation platforms not only make the task of reaching potential customers and generating leads easier, but they help narrow the search to the most likely and most lucrative customers.

Marketing automation is more than simple email campaigns and click-through reports. These platforms also work with social media, website visits, digital advertisements and oftentimes integrate with CRMs to optimize your customer outreach and lead generation. The best services are highly customizable, allowing users to set automated functions depending on how the potential customer interacts with the initial marketing material, company website or social media accounts.

The right marketing automation platform can save your business time, money and increase your conversion rates. Our guide can help you better understand the benefits of marketing automation and how to choose the platform that best suits your business.

Marketing automation 101
Marketing automation isn’t just about making the sale; it’s also about engaging potential customers on every step of their journey to becoming a buyer, then re-engaging them to encourage repeat business.

Jenay Sellers, director of marketing

Best Email Marketing Software for Small Businesses

After conducting extensive research and analysis, we recommend Benchmark and iContact as our 2018 picks for the best email marketing services for small businesses. To understand how we selected our best picks, you can find our methodology and a comprehensive list of email marketing services on our best picks page.

Why Benchmark?
Benchmark combines ease of use with a wide variety of design options to deliver the best value for the price. The company also provides excellent customer service. Benchmark has a free plan, as well as paid plans that start at $12 per month.

Ease of Use
Out of all the services we tested, Benchmark had the best combination of producing professional-looking emails and being easy to use, even if you have no prior experience with email marketing.

To create emails, Benchmark offers a drag-and-drop editor for those with no design experience, a code editor for advanced users who have expertise in writing HTML code, and a plain text editor for creating text-only emails.

The drag-and-drop editor is simple to use. It lays out all the steps in a very natural way that makes it simple to understand. You start by picking a layout. You can create your own layout from scratch or

TimeClock Plus Review

Why TimeClock Plus?
TimeClock Plus is a cloud-based system available in multiple service plans. It includes a multitude of features and works with a variety of time clocks. Depending on the service plan selected, TimeClock Plus costs $24 or $36 per employee, per year.

Multiple Service Plans
What makes TimeClock Plus so appealing is it offers businesses several service plans to choose from: Express, Standard and Professional. Each plan differs by cost and the number of features and tools it includes.

The Express plan, which is limited in how it operates, is offered only to businesses with fewer than 20 employees. The two other plans can be used in organizations of any size.

Among the features and tools available in all plans are web-based clock operations, basic overtime calculations, views of employee status and hours, automatic punch rounding, and automatic logoff.

Additional features offered in both the Standard and Professional plans are employee time-sheet entry, employee and manager approvals, time clock compatibility, mobile apps, simple scheduling, accruals, and messaging.

Features and tools available only to Professional plan users are advanced scheduling, time-off request management, clock restrictions, advanced overtime, mass scheduling and automated reports, exports, and notifications. You can see a complete breakdown of all the

TSheets Review

Why TSheets?
TSheets offers numerous ways for employees to clock in and out, tracks remote workers’ location throughout the day, and is easy to use. TSheets costs $5 per employee, plus a $20 monthly base charge for businesses with fewer than 100 employees.

Mobile Tracking
TSheets is an ideal system for businesses with employees who sometimes or always work outside the office because of the variety of ways time and attendance can be managed remotely. Of all the services we examined, TSheets offers remote employees the most options for clocking in and out. With this system, on-the-go workers can use laptops, mobile apps, telephones, text messages or Twitter to record the hours they work each day.

The TSheets mobile app, available on iPhones and Android devices, lets employees clock in and out, track the time they work on specific projects, view time sheets, and see which of their co-workers are also working. Additionally, employees can use the app to see their schedules, receive notifications of schedule changes, and ask for time off.

The mobile app also tracks remote employees’ locations throughout the day. Besides logging exactly where employees are when they clock in and out, the mobile app records their specific location every

Stratustime Review

Why stratustime?
stratustime combines a wide range of time-tracking options and features with an easy-to-use interface and excellent customer support. It costs $4 per employee, per month. There is also an installation and implementation charge based on the number of employees you have.

Time Tracking
stratustime from nettime solutions has the features businesses of any size would want in a time and attendance system. It tracks all of a business’s time needs, including when employees come and go, when they take breaks, how long they work on certain projects, and how much paid time off (PTO) they’ve accrued.
Besides recording the total hours employees work each day, the system has a job-tracking tool that logs how long employees work on specific projects. This can be valuable for employers, such as IT consultants or law firms, that bill clients based on the hours employees spend working on their tasks.

The system can also manage PTO. It tracks accruals, allows employees to request time off, and lets managers approve or deny those requests. In addition, employers can use stratustime to generate schedules for individual employees, departments or shifts. Besides designating when employees should start and end their shifts, the visual scheduler lets managers add

InTouch GPS Review

Our 2018 research and analysis of GPS fleet tracking software leads us to again recommend InTouch GPS as the best GPS fleet tracking software for small businesses. We chose InTouch GPS from dozens of GPS fleet-tracking software options. To understand how we chose InTouch GPS, you can find our methodology and a list of GPS fleet-tracking software vendors on our best picks page.

Why InTouch GPS?
InTouch GPS is our top pick for the best GPS fleet-tracking software for small business because it offers the best pricing, is easy to use and comes with a ton of time-saving features that simplify monitoring vehicles and drivers.

InTouch GPS costs $23.95 per month and comes with free hardware. There are also no long-term contracts or minimum number of vehicles, making it an excellent choice for small businesses.There are no installation fees, maintenance fees or other hidden costs, and pricing includes U.S.-based phone support.

Best price
Most GPS fleet-tracking software products aren’t cheap. In addition to monthly service fees, many vendors charge extra for certain features, setup and even customer support. Some vendors are also resellers that mark up the software, piling on fees and additional charges. InTouch GPS, however, is a direct seller that

Join.me Review

Why join.me?
Join.me, a LogMeIn product, is neither the cheapest video conference system nor the one with the most available room for participants. However, join.me struck the right balance between cost and maximum number of participants for us to name it the best video conference service for many participants. It remains very affordable while allowing up to 250 participants into a meeting at any given time, and it also offers a powerful, easy-to-use system.

Features
Join.me includes all the major features we looked for, as well as some ancillary features we enjoyed (despite its professed aim to cut out the bells and whistles). Here are some of the features available on join.me:

App integration: Join.me can integrate a wide array of applications your business might use, including major products such as Microsoft Outlook, Google Calendar, Salesforce and Microsoft Office 365. By integrating apps, you can operate directly through join.me; for example, you can schedule a conference ahead of time and provide the necessary details to your team on Outlook.
Audio calls: Included in the license is the ability to make audio calls using Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP). If you choose, join.me could double as your phone system.
Control over user permissions:

ClickMeeting Review

Why ClickMeeting?
ClickMeeting is our top choice for video conference systems for businesses because it blends diverse features, high-quality audio and video, and ease of use without the headache of integrating a complex or unwieldy system. Because of its user-friendly interface, training for your employees should be minimal. There’s also a 30-day free trial available, so your staff can take it out for a spin before you commit to buying.

Features
ClickMeeting offers a wide array of features essential to businesses in a video conferencing system. There are different pricing plans, some of which have additional uses. Here are some of the features available in every plan.

Add-ons: Even if you’re not interested in all the bells and whistles, you can purchase specific expansions such as extra seats in a conference, additional presenters and more recording capacity.
App integration: ClickMeeting allows you to integrate with multiple applications such as Adobe, Dropbox, Facebook, LinkedIn and Office 2016.
Chat text translations: ClickMeeting includes 52 languages that can be used to translate chat text in real time. This is a useful feature for companies that regularly work with international partners.
Customized invitations: Create custom email invitations that can be tailored to match your brand’s color

Skype for Business Review

Most video conference services require you to make the choice between paying higher prices to get more robust features or forgoing them for a cheaper price. Skype for Business, however, is an affordable and effective tool that retains its most valuable assets. You’ll spend less each month on this service than for most others, but you won’t have to sacrifice reliability, high-definition video feeds or the most essential features of video conferencing software. Moreover, the large conference rooms and ability to stream multiple video feeds at once make Skype for Business a good tool for hosting many participants in a single meeting.

In September 2017, Microsoft announced that it will replace Skype for Business with Microsoft Teams, though it has not given a timeline for the transition at this time. Microsoft Teams will allow users to make calls, hold meetings and collaborate with others from a single place.

The No. 1 highlight of Skype for Business is its affordable cost. There are two packages that include Skype for Business (along with other Microsoft Office software), so it’s important to know what you really need before you buy. However, if you don’t already own a license to

Business Loan Myths Busted

Obtaining a loan for your small business is a great way to boost investment and even grow your business when the time is ripe. You might have heard some grumblings about small business loans: they’re hard to obtain; your credit has to be flawless; don’t ask for too much money or you’ll be denied. Fortunately, these prominent myths surrounding small business lending aren’t necessarily true.

It’s important to manage debt properly, but doing so can help grow your business at a faster rate than scrimping and saving. To help you obtain a small business loan for your company, Business News Daily spoke with finance experts to debunk six common myths about getting a business loan.
Myth No. 1: Getting a small business loan is the hardest thing you’ll ever have to do.
Like other forms of financing, obtaining a small business loan is all about preparation. Ensuring your books are transparent and you maintain the reserve liquidity to encourage the lender that you’ll be able to service your debt on time and consistently will lead to success. And experts agree the best way to avoid unnecessary snags is to prepare ahead of time for the application process.
Myth No. 2: You

The Evolution of Business Technology

Technology has spurred human advancement for centuries. Nowhere has this been more apparent than in business. The economic and business implications from advancing technologies have resulted in substantial societal change, from the iPhone to the Telegraph.

Appreciating technology means examining the past to understand where we came from. The people interpreting Morse code in 1870 are the same as we are today – they used technology to change lives and build the U.S. on the backs of business and enterprise. The only thing they were missing was the smartphone.

Our relationship with technology has changed drastically within the last decade, and with new and exciting tech on the horizon, looking at our journey up until this point will illuminate some of the challenges that lie ahead.
In its infancy, social media seemed like the latest way for people to connect, revolutionizing communication across the globe. As it developed in the mid-2000s, it proved to be a useful business tool as well.

Much like the smartphone, social media became another platform for businesses and technology companies to connect with users and market products. This eventually led to the emergence of companies that market only on social media. Glossier, a beauty and

Best Call Centers and Answering 2018

Fielding calls can take up a lot of valuable time that you and your staff could spend managing day to day operations. Still, customer service is essential and, for some businesses, the phone lines are a major channel for lead generation and even sales.

If you’re having trouble managing the phones effectively, or if you want to improve outreach without burdening your staff, you need a call center service. These services often specialize in both inbound and outbound services; that means services as different as customer support and lead generation are provided under one roof. The best services will boost customer satisfaction, retention and help generate new leads that will eventually become customers as well.

In order to find the call center services you can trust with your business in 2018, we reviewed about three dozen companies that offer inbound and outbound calling services. Here is a roundup of our best picks and an explanation of how we chose them.

Best Call Center Service for Small Business: TeleDirect
TeleDirect was selected as our best overall call center service for small businesses primarily because it boasts a complete selection of both inbound and outbound services, including some of the harder-to-find features like cold-calling services.

System for Your Business

Security is imperative for any business; after all, how can you be profitable if you can’t protect your assets? Luckily, video surveillance systems are more intelligent and effective than ever. The best cameras now offer computer-like functions and features, like motion sensors and automatic mobile notifications. Some even let you automatically contact law enforcement instantly if need be. Technological development has also lead to more efficient ways of managing recording and storage, as well. Now small business owners have access to immensely powerful surveillance systems at relatively affordable prices.

When it comes to buying and implementing a new system, most vendors allow for a large degree of customizability, meaning you can tailor a system to your business’s specific needs. Whether you need a widespread system that can cover multiple locations or just a few cameras to watch your storefront, there’s a solution for everyone. Not sure where to start? Here’s our 2018 video surveillance buyer’s guide to help break down the component parts of video surveillance systems.

Editor’s Note: Trying to find the video surveillance system that’s right for you? Fill in the questionnaire below, and you will be contacted by our partner vendors with the right system for your business.