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25 must-have technologies for SMBs

Jeff Vance | April 30, 2013
Running a small business isn't easy. I know. I run one. As a freelance writer, I’ve learned that you need to run your writing career as if you were running a business.

At $50 per month, Leaf is more affordable than many other mobile POS solutions, although Square offers more flexibility to start small 2.75& per swipe (on up to $275 per month).

Analyzing Data

Now that you have leads, customers and sales, it's time to start analyzing your business to see what you can do better. Big Data isn't just for big business anymore.

Real-time customer analytics service 8) Woopra allows small businesses to identify note-worthy customers. You can spot hot leads, rescue lost customers, speed up customer onboarding, etc. Woopra also helps you spot overall trends in customer behavior, such as pinpointing where exactly most prospects bail out of the sign up or buying process. Pricing ranges from free for a basic account to $500 per month for a high-octane account that measures 10 million actions per month and retains data for two years.

Prism from 9) SiSense offers Big-Data-as-a-Service to help you crunch data from a variety of sources so that you can create business strategy based on data analysis. Prism's drag-and-drop interface lets you create data mashups and visualizations from SQL Server, Oracle, MySQL, PostgreSQL, Excel, CSV files, Google, SalesForce, ZenDesk and other databases.

Prism helps you visualize trends, identify critical metrics and formulate complex business queries without having to write a single line of code. Pricing is $50 per user per month or you can contact the company for a flat fee per server.


Now that you have leads, sales and even data to help you optimize your business, it's time to decide if you're ready to expand. Hiring is, perhaps, the single most stressful event for small business owners. Getting the right candidate isn't easy, and hiring the wrong person can devastate a small business.

First, how do you even determine an appropriate salary? Sure, you can scour job ads trying to find ballpark figures, but a better option is to use 10) Payscale, which has collected salary and career data from more than 35 million people, covering 12,000 job titles and 1,100 distinct industries in 150 countries.

But how will you determine whether a candidate is a good fit? Services from 11) Pairin and 12) Hireology should help. Pairin focuses on "a candidates behavioral DNA and potential for success, instead of the time-consuming evaluation of a resumes historical data." Pairin identifies optimal interview candidates through the modeling of existing top employees in the same positions based on 137 performance drivers. Pairin also lets you compare a candidate to an existing in-house employee. Pricing ranges from $49 for a one-to-one comparison to $199 per month to assess unlimited employees and unlimited applicants against job listings.

Hireology, meanwhile, has analyzed thousands of interviews across hundreds of companies to identify 67 traits that help predict the likelihood of success in a specific role. The process starts when a business posts an opening. Hireology then asks you questions to zero in on the most appropriate traits. Pricing starts at $24 per month for a single opening.


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