It is 2016, my friends. That means computers, tablets, and smartphones are practically your first three essentials for your small business technology. Your number four essential is coming in hot as a quality camera (most likely a DSLR, even if it's a beginner one). Here are five gadgets that can only improve your business functionality in 2016.
I have a laptop, but I don’t carry it around everywhere. I do, however, usually carry my tablet and definitely always carry around my phone. It’s nice to know that if I need to do some research, type up a draft, or anything else that is just plain ole better with typing than tapping then I definitely pull out my Bluetooth keyboard.
Logitech offers this $50 one that works with multiple devices, including your smartphone (can get for cheaper elsewhere, like Amazon). Logitech also has this slimmer keyboard for iPads if you want the power punch without the bulk.
Smartpens & Notebooks
Smartpens and smart notebooks are different than styluses. These allow you to write onto actual paper (versus a tablet) and it will then convert digitally onto various programs, including Evernote. If you really need to be able to draw or write in your own hand on paper, then this is a great resource for you. Writing and drawing with a stylus can have high quality, intuitive touch (eg, you can press a part of your hand on the screen and it won’t effect your drawing or writing) and realistic results on certain tablets like the Microsoft Surface Pro tablet, but many tablets simply aren’t there yet (including the iPad family).
There are many different options within this growing category and the pens usually have their own accompanying notebooks. Noteworthy options of smartpens include the Neo Smart Pen N2 and the Livescribe.
Lastly, the Moleskine Smart Notebook, allows you to use any medium of your choice: pen, pencil, marker, etc (although it suggests that black ink and markers work best). For $33, this notebook is also Creative Cloud connected to Adobe programs and will turn your sketches into fully workable digital files. The Moleskine Smart Notebook is also available in an Evernote version for $25.
Square / PayPal Here / GoPayment
Though neither of these are new products, they are definitely important to have on hand if you are a business that regularly takes credit card transactions in person (eg, shops that go to markets and shows). For a very affordable price, including free in some cases, it's a small little gadget just to have on hand in your bag of tricks when you are out in the world.
With phones, tablets, and computers being our staple of our business, sometimes having a portable charger can really save us when we are out and about, meeting clients, or traveling. Small businesses are consistently operating more on a mobile basis and sometimes it's simply not feasible to find an outlet. Plus, now there are now even solar chargers available if going green is more likely to tickle your fancy. Read this Digital Trends article for a list of the 30 best portable external battery chargers.