Tag Archives: business

Device Pitstop is Good for Small Businesses

Check out this article from inc.com, which highlights Device Pitstop as a great option for supplying small businesses with high-quality, affordable electronics. Check it out:

Device Pitstop employees working around table

10 Overlooked Budget Hacks for Starting a Business

Starting a business can be costly, but you can do it on a budget and still get the same results.

By Adam Heitzman

Let’s be real, getting a business off the ground is hard. Balancing employee management with everyday operations with promotions and PR with new client outreach with current customer satisfaction…yikes, that can get overwhelming and expensive.

Aside from your standard penny pinching accounting and budgeting tips, there are plenty of ways to stretch your business budget. By employing some of these overlooked budget hacks, you can shave hundreds off your operating costs and watch your profits soar.

  1. Locally optimize your website for more foot traffic.

The majority of mobile searches usually end up in a purchase from a local business. Think about mobile users who search on the fly: they might Google “Mexican restaurants near me,” read some reviews, and then select a nearby restaurant to eat at. For free or nearly free, you can optimize your website through reviews, citations, listings, and more to make sure you’re directing as much foot traffic into your store from the internet at possible.

  1. Maximize free resources.

Just about every business owner knows the importance of having a social media presence, especially since it’s free. But what many businesses overlook are the associations, groups, and networks that can be used to their entrepreneurial advantage. Customers like businesses that are part of associations and broader professional networks because it increases the trustworthiness of the brand. It’s also a great way to meet other business owners and develop mutually beneficial, professional relationships you can learn from.

  1. Negotiate with your suppliers.

And by negotiate, I mean haggle. When it comes to product suppliers and vendors, treat their asking prices as more of a starting point than the actual price you’ll be paying. Wifi, cable, office supplies-many of these things can be negotiated through your account manager, especially if your business has been a long-time customer. Shaving a few bucks off of bills here and there can add up to savings of hundreds of dollars.

  1. Barter your business with other businesses.

Back up to the mutually beneficial, professional relationships idea. You can barter the services you offer with the services of other businesses to achieve mutual goals. Let’s say you own a small PR firm and your office is in dire need of a professional paint job. Find a locally owned painting business and offer to do some PR work for them in exchange for some of their services.

  1. Outsource.

Election season has made “outsource” a dirty word, but you don’t have to outsource every last business function to another country. Freelancers and contracts can often be hired for much less than a full time employee. If there’s something you’d normally hire a position for, such as website design, writing, social media, etc., consider hiring an independent worker. More often than not, they can get the work you need done for a fraction of the cost.

  1. Cut employee costs.

If you don’t want to outsource any jobs and want to keep employees, you can always try cutting down the costs accumulated by employees. If you’ve been catering lunches once every week for years and the cost is getting to be a bit much, reduce it to just monthly catered lunches. Some businesses have even found a four day work week to be a better fit for their employees, who work hard to enjoy their extra day off, and their costs, which are reduced by not having a fifth day of office operations (think: water, electricity, etc.).

  1. Embrace inexperienced hires.

Experienced employees are awesome, but also expensive. Unless you’re in a business that absolutely requires a certain level of experience, such as a private medical practice or law firm, be more open to inexperienced employees. Recent grads are often willing to accept a much lower salary than someone with 5 years of experience, and with a little guidance, an inexperienced but bright employee can do just as good a job.

8. Buy used electronics/sell old electronics.

Electronics are one of the most necessary and expensive parts of owning a business. Computers, phones, laptops, upgrading outdated technology-it adds up quickly, but most businesses and offices can’t operate without them. The good news is that the prevalence and necessity of technology has made attaining it much easier. Try going through a reputable refurbished electronics store for your tech needs, such as Device Pitstop. You can buy your business’s electronics at a discounted rate, sell your older gadgets without biting too much of the cost, or even trade when it’s time for an upgrade.

  1. Buy discounted office furniture.

Much like electronics, another costly but necessary piece of office equipment is office furniture. Desks, chairs, and conference room tables are deceptively expensive. Discount furniture companies offer cost-effective solutions for getting your office the right look. You can rent office furniture or buy from a clearance selection for discounted pieces that are good as new. Taking the discounted route on the expensive stuff like electronics and furniture can save your business thousands of dollars.

  1. Promote partnerships with charities.

As the giving season approaches, advertising tends to get more expensive. A great way to maximize your brand’s exposure on a business is by partnering with a charity. Not only does it attract loyal customers and draw attention from a wider audience, but it also gets you tons of free marketing and publicity through your charity of choice. Team up with a local nonprofit this holiday season to save on marketing and outreach.

Click here to see more from inc.com.

Microsoft Launches New Skype Meetings

Device Pitstop Skype Meetings at office

Check out this article from techcrunch.com about Microsoft’s latest launch: Skype Meetings.

Skype Meetings is Microsoft’s new free video conferencing tool for small businesses

By Frederic Lardinois

Microsoft today launched Skype Meetings, a new audio and video conferencing tool specifically designed for small businesses. Skype Meetings is essentially a stripped down version of the Skype for Business solution.

The more fully featured Skype for Business product allows you to host meetings with up to 250 people and it’s deeply integrated into Outlook, Word and PowerPoint. Skype Meetings, on the other hand, only allows for PowerPoint collaboration (screen sharing, laser pointer, etc.) and screen sharing. Video calls are also limited to a maximum of 10 people during the first two months. After that, the maximum number of participants drops to three people.

Participants can join Skype Meetings from virtually any device with the help of a personalized URL and the calls are powered by the same technology as Skype for Business calls. That means you will get to take advantage of Skype’s head tracking feature, for example, which ensures that a face will always be in the center of the screen, no matter where it is in the actual video image.

The fact that the maximum number of participants drops to three after 60 days clearly shows that Microsoft sees this feature as the freemium version of Skype for Business. The regular free version of Skype after all, also allows for group calls with up to 10 people. It does not, however, include any of the business-oriented features that come with the new version of the existing Skype for Business.

With this new tool, Microsoft is also clearly trying to compete with Hangouts, which Google has deeply built into its suite of office tools (and which allows third-party services to integrate new features, too).

See more from techcrunch.com.

When Techie Companies Team Up

Check out this recent article from digitaltrends.com about a blockbuster partnership between Magic Leap and Lucasfilm. I bet you can guess the content that will soon come out of this combination. Read the article below to find out more, of you can click here to read the article on digitaltrends.com.

Magic Leap Announces Partnership With Lucasfilm to Produce ‘Star Wars’ Content

Device Pitstop R2D2 photo from digitaltrends.com
Photo from digitaltrends.com

By Kyle Wiggers

Magic Leap, the secretive Hollywood, Florida-based augmented reality startup, just landed a literal blockbuster of a partnership. At Wired’s Business Conference in New York City on Thursday, Magic Leap chief Rony Abovitz announced a multiyear collaboration with Lucasfilm’s xLab, the movie house’s division focused on virtual reality platforms, to produce Star Wars content for Magic Leap’s as yet unrevealed hardware.

The partnership is hardly a token effort. It will see the creation of a joint lab at the San Francisco headquarters of Industrial Light and Magic, Lucasfilm’s special effects division, which host “researchers,” “programmers,” and a handful of members of Lucasfilm’s Story Group writers.

“I’ve never seen anything where we’ll be innovating on both a creative and technological level in such close proximity,” xLab executive Vicki Dobbs Beck told Wired. “I’ve spent 24 years at ILM, but I cannot recall anything that looks or feels like this.”

Magic Leap published a video of what form the collaboration might take: computer-generated representations of Star Wars’ C3PO and R2D2 projected onto the floor of an apartment living room. It’s an interactive story, of sorts: The wearer’s tasked with avoiding storm troopers commanded by space gangster Jabba the Hutt, who isn’t pleased about the (presumably unpaid) status of “Captain Solo’s debt.”

At one point, R2D2 projects a hologram onto a real-life table: a miniature Millennium Falcon taking flight from the table’s surface life table and evading an army of TIE Fighters before making a light-speed getaway.

Magic Leap describes the experience and others like it as “Mixed Reality Lightfields” — seamless, immersive blends of real-life and virtual objects. “[They’re the] best of the practical world and the best of the digital world,” said Lucasfilm’s vice president of new media Rob Brewdow in a press release, but Abovitz describes them a bit more fantastically. “[Mixed Reality Lightfields are] whole new medium … designed to harness the power off your imagination and take you to places you never thought possible,” he told Wired.

And Thursday’s Star Wars demo is only the beginning, apparently. “We built some really crazy moments,” Abovitz said, “one-to-one scale ships and characters, things where you suddenly feel like you’re there. I could be looking at somebody, and there’s also a ship taking off and a droid running around — like you walked onto the set, but it’s all real.”

Related: Magic Leap offers another peek at its mysterious AR tech via a new demo video

The partnership between Magic Leap and Lucasfilm was born of a mutual interest, from the sound of it. According to Wired, Industrial Light and Magic’s creative director, John Gaeta, reached out to Abovitz through social media. The two met at Magic Leap’s headquarters in Florida, and while the tech wasn’t perfect — the ungainly prototype gained the nickname “The Beast” among Magic Leap’s employees — it was enough to impressive Gaeta.

“I experienced something I’d never in my life experienced,” he said. “I was able to look at a computer-generated construct, focus along the length of it at any point, and it would abide by my natural eye focus.” After subsequent visits by ILM engineers, Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy, and general manager Lynwen Brennan, an agreement was inked on paper.

The deal with Lucasfilm isn’t Magic Leap’s first foray into content, exactly. New Zealand-based special effects studio Weta Workshop teamed with the company several years ago to produce augmented games and movies (Weta Workshop’s co-founder and CEO, Sir Richard Taylor, serves as both a Magic Leap board member and the company’s Arts Ambassador to China). But Star Wars is a far bigger step toward the company’s goal of building out a library of experiences that’ll attract mainstream attention. Simply put, experiences featuring a franchise as beloved and recognizable as Star Wars — the latest movie in the long-running film franchise, The Force Awakens, grossed more than $2 billion worldwide — are bound to turn heads.

Magic Leap’s technology, which the company has yet to reveal publicly, has been described as a “head-mounted virtual retinal display” that superimposes computer-generated objects onto real-world ones by projecting light into the user’s eyes. The nascent company has offices in Los Angeles, Seattle, Austin, the U.K., New Zealand, and Israel, and has attracted more than $1 billion in seed funding from Google, Legendary Entertainment, and others. Most recently, it invited 10 hand-picked developers to program apps for Magic Leap’s platform, and announced a tentative mass-production date for its devices: this summer.

Click here to see more from digitaltrends.com.

Devices for Business and Education

Device Pitstop associate shaking hands with customer

Did you know that Device Pitstop can help you manage the IT assets for your business, school or organization? There’s no job too large or too small! Get value out of your no-longer-used IT equipment or supply your company, students or staff with high-quality devices and repairs at discounted prices! Click here to find out more.

Contact your local Device Pitstop store for more information regarding buying, selling or repairing your IT equipment.