Starting your own business can be expensive. It's important for entrepreneurs to minimize their expenses as much as possible, whether that's insourcing customer service methods, changing your wireless carrier or spending less on quality electronics.
Hesitant to spend $300 for a pair of headphones? We've got an alternative. From Twitter tricks to cutting down on your cell phone bill, here are three new tools fit for any entrepreneur.
Twitter can be dangerous for brands. It’s a way to build trust -- customer-service requests made there increased 2.5 times since 2014 -- but also a public forum for mudslinging. So Twitter launched two features to encourage quieter discussion: With DM Prompt, a brand can add links to tweets that, when clicked by the user, generate private, direct messages; and a survey tool called Customer Feedback lets people privately share their opinions on those interactions. “A lot of times the real resolution [on Twitter] happens after a business asks a customer for personal information and that information is exchanged,” says Jeff Lesser, a Twitter product marketer. “Customers can be uneasy about sharing that data publicly. Now there’s a safe and easy way to pass it along.” -- Matt Villano
Between the draconian contracts, impossible-to-decipher bills and borderline-bonkers international roaming charges, we’ve been fuming about wireless bills since the flip-phone days. Google’s new Project Fi seeks to assuage our anger. Its software keeps your data draw to a minimum by smartly switching across a network of more than a million secure hotspots, using LTE towers only when it absolutely has to. (It can even switch from wi-fi to LTE while you’re in the middle of a call). There are no annual contracts, and plans start at just $20 per month, with extra data clocking in at $10 per gigabyte -- even in 120 different countries. And if you buy more data than you need, you’re refunded the balance. For now, the service is available only on certain Google Nexus phones -- but it’s a promising start to tame the wireless Wild West. -- Seth Porges
Some people buy expensive, fancy headphones just to leave them at the office. Those people are a little nuts. For the rest of us, with our inexpensive earbuds, there’s the BoomCloud 360 BoomStick. The $99 dongle connects between your headphones and your music player, and makes your tunes sound bigger and better. The stick seeks out differences in left and right stereo tracks and extrapolates that information to create an audio immersion -- like stepping out of a muffled closet and into the concert hall. The only downside: The BoomStick needs to be charged -- that’s one more thing for you to worry about! -- but we found the battery lasted through several days of regular rocking out. —S.P.