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WHY YOU SHOULD CONSIDER ONLINE TICKETING

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Many business are moving aspects of their business online owing the continued proliferation of the internet. One of these aspects is ticketing. This makes a lot of sense as we’ll see soon.

The thing about the internet is that it’s a great equalizer: small and medium-sized enterprises can have a great web presence as the biggest businesses.

So, why would your business consider selling it’s tickets and reservations online?

1. Open 24/7 to receive reservations.

Many customers surf the Internet outside of business hours and they are more likely to make reservations on the spot that trying to remember to call back the next day.

An Online booking system allows you to receive booking 24 hours a day; therefore, your booking service is always open.

2. You can maximize your reservations.

Customers who book their own reservations are more likely to show up, making no-shows a thing of the past. If a customer does need to cancel, the spot automatically opens online, giving another customer the chance to book it. By maximizing your reservations, you won’t leave unused activity spots or rentals on the table.

3. Payments are made faster.

With an online booking system, you can require customers to prepay for activities and rentals. This puts money into your pocket faster and helps make sure that on the day of the event you don’t have to worry about payment — giving you and your customers more time to have fun.

4. You are not tied to a phone.

Online booking means you capture more potential business because reservations and information are always available. It also means you won’t get caught in a dreaded game of telephone tag.

5. You get valuable insights into your business

An online booking system provides you with a dashboard of analytics that help you grow your business. Quickly determine your most popular sellers, the most requested time slots, or even the most popular add-ons by using an online booking system with robust insights. Take advantage of knowing what your customers want most — saving you time and money on offerings that don’t help your business grow.

6. It’s cheaper for both your business and your clients.

There are various ways you save money by purchasing an e- or mobile ticket. You save on the transportation costs you would’ve incurred travelling to a retail outlet, plus you save on the service fee as this is usually higher for physical tickets due to production and other costs, such as labour costs.

While online ticketing offers compelling advantages, it is not without some of it challenges. For one, your clients have to have internet access. Also, you have to be prepared for an influx of new customers. Despite these drawbacks, online ticketing is the way to go for most businesses.

Q–Ticket is product by Quadrant Softwares that aims to help the people in and visiting towns/cities easily find events and places of interest to visit. Q-Ticket also allows event organizers and sponsors to promote and sell tickets faster and easily. It also provides a dashboard to view reports on turn up, revenue and trends of their reveller. Feel free to reach out to us a info@quadrantsoftwares.com to discuss how we can help your business implement online ticketing.

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HOW TO EFFECTIVELY USE FACEBOOK FOR BUSINESS

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Facebook is by far the biggest social media platform and as such will form a great part of most business’ social media marketing strategy.

Facebook is one of the best drivers of conversions and sales for a lot of businesses.

Given its status as the pre-eminent social media platform and it’s status as the best driver for conversions and sales, it is imperative that businesses learn how to effectively use Facebook to so as to achieve their goals.

The following are strategies that you can follow to achieve your business’ goals:

1. The evergreen strategy

Find content that impacts the reader, makes them feel, or to cause an action. The content should be engaging with the intended goal of creating an interaction. Engagement is key; a like is great a comment is better. Always focus on what value you can bring.

So, how do you do this in practise:

i. Fill in the bio completely.
ii. Use the right hashtags.
iii. Maintain relvancy in content, simple vocabulary and right grammar.
iv. Be communicative [rather] than broadcasting or salesy
v. Visual content impacts more.

2. Treat Facebook as a goldmine and not a dump site.

Most people in marketing use their Social Media as a dumping ground for links back to their articles, offers, etc, and hope someone will take up an interest. Truth is, most people are only interested in their own voice. By showing an interest in their voice you can turn your social media marketing from a Dumping Ground to a Gold mine.

Spend a week where you post nothing to social media. Instead, select a platform that best represents your audience (…) [and] find people talking either about your brand or your niche. In particular, look for problems you can solve.

Start talking to them. Point them to a resource. Comment or offer some suggestions.

If you want to build bridges in your niche, link prospecting or guest post opportunities, respond to one or two of their tweets in a helpful way, retweet it and if they seem responsive, pitch an offer.

3. Use Facebook ads

You may hate it, but investing on Facebook ads will give your business a lift especially if you’re a start-up or a small business.

Facebook ads aren’t expensive as you might think; you will love them once you tried to test them to get the best conversion that can impact your followers and your business growth. Consistent testing and experiments are necessary once you use them.

4. Leverage existing traffic to your website

You can easily leverage the existing traffic on your site by putting social media icons that can be seen and clicked, which are direct links to your Facebook page and any other social media account pages you have.

5. Promote your Facebook page instore

Do your customers come to your store? Promoting your Facebook page and other social media accounts in-store is just another great way to let your customers know that you are on Facebook.

Remember that if you’re exerting efforts on your Facebook marketing online, you should also do it offline.

6. Determine the best days and times to post

By going to your Posts Insights, you will be able to see the average time when your fans are online.

In case you’re planning to schedule three posts, you might want to check the best hours that your fans are online and select those hours on scheduling your post.

You can access your Posts Insights by following the steps below:

i. Go to your Facebook Page.
ii. You will see “See Insights” above your Page, click it.
iii. You will see your Insights overview from there, find the Posts tab and click it.
iv. Hover your mouse on the day you want your post to be scheduled and you will able to see the best hours that your fans are online.

By following the strategies outlined above, you will be able to effectively leverage Facebook. Should you have any inquiries about using Facebook to market your business, you can reach us info@quadrantsoftwares.com.

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LEVERAGING SOCIAL MEDIA FOR BUSINESS

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Everyone from mom and pop shops to large corporations is rushing to the social media bandwagon. It is a mad rush to exploit the most profitable social media platform.

As with most gold rushes, the people who are going to get rich are the folks selling the pickaxes. A few will strike the mother lode, but the real winners are the platforms themselves.

So, is social media worthless? Far from it! Social media is one of the best marketing platforms that any business or individual can use. We just have to learn how to use it effectively so as to achieve our goals. We will explore ways of leveraging social media to attain our goals. Before we explore specific steps for attaining this, we need to be reminded that marketing has always been and will always be about connections regardless of the mechanisms we employ.

1. Speak to the person

Marketing as stated earlier is all about connecting with people who are or will become your customers. Behind the profiles and handles, are real people with real needs, passions and desires. Your task is to connect with them, showing them that they can trust you, and that your can enrich their lives in a manner that results in profits for your business.

2. Give first

The primary task of using a social media platform is to build trust with with your potential customers. If you decide to sell via social media, ensure that it’s not more than 10 percent of your content.

3. Pick the right platform

You need to pick the platform(s) where most of your customers and potential customers are and invest most of your social media marketing resources to those platforms. You need to be careful not to spread yourself too thin trying to cover all your bases.

4. Start small

Closely related to picking the right platform is starting small. Start with one or two platforms, and then increase your presence from there.

You should also be careful not to overinvest by rushing out to hire a full-time social media specialist. You should instead look around your company and find someone who is interested in taking on the added responsibility.

5. Look beyond the “likes”

You shouldn’t judge the success of a social media campaign solely on the number of likes and other similar metrics. While they may be good indicators of success, they should be supplemented by these other metrics:

  • Reach, Likes, and Shares – This soft metrics of social lets you know you are keeping your audience engaged.
  • Social Referral Traffic and Goal Completions (Measured through Google Analytics) – You can figure out who is coming from social media and either buying something or filling in a lead form on your website (cha-ching!).
  • Social Media Leads – Yes, you can drive business leads from prospects straight on social media.
  • Increased Search Engine Rankings & New Inbound links – Having a presence on social media can have a huge effect on any other organic or SEO programs you are running. Social media can be a key component of driving search engine traffic to your website.
  • Increases in Branded Traffic (Measured by Google Analytics) – If you are keeping your audience engaged and getting prospects “warmed up” on social, you should see an increase of consumers searching for your brand in search engines.

6. Measure your results based on goals

Knowing that results are more than just “likes”, your need to decide how you will measure the results before starting any social media marketing activity, as well the specifics metrics you will use to determine success.

Every business will have its definition of social media success. Decide what’s important to you before you kick off your campaign.

7. Commit to it

Most businesses will start their social media campaigns with a bang but then they let their campaigns fizzle out after a few weeks. To avoid this, start with something small that you can handle, like say, a post daily, of weekly so that your company can stay relevant.

Social media can be one of the best investments your company can make. You just have to be smart about it so as to reap the benefits that accrue from it. Quadrant softwares is leader in social media marketing. You can talk to us at info@quadrantsoftwares.com.

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SOCIAL MEDIA IN BUSINESS

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It is hard to imagine the world without social media.But slightly more than a decade ago this was a reality. You had to pick up a phone and call your friends and family to hear how they were faring. This isn’t the case any more; you can find out how your family and friends are doing on Facebook.

The use of social media is no longer limited to personal use. Businesses now use social media to meet their objectives.

Some businesses use social media to sell their products and services. The instant nature of social media makes it ideal for sales. When businesses sell via social media, they are likely to include discounts, coupons, limited-time deals, new releases and promotions in their updates.

The most typical social media approach is positioning yourself as a resource. Content marketing professionals recognize social media channels as conduits and use them to pass information to fans, followers and customers. When businesses follow this approach, their updates are likely to include: tips, advice and links to interesting or industry-related articles and resources.

All companies want to give their customers the best experience possible, and right now that means providing customer service on social media. These days, many customers choose to bypass annoying phone menus and hold times in favor of a quick social media update (tweets are particularly popular). If you’re providing customer service online, many of your interactions will include tips, tricks and hacks, information on how to use your product or service and solutions to complaints.

Social media has become an indispensable tool for business and will continue to be so for the foreseeable future. Watch this space for how to effectively use this tool to meet your goals.

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CLOUD VS. ONSITE DATA CENTERS

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Ever since Amazon launched Amazon Web Services, kicking off perhaps the most transformative shift in the massive data center industry, the debate has raged about which data storage solution companies should adopt: the public cloud or onsite data centers.

Before we get into the merits of each approach, we need to understand what they are. Is a cloud a data center? Is a data center a cloud? Or are the two completely different?

While the two terms may seem interchangeable, the two computing systems have little in common.

The main difference between them is that a cloud is an off-premise form of computing that stores data on the internet while data centers refer to on-premise hardware that stores data within an organization’s local network. Also, cloud services are outsourced to third party cloud providers who perform all the updates and ongoing maintenance while data centers are usually run by in-house professionals.

Cloud vendors often own multiple data centers in several geographic locations to maintain data availability during outages and other data center failures.

Using the cloud offers many advantages over on-site data centers. These include:

1. Flexibility
Cloud-based services are ideal for businesses with growing or fluctuating bandwidth demands. If your needs increase it’s easy to scale up your cloud capacity, drawing on the service’s remote servers. Likewise, if you need to scale down again, the flexibility is baked into the service. This level of agility can give businesses using cloud computing a real advantage over competitors – it’s not surprising that CIOs and IT Directors rank ‘operational agility’ as a top driver for cloud adoption.

2. Disaster recovery
Businesses of all sizes should be investing in robust disaster recovery, but for smaller businesses that lack the required cash and expertise, this is often more an ideal than the reality. Cloud is now helping more organisations buck that trend. According to Aberdeen Group, small businesses are twice as likely as larger companies to have implemented cloud-based backup and recovery solutions that save time, avoid large up-front investment and roll up third-party expertise as part of the deal.

3. Automatic software updates
The beauty of cloud computing is that the servers are off-premise, out of sight and out of your hair. Suppliers take care of them for you and roll out regular software updates – including security updates – so you don’t have to worry about wasting time maintaining the system yourself. Leaving you free to focus on the things that matter, like growing your business.

4. Capital-expenditure Free
Cloud computing cuts out the high cost of hardware. You simply pay as you go and enjoy a subscription-based model that’s kind to your cash flow. Add to that the ease of setup and management and suddenly your scary, hairy IT project looks at lot friendlier. It’s never been easier to take the first step to cloud adoption.

5. Increased collaboration
When your teams can access, edit and share documents anytime, from anywhere, they’re able to do more together, and do it better. Cloud-based workflow and file sharing apps help them make updates in real time and gives them full visibility of their collaborations.

6. Work from anywhere
With cloud computing, if you’ve got an internet connection you can be at work. And with most serious cloud services offering mobile apps, you’re not restricted by which device you’ve got to hand.

7. Document control
The more employees and partners collaborate on documents, the greater the need for watertight document control. Before the cloud, workers had to send files back and forth as email attachments to be worked on by one user at a time. Sooner or later – usually sooner – you end up with a mess of conflicting file content, formats and titles.

When you make the move to cloud computing, all files are stored centrally and everyone sees one version of the truth. Greater visibility means improved collaboration, which ultimately means better work and a healthier bottom line. If you’re still relying on the old way, it could be time to try something a little more streamlined.

While cloud systems offer many advantages, they are not without fault. Some of the challenges one may encounter when using cloud computing systems may include: downtime, security, vendor lock-in, and limited control. Still, it is easy to see how the advantages of cloud computing easily outweigh the drawbacks. Decreased costs, reduced downtime, and less management effort are benefits that speak for themselves. Quadrant Softwares is a leader in implementing cloud-based solutions for business. You can talk to us at info@quadrantsoftwares.com .

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LIPA NA MPESA API

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It’s not an overstatement to say that Vodafone’s M-Pesa has revolutionized countless lives since it’s inception in 2007. It’s allowed people who did not have access to bank accounts to access digital wallets. But it’s not just individuals who’ve benefited from this; myriad businesses have benefited too. Businesses can receive and make payments without the physical of cash. This has been immensely to communities that did have access to cashless payment systems previously.

M-Pesa has come a long way from the days when all you could do with it was transfer cash from one mobile user to another. M-Pesa now includes services such M-Shwari (a mobile banking platform), Lipa na M-Pesa (a service that allows one to pay for goods and services from different merchants). In fact, M-Pesa’s services are so pervasive that they can now be incorporated into online systems and mobile applications-this is what we’ll focus on today.

There are several reasons to adopt a mobile payment solution such as M-Pesa. These include:

1. Increase your sales.
Mobile payments system inspires your prospects to convert and turns them into real time customers. It eliminates the purchase diffidence that your customers feel while following the traditional method of buying.Mobile Payment System opens a new gate for you to grab more audiences and ensure your company’s growth.

2. Build a world-class brand on a small budget.
Mobile payment allows you to understand your customers’ perspective and be a part of it.n this modern era, mobile payment system has become one of the easiest methods of payment. Mobile payment allows swift transactions and delivers receipts via text message or emails. The mobile payment system has simplified the purchase experience.

Safaricom’s M-Pesa platform offers versatile intergration capabilities that allow businesses and developers can utilize to create excellent M-Pesa journeys across their different industries. These features are now available via secure Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) that allow for third party applications to easily plug into M-PESA.

M-PESA has been very successful mainly because of its simplicity of use and device agnostic nature – works the same way for the latest iPhone as the good old Nokia phone that has been passed over several user generations. The API rides on the same concept, providing open interfaces over standard protocols through web services. Unlike the old system (G1) where a lot of workarounds had been done to automate payment experiences, developers can now hook directly to the core M-PESA and get creative with the systems they run.

Below are some use cases:

1. Automated Payment Receipt Processing:
Imagine the different scenarios that require customers to pay and have this processed instantly!

With the new system, the notifications are taken a notch higher by incorporating an optional payment validation step for Paybill. This allows the payment recipient (merchants) to confirm whether to accept the incoming payment or not. While this may not sound very beneficial at the face of it, think of how many customers send payments to the right Paybill number but enter the wrong account. Money moves from the customer’s M-PESA account but their service payment will not be processed and they have to follow up. This has been creating a big problem with the merchants, leading to massive reversal requests. This can now be handled through the validation API which allows the recipient to validate any of the payment parameters, including, account, amount and even sender and only accept the payment if processing can be guaranteed.

2. Automated Payment Disbursements:
Many systems that process receipts will also require outward payments processing. This could range from employees’ salary disbursements to paying other merchants that accept M-PESA payments. This feature was only available via web portal for business to customers (B2C) with limitations on capacity that made it unsuitable for large disbursements. With the new platform, developers can have this done via API, which empowers them and cuts off the manual process of generating payments file, putting it in the right format then uploading it via the web portal, after which it has to be approved by a different user. With the B2C API, this is now seamless.

3. Automated Payments Reversal:
Even with an elaborate system, there is always a unique case that calls for a reversal. Imagine a situation where a customer has made a payment for services that the merchant is no longer able to render. The best way to handle this would be to have a reversal process that the merchant can adapt based on their internal processes. G2 supports secure payment reversal automation for such cases. The implementation will fully depend on the service journey and controls required at the recipient’s business.

It is clear that intergrating M-Pesa to any business’ systems is very beneficial to the business allowing the business to recieve payments seamlessly via M-Pesa while allowing the customers to make payments in a very convenient way.

We at Quadrant have the capacity and expertise of intergrating M-Pesa and other mobile payment solutions to both new and existing systems. Should you need to intergrate M-Pesa or any other mobile payment platform into your system, you can reach out to us through info@quadrantsoftwares.com .

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WHY YOU NEED BUSINESS PROCESS AUTOMATION

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Do you get a lot of emails requesting approval? Do you use a lot of paper forms to track processes and tasks? Do you know there are bottlenecks, but don’t have the data to prove where they are? Do you wish you could change a process quickly, but are buried in hierarchy? You are experiencing the effects of an un-automated work-flow.

Most tasks in any given business require a sequence of events to achieve them.These could range from getting approval from finance, then to marketing, escalate to legal, and so on and so on. When these processes are not automated, you run into the challenges described in the previous paragraph.

Business process automation has been defined as the automation of complex business processes and functions beyond conventional data manipulation and record-keeping activities, usually through the use of advanced technologies. It consists of integrating applications, restructuring labor resources and using software applications throughout the organization. These are some of the processes that can be automated:

1. Employee training (requests, approval, completion records, reimbursement)
2. Job applicant tracking
3. Onboarding – employees, vendors, customers
4. Purchase orders and invoice processing
5. Due diligence processes
6. Product changes
7. Anything requiring a routine intake, notification, approval process or manual handoff

So, why should any business seek to automate its process?

1. Visibility
With business process automation, you get visibility into process status. You can see where an item is in the workflow. That can be particularly useful for capacity planning and deadline management. Need to know if your team is on track to deliver on-time? Check your workflow software.

2. Accountability
With visibility comes greater accountability. There’s less opportunity for mix-ups, lost files, and finger pointing. By automating your business processes, managers can see who’s responsible for what and where processes are getting stuck. Managers can even get alerts when a certain step in the process hasn’t occurred according to schedule.

3. Document Management
Skip the paper chase. When combined with a document management system, BPA reduces the time employees spend filing and retrieving documents. Cut down on lost documents and search time. Plus, customers enjoy better service when employees have immediate access to information and process status from any location.

4. Efficiency
Business process automation helps your employees do more with less. Processes can move ahead faster because no one is waiting for files to be transported from desk to desk and no one has to remember to notify the next person in line. Alerts and task reminders can be generated automatically. On a management level, team leaders can get a macro-view of the process, allowing them to be more proactive about addressing and correcting potential bottlenecks. That high-level visibility means teams can reduce the time they spent in update and review meetings.

5. Business Insight
A good business process automation tool will include analytics capabilities. That allows managers to analyze business trends, identify repeat bottlenecks, and track response times. Which processes trigged the most missed deadline alerts? When are new process requests most likely to initiate? When processes terminate without completion, what’s the most common failure point? Check your workflow software

6. Time Savings
Manual tasks take time. They have to be performed linearly by humans who are prone to errors and who are unable to consistently perform to the highest standards.

Automation reduces the number of tasks you and your employees would otherwise need to do manually. This frees up your time to work on items that add genuine value to the business, allowing you to be more innovative and increasing your employees’ levels of motivation.

Automation also allows you to get more done in the same amount of time, greatly increasing productivity.

7. Quality and Consistency
Delivering consistently high quality products and customer service results in happier, long-term customers.

Quality: Automation ensures that every action is performed identically – resulting in high quality, reliable results

Consistency: If, for example, you have automated your customer service follow-up process, your customers will consistently experience the same level of service from your business

This guarantee of quality and consistency coupled with time and efficiency savings means that you can start developing higher quality and more feature-filled products with little or no increase in production time and costs.

It is evident that business process automation offers immense benefits and there’s really no excuse for not automating your business. Look to Quadrant Softwares to provide a solution that does’nt change the way you do business, but improves efficiency and productivity to your business processes.

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USING TECHNOLOGY TO IMPROVE BUSINESS PRODUCTIVITY

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increase-productivity-work-waysOne of the most important factors that determines a business’ success is the productivity of its employees. But what is productivity? Simply put, productivity is how much each employee makes over a specified period of time. The productivity of any business can be traced to it’s ability to successfully execute an overall strategy, and highly productive and engaged employees are crucial in achieving this. Information technology is now widely used in business to improve business productivity through prcess improvement, product innovation, and new worker skill.

Information technology can improve employee productivity by giving them secure and consistent access to information allowing the business to react quickly to business changes thus allowing you to keep ahead of your competitors.

Technology also allows a firms employees to reach the people they need anywhere and any time. VPNs(Virtual Private Networks), for instance, allow employees to work away from the office while accessing the corporate network securely.

Collaborations are also much easier when technologies such as interactive calendaring, videoconferencing and unified communications are deployed. Employees, partners, suppliers, and customers can work together efficiently while minimizing costs.

Streamlined customer communications are achievable with the deployment of appropriate technology. The use of CRM(Customer Relationship Management) systems are a sure-fire way of keeping customers satisfied.

Project completion rates can be vastly improved by using technology effectively. Project management software/systems allow for the tracking of projects thus ensuring that projects are on track and everyone is pulling their weight.

The use of IT can be a valuable tool for increasing a business’ productivity, but without careful selection of the appropriate technologies for the specific industry and comprehensive employee training, it can serve to reduce productivity, profitability and employee morale and satisfaction. Firms therefore have to ensure that the technologies they use are right for them and that they in a cost-effective manner.

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The know how of branding

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Lisa, vampires are make-believe, like elves, gremlins, and Eskimos. We started out like Romeo and Juliet, but it ended up in tragedy. Attempted murder? Now honestly, what is that? Do they give a Nobel Prize for attempted chemistry? Get ready, skanks! It’s time for the truth train! Books are useless! I only ever read one book, “To Kill A Mockingbird,” and it gave me absolutely no insight on how to kill mockingbirds! Sure it taught me not to judge a man by the color of his skin…but what good does *that* do me?

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A corporare design to remember

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That sounded like a prayer. A prayer in a public school. God has no place within these walls, just like facts don’t have a place within an organized religion. Son, a woman is like a beer. They smell good, they look good, you’d step over your own mother just to get one! But you can’t stop at one. You wanna drink another woman! The Internet King? I wonder if he could provide faster nudity.

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