A Peek inside my Toolbox… Hardware: Part One of Two

Do not wait; the time will never be ‘just right.’ Start where you stand, and work with whatever tools you may have at your command, and better tools will be found as you go along.

~George Huebert

We get a lot of questions from people asking what tools and pieces of technology we use everyday in our business. Today, we’re going to cover some of that as we share what we use both when we’re working at home and traveling.

First of all, let me explain that I am not a “techie” guru or anything even close!  These “tools” have been collected over time, and have proven to work well for me. I know there are plenty of choices out there with both hardware and software, and this list is by no way, exclusive.

Tools that travel well are very important to our business! As the owner and buyer for our retail store, I spend plenty of time on the road at markets, seminars and other business meetings during the year, but we also take our store “on the road” and set up shop to sell at retail Women’s Shows, regional Art & Craft Fairs, and the Kansas State Fair.  Great tools allow me to continue to stay in touch with our clients and staff and do the marketing work that is important to our business no matter where we are in the country!

We’re going to jump right in and explore some of my favorites!

These tools do have a cost associated with using them and I wouldn’t recommend them if I didn’t feel that it was worth the investment.  I would encourage you to invest back into yourself and your business a little at a time. By no means are these MUST HAVES to run a business! I ran our store for many years before accumulating these fabulous tools!

Screenshot 2015-03-08 16.06.0215″ MacBook Pro
The workhorse for our business is the 15 inch MacBook Pro, with Retina Display, which is running OS X Yosemite.  It has 16 GB of Memory. This is the second MacBook Pro that I have had, and I absolutely love it!  I converted to Mac many years ago and would never go back to a PC.  I am definitely an “Apple Snob” because it WORKS! For those of us who are creating newsletters, signage for our stores, Facebook posts, catalog layouts, newspaper ads, and anything else with graphics, the Apple products are intuitively great tools.

Now, you might be a big Microsoft fan, and I’m fine with that, however, I would encourage you to at least take a look at Apple products the next time you’re ready to upgrade your computer. They are a little more pricey up front, but they don’t “crash & burn” like my old PC used to do.

Cost: $1300 – $2500

Screenshot 2015-03-08 16.05.06Verizon Jetpack Portable Internet

The Verizon Jetpack allows us to have a secure internet connection {almost} anywhere we go. I will admit there are stretches of dead zones in remote areas of the country, but in general it provides 4G internet service wherever you are.  I don’t use hotel internet as the security of those systems seems to be compromised regularly.

The Verizon Jetpack allows me to work as we travel… I can produce my newsletters, Facebook posts, work on catalogs, place orders, etc. while driving down the road. My husband does the driving and I can do the work! In fact, we are traveling as I write this post. The other place I use the Verizon Jetpack is for internet connections to run credit cards while doing a retail show.  We use the Square to run credit cards, but it works faster using our own internet.

Cost: Starts at $49.99 plus a Monthly Service Fee

Screenshot 2015-03-08 16.04.18The Targus Inverter
I don’t leave home without the Targus Mobile Inverter, as it allows me to charge two devices at a time while on the go! All of our fabulous electronic gadgets don’t do any good if they lose their charge! Over the years I have tried several lower priced inverters, but find that they overheat and fizzle out pretty easily. This one comes equipped with a fan and is a true workhorse!

The Targus 100W Slim Line Mobile Inverter is designed for the mobile professional or recreational user. It provides a power source for most electrical devices in RVs, cars, airplanes or boats. Simply plug it into the cigarette lighter plug or into the airplane seat power plug and power or charge up to two devices. It features built-in surge protection, one 120V AC plug, one USB port and can deliver 100W of continuous and 150W of peak power. It is safe to use and features over-current, over-temperature and surge protection. The Targus exclusive slim design and light weight makes it ideal for travel.

Cost: $69.99

Fujitsu Scanner PhotoFujitsu ScanSnap S1300i Color Personal Scanner
This fabulous scanner allows me to scan and email orders, receipts, reports, bank statements, etc. both as we are traveling and at home in the office.  It is fast, lean & mean! I can easily attach forms to emails, and to keep a searchable record of orders placed while driving in the car, from a hotel room, or wherever I am at home or on the go! This particular model came highly recommended to me, and I have never been sorry that I ordered it.

1.  Scan up to 12 double-sided pages per minute
2. Holds up to 10 pages in the automatic document feeder
3. Compatible for both PC & Mac
4. Easy to pack for portability
5. Scans right to Dropbox, Evernote, or wherever you want it to go, saving steps along the way.

Cost: $295

I hope this post has given you some good ideas for making your business run smoothly from the Tech side.  Next time, we’ll be talking about some of my most used SOFTWARE solutions for retailers.

As always, I love to hear from you! Please take a minute to leave a comment in the box below or send an email with your questions or comments.  Here in the midwest, we are thankful for a little warmer weather this week!


Vicki Adrian
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