Smart ways to net business

mart ideas: Jonathan James, Barry James and Kay Klug hold a meeting at The Copthorne Hotel. Picture: Dean Atkins
mart ideas: Jonathan James, Barry James and Kay Klug hold a meeting at The Copthorne Hotel. Picture: Dean Atkins
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Business is up in the Cloud for Sheffield-based AngelRevolutions.

The net-based business, which has an all but virtual presence in the city – physical staff but without the expense of an office – came to prominence earlier this year, when it unveiled Zapifi at MADE: The Entrepreneur Festival.

Zapifi uses a combination of Smartphone capabilities and web technology to ease the process of swapping details contact details at conferences, exhibitions and networking meetings, adding them to contacts databases and making follow up arrangements.

“Zapifi got a great response from people, who see it as an extension to Linkedin,” says AngelRevolutions’ Barry James.

“As a result, we are adding some new features to make it a more powerful tool for networkers.”

However, Zapifi is just one of a host of business apps AngelRevolutions has created.

Other developments include TradeTill, a systems that allow tradesmen to take electronic payments even if they don’t have a credit card reader; AngelPages, which enable small firms to build websites that can be part of their Facebook presence; and 365 High Street, which aims to attract shoppers to hard pressed high streets.

TradeTill is aimed at plumbers, electricians and the like, who can’t afford or can’t get a card payment machine.

“There are a number of barriers that have become so much more important since cheques started being used less and less,” says Barry James.

“Credit cards are so much more reliable and convenient, but banks are not really geared up to provide machines for small and micro businesses.

“It’s a very lengthy process and very uncertain. If they go to the bank, it can take months to get a response and it could be a ‘No’.”

If the answer is ‘Yes,’ the tradesman still has to ensure they comply with the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCIDSS), which covers a host of issues including network security and the protection of the card holder’s data.

TradeTill allows the tradesman to e-mail an invoice to their customer that contains a link to one of the established web-based electronic payment systems.

Bills can be sent and payment can be made on the spot using smartphones, the tradesman doesn’t need to be PCIDSS compliant because they never see the customer’s credit card and the electronic payment system handles the whole transaction.

AngelRevolutions’ Cloud-based web design system, AngelPages, aims to help small businesses to make the most of social networking by creating web sites and Facebook fan pages which generate leads, marketing campaigns and sales, keep in touch with clients and analyse success rates.

“With Facebook, you can set up a personal profile and you can set up a business page, which you can attach a mini web site to,” explains Barry James.

“It can link in with TradeTill and you can use it to set up a proposition and take payments if you want, instead of TradeTill.”