As a business owner, if you're not syncing your operations with new technologies for efficiency, security, and productivity, you're falling way behind. It already took a long time for businesses to get up and running from typewriters to computers, and from physical files to digital. But as technologies keep coming out, keeping your finger on the pulse is essential. Here are 8 technologies that will take your business to the next level.

1. HD Video Conferencing

Conference calls are so passé. We all struggle to take our turns, get clear reception, and follow the conversation as more and more people are added to the line. Not being able to see our collaborators is a detriment to productivity. That's why modern businesses are using video conferencing as a way to get that much-needed face time. If you're going to go all out for video conferencing, you might as well get it in HD.

2. Team Messaging

In the old days, if we had a question for one of our coworkers, we had to get up from our seats, walk over, interrupt them on whatever they were doing, and ask our question. Now, businesses are integrating methods of easy online communication a la the AIM of our youth, but all grown up. Slack is one of the leaders in the team messaging field, for its accessible layout and the ability to send and share documents with ease.

3. BYOD and Mobile Solutions

Gone are the days of landline phones! To enable the "work from home" movement, some employers are gung ho about the "bring your own device" policy. It saves money and space. Being mobile-friendly encourages your employees to use their phones. But careful, this could make goofing off look a lot like working. It does however, encourage working before and after business hours.

4. GTD® Software Utilities

For those of you that don't like acronyms, you should start to like them if you're going to have a modern business. GTD® stands for "get things done," and these special software utilities are designed to do just that. These include digital list managers, productivity add-ons, organizers, and note-taking and brainstorming tools to help increase efficiency at the office. Check out more, here.

5. The Cloud

Servers are an unnecessary space-killer in an office. Working on the cloud gives you the ease and convenience of sharing documents on a network (the Internet). Google Drive and Dropbox are two of some of the more popular cloud-based file storing services. Google Drive allows you to comment on documents and share folders so everyone can always be on the same page.

6. Digital Signature

Snail mail is a thing of the past. Now, contracts are being sent as PDFs. Instead of printing, signing, scanning and sending, businesses are using digital signatures to get the job done faster, and with a lot less paper. Here's how to employ the digital signature function on Adobe Reader.

7. CRM

Another acronym, folks. CRM stands for "customer relationship management" and is a valuable tool to track, manage and analyze customer behavior data to inform you on future strategy. This technology can be a useful way to improve a customer's perception of your business. But there are tons of CRM systems out there. Here is a guide from CRM Magazine on how to know what's right for your business.

8. Smart Payment Processing

If you're still mailing out invoices and receiving checks, you're missing out. All-encompassing payment processing solutions like PayPal for small business are out to help your business run smoother. This service allows you to accept diverse payment options, be eligible for credit, and get paid faster and more securely.

Technology is booming at an unprecedented rate. Is your business prepared to keep up?

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What do you do when financial hardship hits and you can't make your monthly mortgage payments? This is a question on many homeowner's minds as nearly 17.8 million Americans are reportedly unemployed during the coronavirus pandemic.

When homeowners face financial hardship, such as the loss of a job, they often look to obtain a forbearance agreement from their lender. A forbearance happens when your lender grants you a temporary pause or reduction in monthly payments on your mortgage. Forbearance is not the same as payment forgiveness, in that you still have to pay the entire amount back by an agreed-upon time.

Mortgage lending institutions differ on their mortgage relief policies and qualifications; however, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act were signed into law in late March of this year to protect government-backed mortgages.

Federally backed mortgages include:

  • Fannie Mae
  • Freddie Mac
  • The Federal Housing Administration (FHA)
  • The US Department of Veteran Affairs (VA)
  • The US Department of Agriculture (USDA)

Under the CARES Act, homeowners with a federally backed loan who either directly or indirectly suffer financial hardship due to coronavirus automatically qualify for mortgage forbearance.

Even if your mortgage is not secured by one of these agencies, you still can call and see if you qualify, as many lenders will still offer the option in order to avoid foreclosures.

Under the CARES act, homeowners can claim mortgage forbearance due to financial hardship from COVID-19 for up to 12 months without requiring any documentation or verification. During the forbearance period, mortgage lenders cannot charge late fees or penalties.

Additionally, as long as your mortgage is current at the time you claim forbearance, the lender is required to keep reporting your mortgage as paid current throughout the entire period.

At the end of the forbearance, the CARES act protects consumers from having to make a lump sum payment. Instead, you will be given a repayment plan from your provider. Since repayment options vary, it's important you ask your provider about all of your repayment options.

Possible Repayment Options:

You may be eligible for a loan modification at the end of your forbearance. With modification, the mortgage terms are changed in order to add payments that were missed during the forbearance onto the end of the loan, extending the term.

Another option that may work for some is a reduced payment option. This allows you to keep paying monthly payments at a reduced amount. The amount missed is usually added back into the monthly payments at the end of the forbearance.

For example:

Regular payment: $1000 per month

Reduced payment: $500 per month

Payment after forbearance period: $1500 (until caught up)

Balloon payments, or lump sum payments at the end of the forbearance, are prohibited under the CARES Act. However, mortgage lenders may require homeowners who are not protected under the CARES Act to make a balloon payment at the end, so again it is best to check first with your provider.

Mortgage forbearance should only be considered in true financial hardship. In other words, just because of the pandemic, you should not take a forbearance on your mortgage if you can still afford your payments. Likewise, if you are able to start making payments before the forbearance period is up, it's best to do so as soon as possible.

The Next Steps:

Before you get in touch with your mortgage servicer, save time by gathering as much documentation about the mortgage as you can. Also, be ready to list your income and monthly expenses. Due to an influx in calls, financial institutions are experiencing extremely long wait times right now, and having your information at the ready will help.

Have questions ready to ask. Here are some questions you should be asking:

  • What fees are associated with the forbearance?
  • What are all the repayment options available to you at the end of the forbearance?
  • Will you be charged interest during the forbearance period?

If your forbearance is approved, make sure to keep all documentation pertaining to it. Make sure to cancel any automatic payments to the mortgage during the forbearance period, and keep tabs on your credit report to make sure your lender doesn't report the loan as unpaid.


For more information on forbearance, contact your lender and discuss your options. If you need more assistance with understanding your options, you can contact a local agent for the housing counseling agency, or call their hotline at 1-800-569-4287.