By Jaimy Ford

4 Fashion Must Haves  -- - and How to Care for Them

Have you ever taken your seat on a plane, or driven 50 miles into a long road trip, and you couldn't escape the nagging feeling that you forgot something? Thoughts like, "Did I turn off the coffee pot?" or "Did I forget to lock the door?" may have entered your head and filled you with anxiety.

As a small-business owner, that stress can compound when you think about your store or office. The thought of your inventory or customer files going up in smoke can be enough to keep you awake at night.

The good news is that technology enables you to monitor your business from anywhere. Here is how you can use innovative products to monitor your business while you are away:

Protect Your Business With an Alarm System

If you keep cash, expensive equipment or inventory in your workplace, you are at risk of being robbed when you are away, and a security system can offer you peace of mind.

Big companies like ADT offer a variety of security features. They will set up the system and monitor for you, but they can be pricey and often require you to pay a monthly fee and sign a long-term contract. If a hands-off approach sounds great to you, spend some time researching various providers and collecting quotes to ensure that you receive the best deal for your money.

You can also opt for lower-cost DIY options. For example, the iSmartAlarm Home Security System for iOS, allows you to monitor your business using the iSmartAlarm app on your iPhone, iPad or iPod touch. Arm, disarm and manage your system, and receive notifications when it detects a break-in or unauthorized activity. The deluxe package costs $250.

For Android users, Piper offers a system that allows you to establish rules based on specific circumstances.For example, you can set different instructions for when you are at work, at home or traveling. You will be notified by phone, text or email when the system detects an issue. Systems range from $200 to $800.

Set up Video Surveillance

Imagine being able to quickly view what's going on in your accounting firm, law office or store front. With new technology, you can easily and inexpensively set up a video surveillance system. For as little as $5, you can purchase apps available for your iOS and Android devices that allow you to remotely monitor multiple live video and audio webcam feeds. Simply download the application on each of your PCs or Macs that have webcams, and begin your surveillance.

More elaborate systems like the Belkin NetCam ($100) offered as part of U.S. Cellular's Workplace Monitoring package, allow you to continuously monitor your office while you are away.

Kill the Power

Having the ability to turn off the lights and other electronic devices or equipment can cut down on your energy costs. Belkin WeMo Switch ($50 through U.S. Cellular's Workplace Monitoring package) allows you to turn off your lights using your smartphone.

If you leave your computer on, Off Remote for iOS, and Shutdown Start Remote for Android (both free), allow you to turn off, lock, hibernate, log off or restart your computer from anywhere.

You can even adjust the temperature in your office to avoid a skyrocketing electric bill with remote thermostats like the Vivint Smart Thermostat and Nest, both of which allow you to schedule and remotely change the temperature in your workspace. Nest thermostats cost $250; call the support team at Vivint to receive pricing on all of the company's energy-saving solutions.

Lock Your Door from Afar

No longer suffer from that sickening feeling that you left your door unlocked. Lockitron and Schlage LiNK allow you to lock and unlock your door using your phone. Preorder the Lockitron system for $179. Schlage LiNK is $200.

Log in to Your Computer

Do you need to access that important file on your PC from the road? TeamViewer offers you 24/7 access to the data and applications on your computers and servers. TeamViewer is offered as a free download for individual use.

In addition, LogMeIn allows you to remotely access and manage your PCs. The Pro packages, designed specifically for small-business owners, start at $99 per year for up to two computers, and you can gain access for up to 10 computers for $450 annually.

Entrepreneurship often requires you to be on the road, selling and promoting your products and services. By investing some time and money in the latest technology, you can travel without anxiety, knowing that you can easily monitor your store or office simply by switching on your smartphone.


Jaimy Ford is a professional business writer with nearly a decade's worth of experience developing newsletters, blogs, e-letters, training tools and webinars for business professionals. She contributes to both The Intuit Small Business Blog and She also serves as editor-in-chief of Sales Mastery, a digital magazine written specifically for sales professionals.

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How to Monitor Your Small Business Office While You're Away