5 Creative Ways Small Businesses Use iPads

More than half of U.S. firms that employ fewer than 50 employees intend to purchase tablet PCs this year, and Apple’s iPad tops the list, according to a recent survey by the NPD Group. Thinking of buying one or more iPads for your small business? Here are five creative ways that entrepreneurs are putting them to work.

  1. Unclutter the conference room. Replace paper note-taking in meetings with iPads. Pam Pennington, owner of DFW Outdoor Lighting in Dallas, told The Entreprenette Gazette that her iPad enabled her to “cut out the clutter of fifty-page printed packets for everyone in the [conference] room.”
  2. Enable self-service. The fast-casual restaurant chain Stacked in Southern California envisioned tablet-enabled self-service from the beginning. The company launched three stores in six months, equipping its patrons with iPads so they could place their own orders.
  3. Enhance creativity and mobility. Self-employed music producer Rana June Sobhany of San Francisco told Switched.com that she ditched her bulky disc-jockey rig for two easy-to-transport iPads. “I think I’m the world’s first iPad DJ,” she says in a YouTube video while demonstrating the features of her $1,200 setup. Her inventive spunk earned her kudos from Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak.
  4. Reduce scheduling hassles. The Beauty Room, a hair salon in Minneapolis, in 2010 installed an electronic scheduling system that employees and clients can sync with their mobile devices, including the iPad. Salon owner Mi Shaun Schmidt-Schwab told The Line that the system eliminated a scheduling “nightmare,” in which busy hairdressers took turns manning the front desk and juggling three paper calendars.
  5. Enliven the waiting room. Nadine Ferber, co-owner of TenOverTen nail salon in New York City, provides iPads to customers to use while they wait. One client noted on Fashionista.com that “the iPads are fun, albeit hard to play with when you’re getting your nails done.”

About Jan Fletcher

Jan Fletcher, President of Dreamcatch Creative, reports on restaurant operations, the signage industry, and composite manufacturing. She also writes about technology in business and education, and is passionate about microenterprise.
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  1. [...] The Beauty Room, a hair salon in Minneapolis, uses an iPad to provide a calendar that can be synced to employee and client mobile devices. This technique utilizes some of the unique properties of mobile and provides an organized, [...]