Small Business in a Box: Enabling Entrepreneurship with Accessible Tech
Small business entrepreneurship has laid the foundation for economic growth within all sectors of the US Economy. New technology is making it easier than ever for a person to take their idea and build it into a successful business. This is especially important for the disability community, where underemployment and lack of growth opportunities leaves many with low-income employment and social support. According to the 2012 American Community Survey, 67% of working-age adults with a disability reported lack of employment.
Biz Ability consolidates the available, accessible technology that supports the various aspects of running a small business in many areas including customer management, social networking, employee payroll, point of sale and bookkeeping among others. It also explores the growing presence of mobile and cloud-based applications for business management
Small Business in a Box: Enabling Entrepreneurship with Accessible Tech
Small Business in a Box:
with Accessible Tech
J.J. Meddaugh, Ted Drake
J.J. Meddaugh, A T Guys, Blind Bargains - entrepreneur @atguys
Ted Drake, Intuit - small business software @ted_drake
Entrepreneurship provides employment opportunities for many individuals with a disability.
Eﬃcient management requires a set of tools that enable sales, business management, ﬁnancial reporting, and education.
This presentation seeks a solution to discovering these resources.
photo: Child Entrepreneur Lemonade Stand 50 Cents Each Qiqi Lourdie June 24, 2011 by Steven Depolo on Flickr
• Not bound by location
• Choose your technologies
• Set your own hours
Problem for small
• What technologies are accessible
• Lack of peers and mentors
• Finding education resources
• Unsure where to start
Small Business Accessibility
BizAbility.Org is an online collection of software, applications, devices, and resources that provide an accessible experience for small business owners, entrepreneurs,
This is to be a living document and depends on feedback from users.
Toolkit includes basic information on a product and their accessibility functionality.
Photo: Toolbag with power tools by Mark Hunter on Flickr
• Provides a function necessary for establishing
and running a small business
• Factors for being considered accessible:
• Product has been tested for accessibility
• Endorsed by a user
• Product has an accessibility team and making
While the items within the toolbox are aﬀordable, and many are free, cost was not a determining factor.
While researching products for this toolbox, surveys were sent to small businesses, product accessibility managers, forums, and social media for suggestions.
Mobile technology has become key to small business management.
Mobile payment solutions enable low cost credit card processing.
Invoicing, estimates, note taking, and account management can be handled on location.
Many mobile applications are more accessible than their older desktop equivalents.
There are tools and backend functionality that is not available on a mobile application.
photo: Even Elmo has a mobile phone by Ed Bourdon on Flickr
• Online Stores
• Point of Sale
BizAbility is broken into the key categories for business management.
Point of Sale
Point of Sale is where the consumer completes the process of purchasing goods and services. There are several mobile solutions for credit card processing. This also
includes bar code scanners and devices that improve communication.
Photo “we take cards” by Joel Wachs https://mifarmersmarket.wordpress.com/tag/credit-cards/
The Square Stand for iPad bypasses the headphone jack, which is a common accessibility problem. Square provides an accessible interface for consumers and business
Wire tap is a headphone splitter that separates the input an output. This means you can record via one port and listen from another port. Originally this was design ed for
musicians, but it also works for credit card scanners and listening to a screen reader at the same time.
Wire tap works with Square and reportedly with PayPal.
Bone Conducting Headphones
It’s diﬃcult to listen to a screen reader while also having a conversation with a customer or paying attention to ambient sounds. Bone conducting headphones leave the
ears exposed and send the sound waves through the skull.
Online businesses are great opportunities for individuals with limited mobility. Today, there are many platforms for starting an
online business, the only limit is your time and imagination.
photo: www by Daniel Kulinski on Flickr
bizAbility.org uses WordPress + WP Accessibility + Woo Commerce
WordPress is an open source platform that is extremely ﬂexible and oﬀers many accessible templates and plugins.
WP Accessibility by Joe Dolson ﬁxes and improves the accessibility of WordPress
Woo Commerce is an open source ecommerce solution. The default theme is accessible.
Drupal is also a great content management system
photo: the Three Musketeers by Pascal on Flickr
Etsy Amazon eBay
Many businesses tie into large e-commerce solutions for selling, receiving payment, and managing inventory.
Etsy is an online market place for hand crafted and vintage items.
Amazon allows companies to list and sell their items within their platforms. It also provides great aﬃliate opportunities for highlighting their merchandise and receiving a
commission on sales.
eBay and PayPal allow companies to sell online and collect payments.
Accounting includes much more than balancing a checkbook. It also includes projecting sales, tracking popular products, watching invoice due dates, scheduling
payments, and organizing employees and their wages.
Today’s accounting tools are also ﬂexible and tie into third party Point of Sale, inventory, and payroll systems.
Photo: Accounting the old way by Laura Gilmore on Flickr
QuickBooks is the industry standard for small business accounting.
QuickBooks Desktop is the most accessible solution, when combined with scripting for JAWS, Window-Eyes, and NVDA. QuickBooks Online works seamlessly with
mobile applications. http://quickbooks.intuit.com
More on accessibility: http://support.quickbooks.intuit.com/Support/Articles/INF26892
Marketing and Social Media
How do you acquire new customers and tell the world about your business? These tools provide marketing advise,
management, and social media presence.
Photo: layout zz by Dolina Wiedzy on wikimedia
Accessible Twitter Clients
• Chicken Nugget: Windows
• Easy Chirp: Web App
• Twitter.com: Web App
Chicken Nugget and Easy Chirp are built to be accessible from the ground up. Each allows you to create tweets and view your Twitter stream.
Twitter’s web site provides the most accessible option.
Email Mailing list
Sendy: self-hosted mailing list software. Works with Amazon’s Simple email service.
Demand Force from Intuit, provides integrated marketing, emails, and appointment reminders for small businesses.
photo: email by Dennis Skley on Flickr
Education and Training
These online resources will provide the education and training needed to eﬃciently start and run a small business. Many of
these resources are free and range from economics theory to the nuts and bolts of entrepreneurship.
photo: education by Sean MacEntee on Flickr
These three provide transcripts and/or captioning. They may also provide downloadable course outlines, handouts, and supporting web sites.
iTunes U and Khan Academy are free, while lynda.com is a subscription-based business.
iTunes U: http://bizability.org/product/edu/itunes-university
Khan Academy: http://bizability.org/product/edu/khan-academy
Payroll can quickly become a complicated process for companies. A robust accounting software will make it easy to track employee’s hours, wages, taxes, vacation
time, and much more.
photo: payday by JD Hancock on ﬂickr https://www.ﬂickr.com/photos/jdhancock/3583835507/
Intuit Payroll is a subscription service that integrates with QuickBooks. It provides paycheck distribution, tax documentation, and employee management.
The iOS applications are very accessible. The QuickBooks Desktop integration is also accessible.
Completing a purchase is only the ﬁrst step for many businesses. These tools will help your business track inventory,
package, and manage shipping costs.
photo: drop shipping by Grisel D´An on Flickr https://www.ﬂickr.com/photos/128454566@N06/16082871437/
Use the Dazzle Endicia software to print postage from a desktop interface. The Windows version has been tested and is mostly accessible for shipping needs.
This also works well with the Dymo scale: http://bizability.org/product/ship/dymo-usb-shipping-scale
• AppleVis Forum
• Accessibility Clearinghouse - FCC
• Blind Bargains
• Images are creative commons from Flickr and
• Identify funding and resources to ensure site is
properly maintained and updated
• Develop a best practices guide for companies
who wish to implement accessibility in their
business tools, or link to existing guides which
serve this purpose
• Explore training modules, classes, or other
educational tools to enable business ownership
and management by individuals with disabilities