As a citizen of the late 2010s, you’re very likely already well aware of how smartphones have radically altered personal lives. These handy, almost ubiquitous devices literally put the entire world at your fingertips from anywhere you can get a signal. With technology once found only in a Dick Tracy comic strip, you’re practically never out of touch.
However, while tens of millions of Americans have revolutionized their daily activities thanks to smartphones, their utility as a business solution has lagged behind. Which is unfortunate, because a modern smartphone, believe it or not, has all the functionality and power you need to successfully operate almost any enterprise – project management, meetings/event planning, travel bookings, expense management, customer service – the list is almost endless.
Today we’ll take a closer look at ways you, as a small business owner, can put your smartphone to better use in your everyday work life. Now, we certainly don’t want you to turn into one of these hapless people, so addicted to their smartphones they become completely oblivious to their surroundings. But there are several strategies you can employ to make your smartphone as productive for your business as it is during your free time.
Any business can make efficient use of a smartphone in its operations. However, some are more suited than others. These include social media marketing, consulting, event planning, e-commerce, personal shopping and podcasting, among others. Even if you are engaged in another field, there are many ways you can run a business with a smartphone.
First, a smartphone can help you better manage your time. You can manage your daily calendar, make appointments, schedule meetings, compose and update to-do lists, or track time for billing purposes. Now, of course, your computer can do those things as well. But a smartphone gives you the ability to perform these tasks anywhere at any time, whether you are at the office, in a meeting, at lunch, waiting at an appointment, etc. You are no longer tethered to a computer… it is tethered to you.
Your smartphone can perform another important task once relegated to the computer. With a mobile device, you can create, update and manage documents from virtually anywhere at your convenience. Cloud storage means you are no longer limited by memory capacity, or by device either. You can work on a document from your work computer during business hours, save it to Google Drive, update it using your smartphone while waiting on a client appointment, and then finish it that night using your tablet. Mobility and versatility can combine to greatly increase your productivity.
Meetings are often a huge time waster, sapping valuable time and productivity. For one thing, it’s a lot of work to gather all the needed personnel on one spot at a convenient time. With your smartphone, you can “virtually” attend a meeting instead from a remote location using Skype or similar app. This allows you and your staff the freedom to be in two places at the same time and eliminates expensive travel or lost productivity.
A smartphone is a great way to manage your company’s finances. The most popular accounting and financial software systems can be utilized via smartphone, giving you instant access to up-to-date corporate information. This can help you make smarter, more informed decisions no matter your location. A smartphone also has the capability to function as your credit card for purchases, or to accept credit card payments from customers.
Finally, vendors now offer apps that enable you to handle customer service on the go via your smartphone. We’re not just referring to making or receiving customer service calls (although a smartphone is ideal for that as well). These apps let you track progress of customer issues, answer questions and measure satisfaction at the end of the process. Again, as with all of the previous uses above, monitoring customer service via a smartphone enables you to accomplish this mission critical task from anywhere, at any time, at your convenience, enhancing personal mobility, productivity and versatility.
So, when examining the potential advantages and benefits of using a smartphone to run a small business, the question isn’t if it is practical or productive – it’s why didn’t you start utilizing this almost magical tool earlier.