Technology is said to be an entrepreneur’s best friend and a great example of how it can help our businesses lies with smartphones. These all purpose companions have quickly turned into a must-have accessory for business owners. Here are a few reasons why.
Keeping a constant connection with the Internet is vital for today’s businesses. In fact, almost all of the business perks available on smartphones that we’ll be looking at in this article, use the Internet in one way or another.
The most obvious example of this of course is the ability to access all of your favourite business websites. Most notably, we’ve found that having Google in the palm of your hand is now an absolute necessity, providing the answers to any questions we have whilst on the move. Other websites that we simply couldn’t do without include BBC News and Wikipedia.
Email goes hand in hand with the Internet and a smartphone will provide you with quick and efficient access to your work emails. With so much important information being passed through email these days, this was probably the main reason why we first decided to invest in smartphones for our business. No more having to lug a heavy laptop around; particulary handy when travelling abroad on business or simply keeping in touch with the office when you’re out on the road.
A word of caution though, whilst data charges for using the Internet abroad are becoming far more reasonable, the prices you pay for downloading your email or viewing websites will still vary depending on which provider and which tariff you’re on. We recommend using a service like the one provided by USwitch which allows you to compare and to find the right one for you.
There was once a time when every business owner needed an organiser or filofax. These canny devices ensured that everything was prepared for, categorized and systemized – allowing our businesses to run smoother. Of course, you’d also need to carry a mobile phone around with you as well.
Not any more! These days your organiser is your smartphone, offering everthing that your old organiser did and much much more besides. Calendars (synced with your office), to do lists, voice memos, automated reminders and even up to the minute weather forecasts are all available via smartphones, turning your mobile phone into your own little personal assistant.
If your business requires you to travel to different towns, cities or even countries perhaps to meet clients or make deliveries, you’ll know just how frustrating it can be if you get lost. “Time is money” as the saying goes so getting lost is the last thing you want particularly if you’re late for a meeting as this can really reflect badly on you.
Google Maps has simply revolutionised the way we navigate, either in the car or on foot, by providing us with accurate directions and information on how to get to our destinations as quickly and efficiently as possible. Acting just like a SatNav, Google Maps goes one step further by providing us with ‘Street View’; real images of the very places we need to visit to help us recognise them when we arrive. This is really useful if you’re meeting a client at their offices for the first time.
It’s undeniably the best navigation aid and the fact that it’s available for free on many smartphones is further indication of just how these mobile phones have become for business.
With the development of the Internet, many businesses have become truly global. These days more and more SMEs have clients and partners spread right across the world and liaising with them can be tricky with different time zones and expensive international call charges.
Furthermore, the inability to physically see each other whilst talking can make these relationships seem less intimate and secure than with those that we see face to face on a regular basis.
Skype has solved these problems and more, revolutionizing communication between international partners by offering free video calls to anyone, anywhere in the world. With Skype now available on smartphones, this means that we don’t even have to be in the office to talk face to face with our clients at any time, day or night.
Social Media has forever changed the face of business. Consumers can now interact with business on a much more personal level better than ever before. Connecting with your customers via platforms like Facebook and Twitter has made it much easier to understand how they think, what they like and don’t like and its also a great way to offer a fast responding Customer Service channel. Read our post about using Facebook for Customer Service for more ideas on this.
Having Facebook and Twitter available on your smartphone allows you to keep in contact with your customers wherever you are and wherever they are in a way that they’re familiar with. Remember, the way you interact with your customers across social media is available for all to see. Get it right and it can be a fantastic way to promote your business.
The business benefits offered by apps (applications) are potentially endless. There really is an app for everything and with most costing between just 69p and £5.99, downloading apps is an easy way to turn an already super useful smartphone into a complete mobile office solution.
From language translation apps – crucial in the international climate of modern business – to business card scanners which allow us to scan in business cards to create contacts, apps are a businesspersons dream. Other apps such as Quickoffice and Documents To Go, allow us to open and edit Microsoft Office 2007 files.