How Your Smartphone Can Help Run Your Business
Many of today’s smartphones are just as powerful as the laptop on your desk, and they come with an added bonus – they fit in your pocket, keeping you truly mobile.
In this blog post, I’ll show you how you can use your smartphone for everything and never use a laptop again. This approach isn’t for everyone, but more and more busy professionals who need to be mobile or simply choose not to be stuck to a desk are discovering the power of today’s smartphone.
Contacts and scheduling
Back in the Mad Men era, secretaries like Joan used Rolodexes and appointment books to keep busy executives on track. Today, contact management apps (and mobile versions of social media sites like LinkedIn) on smartphones have replaced the Rolodex and allow you to track the details of all your previous meetings or communications with each contact.
As for scheduling, nearly every smartphone comes with an easy-to-navigate calendar app that you can use to schedule daily events (or sync them with your desktop or laptop calendar). Once the event is scheduled in, you can set the reminder alarm to help get you there on time.
Hold meetings from almost anywhere with mobile meeting and videoconferencing apps like FaceTime, Skype and iMeet. The ability to do this from your smartphone is particularly convenient for those times when, a) you don’t have your laptop or tablet with you, or b) a lack of space and time make a smartphone meeting easier than pulling out your laptop or tablet.
Productivity and collaboration
Business is going paperless. Cloud-based mobile apps make it possible to create, edit, scan, file and share documents from our smartphones. With Evernote, for example, you can use your phone to take notes; create text, audio, photos or videos; scan images and documents; file them in a searchable way; access them from anywhere in the cloud, then share them with others. You can also access various cloud-based features in Office 365 from your smartphone, such as Microsoft Exchange email, SharePoint and Unified Communications. It’s possible to fully sync your Office 365 email, calendar and contacts with your phone as well.
Using these cloud-based apps on your phone eliminates the need to email all your business files back and forth or carry around memory drives anymore. You and your colleagues can access documents from anywhere with your smartphones.
Our phones were once used mainly to help people communicate with other people. Now smartphones can facilitate machine-to-machine (M2M) communication, which can help you manage your business remotely. How? Tracking sensors in your office can alert your phone when sales inventory runs low, the copier needs toner or the air conditioning comes on. In turn, you can use your phone to remotely adjust the air temperature at the office, turn on the alarm system or keep tabs on your monthly power consumption. If your firm operates delivery vehicles, you can track their location, fuel levels and possible mechanical problems through M2M technology – all on your phone.
You can use your phone to do business accounting, send invoices and track expenses. Let’s take the mobile app from Toronto’s own FreshBooks as an example. It allows you to track billable hours, invoice clients and accept online payments. You can also snap photos of receipts and attach them to expense reports.
The bottom line
Don’t confine the business functionality of your smartphone to just calling and emailing. Today’s smartphones are incredibly powerful and easy-to-use productivity tools, so explore the various features available to help you run your business using your smartphone.
How do you use your smartphone to manage your business? What’s the best business app you’ve come across for smartphones so far? Share your thoughts in our comments area below.