Chances are if you are a business owner then you are also the owner of a smartphone. A recent survey by AT&T found that 94% of small business owners use their smartphones to conduct business. 55% of owners believed that using their smartphone saved them time while 66% of business owners believed it saved their business money. Are you getting the most out of your smartphone? Here’s a look at some of the ways that small business owners are using their phones to save time and money.
Connect With Fans & Followers
Having an internet connection and camera in one device makes it easy to keep customers on social media updated. Let everyone know about a sale that’s going on, quickly address questions or comments left by customers, snap a picture of a new product you want to feature, or share a video showing how your employees invest in their community.
Answer Email On-The-Go
Just because you’re out of the office doesn’t mean that customers stop emailing you. Customers expect a quick response to their questions so don’t make them wait. Make sure your email service is accessible on mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets.
Turn Your Smartphone Into A Fax Machine
Services such as Work-space’s Fax Thru Email allow you to send and receive faxes through your regular email account. This is a win-win because not only can you send faxes outside the office, you can also gain usable space in your office by getting rid of that clunky, old fax machine.
If your business is on the go as much as you then you may want to look into a mobile method of collecting payments. According to Community Merchants USA, only 27% of purchases are made with cash while 66% are made with plastic (credit, debit, or gift cards). If you don’t have a way to accept credit cards you are missing out on the largest share of customer spending. Products such as Square, PayPal Here, and Breadcrumb by Groupon allow you to turn your smartphone or tablet into a mobile payment processor.
Keep Appointments On-Hand
Was that appointment at 2:30 or 3:30? Who’s scheduled to cover the front desk tomorrow? With so many dates and schedules to remember you need to be able to access your calendar anytime, anywhere. Unlike a traditional date book or some apps for your phone, Microsofts Outlook (part of Office365) can be accessed from any device connected to the internet which is great for people who are on the go.
Create A To-Do List
Communicate with employees what needs to be done though software such as Microsoft Outlook (part of Office 365). Create and send tasks to specific employees or create a list for the whole group. Tasks can be updated or checked off as progress is made. Attach files, emails, and business cards to tasks to reduce the amount of time spent searching and increase the time spent working.
Stay Caught Up On Industry News
When you’re stuck waiting at the DMV to renew your license you could count the ceiling tiles or you could take the time to catch up on important changes in your industry. And while you’re keeping up on the latest news, think about your customers doing the same thing on their phones. Does your website present your company’s news in a mobile friendly fashion? Or are your customers leaving your site in frustration?
Plan Your Business Trip
Traveling for meetings and conferences takes a lot of time from your already busy schedule–making the arrangements shouldn’t. Enlist the help of travel planning apps for booking flights and hotels. Then when you arrive use your GPS function to find how to get there. An unfamiliar city can seem much more manageable when you have an app that can help you find restaurants to eat at or a store to buy the toothbrush you forgot to pack.
Have A Mobile Data Recovery Plan
If you’re an iphone owner you probably have the “Find My iPhone” App. But what happens if you don’t get your phone back? What happens to all your data? 60% of companies will go out of business within 6 months of losing critical data. That’s what makes online backups so important. If you lose your phone, be sure you have a way to remotely wipe data from your old phone and transfer it to your new one. Products such as Windows Intune can help you remove the data from your lost mobile device while online backup providers such as Lock Your Data can help you recover your information.