Are you and your smartphone attached at the hip? Do you wake up, squinty-eyed, scrolling through notifications that you missed while you were asleep? And do you go to bed, setting your phone’s alarm for the next morning only to do it all over again? Chances are you aren’t the only one. (I know I’m guilty of it).
In 2016, smartphone adoption surpassed 80% of all mobile owners in the US. That’s a 38% increase compared to just 5 years before! So the reality is the number of smartphone users will continue to grow and, in turn, it will become increasingly harder to part with our devices.
If we reflect on the good that smartphones have done for small business, it isn’t all that bad—and there are plenty of reasons why! For one, it’s opened the doors for better productivity, flexibility and even the globalization of business.
But that’s not all. We share how smartphones changed the way we do business for the better.
Years ago, business owners communicated with clients using cell phones, emailed contractors using computers, logged business expenses in filing cabinets and managed their accounting by installing software on their desktops.
To say the least, we’ve come a long way.
When we look at how we use our iPhone or Android devices, we think beyond the phone. Today, there are so many more features within our reach! From apps to instant messaging (heck, you can even send an invoice or scan an expense receipt with the right app!), right down to the camera quality, smartphones have quickly become more than just a calling device.
And that’s a big win for small businesses. Smartphones not only help streamline your business activity, they also help potential clients find you! Today, with social media apps at our fingertips, small businesses have become a lot more accessible to the public.
With one quick search, people can easily contact you to learn more about your services, or even follow you on social media to help guide their buying decision for later. It’s like the Yellow Pages, in mobile form.
Remember when you had to wait to get back to your desk to actually get work done? How many times did you forget something you said you’d do when you got back to the office? I’m guessing it was on more than one occasion.
Luckily with smartphones, you have the freedom to work from anywhere without the need to complete “real” work from your desktop. You can easily email a contractor from your device, send an invoice to your client with cloud accounting and even communicate with your team using an instant messaging app like Slack.
Smartphones give you the luxury to stay connected while you’re on the run. And that’s key for small business owners. Why? Oftentimes you wear many hats— you’re the boss, the accountant and the recruiter—and each role may require your attention in multiple places at once.
With a device at hand, you can efficiently manage each moving part of your business, wherever it takes you. You can now turn the unproductive in-between time into more efficient and timely workflows.
As a small business owner, you have certain advantages that not many large companies can match: Your level of customer service.
As the face of your business, you want your clients to not only be impressed by the output of your work, but with each and every interaction in between. So the unique experience you provide to your clients can really set you apart and help you thrive.
Smartphones make it easier for you to provide support to your clients. For starters, you instantly become more available with your device. You can offer support through mobile instant messaging, which allows your clients to informally seek assistance, and for you to respond from anywhere and anytime.
And guess what? Promptness and fast turnarounds are key components to delivering great customer service!
Before smartphones took over, in order to provide great customer service, it usually costed you more. You’d have to pay for expensive software or staff—not to mention account for the money lost during the unproductive in-between time when you weren’t at your desk.
With your smartphone, you have access to a huge library of apps to help you run your business more efficiently. And guess what? They don’t cost nearly as much as the sophisticated software you’ve been using to track your client communications.
For instance, a complicated piece of software could have cost thousands of dollars and hours to install. But a simple program from the app store on your smartphone only costs a one-time charge of $4.99 (many are free!)—and you can use it wherever you go. What’s more, you no longer have to buy a professional camera to take photos for your blog. You can shoot straight from your device.
In the long run, it’s a big time and money saver.
Most of the time, you carry a lot of your business’ weight on your shoulders. It can at times be a challenge to keep business in order and stay organized.
But smartphones are quickly changing the game.
In the days where it was necessary to print maps and directions to a client’s office, you can now type directions and let your smartphone lead the way. When you needed to keep a shoebox full of receipts, you can now snap a picture and save it on your device. And when you had to worry about bringing enough business cards to an event, you can now connect directly with people on LinkedIn.
Smartphones have made it so simple to stay organized and do right by your business whether you’re sitting at your desk or off-site.
With the constant buzz around fancy devices and its impact on society, it’s sometimes easier to spot the bad over the good in smartphones.
The truth is, with great power comes with great responsibility. At the end of the day, only small business owners themselves can own up to using smartphones to their advantage, not demise.
The reality is we’re moving into a world that’s more mobily connected. So keep up—it’s expected that smartphones will continue to play a vital role in improving your efficiency at work, wherever it may take you.