Mobile business efficiency
HOW TO WORK EFFECTIVELY AND EFFICIENTLY WHILE MOBILE
In today’s technology-rich business environment, it’s no surprise advanced hardware, software and online services continue to transform every aspect of the workplace. It’s changed the way we work, how we communicate and when and where our business day begins and ends writes John Moss.
Advances in mobile technology over the past few years, particularly 3G and now 4G mobile internet, are enabling a new type of road warrior - those who run their business while on the move.
Some have taken it to the extreme, such as the German businessman caught with a fully-functioning office on his front passenger seat. But you don’t have to go to these lengths to manage your business efficiently while mobile.
The keys to successfully running your business on the road are getting the right technology, both hardware and software, and learning to manage your time to maximise productivity.
On the hardware front you need devices and connectivity. You will need a mobile phone to call people, whether it is customers, suppliers or colleagues. Most mobiles today are smartphones, so you have some computing power, but it’s likely you’ll need to do more than what a phone alone can provide. So, a laptop and/or tablet and the ability to connect to the internet either through your mobile phone or via a dedicated 3G/4G wireless device are important. It doesn’t need to be a smartphone given you have a laptop or tablet, but it can be useful as it often provides faster access to important emails or client details.
Your choice of main computing device will depend on your specific needs and preferences. Ideally you want a device that is relatively light and has long battery life, so the new range of Ultrabook devices or a hybrid tablet are perfect. Whether you choose Windows, Mac or Android is up to you - there are plenty of business and productivity applications available for each form factor and operating system.
The applications you run on your devices are critical to your and your team’s productivity and to the business’s overall success. Communication is handled by your mobile phone, your favourite email application on the phone or laptop and, if video is required, Skype. If you are using a cloud-based CRM tool to manage your clients then access to their details will also be straightforward anywhere, anytime, either directly through a browser or a specialised app.
Doing business that earns direct revenue is also important on the move. This means you need the ability to provide a quote and raise an invoice. The latest cloud-based accounting apps let
you do this today. If you have a client meeting you can check their up-to-date account balance and invoice history before you head into the meeting, giving you complete insight into their account and helping steer the upcoming conversation. You can even use Essentials to run your payroll and pay your staff while on the go.
Cash flow for small business is often a real headache. Chasing outstanding invoices and managing the collection process can be a challenge for business owners. But with the latest mobile payment technology, such as MYOB PayDirect, businesses can take action to improve their cash flow by issuing invoices, taking card payments, and administer receipts on the spot, as well as view their cash flow on-the-go and in real-time.
In the next few years, accepting credit and debit payments via mobile devices could become as everyday as visiting an ATM. It’s due to a quiet revolution going on behind the scenes in mobile payments technology: advances in mobile devices and app technology, along with ongoing developments in card security and encryption technology. When combined, they enable businesses everywhere to become merchants on-the go: on construction sites, at market stalls – wherever they can using their mobile.
There are plenty of other apps that will help your mobile business by combining efficiency and mobility. These apps include note-taking, expense management, document creation, business card scanners, voice recorders and many more. The key is to try them and find out which work best with your style of doing business.
All these apps combined with increasingly powerful and connected hardware are driving the appeal and the ability to work from anywhere. The increasing number of hot-desks and telecommuters in many businesses is simply a reflection of the fact that it is now relatively straightforward to run a business or do your job whilst mobile.
There is tremendous scope for Australian business operators to boost their financial performance, strengthen customer acquisition and retention, enjoy work environment flexibility and improve business productivity by using mobile and online technologies.