Mo­bile business ef­fi­ciency


Business First - - CONTENTS - by John Moss

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.

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