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StrategyDriven Entrepreneurship Article

How Your Smartphone Can Help Your Business Grow

StrategyDriven Entrepreneurship Article
 
Just a few years ago – certainly within living memory for most people in business today – there were no smartphones. There were no tablets either, or any other kind of mobile device except, perhaps, for standard cell phones that did nothing except make and receive calls, and perhaps send and receive text messages. However, technology has advanced hugely, and now a smartphone or tablet can actually enhance our businesses in many positive ways, giving customers more choice and adding more profit to the bottom line of your company. Smartphones used to be just for fun, but today they are an essential business tool; here are some of the reasons why that is.

Keep Track Of Your Expenses

Running a business can cost a lot of money, and if you aren’t keeping track of your expenses, it can cost you even more than it should. If you have a smartphone or a tablet, you can download one of a number of apps that means you can keep all of your outgoings in one place. You may be able to upload images of receipts and organize them in a cloud-based system, for example. This makes getting your taxes done a lot quicker and easier than dropping into your accountant with a bag full of crumpled receipts.

These apps are also useful for budgeting as they will be able to tell you – once you have pre-determined the limits – when you are spending too much. This way you can re-assess your budget or your spending before it becomes a problem and you could potentially prevent a serious issue from occurring.

Present To Your Customers

Sometimes a business owner will need to make presentations. This could be to gain a big, new corporate client, or perhaps to explain a product to end users. Carrying a lot of equipment to your meeting and wondering how to set it all up can make your company look more amateur than it really is, but taking a tablet (or even a smartphone) that is easy to set up and, thanks to intuitive apps, easy to create presentations on can make a big difference. This can show your clients just how professional you really are.

If you have the right apps, you can even make a presentation on the move, so that if you find you are coming face to face with someone who needs to know more about your business, with a few taps you can create something not only informative but personalized too.

Spread Your Message

Our smartphones go everywhere with us, and many people feel lost if they happen to leave the house without their mobile device, even if they don’t intend to use it. Since our smartphones are going to be everywhere with us, it makes sense to use them as some advertising space too. Order a personalized iPhone case from new startup Indkly with your logo and website on the back, and every time you use your phone, you will be letting people know more about you.

Be Responsive

A responsive business is a successful one a lot of the time, which is why it pays to answer phone calls, emails, and reply to comments on social media as quickly as you can. You may not always be in the office in front of a computer, however, especially if your business is a mobile one. Therefore, you can use a smartphone or tablet to keep on top of customer questions and answer them much more quickly than if you had to wait to get back to the office. By that time, especially if you have a full day ahead of you, the customer who had the question may well have found another company who answered them more quickly and therefore secured the sale.

Take Orders

A mobile device can be used to take customer orders, and you may well have seen it happen already. It is becoming more and more standard to see waiting staff using mobile devices to take their customers’ orders and send it directly to the kitchen. This speeds up the entire process and gives customers a much better experience. Tapping the order into a smart device leaves less room for error than writing it down, or even simply remembering what was said, plus the servers can engage more with their customers which makes for a more pleasant experience all around.

Order taking devices don’t have to be limited to restaurants and bars. With the right equipment, they can be used in almost any sales situation. You can have an app designed for your business that means you can process orders there and then, rather than having to go back to the office or asking your clients to fill in long-winded paperwork. As a bonus, this means that less paper will be printed and used, which can benefit your business as well as the environment.

Accept Payment

What if, as well as taking orders from your clients, you could even process their payments should that be necessary? There are many apps that allow you to do this, and the money will appear in your bank account straight away. This means you can take credit and debit cards without the need for a special merchant machine, and that means you don’t have to turn away prospective buyers who don’t have cash on them – they can still pay you. If you give each of your salespeople a tablet that is designed to take payments, they can make more sales because they won’t have to go back later to process the payment.

Obtain Signatures

In some industries, particularly in sectors such as real estate, the signing of the contract can take a long time, delaying all the other parts of the transaction. However, with a tablet or smartphone, the contract can be signed immediately through the app, meaning that everything can be speeded up and become a lot more efficient. You will get paid more quickly, and your customer will have a better experience because their order will be processed speedily.

How to Use Mobile Devices to Drive the Success of Your Business

More and more people are now using mobile devices to help with everyday tasks, such as communication, online shopping, and travel. With such a large proportion of the population having access to mobile devices, it makes sense to utilize such a powerful tool to help with marketing strategies and business growth. Finding the best ways to do this can be difficult, especially in an age where technology seems to be moving faster than ever. You can’t get stuck in the depths of the mobile world without first knowing the basics, and just how you can use them as a key component in making your business a success.

Tailor your website to suit smaller screens

Though laptops and macs are still popular gadgets used by consumers, much of their interaction comes from using mobile phones or tablets. It means that you can no longer rely on having a website aimed solely at how people view it from a computer screen. Whether this is for marketing or sales purposes, in today’s world, any website must be optimized for mobile devices This is due to the soaring numbers of smartphone users that are expected to carry on growing in years to come. When it comes to e-commerce especially, much online shopping now takes place from the comfort of your handheld device. Unfortunately, many users abandon the checkout process due to bugs on the website, which come about as a result of the company software not being tailored for use on mobiles. If you have a slick website designed for smaller screens, you can expect increased engagement from future customers.

Use instant messaging

Emailing has always been an integral tool in helping produce successful marketing campaigns. However, even more recently, instant messaging and texting services have been utilized for targeted, personalized campaigns, which bring about a more human feel to the marketing process. Though social media advertisements use cookies to aim specific content at a certain bracket of viewers, messaging allows companies to employ a more intimate tactic to gauge what exactly interests their consumers. Not only does this sell the product, but it helps you to keep track of which elements of your campaign work, and which don’t. In fact, there are now software services such as SMS Blast, which has specified the broad sphere of text messaging for marketing purposes.

Make a mobile app

Mobile apps are a quicker, more convenient way for consumers to engage with products and services your company offers. With the rise in smartphones comes a higher need to integrate mobile applications into a business model. Not only do they greatly improve how you interact with customers, but they can be integrated with social media giants, such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to promote new marketing campaigns. Many businesses have started with an app and grown into something bigger due to the reach they can get from using such a service. Whether you want to sell a material product on an online shopping app, or services through an app subscription, more doors are opening up every day which will help you in the future of your business.

Mobile, Native Apps and Project Management Software – What’s the Connection?

Remote work is seeing a steady rise, and key to making it possible is cloud computing and the continuously rising mobile usage rate. You’ve heard of the BYOD (bring your own device) revolution, and whichever side of the BYOD fence you’re on, there’s no denying that mobile devices are becoming more and more ubiquitous in the workplace.

Enterprises of all shapes and sizes have chosen to embrace the mobile landscape, taking advantage of enterprise-specific mobile apps to keep their employees productive even when outside the office.

In the project management arena, it’s been established that projects are better carried out by teams, and teams nowadays can be dispersed geographically, hence, the growing prevalence of cloud-based project management software to keep these teams connected. Cloud-based also means the ability to access the project management application via any device – PC, laptop, tablet and smartphone.

How’s your mobile experience?

Now, step back for a moment and recall how using your phone to browse a site not optimized for mobile makes you feel. Does adjusting the text to a size that’s easy on the eyes, then swiping horizontally and vertically to read an article in its entirety put you off? What about Flash or Java and their effect on load time? Or pop-up windows, perhaps? If they do, it most certainly is the same story for a lot of other users.


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About the Author

Maricel Rivera writes content for Comindware, a business solutions provider whose project management software offering, Comindware Project, provides a whole suite of project management capabilities and comes with native apps for both the iOS and Android platforms. You may connect with her on Twitter.

Jeffrey Gitomer

The world is going mobile. Are you moving or standing?

When The Who recorded the song Going Mobile in 1971, they had no idea what the future held, nor that they were the predictors of it.

They thought going mobile was all about being on the road, and maybe flying on an airplane. But today, going mobile means a whole lot more.

Any business today that isn’t going mobile is going backwards.
Any business today that isn’t going mobile is losing to a competitor that is.
Any business today that isn’t going mobile is admitting their failure to see the PRESENT.

  • How good is your mobile app? Does it serve the customer, or just you? Where’s the value? Can I easily get what I want? Can I pay easily? Can I schedule a service appointment? Make a comment? Can I also call you and get right to a human?
  • Is all of your training and product instruction/information downloadable? Your manuals?
  • How easy is it for people to read your message? What’s the format? Is it made-for-mobile, or just a poor adaptation of your blog or website?
  • Size matters. (The size of type, that is.) Why not subscribe to your own posts and see. If I need to adjust the size, tell me how to view it in mobile format.
  • Is everything you sell downloadable? Can I click, buy, download, and listen or watch in a minute or two? (Like iTunes or Kindle.) Think about it – more than 100 billion downloads can’t be wrong.

FOOD FOR THOUGHT: Instagram completely ignored the computer in favor of smartphones and tablets. How are they doing? HINT: Facebook didn’t buy Instagram as an investment – they bought out of fear.

NOTE WELL: Every major company has a mobile app so you can easily access their stuff. Every social media channel has a mobile app reliant on smartphone and tablet use for as much as 50% of their traffic.

Social media is there at the forefront of mobile app development – whether you’re there or not. Social media is the PERFECT place for your customers to share their message and their praise, and voice their concerns.

Going mobile is not an option.

REALITY: Mobile apps are now accessed more than the Internet. Mobile apps are an imperative, not an option, or an added service. They are the future. Your future. If you don’t have one, you are a jackapp.
BIGGER REALITY: The iPad is the new laptop. The smartphone is the NOW communication device, growing by millions weekly.
BIGGEST REALITY: The easier it is for people to access what you have, the more they will buy from you.

CONFESSION: WE ARE IN THE SAME PREDICAMENT. That’s why I’m writing this. To put myself on notice that my own offerings need to be ahead of the market and ahead of my competition.

Here’s my present situation and what I’m going to be doing to ensure my leadership position for the next decade:

  • I have an app. Unfortunately it’s only available for the iPhone. BUT, we’re adding an additional cross-platform mobile application that will allow easier access to my website and all of my existing books and CDs. This app will be easier to use, easier to navigate, and easier for customers to purchase and pay.
  • All of my products will be available as downloads.
  • We will be providing an on-demand subscription service to all of my training offerings and all of my books on laptop, tablet, and smartphone – oh yes, even for desktop.

CAUTION: Don’t just think about how business is being done today. Think of how ‘mobile’ has progressed it, making it faster and easier to conduct and how online, tablet, and smartphones have transformed the e-commerce economy to the mobile economy. It’s here, and it’s not going away.

Look around and take notice of the non-traditional changes taking place:

  • Coffee shop offices. Any Starbucks will reveal people running their business from their iPad and their app.
  • Mobile accessibility both for the purpose to connect and to purchase is becoming dominant among retailers.
  • In sales calls and presentations, iPad (tablet) mobile brochures are replacing print, and iPad (tablet) presentations, and GoToMeeting appointments are replacing traditional sales presentations.

TODAY’S CUSTOMER: Be where they are, when they are – on demand. It’s not just smart business – it’s smartphone business.
TOMORROW’S CUSTOMER: When our four-year-old daughter hands me my iPad and says, “Papa, download this,” you know what the next generation will be doing and buying (sooner than you think).

Reprinted with permission from Jeffrey H. Gitomer and Buy Gitomer.


About the Author

Jeffrey Gitomer is the author of The Sales Bible, Customer Satisfaction is Worthless Customer Loyalty is Priceless, The Little Red Book of Selling, The Little Red Book of Sales Answers, The Little Black Book of Connections, The Little Gold Book of YES! Attitude, The Little Green Book of Getting Your Way, The Little Platinum Book of Cha-Ching, The Little Teal Book of Trust, The Little Book of Leadership, and Social BOOM! His website, www.gitomer.com, will lead you to more information about training and seminars, or email him personally at [email protected].