For better or worse, my smartphone is an extension of just about every aspect of my life, including my business. It’s my camera, my communications lifeline, my calendar, and my organizational tool. And I am sure many of you would say the same thing. So I wanted to share with you how I use my phone for my business, and at the same time hopefully give you some ideas on how you can do the same. After all, it’s in your pocket all day long so why not make it work for you, right?
1. Email - Many of us hate it, but it’s still the #1 way that business communicates. I have 5 email accounts set up on my phone, which allows me to respond when I need to.
2. Calendar – How many times have you been out somewhere and tried to plan an event, only to say something like “I’ll look at my calendar when I get home and email you.”? I don’t do that anymore. Just like email, I have multiple calendars set up on my phone so I can keep track of where I am supposed to be. I can’t tell you how many times my calendar has saved me.
3. Cloud Storage – I always have access to all my important documents because I use cloud storage services like Dropbox, Skydrive, Google Drive, and Box. All of those cloud storage services have free apps so you can download and open documents right there on your smartphone. And you can also upload stuff to those services as well. Honestly, I am not sure how I lived without them.
4. TripIt – If you travel, then you need Tripit. I take all those email confirmations from airlines, hotels, and car rentals and forward them to TripIt. It then organizes all of it for me and I use the free TripIt app to keep track of where I am going, complete with all the confirmation numbers, contact info, etc. Plus, you can put all your employees on there and manage the whole company’s travel details.
5. Square – If you have a need to accept payments for your products and services from anywhere that you are, then Square is your solution. For example, when I am at a booth at conferences where I sell my products and services, with my smartphone I use Square to accept credit card payments in about 30 seconds. It’s amazing. Truly. You can even use it to document cash transactions.
6. Social Media – If you engage in social media with your customers on any level, then you have discovered that those interactions don’t just happen when you are in front of your computer. I have all my social media services at my fingertips on my smartphone and I interact with my customers daily. I also never miss any interactions on social media channels because I get notifications on my smartphone anytime anything happens.
7. Maps & Navigation – I have an Android phone and one of the main benefits of a Google device is the seamless integration of their Maps and Navigation apps. I can always find where I need to go with these, so I don’t miss appointments with clients or my next speaking engagement. If it’s possible to love an app, I do love Maps. I confess.
8. Entertainment – I have written numerous times about how important it is that as a business owner you take time to relax and let go (like this one, about a Nutty bar). Even if it’s for a short time while you are waiting between appointments, but especially when you have those few precious moments of peace. So I use my smartphone to listen to my music (with Google Music) and play lots of meaningless, useless games. It’s ok to play Angry Birds folks. Seriously, just do it.
So there you go. What do you use your smartphone for in your business?