Get out of the house, spend time with your customers, or just treat yourself with some time off and familiarize yourself with the tools that let you run your business from your mobile phone. Don’t be tied to your desk all day when you can be productive anywhere. Your smartphone will become your personal assistant by helping you manage many aspects of your home business remotely. Take advantage of the power of your smartphone with these bleeding edge business apps:
Covering the Basics
Make Use Of identified the five primary areas you have to deal with everyday as a home business owner and discovered that there are tools available to manage each from your smartphone:
To be clear, you do need a smartphone and not just a cell phone. Nearly any smartphone you’ll find, whether it’s T-Mobile’s Blackberry z10, the Galaxy s5, or Apple’s iPhone will work well for your home business. Try out several and find one you’re comfortable using. Soon you’ll discover the freedom of running your business from anywhere, using your phone.
Of course you can make calls on your phone, but you can also send text messages, write emails and perform video and audio conference calls. The good news is that nearly any smartphone you buy will have solid email and text programs already installed.
Step up your game in customer support by offering video chat with your customers. Google+ Hangouts lets you do video and audio conference calling with anyone using any kind of smartphone, tablet or computer. If your smartphone has a rear-facing camera, you can do video chats with others who have a digital camera on their mobile device. Add a personal touch to the way you handle customer or supplier questions. Hangouts is available for free on any mobile device.
Most smartphones come with Facebook and Twitter apps to help you stay connected with your followers. But if you are using more than a couple of social networking platforms to market yourself and your business, then Hootsuite (HootSuite.com) might be a solution. This product is accessible through a browser on your desktop or laptop or through a mobile app, available for all platforms.
Hootsuite links to all of your social networking profiles and let’s you manage them from a single dashboard. Jumpstart and manage marketing campaigns from one place without logging in and out of each site. Free accounts are available with an upgrade for $8.99/month if you get heavily involved in multiple social media sites.
If you’re a fan of email marketing, then Constant Contact (ConstantContact.com) with it’s desktop and mobile interfaces might be worth considering. Create and send out emails, promotional notices or digital newsletters. The mobile app is available for all devices and starts at $15/month.
Your smartphone likely has a calendar that will serve you well, whether your device is an iPhone or Android. There are many calendar apps available, each with their own pros and cons. For a free option that will keep you flexible, try the Google Calendar (Google.com/Calendar) with the corresponding Google Sync to your particular phone calendar app. Manage your Google Calendar from your desktop, laptop or mobile device.
Share your calendar with others. Embed your calendar into your website so visitors can see upcoming events. Send meeting announcements and reminders. The syncing software keeps the calendars on all of your devices refreshed with your current Google Calendar details.
With your smartphone, you can take payments from anywhere. PayPal (Paypal.com) and Square (SquareUp.com) are popular mobile payment apps that will work on any smartphone. Each service provides a card reader that plugs into your phone so you can swipe credit and debit cards while in your booth at a convention or crafts fair. Fees vary based on the payment processors you choose (e.g. Visa, Mastercard) and number of card swipes. The mobile apps are free.
Quickbooks by Intuit (Quickbooks.Intuit.com) is a full-featured bookkeeping system available through the cloud and any mobile device. Starting at $12.95/month, it lets you track expenses, create and send invoices, accept customer payments and manage your financial accounts. While you’ll want to do much of your detailed bookkeeping on your desktop or laptop, the mobile apps give you functionality to manage your books while on the road.