When I started my first business in 2007, the primary ways of promoting an organization were through your website, networking with business cards, and word-of-mouth. Brick-and-mortar locations still housed the majority of activity for a small business; social media and smart phone technology were not nearly as widespread, powerful, useful, and adaptive as they are now in 2013.
While a corporate office may still act as the “official” hub, small businesses have experienced significant successes with a focus on mobility. This means pushing the heavy use of smart phones, tables, and laptops. Also, a philosophical shift on understanding the way business gets done: you don’t need four walls – just you, your client/customer/co-worker/team, and a synergy with mobile technology.
Here are a some areas that businesses can use in going mobile:
Check out a mobile payment system first instead of a cash register (think farmers market where a customer doesn’t have cash on hand). Instead of fumbling for the company credit card and trying to keep track of receipts the next time you are out for a team coffee, use a mobile payment program. One major partnership that was formed recently was between Starbucks and Square.
Small businesses may find these new mobile applications more favorable versus traditional expensive fees and complex processes and big-box retailers are now offering these systems as well.
As the owner of a small business or simply a professional, you always want your brand to be relevant, right? One of the best places to start is ensuring your network is always up to speed on your current projects, success stories, and even contact information. With business cards becoming obsolete, start focusing efforts via sites liked LinkedIn. Online data is timely and stays current. The next wave of business conferences and trade shows with people bumping their phones will be commonplace in a few years.
Save time and money by simply emailing itineraries to the team before the trip. Many seasoned travelers already check-in online and print their boarding pass at the airport (or just scan a QR code directly). Online document access through Dropbox, Google Drive, and Apple iCloud are also closing the void and syncing your office systems while on the road.
Remember how a hand-written thank-you card has a more personal touch than a quick email? Well, an emailed link with a thank-you video adds a nice touch as well (especially for those customers and co-workers internationally) when you’re not around a card store. Store notes about your customer’s favorites (topics, foods, sports, etc.) that you can call up anywhere.
Going paperless (as much as possible) can really help your mobility. Information already stored in an email, electronic document, social media, etc. and can be more quickly shared than when physically written down. If you’ve ever had to transcribe meeting minutes, it’s pretty labor intensive.
By focusing on mobility, you can improve your agility and bring better results for you and your team. Your office can thrive without any walls, and that’s a good thing.
What mobile methods are you focusing on in the workplace this year? Leave a comment in the section below.