Do you spend a lot of time out of your office, traveling for business, or on the road to meet clients and prospects? If so, I hope you're taking advantage of one of your most valuable business tools: your smartphone.
As a frequent business traveler, sometimes it seems as if I spend most of my waking hours either in the airport or stuck in traffic. Fortunately, my smartphone makes it simple to keep my business running smoothly wherever I am. Here are six tips I use that will help you run your business better with your smartphone, too.
1. Keep your smartphone running smoothly.
A smartphone is a great productivity tool, but when the battery runs out, the only thing it's good for is a paperweight. Stay efficient by investing in accessories like a backup battery or mobile charger to ensure you never run out of juice. (Keep a spare in your work bag so you never have to worry about misplacing it.)
2. Be responsive to customers and business leads.
Being out of the office is no longer an excuse for not returning a call, email or text from a prospect. Over 77% of U.S. adults have a smartphone; the average smartphone owner spends 69% of their media time on the phone, or more than four hours a day. With customers glued to their smartphones, they expect you to respond right away — otherwise, they'll turn to the competition. (Here's how to get people to answer your emails.)
3. Become a conference call master.
Download a teleconferencing and/or videoconferencing app like Skype or GoToMeeting. Learn how to use it before you need to, so you'll be prepared when a customer wants to hold a quick call on the spur of the moment. Keep earbuds on hand so you can talk and view your smartphone screen at the same time—essential when you’re sharing your screen with the rest of the team during a presentation or collaboration.
4. Get onto the cloud.
Use cloud storage and sharing apps to store your business’s data and documents. That way, you can access the information you need on your smartphone wherever you are, and always feel confident that you have the latest version of a file. Download mobile versions of the business apps you use most often, such as Microsoft Word, Excel or PowerPoint, so you can create or edit files in a pinch.
5. Take advantage of flexible communication options.
How often do you actually use your smartphone for phone calls? If you're like most people, you more often use it for texting or emailing. Make sure you know how the person you're communicating with likes to connect. That way, you can reach out or follow up in the way that they’re most likely to respond to. (Be sure to avoid these common lead follow-up mistakes.)
6. Manage business leads on the go.
A lead generation and lead management app that's easy to use on your smartphone helps you stay on top of new leads wherever you are. Look for a solution that notifies you as soon as you get new leads and automates the process of following up with them. (Learn more about managing leads.)
You can be just as efficient on the road as you can be in your office — even more so, if you follow these tips.