Mobile isn’t the next big thing anymore — it’s here now, and it’s here to stay. Pew Research Center found that one-third of Americans go online primarily on a smartphone, and 10 percent use a smartphone as their only internet gateway.1 Given the pervasiveness of mobile, it’s not surprising that 80.5 percent of U.S. small-business owners use their mobile devices for business at least once a day.2
Small-business owners now have the option to run their business almost entirely from their phones: customer service, project management, shipping, and even your latte order are all at your fingertips. Mobile can level the playing field for smaller companies whose owners can’t afford to spend their days chained to a desk.
Let’s look at three simple ways your smartphone can make running your business easier:
Engage Your Customers
In the age of the smartphone, customers expect businesses to be available, always. Response times to customer comments on social media and your own website are crucial. According to research put out by Lithium Technologies, more than 70 percent of users expect to hear back from the brand they’re interacting with on Twitter, and 53 percent want a response within the hour.3 Using your smartphone to monitor service tickets and social media activity helps to ensure you don’t disappoint a potential customer by ignoring their questions.
Track Your Expenses and Employees
Working on the go can make it difficult to keep track of who’s doing what and how much you’re spending. When you have minimal working capital, it’s especially important to make sure nothing slips through the cracks.
Investing in an all in one project management mobile service might be possible for more established businesses, but a small business at any stage — even a startup — can manage their projects on the go by finding the right combination of applications. Start by looking for apps that help with:
- Collaboration. One of the downsides of working remotely is losing the face-to-face time with your employees. Do some research and find out whether a group messaging application, video chat, or virtual meeting app best suits the needs of your team.
- Accounting. In order to go mobile and stay on top of your accounts, you’ll need some kind of web-based financing software. Your current accounting software may have a mobile version, but if not there’s a variety of options to choose from depending on your needs.
- Business Intelligence. Assessing your company’s performance is probably one of the most tempting tools for small business owners. Find an app that has the right tool sets for your business, and you’ll be able to assess how your business is doing — wherever, whenever.
Deliver Top Notch Service
Customers have high expectations when it comes to shipping. According to Multichannel Merchant, only 11 percent of customers will shop with a retailer again if shipping commitments aren’t met.4 Yikes!
Luckily, there’s an app for that — several in fact. You can manage your shipments on the go by:
- Updating customers on the status of their package.
- Customizing delivery instructions.
- Tracking deliveries.
- Signing for a package.
- Scheduling a pickup.
- Creating a Mobile Shipping Label.
To learn more about managing your shipments from your phone, check out 4 Mobile Solutions to Help Simplify Shipping.
1“Chapter One: A Portrait of Smartphone Ownership”. PewResearch Center. http://www.pewinternet.org/2015/04/01/chapter-one-a-portrait-of-smartphone-ownership/
2“Mobile’s Big for Small-Business Owners.” eMarketer. http://www.emarketer.com/Article/Mobiles-Big-Small-Business-Owners/1012775
3“Consumers Will Punish Brands that Fail to Respond on Twitter Quickly.” Lithium. http://www.lithium.com/company/news-room/press-releases/2013/consumers-will-punish-brands-that-fail-to-respond-on-twitter-quickly
4“Why Exceeding Fulfillment Expectations is the New Holiday Ecommerce Strategy.” multichannelmerchant.
Source: FedEx Small Business Center, https://smallbusiness.fedex.com/go-mobile.html