Can you run a business from a smartphone? 1

Can you run a business from a smartphone?

The idea of managing a business from a phone might initially seem laughable.

Yet the smiles quickly fade when you consider the incredible processing power and software provided by today’s smartphones and phablets.

More than mere communication tools, our phones have evolved into sophisticated computers in their own right – far surpassing desktop PCs of the early Noughties.

Most business applications and programs offer mobile apps or smartphone-specific formats, while the majority of internet traffic is carried on mobiles.

Some American tech firms have publicly banned desktops, claiming mobile-first working environments are far more efficient and cost-effective.

Desktop computers do remain useful, but it is possible to spend an entire day working on a smartphone without too much difficulty.

Entrepreneurs and sole traders might therefore find they can manage without a desktop computer – at least temporarily, if it’s broken or needing repairs.

Tips for managing a business on a mobile

  • Sign up to a generous data contract. Although it’s recommended to use WiFi hubs wherever possible, you’re still going to plough through a lot of data. Activities like video calls are especially bandwidth-hungry, so ensure you don’t run out of data mid-month and need expensive bolt-on data packages
  • Connect a Bluetooth keyboard. One major drawback of managing a business through a mobile concerns the limitations of typing on a diminutive touchscreen. Bluetooth keyboards may be folded or rolled up when not in use, combining dependable connectivity with pleasingly tactile keystrokes
  • Download key business apps. A quick browse through the Google Play Store reveals LinkedIn, Skype, OfficeSuite and QuickBooks Accounting apps. There are standalone utilities dedicated to document signage, payroll, contract generation, scanning and everything else you’d normally do on a desktop or laptop
  • Set up push email notifications. Modern IMAP accounts deliver messages to multiple platforms simultaneously, so you’re just as connected on your mobile as sitting at a PC with Outlook open. Although push email blurs the boundaries between work and personal time, its benefits outweigh any compromises
  • Store information in the cloud. Mobile devices aren’t always blessed with generous storage, so register with services like Dropbox where gigabytes of server space are available – often for free. Google Docs is great for written materials, and individual documents can be shared with other people who’ve been given specific viewing and/or editing permissions
  • Maintain voice communications. Nowadays, it’s entirely acceptable for a primary contact number to start with 07. Landlines easily redirect to mobiles, while video platforms like Skype and Zoom are growing in popularity. Mobile phones have high-resolution cameras and microphones built-in and ready to use
  • Use your desktop device from afar. Need to view the contents of your C drive from the road, or at the weekend? Simply download Microsoft Remote Desktop or Apple Remote Desktop. Admittedly these tools still require the presence of a computer, but they do make day-to-day business management on a smartphone entirely possible.
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