We live in a really interesting and exciting time for small businesses. With the technology available today, it is possible for a small business to act much bigger than they are, and therefore grow their business at an accelerated rate. I think there are two technology advancements we have to thank for this- the Cloud, and mobile devices.
When we take either of these advancements on their own they are impressive, but it is when they are combined that we are given a staggering amount of power and control, especially for businesses. The Cloud refers to any program or data that can be accessed from anywhere over the internet, and mobile devices refer to any piece of equipment that you can use while you are in a public setting, not in any type of office (work or home). By using them together businesses have the ability to be much more cost-efficient and time-saving, ultimately boosting their profits. If you want to read more about why the mobile office is so valuable, check out this guest post on our blog.
So how is it that businesses can use Cloud programs on mobile devices to help increase their business? There is such a clutter of programs and apps these days it can be difficult to know where to start. So we’ve come up with this list of our top Cloud programs/apps that businesses should know about.
Whether your company uses Gmail or Outlook, you and your employees need to have constant access to your email. Our world has become one of increased expectations when it comes to response times. Unless you set very clear boundaries that you are not going to be available at certain times, you are expected to always be able to access your email. For a small business, this is especially important.
There are many different ways you can set up your email on mobile devices. If you are using Apple products, such as an iPhone or iPad, there is the Mac Mail program that comes standard on all devices. Apple makes it very easy to set up your mail to sync with these devices. And, you can set up as many mail accounts as you want, and have them all come to your Mac Mail program. Personally, I have two different accounts- work, which is an Exchange email account, and personal- which is a gmail account. I have these accounts set up to come to the Mac Mail program, and they are divided into different mailboxes within the program. There is also a fair amount of customization you can do within the program. For example, I have my email set up so that every time a new work email comes in, the device makes a noise, but not for my personal email.
2. File Sharing program
With the invention of the tablet, the idea of being able to work exclusively from a mobile device became a very appealing possibility. Lugging a huge laptop around can be a pain, especially if you are a seasoned traveler. The tablet brought a whole new sense of mobility and portability, being a great size to fit in a purse or a briefcase without adding a lot of weight.
Therefore, programs and apps needed to be created to be used with mobile devices. There are a number of great cloud file-sharing and storage programs available these days, and many of them have mobile apps. Google Docs (or Google Drive as it is now called), Dropbox, etc. all have apps.
However, when dealing with businesses, these are not necessarily the programs that are used, because they don’t come with enough security. Not to worry, many of the cloud file programs designed for businesses come with mobile apps as well. For example, Network Depot uses a cloud file sharing program called Egnyte. This particular program comes with customizable security and permission layers, so you can always feel comfortable that your data is safe. And, they have a great app that allows you to access your files from your mobile device.
3. Cloud-based services
There is a great deal of work done these days on programs that are already in the Cloud. Basically, if you access the internet to get to your program, you are using the Cloud. And, most of these programs have mobile apps. Does your company use Skype? How about Facebook? Twitter? Linkedin? Pinterest? All of these and more are Cloud-based services- they take place over the internet. And, all of them have apps.
Separately, all of these apps and cloud-based programs are helpful, but when they are used in sync with one another, it can bring you and your business to a whole new level.
Let’s take an example. Say our sales rep is going out to a potential new client meeting. He gets to their office and is meeting with the top decision makers of the company. Now, let’s pretend that the decision makers ask him for a certain price list. But, he didn’t know he was going to need that information, so he didn’t bring it with him. Not to worry! Using his phone, he goes into his file-sharing and storage app and brings up the document needed. Then, he sends the document over email to the top decision makers, who are able to print it out immediately and the meeting continues- losing maybe two minutes.
Or what if your company is attending a trade show? You send your top sales and marketing reps. Well, with all the mobile apps available, they don’t every miss a beat. Not only can they keep up with emails, but they are also able to report back on the progress of the show, including uploading photos and posts to social media- and all they need is their phone.
I’m sure you’ve heard people say it- the world is going mobile. For a small business though, if you tap into the opportunities that a mobile world can give you, such as the ability to work from anywhere, to be constantly on top of your game, you will see your organization thrive.
What are some mobile programs and apps that your company uses? Let us know in the comments!