by Burton Kelso, The Technology Expert
If you see me out and about, you are almost guaranteed to see me looking at my smartphone. No, I'm not a phone addict! My iPhone is an extension of who I am because it allows me to keep track of all aspects of my computer repair business Integral.
Phone calls, invoices, marketing, and communication are all done from the palm of my hand. Times are changing and with more businesses working towards a mobile footprint, I thought it would be a good idea to share some of the things you should do if you want to work entirely from your smartphone.
Check out this quick guide that will help you turn your smartphone and tablet to a mobile office.
1. Get the Right Software and Apps.
You might actually think the type of smartphone or tablet you own is the foundation of your mobile office, but it's actually the software and apps you use day in and day out. Before rushing out and getting a new phone, check to see if the apps you want to work with will mesh with your current phone or tablet. When it comes to business apps, here are the areas you need to pay close attention to:
Email: In most cases, the native email program on Apple and Android devices will work for business email. Most business users are used to Microsoft Outlook, and thankfully there is an Outlook app available for both devices.
One other thing to consider with email is if you want to have your email sync with your email service. Some of you prefer to be able to delete emails from their account so the changes will be reflected on both their smartphone and tablet. Some of you prefer to keep emails separated on your smartphone and tablet ... as well as your computer. Sit down take time to choose the best strategy for you.
Cloud Storage: One of the reasons for eliminating the need for a computer or a laptop is to be able to access your critical documents from anywhere. There are many cloud storage services out there, but it's my opinion that you settle on one. If you're used to Microsoft and its products, the best option is to sign up for a Microsoft Office 365 account and use OneDrive for your storage.
If you prefer using Google Docs, then, by all means, sign up for a Google account. There are options for free and Gmail accounts. With a paid Google account, you're going to get access to tech support when things go wrong. If a paid account isn't in your budget, start out with a free account and budget in for a paid account as your finances grow.
Mileage: Check out MileIQ (www.mileiq.com). for $5.00 a month, you can effortlessly track your mileage. If you're a QuickBooks Online user, you can use the mileage tracker built into the software.
Accounting: Speaking of QuickBooks (www.quickbooks.com) QuickBooks Online is probably the best option for most of you out there.
There is also Freshbooks (www.freshbooks.com) which works well on Apple and Android Devices.
Word processing/spreadsheets: If you're going to be writing, reviewing documents, or working with spreadsheets, you need to stick with whatever apps you were used to using on your desktop Windows and Mac.
It's a Microsoft world when it comes to documents, but don't let that stop from using Google Docs or Apple's Office suite. If you share documents, you should probably use what your team is using.
Scanner: A good scanner app is a must if working mobile. If you need to capture documents on the go, consider Adobe Scan. Use your smartphone's camera to capture documents and then save or send them as PDFs.
Payments: If you need to take payments through your phone while on the road, make sure you have PayPal, Square, and Venmo. These are great, safe, and secure options accepting for mobile payments.
Social media: If you use social media, make sure you download the apps for your favorite platform. Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram allow you to use QR codes to quickly connect with people you meet in the real world.
2. Get The Right Device.
There's always that argument over which device is better. Apple? Android? Just about every smartphone and tablet can be turned into a mobile office. I like using an iPhone with a larger screen, but you need to choose a phone or tablet that has the right size and operating environment that fits your comfort level.
3. Make sure you're backing up your device.
Anything can happen to a smart device, that's why it's important for you to make sure you're backing up your smart device. Virus threats are still low with smartphones and tablets, but physical damage can always occur and at any time. If you don't take the time to backup your mobile device, you're putting your customers and your reputation at risk.
Automatic backup is the key, but What are your options? Well, you are limited to what you can use. Apple users have the option for iCloud Backup which will backup all of the Apple-related files to the cloud. Android users can use Google Drive and photos.
Both services offer a limited amount of free storage before you have to purchase more storage, but as a business user, it's worth the investment.
4. Check that warranty.
Most mobile devices come with a 1-year warranty that covers factory defects, but they normally don't cover your human goofs with your devices. If you are planning to use your smart device for work, you might want to consider purchasing a factory extended warranty ... not your friendly big box store warranty.
Why? Well, when you have to send in your device for extended warranty repair, you're sending it directly to the manufacture, not some third-party vendor that your big box store uses. Also, the rate of return of your device will be quicker.
Make sure you find out what the turn around time is for the repair of your tablet or smartphone. In some instances, it could take up to a week to get your device back.
5. Get a printer.
It's rare that I use a printer, but it's nice to have one because from time to time, you need to have a hard copy of documents. Most printers have wireless capabilities which means you can print documents from your smartphone or tablet.
Some even come with cloud capabilities which means you can send documents from your smart device to be printed back at your office or home office.
It doesn't take much to get your business mobile. Once you get the right apps and hardware to work with your smartphone and tablets, the sky is the limit on where you can work.
Want to ask me a tech question? Send it to firstname.lastname@example.org. If you prefer to connect with me on social media, you can find me on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Twitter and watch great tech tip videos on my YouTube channel. I love technology. I've read all of the manuals and I want to make technology fun and exciting for you.
If you need on-site or remote tech support for your Windows\Macintosh, computers, laptops, Android/Apple smartphone, tablets, printers, routers, smart home devices, and anything that connects to the Internet, please feel free to contact my team at Integral.
My team of friendly tech experts are always standing by to answer your questions and help make your technology useful and fun. Reach out to us a www.callintegralnow.com or phone at 888.256.0829.