It can often be difficult to manage your business when you are not in the office. Of course, while it’s true that you can have a colleague handle things for you, some tasks are best handled personally.
So, how can you do this when you are away from your desk? Thanks to the marvels of modern technology, it’s pretty easy to manage your business on the road! Intrigued? Here are some top examples to illustrate how to do so!
Upgrade to a smartphone.
The first step to becoming a tech-savvy business owner is to upgrade your cell phone to a smartphone. These days, most people own a smartphone. If you are still rocking with a basic Nokia mobile, it’s time for you to say goodbye to it.
Smartphones are often likened to ultra-small computers! As you would expect, they let you handle calls and text messages. But they can also do a whole bunch of stuff! For example, you can use them to manage various email accounts.
If you need to go online, you can use its web browser to access the Web over a 3G, 4G or Wi-Fi connection. What about video conferencing? Yes, they can even handle this too! Today’s smartphones also let you download and run a plethora of “apps.”
In a nutshell, apps are just small software programs that you can use on your smartphone. You can get apps that cover a variety of purposes. To give you a real-life example, on my Apple iPhone I use the Dropbox app to manage my cloud-based files. I also use the Skype app for video conferencing.
Today’s smartphones aren’t expensive to buy. If you’re keen to save costs in your business, you will have no issue finding a suitable handset that fulfills your needs. Business owners often buy smartphones SIM-free and use a SIM-only plan for extra cost savings.
Use a thin, lightweight laptop.
When laptops first gained popularity in the 1990s, they were heavy and cumbersome items to carry around. And because they were all made of thin plastic, they were far too easy to damage.
Although a smartphone is a useful business tool, there are going to be times when you need access to an actual computer. As you are going to be on the road a lot, it’s not practical to lug around a bulky desktop computer everywhere with you!
An old laptop will be slow to run, cumbersome and outdated. The answer is to buy a thin, lightweight laptop. Windows-based models are Ultrabooks, a term coined by CPU manufacturer Intel.
If you’re an Apple fan, there is always the Apple MacBook Air. You can buy them with either 11-inch or 13-inch displays. The MacBook Pro Retina is available with bigger display options.
The differences between these laptops and conventional ones are subtle. These models don’t have DVD-RW optical drives. They also use processors that consume less electricity. The result? You have a laptop that you can use for almost an entire day before it needs a charge!
That is incredible news if you have a long train or plane journey ahead of you and charging options are often limited. The other fact that you may have gathered is that they are light. That means you don’t have to struggle with your luggage and a heavy laptop!
Use cloud storage for files shared with team members.
Let’s say that you are en-route to an important business meeting in another country. You want to access some files that get shared on your LAN back in the office. Sometimes it might not be possible to have a remote connection to your office network.
The solution to this issue is to use cloud-based storage. I mentioned one example of cloud storage a moment ago: Dropbox. With cloud storage, you can share files with colleagues. That means you can update any files remotely without having to go into the office.
Almost all cloud storage vendors offer free storage space up to a certain limit. And even if you need to pay for extra space, the costs involved are trivial. Another benefit of using cloud storage is that you don’t need to carry an external hard drive with you on your travels.
Make use of messaging services.
Most people get used to leaving messages on answering machines and voicemail services. They get activated if the person you are calling doesn’t manage to get hold of you on the phone.
When you spend your time on the road, such facilities can be off-putting for some callers. It’s not uncommon for firms to lose sales because customers don’t want to leave voicemail messages.
How do you get around this problem? It turns out that there is a simple solution: messaging services! Companies like Message Direct have been offering these services for years! Here’s how they work:
- Calls you can’t answer get diverted to an agent from the messaging service;
- They take down the caller’s details and email them to you.
Messaging services act as extensions of your business. In most cases, callers won’t know that they got put through to an answering service! The cost to your business is small. And is good for keeping in contact with people that are averse to leaving messages on voicemail systems.
Use web-based software.
Today’s final tip for those of you that spend a lot of time on the road is this: use web-based software!
The benefits of using such software are plentiful. For instance, you can use the software from any computer connected to the World Wide Web. It doesn’t matter if you go online from London or Las Vegas. The software is still the same!
Many web-based software programs are also responsive. That means the layout of the website adapts to one suitable for your device and screen resolution. Now you don’t have to zoom in on text if you’re using your smartphone.
Growing numbers of vendors are moving their software “to the cloud” in an effort to make their products easier to access.