How Mobile Technology Is Changing Small Businesses
by Robert McNicholas on August, 01 2014
The fact that mobile technology is changing how we do business is not news. Mobile technology is changing how everyone manages information, advertises and conducts marketing, handles financial transactions, and even connects with potential customers.
Small businesses often struggle when it comes to adopting technology that their larger cousins use. (How do businesses use technology? Read this post to find out.) But because of the wide availability and falling prices of mobile technology, it is being adopted by small businesses as well as large ones.
Mobile Technology and the Small Business
A survey by Microsoft showed that 45% of the small-business workforce use smartphones as a part of their daily business activity. IPads and other tablets were used by approximately 34% of the survey respondents. And 88% felt that this would help their businesses in some way. This isn’t an unrealistic sentiment; technology (mobile and otherwise) is opening up new opportunities for businesses of all sizes. Here are just a few things that today’s increased technology enables businesses to do:
- Use less office space. Thanks to telecommuting (we’ll get to that in a minute), cloud-based data storage and software services, and slimmer, more powerful devices, companies can cut down on the physical space they need to effectively run their businesses.
- Be more efficient. Productivity software like MS Office and Google Apps for Business cut down on the amount of time and effort needed to create (and update, and maintain, and file, and access) accurate records and interact with customers. (You can learn more about the technology tools every business needs in this post.)
- Expand their reach. Potential buyers and clients don’t have to be local. With a laptop computer and an Internet connection, companies can broaden their customer base to include different states, regions, and even countries.
- Widen their talent pool. A growing trend is for companies to hire freelancers to telecommute for a highly specific temporary role, such as web design, content creation, apps development, or specialized computer programming. While they may not be able to afford to have full-time employees managing these tasks, hiring a contract worker is often a cost-effective solution.
The Downside of Mobile Technology and Small Businesses
Wow, you’re probably saying, that’s quite a list of benefits. But where’s the catch? This being the planet Earth, there is a catch.
The downside to all the efficiency and mobility is that work and non-work times tend to blend. Mobile devices allow people to take their work with them anywhere. Smartphones, tablets, social media, and email bring with them instant connectivity to people around the world, but it’s also difficult to disconnect. Small-business owners and managers may feel especially tied to the success of their business because it is theirs. Understandably then, it’s hard to let that 24/7 control go.
Then again, people probably said this about the telephone.
Like anything else, the solution is to set boundaries—maybe disconnect from Facebook after certain time, or just take weekends as weekends. Overall, technology has actually given many people more flexibility in when and how they accomplish their work.
What do you think? Has mobile technology like email, video conferencing, and real-time collaboration helped your business become more efficient? More profitable? Or has it just created more work for you to do? Is maintaining your smartphone, tablet, laptop, or other mobile device giving you headaches? Then contact Techsperts Services for suggestions on how you can free up some of your time by leaving the IT to us.