Larry Page, co-founder of Google, makes a point of attending meetings only with his smartphone and encourages his staff to spend at least one day a week every week only on their mobile devices: “I can do most things I need to do to run the company from my phone,” he says.
More and more business owners around the world are using smartphones for the majority of their work. Here at FreeAgent, we recently surveyed more than 700 freelancers and micro-business owners and 22% of respondents said that they relied mostly on their smartphone to run their businesses day-to-day. They’re not alone: the GM of Coca-Cola and the VP of Salesforce are also reported to favour their smartphones for running their business on the go.
You already know that you don’t need to be tied to an office to run a business, but here’s how the smartphone in your pocket might have even more power than you thought.
FreeAgent: FreeAgent’s easy to use cloud-based accounting software is specifically designed for the needs of both freelancers and small businesses, and is available as a mobile app. Whether it’s sending and chasing invoices on the go, tracking your time using FreeAgent’s new mobile stopwatch timer, capturing receipts and claiming expenses, or loads more, you can use FreeAgent on your phone to keep control of your business finances wherever you are.
Evernote: You might already be using Evernote for making notes, lists and reminders across your devices, but its uses for business stretch far wider. Use your phone’s camera to scan and capture any business cards; if you are logged into LinkedIn and the email from the card matches a LinkedIn profile, Evernote pulls in additional information about the contact. You can record business meetings using Evernote and use the built in voice recognition available on both iOS and Android if you want the meeting transcribed afterwards. No need to scribble notes!
Wunderlist: Already popular because of how easy it makes ticking off personal and professional to-dos, Wunderlist has a ton of other functionality that helps freelancers day to day. You can give each client their own folder so that your to-dos for each project don’t get muddled, and even forward emails to Wunderlist and automatically turn them into tasks - perfect for when a client emails to ask for revisions.
Video and conference calls
Skype: Did you know you can present content to others using your mobile device through Skype for Business (so long as you have a wifi connection)? Offering a consultation via Skype before you take on a job can also be a good test of whether you want to accept a job offer, as nothing beats a ‘face-to-face’ chat to get a vibe about a prospective employer.
Social media management
Hootsuite: If social media is an essential part of how you promote your small business then you can schedule, publish, and monitor conversations from anywhere using the mobile app. Using Hootsuite’s geolocation features at live events or local promotions can also help you locate and target customers in your neighbourhood.
Keeping work and life separate - there’s even an app for that
Being able to be productive wherever you are is brilliant, but as with many things, there’s some potential downsides. If your business is always at your fingertips it can be difficult to resist the urge to work, even when you should be taking a well-earned break. If you want to keep the golden freelance work/life balance then an app blocker such as Freedom for iPhone can help - you can choose which apps to block and schedule times to block them.
Smartphones already have the power to let you run your small business on the go and this is only set to grow. Location and equipment no longer define what is a ‘business’ is and what isn’t, and the growing digital nature of the workplace means the traditional office environment is no longer the norm. With a new tax year beginning in April, now is also a great time to switch to a new accounting system, as you won’t need to import every transaction from the previous year. Try using FreeAgent for the freedom to take care of business finances wherever you are - giving you more time to focus on the work that you love.