Can You Run a Business Entirely From Your Phone?

Business.com / Technology / Last Modified: February 22, 2017

The benefits of working out of pocket are clear, but is it really possible to get real work done from the palm of your hand?

The CEO of Coca-Cola does it. The vice president of Salesforce does it. Google’s co-founder Larry Page has been doing it for years. No, not “making way too much money.” What these businessmen have in common is the fact that they all use their smartphones to run their businesses.

And if it’s good enough for these success stories, why shouldn’t you do it? After all, the hardware and software they use is no different to what’s available from your local Walmart and your mobile’s app store. The fact is that these days there’s no excuse not to embrace mobile for conducting business. Thanks to the proliferation of cloud applications for business it’s now possible to store vast quantities of customer and company data online and have access to it all in an instant from that little block of plastic in your pocket.

The benefits of running company affairs from your phone are obvious: you’re free of distractions (assuming you have your notifications under control), you can respond faster to customer and staff inquiries, not to mention the cuts in IT costs you’ll make.

Related Article: 13 Best Apps for Solving Everyday Business Challenges

Who’s Going Mobile?

The reality of the situation is that if you can get it right, it’s possible to run your business from your cellphone. In 2013, a survey of 511 executives conducted by Forbes Insights suggested that ten percent of execs used smartphones as their exclusive device for day-to-day decision making. That figure is only likely to have grown by now.

Coca-Cola’s General Manager Ulrik Nehammer famously told guests at the Dreamforce conference that he ran most of his business from his phone, arguing that “the most dangerous place to make a decision is in the office.” At the same conference, Keith Block, Vice President of Salesforce revealed that he was running almost all of his tasks from his mobile device.

Larry Page, CEO and Co-Founder of Google is also a smartphone convert. He makes a point of attending meetings only with his phone and encourages his staff to spend at least one day a week every week only on their mobile devices.

Related Article: Remote vs. In-Office Workers: Which Employee Is Actually Better?

What are the Risks?

Of course, all this doesn’t mean you should cancel the lease on your office and throw your laptop into the sea. There are a few reasons why ditching your desk for a mobile-based business has its flaws. The obvious one is that you would no longer have the face-to-face connection with your staff and clients, and social interactions can still be a bit awkward when using technology.

One of the main barriers to smashing up your desk and going mobile is down to the software you’re using in your company. If you’re using bespoke or proprietary software that’s installed in your office computers, you’ll find it impossible to work with these systems using a mobile. This is where cloud-based software comes into its own. If you’re using web-based business apps to run your business, it gives you much more freedom since all the data is hosted securely online and can be accessed from anywhere.

Many of the top cloud business software providers are investing heavily in mobile these days. According to GetApp’s business app ranking report, GetRank, 22 of the top 25 CRMs have their own mobile apps. The presence of a mobile app is a factor that’s becoming increasingly important for small business owners when choosing apps for their company.

Related Article: 13 Best Apps for Solving Everyday Business Challenges

What Apps Should You Use?

Unfortunately there’s no hard and fast rule to choosing the right apps for your business to help you go mobile. Much of your decision will be based around your budget, company size, industry sector, and the devices you have - and you should spend plenty of time investigating.

However, here are some recommendations of cloud-based apps with highly-rated mobile apps that could be worth looking into:

Insightly

Image via Insightly

CRM

Tools such as Insightly, Infusionsoft and Pipedrive all have apps for Android and iOS that support their web-based solution. All three services offer simple access to your sales pipeline while you’re on the move.

 eXo Platform

Image via eXo Platform

Collaboration

A collaboration tool is a must when you’re working remotely. eXo Platform is a powerful social networking solution that allows you to connect to employees, partners and customers through collaborative intranets or community sites. Other web-based collaboration tools with good mobile app support include Wrike and Igloo.

 FreshBooks Accounting Software

Image via FreshBooks

Accounting

If you want to go mobile and stay on top of your accounts, you’ll need some kind of web-based financing software. Try applications such as FreshBooks, QuickBooks Online or Xpenditure, which all marry powerful accounting tools with easy-to-use mobile apps to help you with invoicing, time tracking and expenses.

 Roambi Analytics for Mobile

Image via Roambi Analytics

Business Intelligence

Getting a handle on how your company is performing is probably the thing that’s most tempting to access while you’re on the go. Apps such as Roambi Analytics, Zoho Reports, and SiSense all have great tool sets that can help you better understand your business data—even if you’re sat with your family on a roller coaster in Disneyland.

HubSpot marketing automation

Marketing Automation

Being away from the office doesn’t mean your marketing efforts will dry up. Thanks to solutions such as HubSpot, which boasts robust Android and iOS apps, you can monitor your marketing campaigns on the move and get full access to your database of contacts wherever you are. 

deskdotcom mobile app

Image via desk.com

Customer Service

It’s becomingly increasingly easy to reach out to handle customer queries remotely. If you’re running a cloud-based customer service or contact center application, Zendesk or Desk.com mobile apps will allow you to access support tickets and track activity.

 

 

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