The smartphone has become ubiquitous in the business world – particularly where startups are involved. According to research by PeoplePerHour, over 80% of entrepreneurs use smartphones to run or manage their business. As mobile technology gains a greater foothold, there’s no reason to think that this figure won’t increase even further, particularly given that by 2020 there will be 6.1 billion smartphones worldwide.
That said, you can’t just pull out any old phone and use it to run a startup. There are certain features a device must possess for it to be an effective business tool. We’ll go over a few of the most important.
If you’re running your own business, your organizational skills need to be in top form. You cannot have customer details, financial info and other mission-critical data simply floating around the cloud. If your business is to survive, you need to keep everything where you can find it.
“Small businesses are small by nature, but the amount of paperwork they generate is anything but small,” explains Blogtrepreneur’s Denny Hammock. “Keeping your paperwork organized is essential to running an efficient business, and also to ensuring you can access the paperwork you need when you need it.”
And if you need that paperwork while you’re away from the office, you’ll need to access it on your phone. There’s no longer any excuse for not being able to access important documents while on the go – it’s just a matter of using the right device. It’s vital that your device has a strong file management system that allows it to securely view, edit and organize the numerous documents you work with.
2. An Effective and Easy-To Use-Calendar
The life of an entrepreneur is both hectic and complex. In order to keep on top of things, you need a smartphone with a calendar that does more than just spit back the date. It must keep your appointments, emails and notifications together in an organized fashion – and it needs to do so across every device and application you use.
Today, running a business is all about communication. From customers to investors to potential partners to loved ones, modern entrepreneurs manage scores of different relationships on a regular basis. Email, texting, social media and chat apps like BBM are therefore an indispensable part of your toolkit.
Likely as not, you waste a great deal of time and energy flipping through numerous applications and accounts to check your messages – and likely as not, you’ve upset an important relationship at least once by missing a message. By using a phone that lets you keep all of your messages, accounts and notifications in one place, you’ll save time, avoid stress and have more energy to redirect into your business.
4. Productivity First
The majority of modern smartphones aren’t meant to enable productivity. They’re made for communication, yes, but they’re also made for entertainment. Ask yourself: are apps like Netflix and Candy Crush really conducive to getting work done?
If you’re running your business on mobile, there will be times when you don’t have access to a charger or outlet. In such situations, you can’t afford to use a device that has a flimsy battery. Your best bet is to find a device whose battery lasts as long as you do, like the BlackBerry Passport, which has a battery life rated up to 30 hours.
6. Device Syncing
As an entrepreneur, you likely go between your smartphone, laptop and desktop with the blink of an eye. The tendency to utilize multiple devices comes naturally to you. In order to facilitate that, you need a smartphone that allows you to sync information between devices without interrupting workflow.
After all, it’s one thing to compromise a few personal photos. It’s another altogether to allow trade secrets to leak into the hands of a competitor. That’s damaging enough for a large enterprise, and it could destroy a startup entirely.
This is by no means an exhaustive list. Just take these tips into consideration when you make your next smartphone purchase. The success of your business could well depend on it.
And if you’ve any additional tips to share with your fellow entrepreneurs, sound off in the comments below. As always, we’d love to hear from you.
Brea Watts is a lifestyle blogger with a hint of content and social media marketing expertise. She's also an occasional contributor to the BlackBerry Business Blog, and a Bay Area native who loves cooking and creativity.