Sponsored by Microsoft

Countdown to 2016: Part 2

By Rieva Lesonsky

One look around any crowded public place will show you just how entrenched mobile devices have become in our lives. It’s a sure bet the majority of people you’d see will be using a smartphone or tablet in some way. If your small business isn’t responding to this sea change, you’re going to be left behind. Here are some of the reasons mobility has such mighty power to transform a small business — and why it’s crucial to small business success today.

Mobility helps build awareness of your business. When you look up a local business online, do you head to your computer? Chances are you probably just grab your smartphone and do a quick search. That’s what most people do. Listing your business in local search directories, such as Bing Places for Business, ensures customers can find you easily and increases awareness of your business.

Mobility helps you make the sale. When customers do find your website online, it needs to be mobile-friendly or they’ll click away to your competitor. If your site isn’t quick to load, simple to navigate and easy to use even on a small screen, you’ll lose consumers’ interest — and the sale. Now that even B2B buyers increasingly research purchases on mobile devices, mobile-friendly websites are vital for every business, not just consumer-oriented ones.

Mobility helps you be more responsive. Cloud-based technology has changed the way business is done. If you use cloud storage systems, such as Microsoft OneDrive, you can access business data and documents immediately, anywhere, any time. That means you can respond to prospects and customers on the spot instead of waiting until you get back to the office. With the necessary information you need at your fingertips, you can close sales, invoice customers or answer crucial questions from employees.

Mobility helps you be more productive. By using cloud technology, you save tons of time compared to emailing yourself files or copying data onto thumb drives. You can also capture information easily on the go with a tool such as Microsoft’s OneNote. Use it to take notes on your mobile device, or save photos, videos or URLs to OneNote, then share them in the cloud. See something interesting online, but don’t have time to read it right then? With the new Microsoft Edge browser, you can save it to read offline later.

Mobility boosts team collaboration. Mobile devices help you and your employees work together wherever you are. Combine mobility with cloud technology, and you can share and collaborate on company documents whenever you need to–an unbeatable formula for success. With Office 365, mobile collaboration doesn’t require learning clunky, unfamiliar new apps; your familiar Office applications are always with you on your mobile devices. Plus, the new Office 2016 makes collaboration easier than ever. Simply click from within any document to share it instantly and start working together.

Mobility keeps you connected. With features such as shared calendars, multi-party HD video for online videoconferencing, and business class email, Office 365 helps you stay in touch with your team and your customers, no matter how far away they are. Plus, it works with Android, Windows or iOS devices for maximum flexibility in today’s BYOD world.

Responsive, productive, collaborative, connected—sounds like a description of today’s successful business to me.

Be sure to stay tuned for the next article in this special “Countdown to 2016” series: How Cloud Technology Can Help Your Business Grow.

Read past articles in the series here.