By Jennifer Pattison Tuohy
Small business owners have one thing in common — they’re always on the go. Startups especially can take advantage of smartphones and cloud-based apps to do almost anything, unencumbered by the limitations of legacy desktop software.
Smartphone apps are often more user-friendly versions of desktop software, and you can now find apps that let you process payments, e-sign documents, draft contracts, run your payroll, generate invoices, and manage your company’s accounting easily and securely from your phone.
Going mobile allows you to be more productive both digitally and in real life, and the security offered on many mobile devices today — such as biometric sensors that allow for facial recognition — means your data is safer than ever. A desktop computer may be essential for some businesses, but for those who simply need computing power to run their business, going mobile is entirely possible.
Still need convincing? Here’s a look at some of the most common reasons we use laptops or desktops, and how you can do them on a smartphone.
Create impressive presentations
Creating presentations on a smartphone is easy thanks to great software and larger screens, but you can’t use your smartphone’s screen to show your work off to a room full of clients. Instead, just plug it in to any newer television or monitor using an HDMI cable (Android) or a Lightning Digital AV Adapter (iPhone). If your client has an Apple TV or Chromecast, you can even show off your presentation wirelessly.
Type long emails and documents
Going completely mobile means ditching any devices that physically turn your phone into a desktop computer, but one accessory that is worth investing in is a portable Bluetooth keyboard. This will make composing longer emails and typing documents on your phone more efficient.
Edit documents and spreadsheets
G Suite, Microsoft Office, and Apple’s Pages and Numbers are all excellent apps for writing documents and creating spreadsheets on your phone. Quick updates and edits are easiest when working on a smaller screen, but a Bluetooth keyboard can help if you need to compose a long document or create a detailed spreadsheet.
Keep on marketing
You can even create email campaigns and keep an eye on your marketing plans from your phone. Services like MailChimp and Constant Contact are the go-to software for many marketers and business owners looking to get their message out and have robust mobile apps.
Apple Mail and Gmail are powerhouse mobile email apps that make it easy to compose and reply to email on your phone. Email triage is a cinch, too — a simple swipe lets you archive, delete, snooze, or file messages with just a flick of a finger.
Edit photos and videos
According to Popular Photography, some excellent photo editing apps include Lightroom Mobile, Snapseed, Photo Editor by Aviary, and Photoshop Touch. In many cases, these apps work better than desktop counterparts because touch is such an intuitive interface for editing photos. Touch screens are also excellent for on-the-go video editing; Consumer Reports recommends Adobe Premiere Clip, Apple’s iMovie, and Magisto.
Communicate with your team
Apple’s FaceTime now supports up to 32 people at a time and works across all of Apple’s devices, making it possible to set up video conference calls right from your iPhone. For multi-platform users, Microsoft’s Skype for Business is compatible with Lync, allowing for even greater cross-platform communication.
Instant messaging is increasingly becoming the preferred way to communicate, and Slack is a leader in this industry. Features like video conferencing, project management tools, and the ability to screen and file share make it ideal for small businesses and work well on smartphones.
Microsoft Teams is another strong option with similar features. With deep links to all Office 365 services, it’s a good choice if you’re already in the ecosystem.
Make security a priority
If your whole business is on your phone, it’s much more susceptible to loss or theft than a desktop in your office. Remember to back everything up to a secure, cloud-based service and enable all the security features your phone offers.
In today’s high-tech world, it’s easier than ever to take your business completely mobile. Consider these mobile tips to decide if going desk-free is the right move for you.
Jennifer Pattison Tuohy is a freelance writer and contributor for Xfinity Mobile. She covers the intersection of sustainability and technology and writes about smart homes, mobile phone technology, consumer tech, small businesses, and green living for a variety of newspapers, magazines, and online publications.