Managing a small business from your mobile
Our ability to do business on the move has been transformed in recent years, with the rise of smarter phones, stronger networks and enhanced cloud capability. Here are a few tips on how to use your mobile to boost productivity, while avoiding potential pitfalls.
For many of us, life revolves around our phones, with email and social media access, mobile-friendly browsers and of course, verbal communication. But these features come with a plethora of notifications and sounds – which can be very distracting when you’re trying to work.
So it’s a good idea to have a separate phone for business purposes, to reduce these distractions. And if you’re accessing company documents and finances on your mobile, a separate phone helps with security too.
It can be tempting to overload your mobile with apps that claim to improve workflow and productivity. But it’s wise to be selective and only use up memory on those that are really useful to you.
Many apps that you’ll use on desktop – such as the Office and Google suites – have smartphone versions. These cross-platform apps could be at the top of your list, as they enable access to notes and documents both in the office and on the move.
Some companies may not allow this for security reasons, but if you’re your own boss it’s a great way to keep in touch. You may have better things to do on public transport or waiting for an appointment. But if not, clearing your inbox and responding quickly to a few enquiries is an excellent use of your down time.
If you find yourself typing a lot of emails and documents on your phone, it could be worth investing in a portable Bluetooth keyboard. Wireless earphone/microphones are a must too, to avoid holding your handset to your ear for extended periods.
Treat your mobile screen like you would your desk, with all the tools you use most frequently to hand, and other things filed away neatly in folders.
The most important apps should be on the dock. The next on the home screen. And if your work mobile is also your personal mobile, it’s a good idea to keep social media icons at least a swipe away – to help remove the temptation to keep checking them.
The constant distraction of sounds and vibrations is really bad for productivity. If you want to concentrate on your business, simply turn notifications off – at least during office hours.
Nowadays you can check your bank accounts, your share portfolio and your super, on your mobile – plus any number of other financial products. For those doing business and offering services on the go, you can manage your invoicing on your smartphone too.
If you’re a Westpac customer with a Business One Low Plan or Business One High Plan account you can use our handy Biz Invoice invoicing tool, which is complimentary with your account. It is available within Westpac Live Online Banking and lets you create an invoice template, then generate, email and manage invoices from your PC, tablet or smartphone1.
This means, for example, you could send an invoice from your car as soon as you’ve completed a job, before heading off to your next appointment.
Make sure your mobile is secure and that passwords are changed frequently. Your phone can provide access to many aspects of your life and business – so before it’s ever lost or stolen, make sure that no one else can gain that access.
When using your mobile for business it’s easy to find yourself working 24/7 – which can lead to stress and even complete burnout. It’s important to find balance in your life, and have the strength of character to know when to turn your phone off and take a break.
Be aware of your posture too. Bending your head for long periods to study your screen can put strain on your neck and back muscles. Try to keep your back straight, your shoulders back, and your phone held at eye height.
Your mobile can be a major asset to your business, giving you flexibility and the option to work on the move. Just try not to overload yourself with apps and features, or the personal burden of too much ‘availability’.
1. To be eligible for Biz Invoice you must hold a Westpac Business One Low Plan or Business One High Plan account and be registered for Westpac Live Online Banking. Terms, conditions, fees and charges apply. Before making a decision, read the disclosure documents for your selected product or service, including the Product Disclosure Statement and T&Cs, by clicking the above links; and consider if the product is right for you.
The information in this article (including any related to tax) is general in nature and does not take your objectives, financial situation or needs into account. Consider its appropriateness to these factors; and we recommend you seek independent professional advice about your specific circumstances before making any decisions.