The number of smartphone users is growing at an incredible rate: A few years back the number of mobile devices in the world surpassed the number of humans. This growth hasn’t slowed down. More recent statistics suggest the number of global mobile users will top a whopping 3.8 billion by 2021.
It’s pretty incredible to consider the degree of computing power most people carry around. When computers were first invented, they took up entire rooms and didn’t have a fraction of the capacity or functionality found in today’s smartphones. Now more powerful devices can fit in your pocket or on your wrist.
Modern smartphones have such an amazing capacity, people are steadily finding ways to use their devices for business purposes. In fact, based on mobile use statistics, it seems that many business owners are going entirely mobile. Talk about a flexible office! If an on-the-go lifestyle appeals to you, why not consider launching a mobile-based startup? Here are some tips to get you going.
1. Come Up With an Idea
As smart technology, cloud storage, and IoT (Internet of Things) continue to seamlessly aid our daily routines, their applications toward business opportunities also have become increasingly apparent. Any number of apps exist to support the running of your business; you just have to identify what that business will be first. Think of your interests, hobbies, skills, and knowledge — plus what the market will support in your area — and see what you can come up with for a business idea.
- If you are handy, home repair and landscaping are good business options (just be sure you obtain the appropriate certification and licenses before you get started).
- Programmers who like to create often become app developers. For instance, you can invent your own app and put it on the market or you can consult with other businesses, helping them to develop customized apps.
- Want to make and sell crafts? You can set up a phone line and a mobile-friendly website, and sell your items via your phone.
- Entrepreneurs opting to sell goods from their phones are finding it is easier than ever. You can handle fulfillment by dropshipping, keep your inventory in a small storage space, and print shipping labels with portable printers that hook up to your phone. It’s amazing how you can manage orders and delivery right from your phone.
Need some inspiration? Here are some additional business ideas you can run from your smartphone.
2. Get a Separate Phone
When launching a mobile-based startup you’ll want to get a phone dedicated to your business. If you use a single phone for both your personal use and your business, you’re bound to blend your work and home life. While on the surface it doesn’t seem like a big deal, think about all the time lost by checking personal social media, texting, and taking phone calls. Over time, your business’ productivity levels are bound to suffer. Not to mention, you’ll never be able to shut down your office and have time to yourself.
Maintaining work-life balance is important if you want to be successful, else you’re bound to quickly burn out and risk crashing your new business. However, if you keep two separate phones, you can conveniently put one on “away” status while you are at work— or play. Bottom line, with two phones you are far less likely to get distracted. Bonus feature: You can usually write off the costs of your business phone on your taxes.
3. Choose Apps Carefully
As you set up your smartphone for business use, productivity is the name of the game. Choose your apps selectively because you want to get the most bang for your buck (even if the apps are free — after all, time is money when you’re running a business).
- Download mobile-friendly apps that can be used across platforms (i.e. if you do need to loop in your desktop computer, your data will be synced).
- Choose quality collaboration apps to aid communication.
- Optimize your home screen for ease of access and use. Put your priority apps together where you can easily find them.
- Avoid downloading excess apps. Only install what you actually need.
With the explosive growth of mobile apps, the barriers for hopeful entrepreneurs have never been lower. You can even calculate your self-employment taxes and keep track of receipts, mileage, and other records from your phone. There actually isn’t too much you can’t do from your phone these days.
4. Use Voice Technology
Digital assistants can really help boost productivity. Statistics are showing tens of millions of people are regularly using them for everyday tasks. This makes perfect sense, since talking to your phone is a lot easier than trying to type everything.
With digital assistants, you can dictate emails and texts, or ask your phone to bring up your schedule or set a reminder. If your business takes you on the road, there are even some voice-activated apps to help you while you keep your eyes focused on your driving.
5. Don’t Forget Security
Data loss and breaches are one of the costly risks of doing business. Keeping that in mind, you’ll want to make sure you install security features on your devices to protect all your data. Be sure to perform regular backup and use software to protect your customers’ personal and financial information. And always follow these common-sense tips:
- Use passwords and two-factor authentication for logging in.
- Take good care of your phone and be careful not to misplace it. Make sure you’re able to track your phone in the event that it gets lost.
- Limit access to your device (i.e., If you have employees who leave your company, be sure they are disconnected).
- Run security software and use other protective tools to prevent cyber attacks.
Another important detail to remember is this: Before you choose your cloud services, do your homework and due diligence on cloud service providers. Be sure to check online reviews, read privacy policies thoroughly, and ask other small businesses which services they use. Make sure you select reputable companies to partner with and know which services you need.
Statistics have found that nine out of 10 business executives routinely worked from their phones, even during the times when they were physically in their offices (and this was back in 2014 — tech has come a long way since then). With that in mind, there is no reason why a small business can’t be run entirely from a smartphone these days.
If you’ve always wanted to be your own boss, now is the perfect time to get started. What are you waiting for?