While starting a new business venture can be daunting at the best of times, establishing a mobile venture can be even more challenging. Creating a business model that relies on mobile salesmen or tradesmen carries numerous risks, not in only in terms of operational costs but also in relation to the lack of a fixed target demographic. With this in mind, there are numerous must-have tools that can negate these risks and enable you to thrive as a mobile entrepreneur.
Here are some of the essentials:
1. A Mobile Credit Card Terminal
If you intend to sell your product through a mobile business model, it is imperative that you are able to process payments effectively. To achieve this you will need to invest in a mobile credit card terminal, and preferably one that operates according to GPRS signals. This means that the product will function in any location that is recognized by modern GPRS technology, ensuring that you minimise instances of lost sales in the process. Suppliers such as Card Cutters even lease these devices to clients on a temporary basis, which is ideal if you only operate your mobile venture on a part-time basis.
2. Reliable Smartphones for Professional Use
In previous generations, mobile employees would communicate with each other through PDA’s (Personal Digital Assistants.) These hand-held devices would form a virtual company network, through employees could interact with one another, update tasks and relay time sensitive data. These devices have been rendered largely obsolete by the contemporary smartphone, however, which boast greater functionality and enable users to reach outside of their company network to clients and consumers alike.
Be warned, though – smartphones can be counter-productive. You need to set the right policies and procedures on smartphone usages.
If your mobile business venture is to be successful, your employees must each carry advanced smartphones that enable them to maintain open lines of communication while they are on the move.
3. A Fully Functional Tablet
Tablets are extremely purposeful tools for mobile business owners, as they are multi-functional and offer a genuine embodiment of portable technology. Boasting large screens and 4G Internet connectivity, modern tablets combine the power of laptops and the accessibility of smartphones within a single package. You can therefore manage a host of business tasks while on the move, whether you need to process sales information or simply interact with clients.
A tablet PC also makes a great tool for presentation. Pitching your proposal to a client on the road has never been easier.
4. Business Apps and Services
What’s a tablet or smartphone without third-party apps? There are literally hundreds, even thousands of business apps available in the app markets today, and what you only need to do is to choose the ones which can support your business management and productivity.
Evernote for note taking, Skype for communication, Dropbox for storing and sharing your files and folders, Trello for boosting your productivity – the list can go on and on.
5. Supporting Tools
MiFi, anyone? Well, although you can easily get Internet access from many coffee shops and public places, there are times where you travel to a place with limited Internet connectivity – MiFi solves that problem for you. It’s practically a mobile Wi-Fi hotspot, allowing you to take your Internet access anywhere with you.
How about Google Glass? When it’s finally available to the public, its life-hacking features allow you to do almost anything on the move – while freeing both of your hands to work on other tasks.
A pen and a piece of paper, for the win! Laugh all you can, but you can’t deny that pen-and-paper combo will never be obsolete. When gadgets will die without power, your pen and paper will continue to stand the test of time (well unless you run out of ink.)
Whichever tools you have to support your mobility, there is one thing you need to acquire before you invest in all of those tools: Your mindset.
Going mobile and location independent means a change in mindset. Using those tools for the sake of keeping up with the Joneses (or “because my competitors did it”) or following trends blindly won’t give you the productivity you want; in fact, it will be a total waste of hard-earned money.
Change your mindset first before you change your business strategy and tactics in going mobile.