Running a business from your smartphone
Content supplied by Barclays
When we spoke to Mumsnetters about running a business, you told us that the majority of you spend over 32 hours a week working on your business. And yet, there was always more to do! Not to mention that you had to fit it all in around the kids, pickups, birthday parties and packed lunches.
So, we've put together a list of top tips from business-owners on how you could make running your business easier by making use of something you already carry with you every day – your smartphone.
So take a look at these top tips, and let us know if you've got any fantastic tips of your own.
- Say farewell to the Rolodex
You need never struggle to find that number you scribbled down somewhere or that dogeared business card you knew you would need someday – keep all your contacts safe and at your fingertips in your smartphone. It might sound like an obvious place to start, but keeping your address book updated and backed up will mean your customers, suppliers, contacts and network are always there when you need them.
- Keep an eye on cash flow
Managing your business bank account with a mobile banking app means access to up-to-date balances and statements while you're out and about. So, you don't have to be at home or in branch to see if you've received an outstanding payment, or check your available funds for a business purchase. And you won't find yourself reading out your bank details down the phone on the bus either. Check out Barclays Mobile Banking.
- Meet face-to-face
Well, sort of. Video conferencing is all the rage, whether it's for a meeting, a mentoring session or a demonstration. There are lots of services that offer this, but why not try out a free service like FaceTime or Skype, to ensure it's a worthwhile addition to your business.
- Get paid faster
Barclays Pingit is an easy way to accept customer payments using just your mobile number. Registration for the app is free, and once downloaded you can start getting paid instantly – better than waiting for that customer cheque to clear. Let your customers know you accept Barclays Pingit payments by downloading the acceptance mark for your website now.
- Get socialising
We live in a social world, and any business worth its salt is branching out into social media. Build a relationship with your customers (and potential new ones) through social media with regular contact through one or two channels at first, like Twitter, Facebook or Pinterest. Stay logged in on your smartphone, so you can get used to updating regularly and respond in a timely fashion to any queries or comments.
- Make your phone your shopfront
If you're selling a product or service, what better way to entice your customers than by showing them? If your business is parent-focussed, make sure you have images, demos, and testimonials ready to show off at the school gates.
Women use their smartphone for business
We got the lowdown from these women on how they use their smartphone for their business.
Photographer, Hannah Badley, founder of Hanmade Memories, explains why she couldn't do without her smartphone when it comes to her business:
"I am on location a lot of the time, so emails are a very, if not the most important way I have of staying in touch with all the various components of my business. My website also uses a hosting platform for professional photographers, which I can run from an app on my smartphone - from uploading to selling images or blogging.
My smartphone also has a great scrapbooking system, so I can stay on top of all inspiration and ideas easily – and a stylus so I can be very creative with scribbling and cropping, which is very important to me."
Lindy Baldwin, owner of the Old School House Montessori Nursery, Lewes, uses her smartphone to keep in touch with parents:
"When I have a couple of minutes I post an update to the nursery's Facebook page, to keep the parents up to date with what's going on in the classroom. Everyone likes to know what's going on, and being able to do it from a smartphone makes it so much easier, which makes it much more likely to happen regularly."
Designer, Siobhan Frost, owner of Siobhan Frost & Co., couldn't live without her smartphone:
"I am pretty organised, but I couldn't imagine running my business without a smartphone. It allows me to organise my life when I am in transit, or hanging about waiting for something. From checking emails, using the maps to find meetings, transferring funds or checking when something I have ordered for the business will be delivered! It's invaluable."
Head to Barclays on Mumsnet for lots more:
Expert information on starting your own business
Family budgeting and saving tips
Money-saving videos and inspiring start-up videos
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