Out of OfficeOut of Office Blog

Running a Small Business On-The-Go, Like a Pro

Rieva LesonskyRieva Lesonsky

Just about every small business owner travels for business at some point, and has to do business on the road, from a hotel room or an airport lounge. But what if your business is mobile all the time?

Maybe you own a mobile accounting service or dog grooming van. Maybe you and your sales team are constantly on the road meeting with prospects and clients. How can you create a “mobile office” to maximize your efficiency and keep up while you’re on-the-go?

BOS_5496_06_2008Be a WiFi scout: Check into free WiFi locations near your regular clients and customers so you’ll always know where to drop in and get connected in case you need to send documents or respond to emails prior to client or customer presentations. Before heading to your next location, check your mobile phone’s app store to see if your device offers a WiFi finder application to quickly and easily find free or paid Wi-Fi when you travel.

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If you regularly travel in areas without free WiFi or just don’t want to worry about getting caught without a connection, consider purchasing a mobile hot spot. Dubbed a “MiFi,” these little devices are compact, wireless routers that provide portable, personal WiFi for multiple devices. Bonus: Use an encrypted password, and your MiFi will keep your data secure—unlike public WiFi networks.

Be mobile-ready. You may not have a brick-and-mortar location, but that doesn’t mean you can’t host master_bm_House_0074_203-211
conference calls. There are multiple voice-over-IP and instant messaging services that  allows users to communicate with peers by voice using a microphone, video by using a webcam, and instant messaging over the Internet  That way, you can still get  quality interaction during meetings, no matter the distance. Again, be sure you have a secure and strong internet connection before hosting a call.

Go digital: When you’re on the road, it can prove difficult to manage a bunch of printouts or an overstuffed file box full of documents. Look into the multitude of smartphone apps that can scan, digitize and store documents online.

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For those times when you do need to print something, you can do that at your nearest FedEx Office.  And if you use Box, Dropbox or Google Drive, you can print documents from the cloud, just select ‘Print’ on the touchscreen at our self-serve printers or simply use the FedEx Office Mobile Print App.

Choose the right equipment. If your business requires inputting a lot of data or writing proposals and other text, you may be happier with a laptop. If it’s more about putting on presentations for clients or displaying visuals, a tablet can lighten your load.

Don’t forget about mobile headsets so you can make calls from your car.  They are also helpful when not in the car – they free up your hands to type notes and allow you to multi-task on the computer without skipping a beat. Finally, since no one wants to run out of juice on the road, be sure you always have mobile chargers and backup laptop batteries at the ready. That way you can always be ready to send an email or call a client should an immediate need arise.master_dm_13_004_03_02_02_030_160-110-2

Be prepared to sell: There are many mobile apps that allow you and your customers to receive, sign and send important documents remotely, while staying productive no matter where you are.

Look into mobile payment tools and apps to turn your smartphone or tablet into a mobile point of sale. Customers will appreciate your ability to accept credit cards and send receipts on the spot.

Do a little marketing on the go. As long as you’re on the road anyway, why not turn your vehicle into a mobile marketing tool? Vehicle magnets transform any vehicle into a billboard on wheels and remove easily at the end of the day.

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Printed on high quality magnetic material, vehicle magnets can be customized with your company’s name, logo and contact information. Simple as that.

Optimizing your operations for a company on-the-go can be done simply and effectively. Use these tips to become the ultimate small business road warrior!

Rieva Lesonsky

 

Rieva Lesonsky is CEO of GrowBiz Media, a media and custom content company focusing on small business and entrepreneurship. Email Rieva at rieva@smallbizdaily.com, follow her on Google+  and Twitter.com/Rieva, and visit her website, SmallBizDaily.com, to get the scoop on business trends and sign up for Rieva’s free TrendCast reports.

Photo Credit: iStock/Thinkstock

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