By René Lacerte of Bill.com
As any entrepreneur can tell you, running a business is not a 9-to-5 job. It never has been and never will be. Today’s hyper-connected world has made this even more true. Business ownership requires more than late nights, early mornings, and the occasional trip into the office on the weekend. It demands an always-on mindset, and the mobile tools to make it possible.
(Photo courtesy of Bill.com)
To see the power of mobile you only have to look around at a youth soccer game and see all the moms and dads working away between cheering on their kids. Mobile is an enabler in every sense of the word. Entrepreneurs far and wide, across all industries, can agree on the ubiquity of smartphones and the impact they have had on the way work gets done. What’s often missed, however, is that we have only just scratched the surface of what’s possible.
Mobile is evolving. New technologies are building atop the old and transforming the way we think about and use the smart devices in our pockets, especially as business owners. At the forefront of mobile innovation for business leaders today are tools for communication, time management, and finance.
Communication Came Before Computing
The most notable impact mobile devices have had on the world of business has been increasing communication between customers, vendors and employees. From the beginning, the mobile phone’s primary function was to aid in communication. At the time, the ability to call anyone from practically anywhere was game-changing. Fast forward twenty-odd years, mobile phones are now powerful pocket-sized computers and communication remains a mainstay, albeit with a twist.
Today, mobile apps like Slack, Basecamp and HipChat have replaced the phone and text messaging for communicating with the team and are giving business owners the means to stay better informed than ever before. And that’s just the tip, tons of apps use push notifications to keep business owners/managers informed. From interesting customer leads to updates on payments made and payments owed, push notifications are evolving how we communicate. This steady stream — and history — of communications is accessible at a moment’s notice, allowing leaders to stay in the know on developing issues and, importantly, be more involved in overall operations.
Managing Time Saves Time
Greater access to your business through mobile technologies also lends itself to better time management. This is made possible through the use of the many new mobile-first productivity apps available today. Calendar, to-do list and other productivity apps — especially ones that leverage cloud storage and networking — have created more responsive and efficient workforces (and CEOs) than ever before.
The ability to carry a not just your calendar but your entire team’s around at all times can dramatically change the way you do business. Take, for example, the all too common task of scheduling meetings. When your entire organization uses remote collaboration tools, synced with the cloud, someone 1,000 miles away can check the schedule of all the participants and easily schedule an impromptu meeting — saving lots of time going back and forth with all the participants. While we all have enough meetings, the other upside to this type of coordination is that the meeting happens sooner enabling business to move forward faster.
Mobile-first applications are also changing the relationships between business owners and their company’s finances. Thanks to mobile finance apps, we now live in a world in which business owners have immediate up-to-date access to their company’s finances from anywhere in the world. They don’t have wait to be in the office to check on a payment, create an expense report or review financial statements.
This is one of the most exciting and impactful innovations to come to mobile. Now, instead of sporadically monitoring payments coming and going through a stale paper based report, executives can use a secure mobile application to give them an overview of the entire company’s financial health, instantly. Expenses, bills, invoices and all the supporting documentation in the palm of your hand with notifications prompting you for action; this is simplicity at its best. No more filing cabinets, lost documents or dealing with paper cuts. Mobile apps give you the power of your entire filing system, your checks, and sticky notes, all from your phone.
Mobile devices have fundamentally changed the way entrepreneurs run their business, and we’re just at the beginning. Looking for an edge over your competition? Keep an eye on the app store. New innovations in mobile communications, time management, and finance for the always-on entrepreneur are inevitable, and the leg up you’ve been searching for might just start with greater access and control over your business — anywhere, anytime.
This article is written and provided by René Lacerte. René is the CEO of Bill.com, a digital payments startup doing for businesses what Apple Pay does for consumers: delivering digital payments in a fast, easy and secure way.
The views, opinions and positions expressed within this guest post are those of the authors alone and do not represent those of CBS Small Business Pulse or the CBS Corporation. The accuracy, completeness and validity of any statements made within this article are verified solely by the authors.