Using Smart Phones Smartly
In my role as a strategic marketer, I facilitate a mastermind group meeting for women CEOs and entrepreneurs. Recently a hot topic of conversation was mobile technology, namely smart phones and how to best leverage apps for their business. Beyond playing “Words with Friends” for a bit of stress release, these pocket computers can pack a punch with regard to getting work done. Used wisely, they can increase productivity and keep you connected to emerging opportunities or issues. Here are just a few of the best applications many CEOs use to stay connected:
Mobile Technology for Administrivia
1. Managing To-Do Lists.
As a self-described pathological list maker, I found the act of getting random to-dos out of my head and onto a piece of paper to be a powerful self-management practice. Now with virtual sticky notes or list management programs, you can manage those notations of important or random tasks to your heart’s content. Color Note is a free Droid app that mimics post-it notes, and is helpful for shopping lists and other short-term memory reminders. For a more robust platform, workflowy is an excellent tool that is accessible via the cloud. It’s a simple way to organize your brain, and you can create as much complexity as you need. It fits David Allen’s Getting Things Done theory of stress-free productivity.
2. File Sharing
Say goodbye to flash drives. Dropbox and Egnyte are two examples of services where you can send and retrieve documents from your desktop, laptop or on the fly with your smart phone. Dropbox is free up to 2MG and offers 50 GB for under $10/month; Egnyte starts at 150MB for under $30.
3. Payment Processing
Want the capability to take credit card payments without the hassle of merchant service contracts? Squareup.com offers a free credit card reader and app for iPhone, iPad and Android. Fast, simple and only 2.75% per swipe for all types of credit cards. Nope, we aren’t affiliates, we just think its cool that businesses now have more affordable options to getting paid quickly.
4. Business Card Capture
Tired of those piles of business cards on your desk following a networking event? Rather than manually entering the information into your contact management system, download an app like Cam Card Lite (Android) or Shoeboxed and Neat Receipts (iPhone, Mac) to your smart phone. Or the ultimate in luxury, you can subscribe to Shoeboxed. For as little as $10 a month, they’ll convert your documents.
Mobile Technology for Travel
Probably the biggest reasons mobile technology and Smart Phones are growing so quickly is our appetite for immediate information when away from the office or home. Now you can easily mount a smart phone to your car’s dash for easy (and law-abiding) hands-free use. Whatever Smart Phone flavor you use, you most likely have an app that will plot your current location and map out what’s around you. Here are a few more apps that can transform your car into a more productive office:
- Car Locator – helpful in remembering where you park and when your parking meter zeros out. Using GPS, this little app will guide you back to your parking space. Alas, it won’t help you with parallel parking.
- Gas Buddy – your tank is nearing empty, and there’s no gas station in sight. Gas buddy plots out where you can fill up and the price per gallon.
- Latitudes – plots out different layers such as restaurants, transit lines, traffic onto a map using GPS.
- Google Goggles – Have you seen those scanner thingys (also known as Quick Response or QR codes) on a sign or office front? You can take a picture in real life, and get information on it. It’s not perfect yet, but it’s pretty darn smart.
- Yelp – Find restaurants and other services along with their ratings. You can add a review too if the mood strikes you. Only thing this app doesn’t do is make coffee. Wait, you can find a nearby Starbucks. But that’s another app.
There are thousands of apps we can use to make life just a little bit easier. What’s your favorite?
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photo credit: Johan Larsson