Though we might think fondly of a Mad Men-styled office with cool mid-century décor and a bar in every room, those days are long gone. Not only do we have more diverse workplaces and different attitudes, but many of us don’t even report to a physical office. We’re free to roam the world while we grow our companies.
But mobility requires the right equipment. Here are my top requirements for doing business out of my backpack.
A reliable smartphone is the single most important piece of equipment for nearly everyone, and the entrepreneur is no exception.But in addition to your hardware, you also should look into VOIP (Voice Over Internet Protocol). Business VoIP lets you seamlessly forward calls to your mobile phone from a physical place like your home office, so your clients can reach you anytime and anywhere. VOIP can also provide significant savings, particularly when you factor in costly international rates.
After the smartphone, your laptop is the second indispensible tool, giving you access to full websites (as opposed to mobile versions) and allowing you to get real work done from anywhere. My chief concerns when I’m shopping for a new laptop are weight and price. I like ‘em light and cheap, since my laptops inevitably have a fairly short lifespan. And if you do a lot of writing (like me) then you may want to invest in a great keyboard that is comfortable and durable.
3. Cloud-Based Apps
Accidents happen, both on the road and in life, and if you drop your laptop in a hotel pool, you don’t want the double whammy of losing your computer as well as all your important company files. If you’re storing data on the cloud, you’ll be back up and running as soon as you replace that soggy laptop. Cloud-based work makes it easy for you and your team to collaborate even if you’re continents apart.
4. A Backup Plan
As much as I’ve traveled, I’ve learned that absolutely every element of traveling and working at the same time can go to hell at a moment’s notice. From power outages to internet outages to missed flights and equipment failures, at some point you’re going to need a Plan B. So make one! Think of everything that can go wrong and figure out ahead of time how you’ll handle it. No internet in your hotel? A mobile hotspot saves the day. That laptop that fell into the pool? Knowing the location of a worksharing space can be your temporary fix. Planning for screw-ups makes it much easier for you to take them in stride when they inevitably occur.
And a final note about being a mobile entrepreneur: Some folks may think I work out of my backpack just so I don’t have to put on pants. And while a home-based day is nice once in a while, the real reason I’m on the road so often is because I know the value of meeting clients, readers, and colleagues in person.
If you’re not using your mobility in a way that genuinely benefits your company, then you’re not getting the most out of working on the road. Set yourself apart and be exceptional. Be memorable in a sea of people who just email one another and never interact in person.
Mike Michalowicz (pronounced mi-KAL-o-wits) started his first business at the age of 24, moving his young family to the only safe place he could afford – a retirement building. With no experience, no contacts and no savings he systematically bootstrapped a multi-million dollar business. Then he did it again. And again. Now he is doing it for other entrepreneurs. Mike is the CEO of Provendus Group, a consulting firm that ignites explosive growth in companies that have plateaued; is a former small business columnist for The Wall Street Journal; is MSNBC’s business make-over expert; is a keynote speaker on entrepreneurship; and is the author of the cult classic book, The Toilet Paper Entrepreneur. His newest book, The Pumpkin Plan has already been called “the next E-myth!”