I’m a self-taught mobile business evangelist. When I made the decision to convert the way I did business from the traditional, office-based model, I literally never looked back, at least not fondly. Now, everything I need to conduct business is in my backpack, and I can work – quite easily, in fact – from anywhere in the world.
Getting your business ready to go mobile isn’t without its pitfalls, though, so I’ve compiled a game plan for getting there with minimal hassle.
- Communication is key. The single most important component of your mobile business strategy is ensuring that you can communicate reliably with your staff, clients, and key contacts. Skype is the solution for my company. It lets me talk by phone, conduct video conferences, and it even lets me send messages. When you’re on the road, you can’t afford to be out of touch, so it’s worth it to research your options and make the choice that meets all of your needs.
- Use the cloud to store and share data. In addition to being able to talk to clients and employees, you’re also going to need a way to store and share your data securely. Google Drive works for me, and I simply can’t overstate how critical it is to be able to access, edit, and share files from the road. Even if you end up paying for your cloud storage, you’ll end up saving money in the long run when you factor in the savings in both time and money. No more searching for a fax machine or waiting for documents to arrive. Being able to share files – even large ones – by pointing and clicking is critical.
- Create contingency plans. Ask yourself what you’d do if your laptop battery died. What would you do if you couldn’t find reliable wifi? What if Google Drive stopped working in the middle of a negotiation that relies on sending and receiving files? Think through the problems that could arise and start developing solutions. Whether it’s a backup battery or a second cloud storage account, you’ll save yourself huge headaches if you do some troubleshooting before you need it.
- Take a deep breath and jump right in. Force yourself to go mobile. Even if you start with a single day, making yourself actually do it will help you identify problems with your systems and give you the confidence that you can, in fact, survive outside your office and outside your comfort zone. As you start going through your regular tasks from a mobile office, you’ll start to realize all the benefits. You’ll appreciate the flexibility, and you’ll quickly see that you’re actually more efficient.
Much of working outside the office relies on technology, but one of the things that I love most about working from my backpack is that I’m free to schedule more face time with my important clients. Rather than being tied to a desk, I’m free to actually go seal a deal with a real handshake. Your laptop doesn’t distance you from personal contact; it simply lets you keep tabs on your business while you go forge those important face-to-face connections.