A computer, a telephone, a personal assistant: The 21st century mobile phone is all of that, and more. Now Entrepreneur offers a guide to fully mobilizing your business--including the best gizmos to get the job done.
The first indication that Doug Sohn runs an old-school operation is the sign in front of the cash register at Hot Doug's, his "sausage superstore" in Chicago. It reads "Cash Only," and Sohn means it. If a customer protests, he might chide them: "Didn't your mother tell you to always have $20 in your pocket?"
No surprise that Sohn isn't what you would call an early adopter of new technology. Yeah, he carries a cell phone (just his second in six years), but that's about as wired as he gets.
It's a shame, because the truth is: There is accessible, affordable, mobile technology that could change his business and his life.
Just think about it:
Sohn spends 50 hours a week in the store, taking customer orders and answering the land line next to the cash register. Then he spends 12 more hours working at home, managing his accounts with Intuit Quicken QuickBooks on a desktop.
What if he invested in a new phone and a mobile service plan--maybe a two-line plan with a separate business number that he can ignore when he's not working.
And what if he bought a smartphone, and put QuickBooks Mobile on the device.
Or how about one of the new mobile broadband service plans packaged with a netbook rather than a phone Then the netbook would fit next to the cash register, and Sohn could manage his books during downtime at the store.
It would add hours to his week.
So what's stopping him Nothing so different from what stops so many entrepreneurs from streamlining their operations: There are now so many plans, so many complex mobile devices, so many specialized applications, it's enough to overwhelm anyone but the most devoted technophile.
"The ideal device might make life easier for me," Sohn says. "But ... "
Well, the time for hesitation is over.
In this month's special report on mobile technology, Entrepreneur sorts it all out for you--the service plans, the apps, the providers and, yes, the gadgets. We'll help you shop smarter and figure out the best combination for your business.
But we're not all breathless over this new technology, either--not in this economy. We'll help you figure out exactly what your business needs--and doesn't need. So read on, and untether your business from the past.