Using a smartphone for business

The smartphone puts enormous power in your hands. How much of it are you using to make a profit for your business?

Managing for profit by Peter Hughes

The obsession with smartphones, especially with younger people, can be infuriating. Far too often, while trying to hold an ordinary conversation with someone, we end up competing with a smartphone.

But as business people, we can turn this love affair with the smartphone to our advantage, because this is a tool of amazing power. Think of the different ways in which it allows you to communicate. Used as a straightforward phone, and often this is best, it allows you and the other person to catch up on each other’s lives before doing business, and enables you to explain difficult concepts more easily.

Think of the different ways in which it allows you to communicate. Used as a straightforward phone, and often this is best, it allows you and the other person to catch up on each other’s lives before doing business, and enables you to explain difficult concepts more easily.

But there are often times when an SMS is better, especially if you don’t have time to chat (and don’t wish to appear rude), or if you know that the other person might not be able to take your call there and then. Perhaps more importantly, a text message gives the receiver time to think and frame a proper response.

Moreover, the same SMS can be forwarded to as many people as necessary, saving you time. A word of caution, here. A message written in haste, whether in an SMS, email or any other form, cannot be erased. So take care when composing your words so as not to unintentionally cause hard feelings.

Better than SMS
WhatsApp, the message service that has taken the world by storm, works in the same way as SMS, but is more efficient and costs almost nothing. One of its advantages is that it allows you to send photographs effortlessly. And since ‘a picture is worth a thousand words’, this facility can be used to improve the quality of communication.

Another great feature is the ease with which a communication group can be set up. In this way, a single message from, say, a farmer’s association can be sent to all members of the group. Communication groups are being used more and more in business.

Twitter is yet another option. Here you can ‘follow’ and receive messages from anyone in whom you have an interest. Alternatively, you can send messages to anyone interested in your business. It is easy to set up – and just as easy to get into trouble. So keep it professional, and remember that a thoughtless message, perhaps sent in anger, will be seen by many, not all of whom share your sentiments.

An example of a Twitter account used effectively is that of ZZ2, the giant tomato and avocado producer. The company uses this social networking service to promote its business quite brilliantly.

Then, of course, there’s Facebook, which you can access on your smartphone. The giant leap made by Facebook is an effective two-way communication.

Have a look at the Facebook pages of the major supermarket groups to see what I mean. If your business does not already have a Facebook page, you’re missing a golden opportunity to communicate. Now pick up your smartphone. Look at it. How much of its communication power are you using?