By 2013, 34.9 percent of the U.S. population—roughly 1.19 billion people—will conduct business while on the go, according to a Worldwide Mobile Worker Population Forecast published by the marketing intelligence firm IDC. A large segment of this group is in their vehicles daily, managing business and marketing efforts from a makeshift office on wheels.
For those in the home services industry—remodelers, home cleaners, landscapers, roofers, real estate agents, etc.—this is especially true. Smart phones and access to productivity apps offer an opportunity to effectively market, manage, and grow business in between appointments, from virtually anywhere.
Below are just seven of the apps you may find in a road warrior’s mobile office.
Dragon Dictation: I personally love this application. Dragon Dictation makes sending texts, emails, and posting updates to Facebook and Twitter a snap. Just say what you want to type and the speech-recognition software converts it into text. For those constantly behind the wheel or frustrated every time they attempt to compose a message via a smart phone’s tiny touch-screen keyboards, this app is a great solution to consider.
Dropbox: Dropbox is a cloud-based file storage tool that allows users to save documents, presentations, photos, videos—anything, really—and then access the files from their smart phone, tablet, and desktop computer as long as the Dropbox application is installed. An app like Dropbox makes it easy for a person to access pricing sheets, instructional diagrams, product demos, etc. while away from the office.
Genius Scan: This app turns a smart phone or tablet into a pocket scanner. Users can take a photo with their device’s camera or choose files from their library, crop and straighten, group them into a single PDF, and then share documents via email or export to cloud-based storage like Dropbox, Google Docs, and Evernote. Instead of hunting for antiquated fax machines or waiting until returning back to the office, this app makes it easy to scan and share time-sensitive documents while on the go.
Square: There’s almost nothing worse than missing out on a sale just because there’s no easy way to capture funds. The Square app along with Square card reader turns smart phones and tablets in to a credit card terminal. It’s super simple to use and transaction fees are minimal.
QuantumCards: Through this mobile application, users can create, print and mail vibrant, full-color postcards to market their business in local neighborhoods–right from their iPhone or iPad. What’s unique about it is that QuantumCards offers users the ability to generate neighborhood mailing lists on the fly by using their smart phone’s geo-location feature or by typing in a target location. Service-based business professionals–like house painters, landscapers, real estate agents, or residential cleaners–no longer have to walk door to door distributing business cards or door hangers to prospects surrounding job sites. They can simply take a picture with their iPhone, write a personal message, and even link to their website or a video via QR code, then mail postcards to the neighborhood audience. SMBs can market their business in a matter of minutes; postcards mail next business day so they can start seeing results quickly.
Shoeboxed: Frequent business travelers and mobile workers often find themselves spending a good amount of time after a trip or work day trying to organize receipts, invoices, and other items for expense reports. The Shoeboxed app streamlines that process. As users scan documentation, the app uses OCR to extract data and organize items for easy management.
MiniBooks for Freshbooks: This app allows users to invoice and manage accounting on the run. From the MiniBooks app description: “Manage clients, send invoices, enter payments, check on rates from past jobs, run timers, and much more, all from the palm of your hand.” The sooner one is able to invoice, the faster they’ll get paid.