There is a saying in business: if you’re not going forwards, you’re going backwards.
Mobile apps for companies are now so powerful and affordable that – if you haven’t yet adopted them – it’s possible that you’re being left behind.
Apps can achieve the continuous improvement which is crucial to 21st century enterprises, solving your bottlenecks, speeding up your processes, saving you money and increasing your profits.
The marvels of mobility
Almost every employee now has a smartphone or tablet which they use throughout the day. It stays with them all day, it acts as a promotion tool for your business and (through GPS technology) it tells you where they are. It’s a ready-made platform to help your business grow!
Harnessing the power of mobile apps
Every stage of your business can benefit from adopting mobile apps.
Here are some suggestions:
- Ideas – When you get an idea for a new product or service, create a ‘proof of concept’ app to show people how it would work.
A software features app, for example, could be downloaded onto your colleagues’ or business partners’ devices, so they can immediately see what it offers.
- Costs – Price comparison apps will help you make smart purchasing and procurement decisions. They can also let you analyse market data and receive alerts when prices rise or fall.
Supply ordering apps help both suppliers and customers: if you’re a customer, you can photograph bar codes on the goods you need, then order more, while storing your shipping and billing information securely in the app.
If you’re a supplier, you can see your customers’ buying history and alert them when you think they need more, or to promote new lines. You can also include reviews and shipping status notifications to enhance your service.
- Core business – Reducing overhead costs is central to many enterprise strategies, as profit margins tighten. Replacing unnecessary meetings with online conferencing, for example, is now routine. But doing this successfully while out on the road is challenging.
New mobile apps allow you to dial into conference calls, with all the functionality and clear audio reception of a desktop version, and make remote meetings more productive.
Some enable you to use video conferencing and share files from wherever you are. These apps enable a much enhanced level of collaboration and flexibility, at very low cost.
- Internal processes This is where mobile apps have begun to proliferate in global businesses. From file-sharing apps which mean that colleagues can access huge reserves of company information, to social media apps and monitoring systems, your mobile device is probably already stacked with helpful apps.
So the next stage is to figure out which internal process apps you could most usefully create specifically for your own business, or adapt from those which are already available.
Project management apps are increasingly popular. These are easily tailored to your exact requirements, helping your team to remain well-organised and productive. You can assign tasks to people via their email addresses, create whole new projects with due dates, sub-tasks and notifications to particular people, while keeping everyone up to date with progress.
To communicate effectively and quickly, you could use a digital dictation app, with speech-to-text capabilities, so that content for blog posts or marketing materials can be delivered remotely, at speed.
Social media platforms which function as internal business communication, like Linkedin, have mobile apps that can assist you and your colleagues to communicate news and ideas.
- Marketing – The value of your business’s reputation has become among the most important factors in marketing terms: social media word of mouth is replacing direct advertising. So apps which can monitor, collate and help you respond to social media developments are growing in popularity.
Equally, keeping your websites up to date and monitoring visitor activity, including acquisition data, audience insights, behaviour and conversions rates – in a nutshell making sure your website is performing as it should – is now far easier than in the past.
Or you could create an event planning app, which lets you set up a conference or reception with exhibition maps, session schedules, biographies of speakers and contact information for networking. Then you and your colleagues can use the app to distribute details via social media.
Using a code generator app to make coding easier for your marketing team – in creating a new email campaign for example – helps to spread tech advances through your business and save people time and costs.
Other marketing-related apps include bespoke versions of famous social media apps, scaled down for your customers and prospects. An app like this – coupled with your thought leadership content – enables your contacts to network with each other with your business as a central point of reference.
And as a time-saving marketing device, consider getting an app where you can photograph people’s business cards and the contact details are automatically stored in a management system (and in your smartphone contacts database), so you can easily search for them.
- Sales – The value of an excellent CRM (customer relationship management) app is rapidly increasing, as customers demand quicker responses to events. And because your business will benefit from optimum sales visibility.
Many of the apps we’ve already described, enabling you or your colleague to access documents on the road, to stay plugged into social media, to take part in video conferencing etc all have sales applications. There’s nothing so persuasive as a salesperson who can show you how something works, right in front of your eyes!
To add some economic science to the sales process, consider developing an ROI Calculator app. Then you can propose a course of action to your prospective customer and then let them do the sums themselves.
- Customers – To keep your customers at the forefront of your business thinking takes dedication and careful planning. Creating an app that automatically collates feedback and referrals from happy customers can boost your business enormously, whether it is social media based or through a bespoke sales and CRM platform.
Mobile apps provide a massive boost to enterprises, as these examples prove. So don’t delay – create some today!
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