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How to run a small business using your smartphone

Using a smartphone to do business doesn’t mean you’ll be light on options thanks to a wide variety of software apps

(Image: © Shutterstock / ImYanis)

Small business owners face plenty of challenges on a day-to day basis and no more so than right now. So, anything that helps your venture keep the wheels of productivity turning is always a bonus, which is where a smartphone proves invaluable.

A smartphone with a decent specification and the capacity for running just a few core apps can make all the difference when it comes to staying productive and profitable, especially if you’re often on the move.

While desktop computers and laptops are still the go-to productivity tools for many small business owners, a smartphone will let you carry out most tasks in a much more efficient way and without the bulk. Adding appeal is the way that cloud-based software can be called upon to tackle just about any kind of business-related task.

(Image credit: Totojang1977 / Shutterstock)

Software apps

Alongside the smartphone itself it’s really the evolution of mobile apps that has helped to make us all that little bit more efficient. 

While apps on smartphones still aren't always great for things like high volume data entry work, or writing lengthy business reports, they’re perfect for speeding through other essential tasks.

Apps allow you to condense lots of tedious desktop or laptop-based duties into minutes rather than hours of work. Better still, they’ll let you tackle just about any kind of chore too, which includes accounting, budgeting, expense tracking and even tax filing

Our best small business apps guide offers up a wealth of options for boosting productivity on your mobile device.

Smartphone solutions

And, even if you can't escape the prospect of entering lots of data into your smartphone, or producing a vital report while you’re out in the field, there are accessories that’ll help out on that front too. 

In fact, our guide showcases many excellent examples designed to keep you productive.

The smartphone is also a brilliant solution if you’re in the business of selling products and services in a physical location. For example, pop-up shops or market stalls are a really practical way of adapting your business to an ever-changing landscape. 

If you’ve got a smartphone you can use that to start taking card payments, which might open up your business to a whole new client base.

iZettle

(Image credit: iZettle)

Mobile payments

Mobile card processing readers are widely available and are now also very affordable and convenient ways of processing payments. 

If you’ve got a smartphone or a tablet it’s now possible to use it, along with a supporting app and a mobile card reader to take all kinds of card payments.

As you’ll see from our guide, rates are competitive and there are options to suit all sizes of business. In many cases you’ll also be able to process contactless payments too, including the likes of Apple Pay, Google Pay and Samsung Pay

While many services require you to have a mobile connection, others allow you to process payments offline. They can subsequently be completed when you go online again.

Business freedom

Add all these factors together and you’ve got a potentially formidable way of running a business without the need for much in the way of hardware

You won't even need a physical office, which in such uncertain times for small businesses might mean that you can reduce your overheads and run things on a much leaner basis.

As is the case with any aspect of business, there are some points to consider if you’re planning on using your smartphone to generate more business. 

One of the first things to think about is your data. A smartphone can be easily stolen, or mislaid, or broken for that matter if you happen to drop it. So it’s worth bearing that in mind if you're going to be handling vital business tasks.

(Image credit: Shutterstock / Blackboard)

Cloud security

However, thanks to the fact that many small business software services now use  cloud storage there’s often very little in the way of data actually stored on your device. 

So, with most valuable data being stored in the cloud, losing or breaking your smartphone might not be as disastrous as you might think. Granted, you’ll need to login and change any passwords as soon as you can, but otherwise you might escape relatively unscathed.

Another bonus with cloud-based software packages is that the app edition will usually work seamlessly with any desktop editions that are controlled via a dashboard in your web browser. 

That should mean you can carry on with whatever you’re doing whether you’re working on something using mobile means or back at base on a networked machine.

Universal solution

Of course, the other great thing about using your smartphone to run your small business is that it's also perfect for personal finance matters too. 

There are plenty of personal finance software packages that’ll work just fine on a smartphone, which means you can keep tabs on your financial affairs just as efficiently as your business-related matters.

Our guide to the best personal finance software you can buy will give you a great insight into just how useful the app and smartphone-focused versions of popular packages can transform the way you handle your finances. 

If you’re watching the pennies to the point where you don't really want to spend anything at all there are even free software options that allow you to manage your money without any outlay.

And, finally, if you're in the process of launching a business then remember it's all about the planning. The good news is there are software options for that too.

Check out the best business plan software for planning your finances

Rob Clymo

Rob Clymo has been a tech journalist for more years than he can actually remember, having started out in the wacky world of print magazines before discovering the power of the internet. Since he's been all-digital he has run the Innovation channel during a few years at Microsoft as well as turning out regular news, reviews, features and other content for the likes of TechRadar, TechRadar Pro, Tom's Guide, Fit&Well, Gizmodo, Shortlist, Automotive Interiors World, Automotive Testing Technology International, Future of Transportation and Electric & Hybrid Vehicle Technology International. In the rare moments he's not working he's usually out and about on one of numerous e-bikes in his collection.