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Having mobile and data coverage while on the road is now an essential part of keeping a small business operational. 

Technology innovation is undeniably changing the way we operate in business, but in particular it has the opportunity to drive both flexibility and increase productivity in the workplace. Surprisingly, many Australian small businesses don’t have the technology required to support work away from the office, and like the pest control industry – this is critical to running a successful business and driving growth.

Recent Telstra research tells us that as many as 76 per cent of small businesses are unable to access business critical files and data while travelling, while 36 per cent believe they could run their business more efficiently if they had access to better technology.

Mobility is no longer a preference for any business, it is a key requirement to remain competitive. Small businesses need to take the time to talk to their technology provider about the range of options now available to them that will ensure they can operate effectively while on road. This includes everything from operating smartphones and tablets on high-speed 4G mobile broadband, to utilising the cloud. In a digital age, there are options for businesses of all shapes and sizes.

Keeping you covered

Coverage is critical to allow your workforce to operate without a glitch. So you want make sure your network provider has good coverage, geographically as well as indoor and outdoor.

Businesses are also relying more and more on data these days – for things like job scheduling and rostering, quoting and invoicing, making and taking payments etc. This is where network speed is important. The Telstra 4Gx network currently being rolled out across the country is a world-class reliable and fast network.

Plan for the unexpected

It’s also critical that you have a good plan in place, with flexibility to be able to change as your business does. In addition to the usual standard inclusions some plans also include free calls between mobiles on the same account and the ability to share your included data across all phones and tablets on the same account. This means that you don’t have to worry if one person uses more data than someone else – everyone draws down from the pool of data.

Make tech savvy choices for your business

In order to enable flexibility and mobility, you need to make tech savvy choices, for example, choose tablets and laptops over desktops. This allows you and your team to work from the office, home or on the road. A modern telephony offering allows integration between fixed and mobile, integration of video conferencing, and business apps further enhance the employee and customer experience.

While pen and paper have served us well over many years, the growth of digital technology means that paper-based processes usually represent a waste of time, as whatever is written has to be re-entered into a computer later. Paper forms and documents are also vulnerable to loss – whether they are simply misplaced, damaged, or thrown out by accident.

According to new research, while 92 per cent of us rely on apps for personal use, only 24 per cent of businesses are using business-focused apps. Business apps make life easier. Just as your banking app means no more queuing at your local branch, or your transport app means you know when the bus is coming, business apps can save time, replace paper forms and help gather and manage information in the field. They can facilitate and streamline quote creation and the signing of contracts without the need for printing and scanning, or rid you forever of the old carbon copy invoice book. Importantly, you can share information in real time too.

Ensuring business apps are installed on employee devices will maximise productivity benefits. For example, Box is a cloud file sharing and collaboration app that makes it easy to securely share files and documents, whether it’s an invoice for a customer, a project proposal, or an important presentation. There’s also DocuSign, an app that helps businesses to quickly, easily and securely collect and transact information and electronically sign documents, on any compatible device.

Business apps like ARISapp, Canvas and GeoOP, take business processes mobile, replacing pen and paper forms, enabling workers to spend more time on the core business and less time on administration, improving businesses productivity and customer service. Making the transition to business apps saves most businesses time and money. It’s worth exploring the Telstra Apps Marketplace and free trial offers.

Driving growth into the new financial year

Our new digital world is constantly changing, and if you want to stay one step ahead of the curve and two steps ahead of your closest competitors, it’s important to make technology a priority, so you’re not missing any major business opportunities.

The future is here, and with many new technologies available for businesses of all shapes and sizes, there is so much potential for small business owners to grow their business, reduce administration time, increase productivity and spend more time on what they do best.