A few weeks ago after much research and debate I finally decided to fork over the money and buy my first brand new cell phone of the millenium. The only other new phone I have ever owned was the phone I originally bought when I first started cell service in 2000. Since then I had an Ebay phone and a $20 phone that I bought from my bro. So what prompted me to spend $200 on a brand new Blackberry Curve 8830 and renew my contract for 2 years???
- The $400 discount was more than the $200 cancellation fee. I absolutely hate phone contracts so I haven’t had one since 2002. The main reason for that is (A) I’m always moving and need to make sure wherever I live the phone service is going to have good reception. (B), and more importantly, on about a yearly basis I would call my phone provider, ask for the cancellation department and get them to give me additional minutes, services, or credits because without a contract they’ll do whatever they can to keep my business. 🙂 So even if I have to pay the $200 cancellation fee at some point, that’s still better than not signing a contract and forking over an additional $400 up front.
- I wanted to know immediately if a sales lead or other important email came in. It’s very important to respond to sales leads right away so if someone emails us an inquiry I want to get them a call back within 20 minutes. The only way I could ensure that was if I was in front of my email all day or I was able to check me email on my Blackberry Curve.
- I needed an efficient way to stay in touch with my office. Not everyone has a company cell phone so text messaging isn’t a good option though it’s used at times. Very often talking on the phone while in a meeting (or out on the golf course) isn’t really acceptable. However a quick IM through GoogleTalk allows people in my office to easily ask questions that I can respond to while someone else is teeing off… err… uhhh… I mean presenting. 🙂
- I moved 1900 miles from home and my sense of direction is lacking… Integrated GPS helps. The GPS has search function to tell you where to find the cheapest gas in your area, how to find businesses and restaurants, or even a friends house. And since it’s all right in my phone it easily moves with me from car to car. It’s even integrated with my calendar so that when my phone texts me to remind me of an appointment, I just click “Drive to” and it tells me how to get there. Time is money so not getting lost is a valuable feature.
- It is a legitimate business expense. Since I always worked for someone else, forking over $200 after-tax dollars for a phone always seemed like a lot. Now that my business pays that and the monthly service plan pre-tax, its a much better deal.
- Provided the perfect way to always have my schedule. It instantly syncs with Google Calendar thanks to googles free mobile sync options. Within minutes of putting an appointment on my Google Calendar it’s synced up to my phone wirelessly and vice-versa. No sync cables or docking stations or any of that silly stuff.
- It has unlimited internet access. So whether I’m checking into a flight while sitting in a car on my way to a wedding, keeping up on the Pens score, looking up the departure gate for my connecting flight, or reviewing the weather forecast at “Current Location” (GPS integration, baby), having the internet at your fingertips never seems to get old.
- My goal is to be as mobile as possible so I can run multiple businesses at the same time. When you add all of these things together, it sums up the most complete mobile toolbox since a laptop. Obviously I can’t do everything with it, but I can do most things.
Other technologies that are on my “Must-have” list for a mobile work environment:
- Kindle: Amazon’s New Wireless Reading Device – If you’re like me, you read. A LOT. And every time you travel you have 2-4 books to pack away in your bag that you’re working on. Or you’re at the office and need to reference something that’s in a book at home. Well the Kindle gets rid of all of that. Imagine having all of your books (120,000 at last count are available) at your fingertips in a device the size of a single book. Don’t forget you can also have your favorite magazine or newspaper (I prefer The Wall Street Journal) delivered wirelessly to your Kindle. You can even buy new books for $9.95 (less than a paperback version) anywhere you have a cell signal and have it delivered to your Kindle in about 60 seconds. This is by far the coolest thing that has come along in a long time.
- Document Scanner – How can you possibly be mobile if your important documents and all of your customer’s information is stuck in filing cabinets??? You can’t. Buy a good document scanner and scan EVERYTHING into your computer. The time you invest to do that will payoff 10 fold in just having access to everything you’ll ever need at the click of a button. You’ll be able to serve your customers better and be more efficient. My personal recommendations are anything with Fujitsu ScanSnap as well as the Fujitsu 5110c. The Canon DR2050c and 2080c are also top-notch units. Don’t ever spend less than $100 on your business scanner. It won’t be worth it. Trust me.
- Server with remote access. Along with my receivables, scheduling and lead-tracking software, this allows me to work from almost anywhere I can find internet access. My preference is a Windows 2003 Server with Terminal Services since I can access it with my Linux laptop, a Macintosh, or obviously any windows based computer.
What technologies are allowing you to become more mobile???
To your success, Bryan
P.S. You can access my blog on both the Kindle and the Blackberry. 😉