Starting up or running a business is tough work and very time consuming; there are a million different things to consider every step along the way. Business owners all around are constantly looking for ways to simplify and mobilize. Believe it or not, a tablet just may be the device small business owners have been waiting for.
Many say that tablets are nothing more than novelty items that are only good for viewing media and playing games. This was certainly the case a year ago, after the original iPad released. However, as mobile application stores grow with each passing month, so do the numerous ways tablets can be used as tools instead of toys. Over the past year, corporations around the globe have found several creative uses for the blown-up smartphones in the workforce.
A few months ago, PC Mag ran an article detailing the many ways that businesses have begun to implement tablets into their daily operations. Mercedes Benz has equipped many of their salesmen with iPads to better inform customers of the different car models and to push the credit approval process through much more quickly. Sightglass Coffee in San Francisco has replaced their cash registers with iPads fitted on "artsy" wooden pedestals. The Plaza Hotel in New York City has placed iPads in every guest room, which serves as a controller for room temperature and lighting, a means of looking at the menu and placing an order with room service, requesting wake-up calls and making restaurant reservations.
Of course, larger corporations have the ability to hire programmers who will ultimately create proprietary software that will be crafted to their very needs. But what about small business owners? How can they turn a device used primarily for media consumption into a mobile workhorse?
An article on A Successful Woman – written by Brian Tanner, a freelance writer for HP – gives several tips to get your new business rolling with a tablet. Tanner cites several programs like Quick Sale to manage invoices and sales, VNC Viewer for remote access to a PC and iWork suite for iPad (office suites vary between mobile platforms, but they all accomplish the same thing) for your mobile document creation and editing needs. These few business-centric apps are only the tip of the iceberg.
Even though I don't technically run a business, I do use my tablets to handle business related work. I find handling email, note taking and calendar management to be more intuitive and easy to work with from my tablet, especially when on the fly. And that's the key, "on the fly." The world we live in is no longer about sitting behind a desk and working from a desktop, it's about taking your work with you whenever and wherever you can. Tablets allow users to do this without sacrificing too much functionality and without putting too big of a dent in your wallet. Not only can tablets save you some money upfront, they can also be a money saver down the road, too. PC Mag cites that after making the jump to tablets, WXFL, a television station in Albany, Georgia, "can save $2,000 a month on printing, paper and repair costs."
As absurd as running a business with a tablet may sound, it's certainly possible. With services like Square or Zoosh, the possibilities for tablets in businesses are endless. And as more uses are discovered and applications stores continue to grow, more small businesses and corporations will begin to integrate tablets into their work.
What do you have to say to that, tablet naysayers?
Image via Staples