21 Advantages And 7 Disadvantages Of Mobile Phones In Business
Over the past couple of decades, our handheld phones that sit in our pockets have evolved exponentially.
They used to be a device we used when we wanted to chat with somebody that’s not in our immediate vicinity. I do imagine how people cope a few decades ago, before the invention of mobile phones.
Nowadays, most people don’t even use them for what they’re actually intended for. This tiny little gadget has become too advanced and so powerful that it has changed society – for better or worse, depending on what you use it for.
Some people’s love for their mobile phones has even developed into nomophobia – The proposed name for the fear of being out of cellular phone contact.
It is rare to find someone without a phone especially people between the ages of 17 to 60. Partners, management, employee, as well as your customers, need to get in touch with you from time to time.
Statistics show that teenagers, youths and adults use mobile phones not just for communication and leisure but for business too.
What smartphones do handsomely these days, however, is improve the way businesses operate. From the smallest of sole traders and startups to the largest firms on the planet, a small gadget can make a massive difference.
On the other hand, with all the possibilities a smartphone can create, it is natural for companies to want to abandon the old ways for something more sophisticated. However, your business must be disciplined enough to pull such a transition without affecting performance.
Your level of accessibility can make or mar your business. There are several things your business phone or a computer can make accessible but you can’t take them all along with you every time. To remain accessible, you need something that goes out with you.
There is a multitude of ways that these little doohickeys make life easier for you and your business. I’ll show you a few now.
1. Access to Encyclopedia
Five inches tall. Three inches wide. Half an inch thick. That’s all these little guys are, yet they contain all the information you need regarding just about anything. Whatever you want to know.
You just have to hit up a search engine or look on a social media platform, and you’ve got your answers. So when you need some info about a certain aspect of a business, you can just switch on their electronic encyclopedia and get searching.
With access to the internet, you are open to a lot of information and can access oceans of knowledge. Some business-related questions and problems are solved using the mobile phone to quickly access the internet.
2. A quick glance at your Social Media channels
Businesses need to have a social media presence in order to reach a wider market. If you’re a business owner, you need to attract attention and advertise as much as you can. A decade ago, the social media platforms around were accessed via a desktop computer or a laptop.
Now, we have smartphone apps that can do it quicker. If a company needs to see how a certain post is doing or how many people interacted with something, then they can see that in about five seconds.
3. Connection with others
The sole aim of communication is to connect. The connection between the parties of a business is made possible with the use of a phone. That is the owner, employee, and customer.
The mobile phone makes it possible for you to connect to the world with a device right in your hand. Well, that is why it is called a mobile phone, you can take it anywhere!
The world is a “global village” and you have just that! The phone is the world thought out as a single municipal linked by telecommunication.
As long as you have an operational mobile device, you can connect to the world i.e. your business world. You can connect in a variety of ways to suit your need at your desired time. You can call and text (the two fundamental functions of all phones).
4. Seamless Data transfer
Data includes information, records, facts, figures, documents or files.
Traditionally, you’ll need a courier to get the data from one point to the other. This could be a messenger, your employee or even a postman. Those days of visiting the post office before you could send data have ended.
With mobile phones, you are just a few clicks away from transferring and receiving data worldwide. Field employees can easily access crucial data they need for the job they have at hand without necessarily going back to the office.
5. Appropriate planning
Mobile phones provide a means of having a mobile planner. With a wide range of applications such as the calendar, Reminder, Organizer and To-Do List features, you can plan your days, weeks and so on in advance.
Newer phone calendars not only features the date of your events but can also detail it to the very minute it is going to start.
Your organizer can even change your status during an event e.g. it can display “busy” when you are in a meeting.
6. Boosts teamwork
If you have been reading this, you will notice that most of the benefits listed aid teamwork. If you can communicate well, team spirit is boosted.
You work will be easier when your employee can transfer data and enjoy the benefits of a unified team when they are not in the same physical location.
You can group your contacts into different teams. When you give tasks, you can remind them and have them updated about the task through various apps. The most basic is the calendar reminder.
7. Encourages remote working
The restriction of regular office hours is not mandated since you can still contact your employee even when you are out of the office. Remote working breaks the barrier of working in the physical office.
If you need the expertise of someone not physically present in your office, you can always reach them through your mobile phone. That’s why most freelancing jobs require you to add mobile phone numbers to ease communication.
Freelancing allows you to pull resources from the global market. Your business will not be geographically limited to an area especially if your business is the type that needs site-visitation like a construction business or couriers.
A major example is the home delivery service rendered by online shops. It is advisable to require someone with the local knowledge of the area to deliver such goods. The home delivery personnel will just pick up on a request made by the power of mobile phones and deliver accordingly.
8. Great Customer support
Updated customer records on sales and inquiries can be downloaded and accessed through a mobile phone before meeting with the customer. Your sales rep can also use mobile phone apps to improve the sales process.
You can update the sales data in real-time instead of waiting until you get to the office. Another useful function of the mobile phone is that it provides access to your electronic email on the go. This implies that you can write emails as a response to customers feedback and complaints even before you get to work.
With functional apps like Gmail and Yahoo Mail, you get instant notification of new emails and you can check and reply using your phone.
9. Better Navigation and Direction
For personal use, it is easier to use your mobile phone to call someone who knows an axis for further directions. Once the phone is functional, the chances of missing your way are really unlikely.
For more professional use, most mobile phone is equipped with a Global Positioning System. Global Positioning System (GPS) is a satellite navigational system that can be used to locate your position on the globe.
GPS, when coupled with local networks like Wireless Fidelity (Wi-Fi) and cellular networks, can locate with a precision of a few inches. Loads of apps have been developed to utilize GPS to the maximum.
Google maps are one of the apps. Recently, Google added speed to drive tools on the app. I have been using Google Maps to locate places I have never been to as long as I have their coordinates.
Mobile phone GPS is also used to augment vehicle GPS for couriers and transport businesses such as Uber. Mobile phone GPS is used to locate customers, measure distance and charge a fare. The passengers also monitor and track the driver or rider (as it applies to vehicles).
10. Handoff service
Call handoff simply means conversation transfer. The mobile device allows you to pass the conversation between your mobile and the traditional telephone.
This is a handful especially for businesses or departments that entertain a huge number of telephone calls. You can seamlessly move in and out of the office without losing any calls and time.
Akin to handoff, mobile phones allow you to connect wirelessly to a smartwatch, smart glass, car stereo, headset, and earphones.
With just a tap, you can pick a call and with voice command, you can call, text, snap a picture or read a book. With a mobile phone, you do not need to cumber your hands while receiving a call.
12. Good Entertainment
I know that “all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy” is a saying you must have heard before. Apart from all these official uses, the mobile phone is an entertainment box on the go.
From the simplest Tetris to the advanced video games, mp3 audio & 3gp to High definition videos, you never get bored in your leisure time. It is not all the time you or your employee work when in the office, I believe you do have breaks.
During break time, kill boredom and idleness with your mobile phones which could engage the employee and help them relax their minds.
There are a wide variety of educational games and simulations that could help your employees even perform better at their jobs. Puzzles and crosswords like scrabble aid mental improvement while action and racing games improve your reflexes.
Some games boost the retentive capacity of the player while some are to simulate real-life events and conditions.
13. Mobile Scanner
It is not just a gadget to call, text, entertain or transfer data. There are other things you can use your phone to do as a business person.
These include but are not limited to scanning with apps like Cam Scanner, WPS and other image-to-pdf tools which helps you to turn your mobile phone into a portable scanner.
14. Photography and Graphics design
It also functions as a camera that offers you photography services. Mobile phones now come with a powerful camera. With more and more megapixels upgrades, the camera gets clearer and produces better images with high resolutions that can be used for emotional branding.
You can take pictures and record videos with your phone with quality that meets up with some camcorders. This implies that you can use these pictures and videos on your social media platforms for more visibility and engagement.
You can use your phone to edit pictures and videos. Pictures editing could include changing the tone of the picture, adding text, cropping or even removing the background of the picture with an application such as Mobile Photoshop and PicsArt.
Short video editing and conversion can also be done using your mobile phone. A lot of skits you see on YouTube, Instagram, and Twitter are possible with a phone. Some of these skits can help to promote and advertise a business.
15. Creation of Documents
You can create, view and edit a document on your phone. All you need is the right applications. Applications like Quicksoft, Word, Excel, PowerPoint (made by Microsoft), WPS, Adobe Reader and Foxit Reader. You can use these applications to edit documents in Word, Excel, PowerPoint and PDF formats.
With your phone, you can go through a presentation you have prepared or read through the material for the meeting you are having.
16. Data storage
Your phone not only serve as a means to transfer data, but it can also store data.
With robust and expandable memory, your mobile phone can hold enough data for you on the go. You also have access to cloud storage using your phone with apps like One Drive, Google Drive, iCloud and DropBox.
You can have all the videos, adverts or audio jingle you want to present on your phone. Having it on your mobile implies that you can present it anytime needed and you can also transfer it to the conference stereo of the big screen.
17. Seamless Banking services
By now you’ve grasped that the phone in your hand right now can do just about anything. It’s crazy how helpful they are already. Nowadays, we have apps that allow you to swipe your credit card and pay on the spot.
If you’re not in store and wish to take a payment from someone at your present location, you can just open up your mobile bank app to confirm payment and get the sale done instantly.
Apart from the fact that you can get transaction notifications on the go through your mobile phone, you can also perform transactions. I do a lot of transactions with my phone without going to the bank. Virtually all banks have mobile apps you can use to open an account, check your account balance, transfer, pay bills, recharge and do other things you would have gone to a bank to do.
18. Emergency services
Mobile phones are indispensable in case of emergencies. A mobile phone will assist you to get the help you need right away. It is easier to call 911 or 112 with your phone than to waste precious time looking for a land phone.
The first aiders can also guide you on how to keep a casualty alive before they arrive at the scene. The person involved in the emergency might be your business partner or employee. This might not be possible for a landline because the emergency may not be in the vicinity of the phone.
Some smartphones and watches can automatically dial 911 when they notice a sudden temperature or acceleration from the user of the phone.
19. Mobile Device Management
Everything that has benefits also has drawbacks. Someone might steal your phone and one major thing you could do to avoid mistakes due to employees negligence is to ensure Mobile Device Management (MDM).
MDM allows you to have full control over your employees’ phones.
You can monitor and manage the activities of your employee on their official mobiles. This means you can track and recover misplaced mobile on this platform. You can also remotely wipe the phone in case of theft so you can protect confidential information that is on it.
20. Quick Conference Calls
There are better software for stuff like this, but if you’re out of the office and need to be a part of a meeting, then phones can hold high-definition, high-quality conferences.
They’re so clear that it’s as though you’re next to your callers even when you’re on the other side of the planet.
21. Hotspot connectivity
If you’re struggling for a good internet connection or if your Wi-Fi router has completely cut out, then your phone can be used as a source of Wi-Fi.
Your business needs to be online to function correctly, so a cellular router from Connected Solutions Group would be a real life-saver, you can find them here if you need one.
Disadvantages Of Using Mobile Phones
1. They Are Costly
Smartphones are probably the most expensive gadgets in the world right now. Every day, companies produce new phones with new features, and as these new features increase, so does the price.
Phones are really expensive – I mean a good phone with all the latest features would cost you no less than $600.This is like the rent for a small shop if you consider the in certain places. This makes it a major turnoff for me. When I intended to replace my phone, I had to save up for like three months and I sacrificed a lot to get that phone. 🙄
Personally, I don’t think a mobile device would be so important to me if I want to start a business or I’m at the initial stage of starting the business. Smartphones are just too expensive for an average person.
For instance, If want to start a clothing business, I’ll need the finances to get a lot of things done like rent, shipping fees, local transport cost, sales rep hire and other expenses. You can see that there are just too many things to do with money than to spend N200 on one single phone that might not even last long in my care – I will explain this in the next subheading.
Frankly, until smartphones get cheaper, I don’t subscribe to getting one if you are still at the initial stage of your business.
2. They Are Just Too Fragile
As amazing as smartphones are, they are just too brittle. They are small little devices that can do a lot but are really sensitive. Although these phones can be very good at taking good pictures and bridging the gap of communication through voice calls, video calls and other amazing applications, there is one thing that makes it less admirable – fragility. That tendency of your $600 phone to fall and break can sometimes creep into your heart and cause you to worry.
I mean I got an iPhone 8 and I wouldn’t allow anyone to hold it except me. You can’t really blame me. I am a college student who worked a part-time job for straight-up three months so I could afford a device that cost me $450. You can imagine the sacrifices I must have made to commit to this cause, and guess what, it was stolen from me about three weeks later. 😐
I don’t really like to talk about this because it sometimes makes me really sad, and I just want to forget about it and move on – It’s hard to forget a two hundred thousand naira phone that was stolen after three weeks. I mean, I’m still taking baby steps 😐 .
Nonetheless, I had to discuss my not-so-fortunate story to drive home my point. Smartphones are easy to lose. My dad has forgotten his phone not once, not twice but three times at different events we went together. Unlike me, he has just been really lucky to get his phone recovered by working-class men who have no reason to keep what is not theirs.
Instead of getting a phone, I will recommend you to get a computer. You can do a lot more with a computer than with your phone despite the whole phone and computer equality banter. Computers are still popular for businesses for many reasons.
3. They Are Difficult To Maintain
Another not-so-admirable fact about smartphones is the fact that they are expensive to maintain. Samsung phones, for instance, have screens that could cost about 70% of the actual price of the phone.
This is a major red flag for me when it comes to using my phone for business. I mean, as much as I want to use a phone at my workplace, I don’t want to end up looking for another substantial money to repair it every time it’s faulty.
4. They Can Pose A Distraction
I cannot begin to count how many times I have had to halt my work to check my phone for texts or just to enjoy one or two thirty-minute games. Even though I am a freelancer, I have understood that these little breaks aren’t so little after all.
I mean, after much analysis, I realized that if I spend those undeserved breaks typing, I would surely be able to do a minimum of two articles per day rather than struggling to finish one full article per day.
If you own a business and you are struggling with the no-phone policy for your employees, I will suggest that you implement that policy to the core. Many employees reading this might see me as a traitor or a killjoy, but the fact is the more time you spend on that smartphone, the less money you make for the establishment.
It is also a common practice in companies today to allow laptops or tablets in briefings rather than mobile phones.
This is to help curb the popular culture of playing candy crush or sending text messages during meetings. Some people pretend to pay attention to meetings but are busy typing away on their mobile devices.
Naturally, privileges are often abused by humans. In my dad’s office, the free hi-speed wifi given to employees for hitch-free work is sometimes used by some staff members to check social media on company computer systems.
The company projected a 50% rise in production after the wifi network was installed, however, they were surprised to see that production drastically dropped after the little upgrade. If these problems came as a result of fixing a wifi network in an office environment, you can imagine the effect of introducing another invention into the business. It’d be better to keep employees monitored every day.
5. Reduced privacy/security
A man was robbed last year by the roadside and his phone plus wallet were taken. He wasn’t so bothered at first because he was planning to change that phone anyways. By the time he got home and decided to go to work the next day, he was greeted by his boss who wasn’t smiling at all. Apparently, the robbers weren’t really after his money but the information on his phone.
The company had prepared a breathtaking proposal to win a contract, however, the individual whose phone was taken happened to be the project manager. The problem was that another company used that same proposal to get the job just before they could submit theirs. You can imagine how devastated that manager must have been to realize that the robbery was arranged by a competitor.
Another story of a therapist. He saved some of his sessions with his patients on the phone to further understand them.
Unfortunately, the therapist misplaced his phone and his sessions with a popular senator went viral on the internet.
The senator had to step down from his position after questions of her credibility became public banter. This senator became a victim of mere circumstance or should I say technology. This goes to show that even though our smartphones make the world a smaller place, information now travels to every home a hundred times faster than in the ’50s or ’60s. One slip up as a public figure and your fame could turn into your shame immediately.
If you are considering switching your typical landlines for smartphones, I will advise you to take one step back and rethink. Can you enforce the kind of discipline needed to keep employees working even with a phone by their side?
6. They Are Too Sophisticated For Older People
I remember when my dad got his first android device several years ago. I was in awe of this phone that could do so much in a short time. My father too had no single clue of how to assemble the parts and insert his sim as it should be.
I couldn’t help but ask him why he didn’t just buy a phone that he could easily work with and surprisingly, he said: “I wish I did”. Why introduce the complicated smartphone into your business when you could just manage the traditional landlines?
This smartphone option is a ticking time bomb in your business if you were not born in the computer age – the old people. It is more of a problem for experienced older employees who would likely need help from younger employees.
7. It might Reduce productivity
If not controlled properly, getting mobile phones for your business might be a catastrophe. Looking at the advantage section, it is fair to say that there are viable reasons to introduce mobile phones to your business.
With all the awesome features your phone has, it would surely boost productivity in your business. However, if care is not taken, you and your employees will have more reasons to be less productive. Productivity is what every business needs to survive.
The speed at which smartphones made waves should be considered the 8th wonder of the world. I mean, only five decades ago, smartphones were like fairy tales to individuals because they looked impossible and difficult.
Some experts predicted that a device in the future would be able to do everything. Yes, it did, from contacting people at long distances to surfing the internet. The new century further increased the likelihood of this speculation when mobile phones were slowly becoming an important carry-on for the working-class.
The mobile phone is one of the few gadgets that you can hold in your palms and still use to transform your business. You can utilize it to improve your business performance profitably.
However, with these many advantages of the smartphone, it’s easy to assume that it must be great for your business. It’s a mobile system that’ld allow you to do almost anything you would do on a computer.
Midway into the decade, social networks like Facebook and Twitter had gone public and the world was blindsided by the rapid change in culture and communication. Communication barriers were completely shattered. Just like those experts hypothesized – the world was turned into a global village by the end of the decade.
In summary, mobile phones can be used positively or negatively. It just depends on how you choose to apply its use to suit your business.
Have you been using your phone to enhance business performance?