Small Business Marketing by Jillian Shaw Marketing, Advertising & Public Relations for the Small Business

Do Smart Phones = Smart Small Businesses? (or, Jillian wants a Palm Pre Plus!)

Palm Pre Plus Smart Phone for Small Business Owners

Most of the small business owners I work with are older (35-55) than the typical smart phone user, and while most have cell phones, smart phones are few and far between.  And that’s understandable.  Smart phones are typically more expensive initially, require a data plan and are generally intimidating if you’ve never used one before.

But succeeding in small business requires you to learn new things, try new tools, and be one step ahead of competitors at all times.  Unbridled access to the internet is arguably the most powerful tool you can possess as a small business owner.  And it’s worth the time investment to sit down and learn what your phone can do.  If you don’t take the time to explore and even (gasp!) read the manual, you’ll never get your money’s worth out of any technological device.

I myself have had smart phones for work in the past, but this weekend I’m taking the leap into being connected 24/7 by the new Palm Pre Plus, available on AT&T this weekend.  I’ve wanted this phone for a while and now that it’s available on my network, I’m jumping on it.  I’ve been counting the hours, seriously, since the  announcement was made last week.

For the small business owner, the Palm Pre Plus is probably the most efficient and effective phone available.  For what it’s worth, it’s the only phone on the market I’d recommend to small business owners.  You can visit a million tech blogs (I recommend this site’s Palm Pre Reviews) for in-depth details of the phone’s features, but I’d like to point out the features that will be of most use to the small business owner.

  • Multi-tasking capability.  The Palm Pre Plus is the only phone that will allow  you to switch seamlessly from  one task to another, using different apps or programs, without closing out of any of them.  You won’t find this on a Blackberry or iPhone.  If you’re a small business owner, you’re already trying to do everything all at once.  This phone brings it all together for you, in one place.  It’s a product that conforms to your work method, rather than making you change your habits to match it’s capabilities.
  • To-do lists, notes and calendars.  Calendars and list applications are practically an after-thought on other smart phones.  Hello?  This is my life here!  I need my calendar and to-do list to be a fully developed application, not just a blank post-it note on my screen.  The iPhone doesn’t even come with a listing function at all.  It has to be downloaded from their app store.  Lame.  Palm is and always will be the master of electronic personal and business organizational tools, and the Pre Plus simply reinforces that fact.
  • Full qwerty keyboard.  I’m talking about actual buttons you can feel depressing when you touch them.  There’s nothing more exasperating than trying to respond to a client using a touch screen keyboard that auto-corrects incorrectly and usually types the letter next to the one you actually wanted.  Here’s a cute video that illustrates what I’m talking about:

Ellen DeGeneres iPhone Commercial Spoof

You’re a small business owner.  You’re running a storefront, filling online purchases, planning newspaper ad placements with one hand and on the phone with a vendor you haven’t paid yet with the other.  You’re busy.  I’m not saying you need to go out and buy a smart phone today, but when you’re in the market for a new phone anyway, go ahead and make the investment in superior technology.  You’ll save yourself loads of time, and therefore money, too.  And don’t buy a smart phone built for games.  Buy one built for business.

Jillian's Currently Reading: Guerrilla Marketing, 4th edition: Easy and Inexpensive Strategies for Making Big Profits from Your Small Business
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