Today’s business owners must be working out and lifting weights a lot more than executives of the last generation did. How else do you explain the fact that, in just one hand, they can hold a computer, a camera, a presentation device, a communications service, a payment service and a global positioning system? It’s all inside their smartphone, but apparently a substantial number of executives don’t know their own strength.

A new survey commissioned by Microsoft sampled 260 decision makers from small and midsized U.S. businesses, and seven in 10 of them agreed that the smartphone is their most important business tool. Of those smartphones owners, however, 80 percent use it only to check email. They’ll never build their business muscles that way.

Smartphones and other handheld devices can make a huge difference in your business operations and your ability to engage with customers, because they streamline communications and allow you to work remotely from anywhere at any time.  Just about anything you do at your desk here in Minneapolis you can do with your mobile device. And the same goes for your customers.  Consumers today use smartphones, laptop computers and other mobile technology to research, locate and communicate with the business they frequent.

Yet, according to the Microsoft study, more than half of business decision makers are not employing any kind of mobile marketing to proactively reach the devices that consumers are carrying in their hands all day long. If you don’t swing at your target, you’ll never hit it. To capitalize on these benefits, here are three questions you can ask yourself to get started

  1. Does your business have a remote workforce? Going mobile can dramatically reduce travel time and cost, along with paperwork and administrative expenses for your business. First Choice Home & Hospice Care of Utah did just that by deploying Windows Phone 7 smartphones to let clinical staff file paperwork remotely in real time, the company saved $500,000 annually in labor and travel costs.
  2. Is social media an important channel for communicating with your customers? Your smartphone can allow you to discover customer issues as soon as they pop up on Twitter or Facebook so that you can respond immediately to any disgruntled customers and their followers. In addition, your mobile device can enable you to remotely access customer information and instantly research and respond to customer issues from anywhere at any time.
  3. Are you looking for new ways to extend your technology’s potential? Get to know your smartphone and all its capabilities. It can get you from here to there without a bump in the road, display your business presentation without a glitch or even deposit your check without an ATM.

 Start building a stronger business by visiting www.microsoftbusinesshub.com to learn more ways that you can go mobile.