Tag Archive for 'Google'

What kind of mobile phone do you use?

For some time now, I’ve been encouraging small business owners to buy and use a smart phone - the kind that allows those cool mobile apps to be downloaded - like an iPhone or a phone with Google Droid operating system. The reason is because mobile computing is the future. Eric Schmidt, former CEO of Google said he expected Google to be more successful in the future with mobile than they ever had been with the desktop.

We wanted to know what kind of hand-held communication device you were using, so last week we asked this question: What kind of mobile phone do you have? Here’s what our small business audience told us:

Those who said they used some kind of a smart phone, represented 53% of our respondents. The rest, 47%, said they were still using a regular cell phone. Based on industry numbers about the smart phone adoption rate of all users (27%), our survey would indicate that small business owners are employing smart phones to a higher degree.

I love it when people listen to me.

On The Small Business Advocate Show, I’ve talked with Chuck Martin, author of the new book, The Third Screen, many times about the future of mobile computing and creating a mobile strategy to remain relevant in the 21st century. Click here to see all of the conversations I’ve had with Chuck on this important topic.

Mobile apps are in your small business’ future

Recently, a friend said to me, “Apps are everything.” In this case “app” means application.

Webster says an application is something useful. Today, “app” typically means a computer application designed to convert a complicated digital program into a handy but powerful tool that will make life and work more productive.

The hyperbolic reference my friend made was to mobile applications. If you have one of the mobile “smart phones,” like an Apple iPhone or one that uses Google’s Droid software, you know that mobile apps are diminutive digital power tools you can download to your smart phone – Google has thousands and Apple has tens-of-thousands. These apps put a world of capability, information and connectivity literally in the palm of your hand and at the command of a thumb.

According to Google’s CEO, Eric Schmitt, his company expects to be more successful in the future with mobile platforms – smart phones, iPad, etc., than with PCs. However, nothing Schmitt prophesied can happen without the mobile app. If he’s correct – and I think he is – this means mobile apps will become a bigger part of our lives. But more importantly, they will become a bigger part of our customers’ lives. And that possibility is something on which every small business owner must focus today.

Mobile apps, which are too sexy for your desktop, do two very compelling things: 1) They put power in your hand; and 2) They take the cool computer desktop user experience you enjoy to a higher orbit of cool.

Hockey great, Wayne Gretzky, said the key to his success was the ability to skate where the puck is going instead of where it is. If you want to know where your customers are going with regard to how they will find you, connect with you, prefer you to connect with them and even do business with you, you have to start skating toward mobile apps.

Get started by doing these things today: 1) If you don’t own a smart phone, buy one and start using it so you can see what your customers are falling in love with; 2) Hire your web developer to do these two things in this order: a) make sure your online information presents well on mobile platforms; and b) build a mobile app for your business that customers can download to their smart phones.

Whether you’re Google or Grandma’s Diner, mobile apps may not actually be everything, but they are becoming an increasingly essential way for your small business to stay relevant with customers.

Skate to where customers are going: toward mobile apps.

Recently, I talked about movile apps on my radio program, The Small Business Advocate Show. I hope you’ll take a few minutes to listen, and be sure to leave your thoughts. Listen Live! Download, Too!

What small business can learn from Google

WWGD? No, this isn’t some new twist on a religious question. Or is it?

This acronym stands for “What Would Google Do?” which is the title of the new book by renowned blogging pioneer and 21st century media expert, Jeff Jarvis. In his book, Jeff doesn’t go so far as to say Google’s influence is tantamount to a religious movement, but almost.

Unlike Yahoo, Google isn’t a portal, as Jeff explains in the book; it’s a network. He reminds us of what we really already know but may have forgotten: Google doesn’t want to control the content you seek; it just wants to help you find what you seek and manage it once you’ve found it. And he also reminds us that the best content in the world is useless unless it can be found, and that’s where Google comes in.

One of the many things small business owners can learn from Google is how to manage mistakes in the creative process. In his book, Jeff reveals how Google manages its creative process through beta offerings, where users contribute to what is announced up-front as a work in progress. The creative and development process is composed of many decisions resulting in smaller mistakes leading to micro-adjustments, the discovery of which is contributed to significantly by Google users, who are its customers.

Imagine that: customer-influenced product development. There’s a 21st century success strategy that entrepreneurs at all levels of the marketplace would do well to employ.

But with all of its success, which on many levels is unprecedented, everything Google touches doesn’t turn to gold. Recently, Google abandoned unsuccessful campaigns that sold ads on radio and in newspapers. One of the things Jeff likes about Google is that when something doesn’t work out, it’s often right out there for all to see. So if we pay attention, you and I can benefit by discovering what not to do.

Recently, Jeff Jarvis (buzzmachine.com) was a guest on my small business radio program, The Small Business Advocate Show. He talked about what makes Google unique and what we can learn from where this company has been and where it plans to go, including the potential of mobile platforms. I hope you’ll take a few minutes to listen to what this expert has to say. And be sure to leave your own comments.

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