Tools of the Road Warrior
As incredible as 21st-century communications can be, sometimes there’s just no substitute for meeting someone face-to-face. Whether that someone is across town or on the other side of the continent, you can’t afford to be unreachable. Taking your office with you is vital, especially if you’re going to be gone for more than just a day.
The basics, of course, start with your phone. With modern call forwarding and call waiting, there’s no reason your clients can’t reach you wherever you are. To ensure constant connectivity, your cellphone does need to be connected to a nationwide network, but VOIP can also be used when you need greater reliability and sound quality. With proper integration, your customers might never even know you’re out of the office, even while you’re doing business over a mobile system.
Telephony today isn’t just about your phone, though: Your computer needs to connect to the internet, as well. Even if you can’t actually plug into a jack in the wall, you can tap into a 3G or 4G data network – and once you’ve connected, a number of services are at your command. RingCentral can transform your email into a faxing service, enabling you to “sign on the dotted line” from just about anywhere. Online document sharing through services like Google Docs can keep everything you need at your fingertips, as well. With your documents both accessible and safe, you never need to play phone tag while someone back at the home office hunts through your filing cabinets.
The internet can also help you stay on top of events back at the office while you’re away. Traditionally, project management tools like Basecamp have allowed geographically diverse resources to tackle a single project efficiently. Those same tools can help you keep things on track while you’re on the road. Salesforce.com can also be extremely useful, both in closing deals with clients and staying abreast of the status of leads.
Once you get past the generic tools that nearly any business can use, it’s easy to find other resources on the web that can allow you to bring your office with you. Today we can handle company finances; track shipments and inventory; rearrange our travel plans; and purchase office supplies, all while lounging at the hotel pool. The key is taking stock before you leave the office so you know what you need and can make best use of the incredible communications tools we have today.