Business tips

Your guide to running your business on the road.

By Jereme Sanborn on
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Some people just love the office environment. With its affinity for security, routine, and small talk, it’s the perfect fit for a certain percentage of employees. However, you might be one of those nomadic types who would much rather leave the cube farm behind once and for all in favor of making your enterprise more mobile.

Check your facts.

Before you go on a spending spree for the wide array of mobile-ready equipment and paraphernalia, first take a step back to check if you have all your ducks in a row. No matter how decidedly un-romantic it is, you need to peruse local, state, and federal laws to ensure that you have accumulated all of the permits and licenses you may need to get your mobile business up and running. Of course, the specifics vary based on the type of business you wish to run.

Understand your customer base.

No business can survive without customers, and that includes companies that are not set in an office. Before you head out on the highway, make certain that you are well-stocked with products or services that people actually want to buy. Also, be sure to launch an effective advertising and marketing campaign that will generate buzz about what you have to offer. That way consumers may begin to clamor for what you are about to be selling.

Obtain the proper equipment.

The bottom line is that you need to have secure, reliable point of sale (POS) hardware (and software) that allow customers to quickly and conveniently make their purchases from your mobile store. Operating exclusively with cash may seem like the easiest way to get started, but you will quickly alienate many in-person buyers who are no longer accustomed to carrying bills and coins. If you plan to take orders online or over the phone, cash is even more of a non-starter.

You are far better off doing some research into POS systems that will allow you to seamlessly accept credit and debit cards. There are a number of hardware and software solutions out there that are easy to use, secure, affordable and efficient. Many models contain additional premium features that can also help you with employee and inventory management, finances and customer relations.

Keep the lines of communication open.

Today’s digital culture has made it clear that you don’t need to be in the same location to remain connected to your employees and customers in real time. When you are operating a business, staying in regular touch with all stakeholders from investors to employees is essential. Today’s smartphones contain everything you need to keep everyone in the loop, including telephone capabilities, live video chat, texting, and website browsers. These days, neither distance nor time zone differences are excuses for a failure to communicate effectively. 

Set a routine and stick to it.

You might not be in a rigid office setting anymore, but that doesn’t mean you can become a slacker. All of those images of millionaire executives running their companies from a Caribbean island are fantasy. This is the real world; you need to set a schedule and stick to it. Without structure, your company risks drifting aimlessly into bankruptcy.

When you own a mobile business, the freedom can be intoxicating. On the other hand, isolation represents a real danger. No matter where you may be calling home on any particular day, make a point to reach out to your support network. Don’t be afraid to ask for help, and definitely let your automated accounting and inventory management systems do the heavy lifting. By offloading some of your burdens, you will have more time to serve your customers, grow your company, and enjoy the open road.