As they have become ubiquitous in just about every aspect of everyday life, it is interesting to consider how cell phones have helped businesses grow. Remember that mobile phones have only become mainstream devices in the last couple of decades; in this very short amount of time, they have had a tremendous impact on society at large.
Five Ways Cell Phones Have Helped Businesses Grow
When cell phones first emerged on the scene, they were relatively expensive to purchase and even more expensive to maintain. The monthly plans were quite costly, considering the relatively few number of minutes that users were able to get for that amount of money. These days, however, mobile phones offer much more than just voice calls. In addition to impacting the lives of everyday people, it is interesting to consider how cell phones have helped businesses grow in the last ten or twenty years.
Out of Office Communication
Before there were mobile phones, workers who left the office would effectively not be able to communicate with the office unless they found a pay phone or borrowed the telephone at a neighboring business. Even then, the office would not be able to reach the employee unless he or she had a pager or some other similar device. This is terribly inconvenient.
However, with the rising adoption of company cell phones, employees can stay in touch with the office no matter where they happen to be. They could be at a business meeting across town or at a conference across the country; they're still reachable. This makes it infinitely more useful for the office, as quick questions can be quickly answered at will. It also means that customers can be more easily reached (and they can more easily reach the specific employee), helping to accelerate the growth of any given business.
Mobile Professionals on the Go
Perhaps even more profound is the impact that cell phones have had on professionals who are always on the go. From TV repair technicians to shuttle bus operators, mobile phones have allowed them to be accessible to whoever needs to contact them. If you have an appointment with a plumber and then you suddenly realize you wont' be home later in the day, you can call him and tell him to come back another day. This is even bigger for professionals like real estate agents.
Social Media Promotions
More recently, society has seen a greater adoption of smartphones, as well as the rising popularity of social media. When you look at how cell phones have helped businesses grow, you can consider social networks like Foursquare. People are advertising where they are (for free), helping to promote the businesses that they are visiting. These "check-ins" add to the brand presence and brand awareness, helping businesses reach an increasingly large customer base.
Spawning Tangential Businesses
Just as how the automotive industry helped to grow businesses related to car repair, car rental, and gasoline, the same kind of phenomenon happened with mobile phones. As more cell phones filtered into the market, a greater need emerged for cell phone cases, cell phone headsets, cell phone charms, and other cell phone accessories. Related businesses like cell phone unlocking services, cell phone repair, cell phone rental, and so forth also grew tremendously.
The rise of smartphones has also given rise to smartphone applications. These have huge potential for growing businesses as well. Consider the UrbanSpoon app as an example. If someone is out and about, looking for an interesting place to have dinner, he can take out his iPhone, launch the UrbanSpoon app, and find a nearby restaurant. This restaurant may not have otherwise attracted this particular customer had he not had access to such a mobile application.
Looking Toward the Future
Success in business is heavily related to taking advantage of opportunities. Mobile phones may not be directly related to the business of running a financial institution, but you can be sure that cell phones have impacted that industry. Looking to the future, many other innovations could lead to even greater growth and an even stronger economy.