I hear far too often senior people in business groaning about social media: how they do not like it and cannot be bothered with it.  They think it is just for teenagers and people with too much time to waste.  Not only are they wrong, but they are underestimating the power of it when combined with the take up of mobile devices.

The use of mobile technology has reached a tipping point. I do not need to quote stats to prove this anymore, you just need to look around you.  Are you on a train? In the street? In a coffee shop? Just take a look and count how many people are interacting with a device.

Every business should be putting this at the top of their agenda and asking themselves what they need to do to adapt their organisation to this fundamental shift in human behaviour.

Do you have a mobile version of your website that is easy to use?  Are you listed correctly on Google Maps so that people can find you easily?  Are you listening to what people are saying about your business on Twitter and do you have a capability to respond to them instantly? Are you making sure that all your advertising is designed to benefit from mobile? Is your workforce truly mobile-enabled, or do they have to work with clunky legacy systems that slow them down and put them at a disadvantage to their competitors?

The speed with which mobile technology is changing our behaviour is gathering pace and everyone in business, whether a large multi-national or a sole trader should be doing a “mobile audit”.

Mobile, in a connected world, could represent a real opportunity to enhance your offering and could take your business sky high.   If you run a restaurant with great service and fantastic food how can you make it easier for customers to write a review?  How can you leverage the time and location based aspects of mobile to get people into your restaurant at lunchtime?

It could also represent a massive threat to your business, in which case you need to be thinking about what you can do to mitigate that.  If you are a high street retailer with premium prices, you have got a problem as shoppers start using your store as a showroom and use their phones to compare prices. Focusing on convenience and customer service and reviewing product lines and pricing is essential.

Either way, ignoring mobile is not an option. This is a game changer and you need to make sure that you turn it to your advantage if you want your business to thrive.  It cannot wait another month or another year. You need to do something about it now because this phenomenon is happening faster than you think.

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This article was first published on Kensington & Chelsea Today Business Pages on 8 February 2012


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