The iPhone challenge: Can you run your business from an iPhone? The verdict…

I’ve been using an iPhone, sponsored by the Three network to run my business. It’s been an interesting ride – a whole week trying to manage day-to-day business affairs, running and updating a very busy website, juggling two children, a husband, church involvement, my personal interests…

The verdict: yes, you can run your business from your iPhone...it just depends on what your business involves

The verdict: yes, you can run your business from your iPhone…it just depends on what your business involves

From the outset, I knew that I needed a phone that could:

1. Last a whole day without the battery dying – I use my mobile phones to the maximum – phone calls, emails, social media, and any other apps that make my life easier, so the battery needed to be robust and able to cope.

2. Email – a phone that cannot successful handle the hundreds of emails that I get every day or deliver them in a timely manner just won’t do it for me, or my business.

3. Apps – I see smart phones as the body these days, and how we dress it depends on the available apps; so the quirky dressers will throw what seems like anything together to get their look. A business person on the other hand will dress very differently because they have a different purpose in their lives. So, for me, a smartphone must have a fully functioning body, that I can dress the way I want.

4. The “so what?” factor – there are lots of smartphones out there now, why should I pledge allegiance to any particular brand or model?

So, with all this in mind, the iPhone had a lot to live up to. I am what you would call a ‘power user’, and I have been using and testing smartphones for years, so I was ready to really put the iPhone through its paces

Verdict: the iPhone to me is the best smartphone for business. Initially I was worried about what it would be like to send out important emails on a touchscreen phone. I really don’t have time to keep tinkering and deleting every last letter – I just wouldn’t get any work done.

But, to my surprise, there are a lot of bluetooth keyboards out there that sit in a case, s you just use it when you need it. I was pleasantly surprised to see that I didn’t need it after all, and I think that if you give the iPhone a chance, too, you may find that you can use the keyboard, too.

My main bug bears with the iPhone 4 were importing contacts from my BlackBerry to tube iPhone, and email handling.  I think no one manufacturer wants to make it easy for you to leave their brand and move on to their competitor, why would they?

So as a buyer, you need to be prepared to lose some data if you are not properly prepared. What helped me (and I suggest doing this as a backup whatever phone you use) is that I synced my contacts to my Gmail and Yahoo email accounts. If you do this before you trade in your old phone, it will be very easy for you to switch from one phone to another.

On the subject of email, the first thing you need t do is make sure you have the right data package with your contract so that you can receive emails as near to automatically as possible. Three has an All You Can Eat package that’s available on pay as you go and contract, and it just gives that peace of mind that us conscientious mums need when browsing or using a smartphone for business.

Emails from your domain (e.g. www.youwebsite.co.uk) will generally be retrieved by your phone through ‘fetch’ as opposed to ‘push’. The difference is that fetch check your server every fifteen minutes, and the push emails are supposed to be all the time.

BlackBerries use push emails, and that’s basically part of the reason why you have to pay a little extra for then BlackBerry service when you get a BlackBerry phone, so it was a bit of a shock when I realised that the iPhone would not do the same for all my emails.

Have you voted for the best time-saving app from mums yet?

Have you voted for the best time-saving app from mums yet?

The workaround this was to forward my emails to my Yahoo email account (which is good thing to do as a backup anyway), so that the emails arrived quicker. And with the iPhone, you can always change the email address you want to reply from anyway, so you can still maintain a level of professionalism.

The apps, of course are what makes the iPhone the great phone it is. There is an app for just about everything you want – for free, or for a small fee – so you can customise your phone exactly the way you want, which I think is priceless.

There is no doubt that the iPhone has the ‘so what’ factor. Even in business, you will still be taken seriously with an iPhone – it’s surprising how many people will proudly bring theirs out to make a statement. There aren’t many phones that will let you get that kudos.

So, will I go back to a BlackBerry phone? I don’t see that happening in the near future…

Three, who is sponsoring my iPhone challenge, has been speaking with mums to see what their favourite apps are on Three’s On the Go Mums Facebook page, where mums are sharing their favourite apps. Mums across the UK have been sharing their time-saving apps and voting for the best one.

There are three apps that groups of mums have designed, and you can vote for the best one, which will be made into a real app. My favourite of these is by far the Make a Date app. If you’ve been following this challenge, you’ll know that I was having a real nightmare doing a meeting request – but this app would sort all this out and more if it wins, so please get voting now!

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Written by Joycellyn Akuffo

Founder and editor of www.motherswhowork.co.uk, a mother of two wonderful children, wife, entrepreneur (check out www.geekschool.co.uk) and journalist.

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