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Your Smartphone is Now Your Personal Assistant — Put it to Work for You

Let’s imagine “business man” (or woman) in a modern day incarnation of that famous sequence of images showing humans evolving from primates.

First there’s the businessperson stuck in an office, sitting uncomfortably, hunched over a desk. Then the “standing desk” emerges, and the businessperson stands upright in the office for the first time. Next comes the “treadmill desk”—a short term evolutionary anomaly—and our business pro starts running in place while working. Finally, the full-featured smartphone replaces the desk altogether — and our treadmill-desk worker just keeps on running, right out of the office, to work “on the go.”

(Oh, and in perhaps the final stage of this evolution, the smartphone actually becomes the businessperson’s soul mate — as the device voiced by Scarlett Johansson does for Joaquin Phoenix in the recent film Her. Or not; we’ll see.)

You’re free!

The point is, with everything your smartphone is capable of doing for your business today, you are no longer tied to any type of desk—sitting, standing, running—or even to an office. Unlike your Cro-Magnon desk-bound ancestors, you can run your small business successfully from anywhere, entirely from your mobile device.

Research firm IDC reports that a billion smartphones were shipped worldwide in 2013 alone — and that’s great news for you. Why? Because as the smartphone quickly becomes the modern-modern-day desk and office for small business professionals like you, software creators and cloud-service providers are busy building powerful mobile business apps to help you get more done, more easily and less expensively, wherever you happen to be.

Indeed, your smartphone is really becoming a full-fledged virtual personal assistant for your business. Ready to see what it can do?

Start delegating key business tasks to your phone

1. Move your “office” to the cloud, with a virtual phone system
Use your smartphone to operate a full-featured virtual phone solution that projects the appearance that yours is an established, bustling business, even if there is no office and the only bustling is you playing in the backyard with your kids on a “sneak out” Friday afternoon.

With a virtual phone system like eVoice®, you’ll get a virtual toll-free number, professionally recorded greetings and multiple extensions (for Sales, Customer Service, or whatever you like) — even if they all simply forward to your smartphone. You can set routing sequences — say, first to a colleague’s mobile, then to yours, or simply straight to voicemail — and change them as often as you like. You’ll also get voicemails sent to you as email or text transcriptions.

When you want to unplug, unplug. Let your smartphone take some responsibility.

2. Let your smartphone carry around your office software
With a great new service like Microsoft Office 365, you can access all of the familiar Microsoft Office tools you use every day, right on your mobile devices. Office 365 lets you subscribe to web-based versions of Word, PowerPoint, Excel and other applications that Microsoft stores in the cloud.

So if you need to leave the office for a bit — or for a few days — no need to lug your laptop. With Office 365, you’ll have access anytime to the tools you need to work. All you need is your smartphone.

3. Tell your smartphone to fetch your files
Here’s another reason you no longer need to worry about dragging around a heavy computer with you (or running on that ridiculous treadmill desk). With a cloud-storage service like Box, you can just throw all of your important business files into the cloud and tell your smartphone to grab them whenever and wherever you need them.

These cloud storage services are also great for collaborating. Just share access to specific folders, and update the files over the web with your team. You can do it all — draft the document, upload it to the cloud, invite a colleague to view and edit it, review their edits, make your own, etc. — all from… you guessed it… your smart phone.

So jump off of that treadmill desk and just keep running, right out of the office. Start leveraging the true capabilities of your smartphone to make your business, and your life, run more smoothly.