This is a guest post by Colin D. Pritchard.
Thrilled. That was the feeling as I walked out of my local Verizon store. I had just picked up a brand new iPhone 4S. After a year of daily frustration with my old iPhone 3G on AT&T, I was exceedingly happy to finally have this new iPhone.
Three weeks later, I can honestly say this was one of the most valuable purchases I've made for my small business. I run a small design firm, Rocket No. 9, and work with dozens of clients across all time zones on their design and marketing needs. It is of utmost importance that my clients can reach me at all times, whether by phone, email, Twitter, Facebook, or whatever the newest social media channel may be. I also need to stay connected with my professional network of peers and associates to cultivate my business relationships.
My new iPhone 4S has made these goals not only attainable, but also easy to accomplish.
The speed of the iPhone 4S, coupled with the reliability and speed of Verizon's network, has made it an indispensable tool when I'm not at my desk. With my old iPhone, tasks such as launching apps could take minutes. Now, it's seconds. My productivity has sky-rocketed, which gives me more time for important tasks in the real world.
The built-in apps on the iPhone 4S allow easy-peasy set up of email, contacts, calendars, etc. Rocket No. 9 uses Google Apps for Business, and linking the iPhone to these services only takes a couple of minutes. Put in my settings, and BOOM — I've got my mail, my calendars and my notes, all in the palm of my hand. The iOS Mail app also supports MS Exchange, Yahoo!, AOL, MS Hotmail, iCloud/MobileMe and standard POP/IMAP accounts. I can set it to push new mail to me, meaning I get any messages from my clients soon after they are sent.
Call quality on my new iPhone has been better. I'm not sure if this is due to Verizon's network, but I'd like to think it is. I can honestly say I have had zero dropped calls since switching. Important conversation not cut in half by a dropped call = happy clients = happy me!
Another way I stay connected with both my clients and peers is through social networks. Twitter is a great service for staying up to date with your professional network, and it is built into iOS 5, which is standard on the iPhone 4S. I also use Facebook and Linkedin to reach different audiences, promote my business and interact with my clients. Of course, there are separate apps for each of these social networks. They are all good apps, and I would encourage you to install them (all free).
But, to make updates to these three networks as easy as possible, I prefer to use one app, called HootSuite. HootSuite has both a free iPhone/iPad app and a Web based app, so it's easy to access anywhere. Simply add your preferred social networks with appropriate logins to the Settings, and you're good to go. Whenever I need to send out an update, or read a message from a client or associate, it's a few taps away in HootSuite. Grab HootSuite here on the App Store.
There are a few other apps I consider must haves for an iPhone, especially for business owners:
Evernote — This app is great for taking rich text notes (with photos, URLs, etc), jotting down ideas, saving URLs, etc. The best thing is there's a desktop and browser version of the app as well that automagically sync with the iPhone app, which means all your notes, ideas, etc. are available where you are. I use Evernote to take notes on client phone calls, organize ideas for blog posts and even write blog posts. Get Evernote on the App Store here.
1Password — Everyone nowadays should be concerned about security of their online information. With all our information moving into the cloud, this is especially important. The best way to protect yourself? Strong passwords that are unique for every website or service you use. How can you keep track of them? 1Password. This app is a must for everyone—business person or not. 1Password will not only store your passwords securely, but it also will create them for you. The best part? It is available for your desktop, too. And you can sync your desktop passwords with your iPhone passwords. 1Password really is a must have app. Do yourself a favor and download 1Password today!
Dropbox — Dropbox is yet another app that has a desktop and browser version. Dropbox allows you to seamlessly share files between multiple machines, both desktop and mobile. You can add a file (any type of file) to Dropbox on your computer, and it will automatically sync with Dropbox on your iPhone. This opens up a world of possibilities for working on your iPhone. It really is an indispensable tool. You can get Dropbox here.
There is a ton more I could recommend, but I'll stop here. I hope these recommendations will help you make the most out of your new iPhone!
Colin D. Pritchard is commander of design exploration (and owner) at Rocket No. 9, a small design and branding agency located near Chicago. Colin has worked on creative projects for a variety of companies, including: Sears, Starbucks, Suncast, McDonalds, Quattro Wireless, Monster.com, Chicago Sun-Times, and Verizon Wireless. Currently, Colin helps small and medium-sized businesses reach new levels of success with innovative design and marketing for print, web, and mobile. Find out more about Colin and Rocket No. 9 at www.RocketNo9.com. While not busy at the helm of Rocket No. 9, Colin spends his days helping with the design of the Chicago Sun-Times websites.
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