I admit it, I love technology. I’m one of those people that wake up at 2 a.m. to pre-order the newest iPhone or iPad on the first day. I try to convince myself it is not just about having the latest gadget. To my defense, I work to integrate it into my vending business to maximize my productivity and to improve the company’s operations.
The important point is that these tools allow me to be better organized. This translates into a stronger impression on customers, potential customers and employees.
Last month, I discussed ways in which I use my iPhone and iPad to improve my productivity and provide more personal freedom. I described how I use MEI Easitrax on my iPad, how I use CyberAudit security on an iPhone, how I monitor digital video surveillance cameras with my iPhone and iPad, and other functions.
This month, I will focus on document management using smart phones and tablets. As we all know, documents play an important role in a vending business.
Goodreader: a PDF reader
Goodreader is a very helpful PDF reader for the iPad. I used to carry three-ring binders with me to meetings. I serve on different committees and each committee would have one or more three-ring binders. With Goodreader, not only did I eliminate every three-ring binder I carry, but it also allows me to have all my binders with me at all times.
Goodreader also syncs with Dropbox (which I discussed last month), so that is a great place to keep all my documents. I created folders in Dropbox for each committee I sit on. Then I sync to Goodreader. But it’s more than just reading documents. You can fully annotate and mark up documents. And then those documents can sync back.
Another way I use Goodreader is during request for proposal (RFP) conferences. I had a couple of these this summer. The RFPs can be 20 to 30 pages long or more. I do my homework and make my highlights and annotations in the document in Goodreader.
There was a funny experience at one of these proposal conferences. There were about a dozen people in the room and everyone had this thick packet. I was sitting at the table with nothing in hand except my iPad and stylus.
When the meeting started, people would ask questions and I could instantly go to the page in question. Oftentimes, people would ask a question like “I read in the RFP about piggybacking…” And everyone (including the customer) would be thumbing through the RFP looking for that section. I hit search, typed the word, and instantly found it. It got to the point I was helping everyone out by just announcing the page number – both my competitors and the customers were helped by that.
It didn’t go unnoticed. My level of organization and understanding of the subject matter stood out to all in the room, and fairly represented the service and organization my company brings to all aspects of our operation.
Imagine going to a sales meeting with a prospective customer and using your iPad to display the presentation. If you are meeting with just a couple people, doing a presentation on the iPad is practical. Normally, in a small group like that, you wouldn’t use a projector, so instead you would have printouts. But then you lose some control as people thumb through the pages.
Quickoffice: productivity for devices
With the iPad, you can do the presentation as if you were doing it off a projector using Quickoffice, a productivity suite for mobile devices which allows users to view, create and edit text files, presentations and spreadsheets. It is the equivalent of Powerpoint.
If we get a call from a prospective customer and I’m available, I can go straight over. From the car, in just five minutes I can modify one of the stock presentations I routinely keep in my Dropbox. I change the name to the prospect’s name, change the date, etc. Sometimes I put in a little about them.
Then I can go meet with the prospect. While talking to them, I take out the iPad and show them the presentation on the spot. That almost always impresses them because it is personalized to them and it happens fast.