This post, written by Jared Lindzon, originally appeared on Betakit and has been republished with permission.
Small business owners can rarely afford to take a step out of the office, let alone the country, which make travel plans — even for business purposes — a major productivity sacrifice. Fortunately, today’s workplace has become ubiquitous, and with the right technological tools, small business owners can keep one foot in the office no matter what part of the world they’re in.
Keep Tech Light and Powerful
CEOs on the go can’t afford the luggage space or muscle strength required to drag an office worth of equipment onto an airplane, which makes compact hardware a vital companion. Fortunately, lightweight laptops, tablets and smartphones can accomplish more today than a clunky desktop could 10 years ago.
Take it To the Cloud
Lightweight mobile devices are also becoming more powerful thanks to emerging cloud technologies. Instead of saving documents, applications and other media onto physical hard drives, cloud technologies like Office 365, Rogers Mobile Work Folder, and Google Drive allow users to stay directly connected to their files and their office on the go.
Avoid Hard Copies- Use Mobile Apps that Can Scan
While printers are still a key component of any office environment, they’re not very favourable travel companions. Most hotels and offices on the road are more than happy to print documents, but putting the old John Hancock on a physical document and sending it back to the office via email isn’t always an option without an all-in-one printer/scanner. Fortunately, there’s the JotNot Scanner, an iPhone application that allows users to take pictures of documents with their smart phone and save them as PDF files, ready for emailing back to HQ.
Poke Your Head Through the Window
While it’s difficult to keep an eye on things at the office without a physical presence, there are a wide variety of free video conferencing programs available, which allow users to digitally attend meetings and conferences. Application such as Skype, Google Hangout and Oovooprovide an open window into the boardroom from any location with an Internet connection.
Plan Your Data Needs Ahead
With your lifeline to the office sitting in your pocket it’s important to hit the road with a pre-loaded data plan that will enable you to safely and reliably access these powerful online tools. To make things simpler for their US-bound small business customers, for example, Rogers allows customers using a Share Everything Plan to receive 100 minutes of talk in the US, unlimited text messaging and unlimited Canada to use minutes for only $20 per month. Be sure to talk to your wireless provider before hitting the road to ensure you’re not overpaying for roaming and data packages