Did you know that there are over 400 million mobile users in the United States alone? I know, it seems a little strange considering that our entire population is only about 330 million. But I saw that number somewhere on the Internet, so just work with me on this: there are a lot of mobile users, OK?

They’re searching on their mobile devices, too. And did you know that when someone is searching on their mobile device, the search algorithm used is different than the algorithm used from a laptop or PC? Mobile devices search for mobile-optimized websites first. Is your website mobile optimized? No?

1. Go mobile or bust

If your website isn’t mobile optimized, that’s the first thing you need to do right now in order to grow your business. Skip it and your business will suffer in three ways.

  • Your customers (or prospective customers) might not find you when they’re searching from their smartphones and tablets. Or worse, your competitor — that guy who has a mobile-optimized site — will get found before you.
  • Even if your site is found, your visitors will get annoyed pretty fast as they’re scrolling up and down on your unfriendly site. They’ll wind up going somewhere else that’s easier to navigate.
  • Your community will ostracize you, your friends will shun you, and you’ll likely suffer long-term depression.

OK, just kidding … that last one won’t happen. There are really just two ways. But to grow your business, it’s important that you create a mobile-optimized website. It’s not hard. It’s not expensive. Get it done.

2. Focus on mobile advertising

Did you know advertisers will spend $17 trillion on mobile ads in 2014? Wait — that’s not right. I think that’s the size of our national debt. Or what I paid for my kids’ college tuition last year. So ignore that. Even so, advertisers will be spending billions on mobile ads over the next few years.

Millions of eyeballs are looking at ads on their devices as I write this post.

Why? Because that’s where people are nowadays. They’re listening to music, getting directions, playing games, “checking in” with their friends, tweeting, posting, liking, pinning and annoying their seatmates on airplanes all across the land. But, you are running a growing business and, even though some of these people are annoying, you want their trade. So here’s a whole new area where they can find you — which is why mobile advertising has exploded over the past few years and why you haven’t received a Yellow Pages phone book in a decade.

Be smart. Focus on mobile advertising. Most of us search for phone numbers, addresses, maps and the like from our devices. Millions of eyeballs are looking at ads on their devices as I write this post. To grow, you’ll need to consider advertising on those popular sites that people are visiting.

3. Accept there will be an app for that, and embrace it

Does your top sales guy listen to Dean Martin? Does he smoke cigars? Does he wear an original pork pie hat and say things like “back in the day” or “old school”? Yeah, that’s him. And do your field service employees have great abs, tanned bodies and dominate your company softball team? Yeah, that’s right, too. Well, they all better brace themselves because their lives are really about to change.

In order to grow, you’re going to equip them with tablets that run all sorts of applications they’ll need to use to get their jobs done.

Like mobile applications that will connect your sales reps to your customer relationship management system, allow them to look up prices, and do quotes on the fly. Like apps that will enable your service team to fill out work orders, get a customer’s signature using only their finger, accept credit card payments, and automatically email receipts while simultaneously updating your company’s accounting system back in the office. Even the guys in your shop will be running around with tablets to check inventory, sign off on a process, and approve a quality check.

You know this is coming. You know that there are dozens of software companies introducing this functionality now, and that you will be investing in these application so that you can continue to grow. Your sales and service teams are going to have to adapt. My advice: more office parties and softball. It’ll help ease their pain.

Do you use a fun mobile app on your phone? Do you get driving directions from Siri? Play games? Count your steps? Tweet a friend? That’s child’s play. In the next few years, look for today’s mobile technologies to mature into true business tools as today’s business applications mature into true on-the-go programs. To grow, you’ll adapt. You will have no choice. And neither will your people.

Image by kevin dooley via Compfight cc