Deals require a signature, and the signature needs to have reliable legal standing–no matter where, when or with what the deal is done–including mobile.
In the past, small and midsize businesses have been able to cover most of their bases by signing documents by fax. It has been more challenging to come up with a model that works with mobile technology, but business owners say the technology is now catching up to what their old fax machines could do. And, as buyers of the latest mobile devices equipped with fingerprint-sensitive hardware have found, the transmittable fingerprint is changing the landscape even further.
Mobile tech and closing the deal
In a recent j2 Global survey, more than 32% of 1,100 SMB leaders said they closed a deal in 2013 on their smartphone or tablet.
Beth Ann Alitt, owner of Alitt Insurance, based in San Marcos, Calif., is accustomed to faxing paperwork back and forth for signatures, but plans to also use mobile fingerprint signatures moving forward.
“As a small-business owner helping local businesses and residents obtain almost every type of insurance possible, I fax daily to process paperwork under tight deadlines,” said Alitt. “Last year, I faxed on a cruise and even at a Paul McCartney concert in London.”
Alitt is in good company. One-third of owners polled in the j2 Global survey said that the tipping point for using mobile devices is the advent of fingerprint signature features. Alitt said these features “will help me close even more deals on the go.”
In fact, about 70% of those surveyed said that digitized fingerprint signatures will help them to close more deals.
The new “office”
If the j2 survey is any indication, small-business owners need plenty of flexibility when closing deals. The j2 survey also showed that:
- — 74% of business owners have closed a business deal at a restaurant or bar;
- — 23% said the train or inside a car was an environment in which they’d closed a deal, thanks to their mobile devices;
- — More that 30% sent or received a fax on a plane, or in an airport, via mobile tech;
- — 20% sent or received a fax via a smartphone or tablet at a sporting event; and
- — Deals have also been closed in the dentist’s office, at casinos, waiting in line at the Department of Motor Vehicles and while climbing El Capitan in Yosemite.
All of this suggests that the very notion of the office is changing.
“The mobile device is the office,” said Mike Pugh, vice president of marketing for j2 Global. “That means that deals need to get done anywhere. Same with contracts, invoices, expense reports, and any other document that keep a business moving.”