Could You Run Your Consultancy On iPad Exclusively?

Bruce Ridge

could you run your consultancy on iPad alone?

Running a consultancy on iPad exclusively, have you ever thought about it?Is it possible? Can the current "best iPad" really do all the tech stuff it takes to actually replace your computer?

4 Reasons Why You Would Consider Running Your Consultancy On iPad

Do any of these situations apply to you? They would certainly lead you to seriously investigate the tablet option as a significant or exclusive solution:

  • You work on-the-go most of the time, away from your office and in many environments.
    Whether you travel a lot, or simply visit many offices, factories or coffee shops, you need to use time well. You want to be productive anywhere, anytime.
  • One of your core business needs is to present, discuss or share information in an one-to-one or one-to two in a personalised way.
  • Your business is still small and you want to keep operations simple and lean. The number of your business devices needs to be kept to a minimum.
  • As a starting consultant, you need to balance your initial investment outlay and giving yourself the tools enabling your growth.
  • As a solo-consultant, you can't justify having both a tablet and a laptop/desktop. And it is time to replace a geriatric/dead old computer
  • You wish to build a consistent brand image as early adopter, innovator, and new-tech-fan. You want to manage change and show the way to the future.

I Had To Put It To The Test

Running my consultancy on Ipad alone seemd right for me. So I spoke with a few colleagues as I was researching the potential to replace my old and damaged MacBook with an iPad Pro. The consensus was the hardware and software technology is not quite there, but close.However, I could see there were work-arounds for most of the limitations, not perfect but doable.Ideally, it would have been nice to be able afford both devices but that wasn't the case and if it was going too work I needed to commit fully, so I barred myself from laptop. To make the big jump successfully, I needed to force myself to a new way of interfacing with a device especially combining a keyboard with touchscreen and a digital pen.I did it! And I had fun discovering the power and limitation of my new toy, I mean tool. Here is what I found:

What I love, What Works For My Consultancy

  • Customer interface - Research has shown that customers like someone who takes notes. A device that sits on a table top like a paper notebook, especially with a digital pen, replicates that nicely. The communication barrier created by the vertical screen of a laptop is gone. And our audience may better focus on our story and taking notes.
  • Touch screen - swiping, dragging and voice control are here and very much the future; so it is becoming "natural", effortless.
  • Split screen - I love the 50:50 split screen function, reading an email/document and filling in detail on other screen e.g. on line forms etc.
  • Content input - digital pens that transcribe and voice input are getting better and practical to use.
  • Cloud apps and storage - For many, this is still a trust issue. Having worked in the data security and ISP community, and used cloud storage (Gmail for instance) for over 10 years, I know from practical experience that I have never lost anything when using remote/cloud storage.
    On the other hand, I have had failures when using local backup tech and despite having some of the best on-site technology with redundancy; (read "I hate Apple's Timecapsule").
    Microsoft and Adobe are promoting their online software with an offline app on your tablet.
  • Rapid startup - I love the speed at which I can start working with the Tablet, it is almost instantaneous, my clients don't have to wait, meetings start and run more smoothly.
  • Smaller and lighter, its portability and anywhere-usability is great for me
  • Finger print ID login is great for security
  • Sketching and hand writing apps are awesome - I love drawing concepts and annotating pics and drawings. My client toady loved two of my high level concept sketches, despite my artistic skills!
  • A plethora of Apps!
  • Finally, whilst not a business necessity for me, the camera and speaker system are awesome.

Why Wouldn't You Do It...Yet?

  • Learning curve
    Yes, I spent many days setting it up rather than cloning a new laptop and using software I had always used. There is a discovery phase and learning curve that not everyone will enjoy as much as I do.
  • Power user frustrations
    Power users of Excel and Word and specialist software will find limitations, unworkable unless they juggle devices. In my case I use a lot of templates (often created through OS freelancers with little cost) so it isn't a problem. A popular tech reviewer commented that he only uses his Laptop 20% of the time now.
  • Operating system
    IOS is designed to run on a host of hardware from the lowest spec iPhone to a powerful iPad Pro.So it can't have the full capability of laptop/desktop software.
  • Microsoft Surface is a competitive contender.
  • When you don't have to replace your dead/dying computer right now, you have the option to wait for another one or two hardware and IOS versions before making the jump.

So, What Next?

We believe that iPad is the perfect expression of the future of personal computing.
- Tim Cook at the launch of iPad Pro 9.7

"Expression of the future", those very words suggest that we are not quite there yet, but the commitment is there, so it will happen! Be prepared.

  1. Keep up with technology upgrades that can improve your productivity and the way you interact with your clients. Increase your experience of high-end tablets like iPad Pro, and make the time to experiment with the apps that suit your business focus and style. See how far you can go. You may be surprised by how much you may be able to reduce your reliance on a desktop/laptop
  2. Pick the right time for you to change over to running your consultancy 100% on iPad.

The ultimate test will be if our President and resident Excel Guru can drive Excel on it to a level that satisfies him!!! At least it will be latest version rather than a 2011 version, but then again it's Apple!To know more about our practical experiences of what IT solutions can work well for consultants, coaches and business advisors, contact us.

P.S. In case you wonder, here are the key business apps I use and included in my experimentation:

  • MS Office – subscription suite (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, One note)
  • 1PASSWORD password vault (over 500 passwords)
  • Dropbox
  • Quickbooks online
  • Messenger – I can answer my iPhone call or text from the iPad
  • Skype
  • Pay stay (parking meter app)
  • Nebo – Awesome note taking, sketching and hand writing app
  • Paypal
  • iCloud
  • iCloud Drive
  • Apple mail
  • Linkedin
  • Evernote
  • Grammarly (sadly not an iPad app yet but available on the web via browser)
  • And many more!
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