In the novel Time’s Eye (co-written by two giants of science fiction Arthur C. Clarke and Stephen Baxter), the protagonist uses a cellphone that connects her with every part of the planet and provides her with, among other things, on-demand information about anything she needs. Although the novel is set in 2037, it appears that we’ve already entered this incredible era.

Today, smartphones account for 31% of all active mobile phones, and these numbers are growing rapidly: between 2009 and 2010, the number of smartphones increased by 72%. This is not surprising, considering their great affordability and convenience. Within a few years, it appears that every individual on Earth will be equipped with a smartphone (and perhaps, as in Time’s Eye, even provided to every child by the government). As such, mobility is undoubtedly the next frontier of business.

Make Your Website Mobile-Friendly

Today’s smartphones essentially have the functionality of any home computer: word-processing and office tools, games, music, photos, videos and most importantly, internet connectivity. More and more people are using their smartphones to surf the Web. However, websites are naturally not optimized to display on tiny mobile screens. Therefore, it is imperative to create a mobile-friendly website that can be accessed on any phone. Not only will more people find you, your business will fly well ahead of the competition.

A mobile-friendly website is of even greater importance if you employ e-mail marketing techniques. According to a 2009 survey, 85% of smartphone owners use their phones to check e-mail. 35% have purchased a product by clicking a link on an e-mail through their smartphone! The message is clear: you need to make sure your website or online store is functional for smartphones.

Time-Sensitive Businesses

The great thing about a mobile phone is that it is always within hand’s reach. Today, people seldom go anywhere without their phone. We crave constant connectivity. This fact is crucial for time-sensitive businesses such as towing or locksmiths. For example, if someone is stuck by the road, they need to find a towing service fast. A quick search on their phone will undeniably result in a host of companies, but it will be the one optimized for the mobile phone that endures.

Location-Based Businesses

With GPS technology on every phone, it has become almost second-nature to look up businesses in the area. This is especially common for high-demand services like restaurants, hairdressers, dry cleaners and pharmacies. Once again, a website optimized for mobile phones drastically increases its likelihood of being visited. Tools like Foursquare further market your business when patrons “check in” on their mobile phones.

An Open Door

The conclusion is evident: mobile is the way to go for businesses. The time to adapt is now. As said by Alexander Graham Bell, the inventor of the phone, “Sometimes we stare so long at a door that is closing that we see too late the one that is open.” The mobile door has certainly opened. Time to step through it.