Smartphones have changed how small businesses work. Customers can find a contractor, make an appointment, or order dinner with a few taps.

Smartphones are used by 94 percent of small businesses, up from 85 percent last year, according to the 2014 AT&T Small Business Technology Poll.

The report on Score.org offers several ways to make your business more mobile friendly:

  • Many businesses have websites that look great on desktop PCs and laptops but are difficult to use on mobile devices because they look very small or have compatibility challenges with mobile technology formats. Consider customizing your site to highlight the information most important to your consumers who search for you while they’re on the move.
  • Restaurant customers use mobile websites to find the address, hours and phone numbers to place an order or reserve a table rather than check out the newest menu. Consider dividing your website into three main sections (company, services, and contact us) to help users locate information quickly.
  • About 90 percent of all text messages being read within three minutes of delivery according to research by mobileSQUARED.3. This makes text messaging—aka Short Message Service (SMS)—a very effective way to reach consumers. Adding video links or photos to your SMS messages help.
  • Keep text messages short, to the point, and interesting. Track results and determine which messages get the highest response. A doctor’s office that offers patients the option to receive text messages instead of phone reminders for scheduled appointments reduces missed appointments and office time spent calling patients.
  • Mobile apps let you provide more content, capabilities, and customization than mobile websites. They tend to perform better because they are built for specific operating systems.
  • Many premade apps are available to buy off the shelf and customize to your small business. This is usually cheaper than building an app from scratch. A building materials supplier could strengthen relationships with area contractors by providing an app that lets contractors calculate job estimates faster.

Find more details at tinyurl.com/nb8cdyq.

Diane Diamond is vice president of media relations for SCORE Southern Arizona, a nonprofit group that offers free small-business counseling and mentoring by appointment. For more information, go to southernarizona.score.org, email mentoring@scoresouthernaz.org or call 505-3636.