Challenging as it is, getting your small business off the ground can be one of the most rewarding endeavours, however, it is a never-ending race. Once you have found your footing, the next thing should be to grow outwards and upwards. While there are various directions you can go in terms of growth, there is one core technology that can help you scale as needed: the cloud.
Are you using the cloud to its full potential?
The cloud has been around for a while, but many businesses haven’t yet used it to its full potential. By virtue of its nature, there is really no limit to how the technology can be deployed and by whom. The cloud is a network of servers, each with its own unique function, that provides computing power and hosts your data remotely.
As long as you are able to connect to the internet, you can access the cloud from anywhere. The technology makes it possible for you to scale your business however you need to. It’s a great way to start for a small business because it allows you to scale up or down, depending on demand.
Until you feel you are big enough to want your own dedicated servers, the cloud will allow you scale at your own pace. Essentially, you would be able to run your small business as efficiently as a large organisation without spending all your money on expensive systems.
When working with the cloud, it is important to know what you need right from the start, so you can negotiate a deal that matches your needs. For instance, if you expect sales or traffic to fluctuate aggressively, you should get a contract that provides you with variable bandwidth or storage space.
How to use the cloud
There are a number of functions the cloud can be useful for, including:
Customer relationship management (CRM)
CRM is an important part of any small business because that is where all the information about your leads and customers are kept. Services like Zoho allow you to manage your partners, customers, leads, and contacts via the cloud, making it possible for everyone involved with customer service to see what’s happening with a contact anytime and from anywhere.
With a cloud-based finance management service like QuickBooks, you can monitor cash flow and manage invoices from anywhere.
With tools like Trello or Asana, your small business can centralise all communications, checklists, documentation, and assets. It doesn’t matter how large you get, you will always be able to improve workflows and efficiency using these tools.
From individual applications that can handle marketing campaign tracking and social media to singular tools like Hubspot, there are several cloud-based solutions for marketing automation, which has become a no-brainer for any business looking to scale quickly.
There are other cloud-based tools, including content management systems like Shopify and cloud-enabled devices, which can be extremely useful depending on your needs.