We often hear about entrepreneurs launching exciting new tech businesses across the country, but the Australian economy is still largely driven by many successful, long-running businesses that were born long before phones came without cords, and it was possible to operate entirely “in the cloud.”
Cloud technology, and the hype around it has left many small business owners scratching their heads. It’s a curious concept, one that is often thought to be reserved for the bigger players. However, with the emergence of simple and inexpensive cloud-based tools, an increasing number of smaller operators, from the corner grocer to the tradesman running a one-person show, are taking the plunge with tech designed to save them money, time and to help them do things better.
As an increasing number of businesses understand the true value of the cloud, it’s no longer a question of if, but when. The benefits not only save time and increase efficiency, but they open up completely new ways to get the job done.
Are you still not convinced? The many benefits of the cloud might make you think otherwise.
Benefits of the cloud:
1. Freedom to work anywhere, from any device
The cloud allows business owners to access all the documents they need from any device, at any time. This can be particularly helpful for contractors travelling from job to job, who can’t afford to be anchored to their desk.2. Safer storage for your files
2. Safer storage for your files
Ever save a bunch of files on your computer, only to have it crash and lose all your valuable work? Hardware failure is the leading cause of data loss. When you work in the cloud, anything saved on any device is automatically backed up and stored on a remote server, which can be immediately retrieved, even if the device breaks down.
3. Significant cost reduction
Purchasing and maintaining storage hardware can be costly, especially when it needs to be replaced every few years in order to be compatible with new technologies. Instead of investing in data storage, businesses should consider using Google’s cloud services like Google Docs, Gmail, Google Drive, all of which are free.
4. An entire cloud-based app economy at your service
There are a number of useful apps for small business that plug into the cloud to help you operate in all new ways. Some of the most popular include Dropbox, which makes it easy to store, search, and share documents from any device. Invoice2go, which allows small business owners to invoice right when the job is done, directly from their mobile device, or Wunderlist, a simple online tool for creating and managing to do lists, setting reminders and collaborating with others.
5. Easy collaboration and sharing
Many cloud-based solutions have been built on the concept of virtual collaboration. With the click of a button, files can be shared, edited and viewed instantly with staff, clients and other businesses. Need to send your tax receipts to your accountant? Time to deliver the monthly statement to your customer? Need to sign important documents on the go? Cloud technology allows you to complete essential business functions on the spot, without the use of printers, fax machines or snail mail.
Simple steps to cloud adoption
Adapting to new technologies can seem like a time consuming and difficult process, however the long term benefits far outweigh the learning curve.
Incorporating new technology doesn’t have to be a huge challenge. Here are some easy ways to introduce new tech into your business:
- Focus on bottlenecks & key areas for improvement
Assess which aspects of your business could be improved in terms of efficiency, use of time, and allocation of resources. There’s no need to take on an entire suite of new solutions. Just focus on the key areas for improvement and identify the one or two best tools for the job.
- Begin with the basics
Don’t sign up for something with a bunch of shiny features that you don’t need. Complicated tools end up being less useful to you if they’re a pain to use. Focus on simple technology that gets straight to the problem you’re trying to solve.
- Teach and encourage those around you
If you are planning to introduce a new technology into your business, ensure any employees are also familiar with how to use it. Remind and encourage everyone to use it until it becomes second nature and a true part of your everyday business operations.
By incrementally adopting new technologies like cloud-based computing, small and microbusinesses can improve their operations, appear more professional in front of their customers, and better position themselves to succeed in a competitive market.
About the author:
This article was written by Chris Strode, founder of the world’s number one mobile invoicing app, Invoice2go.