One of the basics of the cloud is that it has created a level playing field when it comes to competition between small and large businesses. Many of the first wave of cloud users were, in fact, innovative small businesses who saw the value of putting some aspects, if not all of their operations, in the cloud. Here are five good business operation areas for any small business to consider moving to the cloud.
1. Communication – This is a key tool for any business but can be a vital one for a small business. VoIP was one of the early applications of the cloud for communications, and then came online video conferencing. Today you can add cloud email, instant messaging, video chat and more to that arsenal. And the beauty of most of them is that they are not only often inexpensive to implement, they will make your business more efficient.
2. File Sharing – As business becomes more mobile and remote offices more common, being able to keep your files in the cloud just makes good sense. Your clients can access the information they need, your email will not get filled up with all those bulky and memory consuming attachments and you will soon find that being able to pull up that file of information you need at the snap of a button on your smartphone is habit forming, and good for business.
3. Software – Why should a small business have to spend all of its time and money keeping software up to date when it doesn’t need to? Put your operations in the cloud with web-based software or services and everyone in the company is always on same application and same version of that application. Collaborate online, share files back and forth, send notes through the net, it is all possible and not as out of reach as you may think.
4. Backup – The dreaded backup is something all small businesses should do and often don’t. The days of having the last person out the door turn on the tape-drive backup machine are gone – and good riddance. Now you can back up everything in the cloud so no matter what happens, fire, hurricane or break-in, you are covered. There is no worse feeling then realizing your entire business just went up in smoke because your backup was on the machine next to that smoking hulk that used to be your computer.
5. Customer service – Today there are so many great cloud-based CRM programs it is hard to even know where to start. The cloud is the perfect tool for customer service, and for many small businesses, customer service is key to success.
This is truly just scratching the surface of the many great ways that the cloud makes sense for any small business. While it is true that not every business needs the cloud, and not every aspect of a business should be in the cloud, many small businesses find that moving the daily operations into it has made them more efficient, cost effective and that the ROI is better than they expected.
What are some of your favorite small business cloud applications?
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