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How To Leverage Cloud Computing as A Small Business?

You may currently be using cloud computing, and you don’t even realise it. Cloud computing makes it possible in secret, whether you’re using an online service like Gmail or Outlook 365 to send an email, collaborate on a document, store files, or stream a video. 

Cloud computing for business is rapidly evolving and in case you haven’t started, this is the best opportune time to start using it for your business. Foundry’s 2020 cloud computing research has found that 92% of companies use services connected to or run in the cloud. At this point, I’m pretty sure that the numbers began skyrocketing due to the pandemic as it made online work global, and this trend is likely to continue.

So, what exactly is cloud computing for? 

Here are some of the most common cloud computing uses according to 

  • Cloud storage: Cloud services ensure your data is stored in an offsite cloud storage system, allowing easy access from any internet-connected location or device. Cloud storage allows you to share file securely and sync files across devices. Popular cloud storage services include Dropbox, Microsoft OneDrive, and Google Drive. 
  • Cloud backup services: Cloud backup services are failsafe solutions if your company experiences a server crash, cyberattack or other data loss. The best cloud backup services combine storage, data synchronization and restoration, real-time backups, archiving, and high-level security. Many cloud storage services also provide cloud backup functionality.
  • Cloud hosting: Cloud hosting services facilitate multiple types of information sharing, including email services, application hosting, web-based phone systems and data storage. A cloud hosting service can host your business website, manage databases, and house domain names. Because cloud hosting services are offsite, scaling to manage peak loads is effortless. 
  • Software as a service: Software as a service (SaaS) is a cloud-based application delivery solution. Businesses can use SaaS solutions in many operational areas. For example, you can implement SaaS CRM software like Salesforce for sales management, accounting software like QuickBooks Online for finance management, and email marketing software for enhanced marketing communications. 

With all the acquired knowledge of the uses of cloud computing, the big question is, “How can a small business leverage cloud computing?

The members of Young Entrepreneur Council contribute and share nine of the most effective ways to use cloud technology to grow your business as well as other benefits you may gain by doing so:

1. Manage Customer Relationship Information

One of the most impactful ways a small business can use cloud technology for growth is by implementing a cloud-based customer relationship management (CRM) system, such as Salesforce or HubSpot, to help your business manage interactions with customers, clients and prospects. Benefits of utilizing a CRM system include 1. increased sales by automating lead generation and revenue forecasting, 2. improved customer service, 3. enhanced marketing by creating targeted marketing campaigns across different customer types and 4. organized team collaboration by centralizing customer data. By leveraging a cloud-based CRM, small businesses can access enterprise-level technology at a fraction of the cost, which can help them scale. – Eddie Lou, CodaPet

2. Streamline Project Management

Utilizing cloud-based project management solutions is one of the most efficient ways for a small firm to utilize cloud technology for the purpose of expansion. By facilitating remote work and offering real-time access to project data, these solutions can improve the productivity and collaboration of several teams working on the same task. If small businesses can streamline their project management processes, they can put more money and time into growth projects and reach more people. – John Rampton, Calendar.

3. Collaborate With Vendors, Contractors And Partners

As you bring on more agency partners, contractors, freelancers and more, it’s easiest to use collaborative cloud software to stay up to date with important files, data, creative assets, order information and customer information. Platforms like Google Drive help your business scale in a safe and secure manner, especially since there’s a changelog whenever different participants add or remove things, in case you need to revert to an earlier version of the document. – Firas Kittaneh, Amerisleep Mattress

4. Automate Monotonous Tasks

One of the most impactful ways a small business can use cloud technology for growth is by leveraging cloud-based automation tools. These tools enable businesses to automate mundane tasks such as customer support, data entry and billing processes. This frees up time and resources that can be used toward more strategic initiatives that drive growth. Furthermore, these tools are often more cost-effective than traditional solutions, making them an attractive option for small businesses looking to save money while still achieving their goals. – Kristin Kimberly Marquet, Marquet Media, LLC

5. Reduce Retraining Time

The most impactful thing cloud technology does for business growth is offer virtually unlimited scaling options. Old-school methods for business management often required upgrading to new tools at least once every few years. When we hit our stride, we updated our software every year. It was time-consuming and stressful, especially when we had to retrain team members to use the latest tool. Cloud technology is flexible, and you can continue to scale it up as your business grows. I’ve found that this makes it easier to manage projects and plan for the future. – Damanjeet Singh, FunnelKit

6. Boost Your Team’s Productivity

One impactful way a small business can use cloud technology for growth is by leveraging productivity tools like Asana. Things are generally a bit hectic for small businesses when scaling up, as an individual has to wear multiple hats to keep the needle moving. Productivity tools help small businesses ensure that their efforts translate into valuable outcomes. Using these tools, you can split your goals into milestones, assign carefully designed tasks to key stakeholders and track progress along the way. These tools help you move forward in an organized way and make it easier for you to assess the impact of set deliverables. – Stephanie Wells, Formidable Forms

7. Gain And Track Useful Insights

Small businesses can use data analytics solutions to ensure seamless growth. Data is the king as it helps you make informed choices and calculated decisions essential for success. Tools like Google Analytics and other cloud solutions make it easier for you to gather useful insights and track your performance to see if your efforts are paying off. With cloud analytics solutions, you can learn about your customers’ behaviour, interests, preferences and buying patterns, which helps you devise stellar targeting and engagement strategies for your business. Overall, cloud analytics solutions make you an efficient decision-maker and help foster operational excellence. – Chris Klosowski, Easy Digital Downloads

8. Store Data Safely

One of the biggest challenges for small businesses is access to data, such as customer information, invoices, purchase orders and more, and many small businesses have a habit of using physical forms of data storage rather than digital. Even if they are using digital, it’s legacy desktop software. The biggest problem with this approach is data scattering and potential unavailability during crucial times. For example, if your company data is stored in an employee’s laptop and they lose that laptop or something bad happens, you could forever lose your data. That’s where cloud technology could be a huge lifesaver for small businesses. Using software that stores data safely and securely over the cloud, making it available 24/7 and completely agnostic of people and machines, will lead small businesses to growth. – Vibhav Singh, XTEN-AV LLC

9. Save Time And Money

Saving time and money are essential for company growth—especially for small-to-medium-sized businesses (SMBs). Cloud technology’s primary benefit is helping companies save money by avoiding hardware expenses and allowing them to scale up or down dynamically based on need. An excellent initial step is to take inventory of your IT infrastructure’s current usage to see if there is any wasted capacity or large fluctuations based on time of year or demand. If there is a large amount of waste or significant volatility, a cloud solution can help mitigate those issues. Another way businesses can lower costs and take advantage of cloud perks is by improving collaboration, productivity and security with an all-in-one cloud solution such as Microsoft 365. – Julian Hamood, Trusted Tech Team

  1. It’s Cost-Efficient: While cloud computing may consist of buying and maintaining hardware and networking equipment requires time, expertise and money, a cloud computing provider stores data for you without all the downsides. Furthermore, preparing business operations in the cloud requires a smaller initial investment than creating an in-house infrastructure and a devoted IT team. A cloud setup allows you to be more flexible with your budget and pay for only what you use. Prices for business-oriented cloud services are still a monthly or annual expense, but it’s a manageable and predictable expense.

Cloud computing offers small businesses greater flexibility, scalability, and competitiveness can help save time and money by improving productivity, enhance collaboration among stakeholders even if they’re geographically disseminated, and promotes innovation. 

It also allows businesses to attain access and share data in real-time which promotes increased productivity and better decision-making. Moreover, cloud computing allows small businesses to compete with larger enterprises by providing access to the same resources and tools. The cloud enables and equips small businesses to quickly adopt new technologies and keep up with industry trends.

Moving to the cloud can assist small businesses to leverage the power of technology and compete with larger businesses on a more level playing field. The benefits of cloud computing for small businesses are innumerable and remarkable, making it an indispensable tool for business success in today’s digital age.

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