Small Business Owners
The number of decisions small business owners must make is seemingly endless. They are the authority on whom to hire, how to run the business and with whom to do business with, so choosing tech tools may not always be at the top of their priority list. With the use of the cloud on the rise, small business owners are more eager than ever to take advantage of software-as-a-service (SaaS) solutions – essentially software that is delivered and maintained over the internet rather than running on a server in the office. For those that are considering a move to the cloud but haven’t made the leap yet, here is a brief overview of the multiple reasons to relocate.
For many small businesses, resources are already stretched thin and owners cannot afford to spend money that is not directly related to business development and results. The cloud is an ideal solution because it’s less expensive than on-premise options. With lower subscription and maintenance costs, small businesses can focus their resources on developing their companies, not buying software and infrastructure. Many SaaS applications give users free trials or accounts, which lets businesses test out different solutions. Small businesses can try out various options until they determine which ones best fit their company and employee needs. Companies that invest in on-premise solutions may find that the tools do not align with their business activities and they can ultimately lose money from unused solutions.
Plus, it’s quick and easy to get started with the cloud. Small businesses don’t have the time to be held back by IT issues. In many cases, transferring to the cloud is as easy as logging on to a website and signing up with an email address. With cloud-based offerings, small business owners don’t need to spend resources hiring IT employees, who are critical for businesses that implement on-premise solutions. Using cloud solutions means employees don’t need to worry about backups, server upgrades or security. Instead, they can focus on their main responsibilities within the company.
The flexibility of the cloud is especially helpful today when it’s common for employees to work from home or locations other than the business’ central office. With employees located across various regions and continents, collaboration is crucial. For businesses that have new employees in different offices, the cloud helps make training easier. A cloud solution allows employees to access notes, documents and updates at any time, regardless of where they are.
New small businesses are increasingly adopting cloud tools to ensure operations run smoothly. Cloud tools can help companies in all aspects of operations from email marketing to customer relationship management (CRM) to finance to security. For young businesses, a web-based CRM solution can save time (some businesses have seen productivity gains of 20 percent), money (some companies have saved $5,000 per month using a CRM), and increase sales. Employees can access this information from any device, from any location and at any time. As more consumers become social media savvy, businesses can turn to social CRM solutions to monitor customer inquiries and comments across the web in a timely manner. Similarly, a cloud-based email marketing solution allows businesses to save time by sending out messages automatically. The cloud makes daily tasks easier for both business owners and employees. Employees can share information without backing it up and owners can save resources for business development instead of spending money on costly on-premise solutions and IT services.
By Anthony Smith,
Anthony Smith is the CEO of Insightly, a San Francisco-based SaaS CRM application. He built the first version of Insightly in six months from his home in Perth, Australia, after identifying a market need for a CRM solution focused on small business. He has previous experience designing and building CRM software for enterprise use. Prior to Insightly, Anthony worked as a consultant for IBM and as a software engineer for global mining consultancy Snowden.
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