Cloud Startup Fast-tracking
Start-ups face many challenges, the biggest of which is usually managing growth. A start-up that does not grow is at constant risk of failure, whereas a new business that grows faster than expected may be hindered by operational constraints, such as a lack of staff, workspace and networks. It is an unfortunate fact that many start-ups fail in the first five years, in fact, according to Forbes, 8 in 10 new businesses fail in their first three years.
New businesses go through three distinct phases of development: start-up phase, rapid growth and relative maturity. During the start-up phase the main objective of the business is to survive and gain some market share. The second phase, rapid growth phase, sees the business experience a period of rapid but controlled expansion. The final phase is relative maturity, which is when a business becomes profitable and focuses on maintaining market share while also looking for the next growth area.
According to Deloitte, small businesses that adopt cloud technology to overcome common growth challenges grow 26% faster and deliver 21% higher gross profits. In short, businesses are growing faster thanks to cloud based business support services. Of all businesses questioned, 85% said that the cloud had enabled their business to scale and grow faster.
1. Rapid Growth Potential
Cloud based solutions are perfect for start-up businesses because they operate on a software as a service model (SAAS) that is dynamic and immediately scalable.
Cloud software service managers often provide a tailored solution for their clients, in fact, often the software providers better understand the current and future needs of their clients more than the start-up owners. Therefore, a good cloud software provider essentially acts as an IT manager for the business, planning and delivering IT change as and when the business requires it.
2. Scalable and Dynamic IT Solutions
It is recommended that SMEs optimise their technology and business practices for the digital world. Businesses that plan for rapid growth and change are better equipped to take advantage when growth occurs. In the past, a company would have to predict its needs over the forthcoming year and make an investment. This could result in an expensive overspend or an IT solution that quickly becomes obsolete.
Many modern cloud-based solutions are modular, which means that as a business grows and its needs evolve, new software can be rapidly deployed over the Internet. For example, during the initial stages of start-up a business may only require a lightweight CRM platform with email functionality for a few members of staff. Rapid growth may see staff numbers quickly increase and managers may require more advanced accounting and reporting software.
3. Advanced business management
Enterprise Resource Planning solutions will allow a business to add on inventory management, logistics, sales management, and accounting and HR functions to the same platform that is already running the CRM solution.
This seamless deployment of new IT solutions on existing platforms allows businesses to very quickly adapt to changing fortunes and capitalise on early growth.
4. Improved Security
The rapid growth of digital solutions is a double-edged sword. On the one hand, a business can quickly gather the tools required to beat the competition, but at the same time an increase reliance on the Internet can increase IT security risk. Data theft, hacking, viruses and malware are on the rise and many small businesses do not have the resources to combat these problems themselves.
Cloud-based security services provide a blanket of protection between business networks and the Internet, thus making a business more secure. The best business idea in the world can quickly be destroyed by a major security breach.
A business that utilizes cloud based services is able to easily move location. A growing business may need to move to larger offices, or a relocation to the technology heartland may provide new opportunities for collaboration. Not relying on an in-house IT network makes moving office as easy as moving home.
The transition from start-up phase to rapid growth is the key time for a new business. If this transition is not properly managed a business may lose out on important opportunities and fail to achieve its full potential. Businesses that plan for success are more likely achieve it and in the modern, digital age, IT networks form the backbone of every business. Cloud is therefore helping startups grow faster.
By Gary Gould