Using the Cloud to Help Your Startup March Towards Success

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Time and cash flow: the two things most start-ups are short on. Anything that saves either of those is beyond its weight in gold for a new business. Check out how you can use the cloud to successfully manage – and build – your brand new business, without breaking the bank in the process.

Lower Your Overhead Costs

It used to be that when people started their businesses, they would need to find commercial space to rent or buy.  Now, more and more startup founders are foregoing the massive amount of overhead associated with this type of setup and working remotely instead.  Real costs money. Do you REALLY need an office with a desk, a receptionist and a bunch of filing cabinets? When you’re starting out and every dollar has to pay its way, the chances are that you don’t need these things right off the bat and that working remotely is a viable option.  The cloud makes this possible.  How?  Because software and applications no longer need to be natively installed on computers, they are web based instead.  Files can be accessed from anywhere there’s an Internet connection.   Regardless of your team’s size, everyone can communicate and collaborate in real-time, as needed.

Decrease Your Communication Expenses

It’s no secret that every business, regardless of size, relies on communication to keep the doors open.  After all, how else can you prospect for new business?  Or ensure payroll is accurate?  Or brainstorm new marketing ideas with the team?  Thanks to the cloud, however, communication medium like phone and email are cheaper than ever.  Businesses no longer have to self-host email servers, now that inexpensive services like Google Apps and Office 365 are available.   Long distance calls cost a sliver of what they used to in the past now that Skype, Viber, Google Hangouts and Facebook’s FaceTime are available.  Heck, you can even do video calls with people halfway around the world for cheap.

Improve Collaboration amongst Your Team Members

Remember the days of when someone would have to email a file out to an entire team for comments and there would end up being multiple versions of the same file once everyone was done with it?  With the cloud, this headache is a thing of the past.  Now files can be stored and accessed by everyone on your team at once via tools like Google Drive, Dropbox and Box, so processes are streamlined and efficiency is improved.  The latter is especially true if you integrate a project management platform into your workflow- like BaseCamp or Asana – so that you can delegate tasks, assign due dates and keep dialogue about projects and deliverables neatly organized.  This eliminates the need for long email threads of conversations.  It also creates a nice archived dialogue of conversations that can be accessed at a later date, if or when needed.

Better Prepare for Disasters

Natural disasters like floods, tornadoes and earthquakes happen.  And when they do, they can wreak havoc on businesses that aren’t prepared.    If all of your businesses software packages, files and critical data is in the cloud, regardless of what happens to your computers and tablets, you won’t suffer a catastrophic loss that you may not be able to recover from.   The same goes if there’s a theft or hardware malfunction.  If everything your business needs to operate is stored in the cloud, you’ll be able to bounce back much quicker than if it wasn’t.  What’s more, services like iDrive, Crashplan and Carbonite do these backups frequently to ensure that what’s backed up is always current.

Plan for the Future

You’re a startup, which means that if all goes according to plan, your business is going to look a lot different in 12 months than it does today.  So, why would you want to pay massive amounts of money upfront for extra user licenses that you don’t yet need for services that are critical to the success of your business?  Doesn’t it make more sense to pay only for what you need now – and then gradually scale up as your business grows?  That’s exactly what the cloud does.  You pay only for what you need presently, and when the time comes, you can gradually increase things to a level that is more appropriate for supporting your business needs.

Starting a new business is as exciting as it is scary.  There’s a lot of uncertainty involved and it’s no secret that it can be an expensive undertaking.  Thankfully, the cloud significantly reduces your initial costs AND levels the playing field so that even brand new companies like yours look as professional as larger corporations.