So what are some of the top cloud-based offerings that are changing the game for entrepreneurs? In many ways, the type of app that you will use depends on the field that you are working in. But there are a few applications that are useful for almost everyone. Let’s take a look at a few examples.
4 tools you should definitely be using
Office 365 or Google Docs: The ability to run an entire office via the cloud is something that many people may take for granted, but it’s made a huge difference to startups that no longer have to pay expensive licensing fees for software that traditionally used to tie them down to one location. Now you can create documents, run business email accounts, share spreadsheets, and collaborate over vast distances with just the click of a button. Furthermore, because so many people are familiar with the interfaces provided by Google and Microsoft, the learning curve is not very steep and new team members can slot into the system quickly and easily.
QuickBooks: Accounting and bookkeeping are very often tough for entrepreneurs who are busy trying to grow their businesses and focus on what they do best, without worrying about keeping good records. A cloud-based accounting program that can track your income and expenses, manage cash flow, and take care of payroll is a life-saver to entrepreneurs.
Mozy: One of the biggest fears of small businesses migrating to the cloud is the idea that they may wake up one day to find all their data has been lost or deleted, and there is no way to get it back. But cloud-based services like Mozy provide rock-solid data protection for growing businesses, offering daily, weekly or monthly backups of critical data, as well as syncing from multiple devices with enterprise-grade encryption and full mobile access.
MailChimp: When it comes to marketing, cloud-based apps have been a godsend for entrepreneurs. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram–all are wonderful marketing tools to get your products and services out in front of customers and build a community of like-minded people who believe in what you do. But at the end of the day, the one marketing tool that is still more powerful than any other is email marketing. Cloud-based bulk email services, like MailChimp or Constant Contact allow entrepreneurs to build intimate relationships with customers and create working sales funnels that produce sales over and over again. The reporting is world-class too; you get to see who read your mail, what they liked and didn’t like, and much, much more.
How to get started
The beauty of cloud computing is that it allows small businesses to compete effectively with the big players. Start small, see what works, pay only for what you use, then scale up when things are going well and down when things are quiet. That’s the secret to getting the most out of the cloud.