When you are starting your own business, there is a big chance that you will be competing against larger and more established companies. In the beginning, the difference in resources can be overwhelming and you would often think, “What did I get myself into?”
However, if you truly believe in your product or service, you cannot afford to go out there with a defeatist mindset. You have to believe that your company can compete against the Goliaths of your industry.
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If you think about it, though, you will realize that the main difference between you and your larger competitors is their resources. They have access to the latest technology that can improve efficiency and productivity in different aspects of their business.
Fortunately for you, the rise of cloud technology has made it possible for small business owners to compete with large companies on a more even footing, at least when it comes to business productivity solutions. In a cloud set-up, the service is hosted on the provider’s data center and is delivered through the Internet. And with internet connectivity becoming more stable than ever, it has become a legitimate and very viable solution for businesses of all sizes.
To paint a clearer picture, here are the ways in which cloud-based business solutions are able to help your small business compete with larger companies:
No infrastructure and expensive hardware needed
In the past, a lot of business solutions had to be installed on-premise. Some services, like PBX phone systems, even require their own servers and other expensive hardware such as PBX boxes. Through cloud hosted services, there is minimal installation required and full systems can be accessed instantly. With this, you are essentially getting an enterprise-level service without investing in enterprise-level infrastructure.
Cloud-solutions are scalable
Another advantage of cloud-based solutions is scalability. Such services can adjust to the needs of your business whether you are expanding or downgrading. Take phone system providers like RingCentral. If there is a need to add users, you can simply add extensions with a few clicks. You can also expand to multiple locations without the need to install new systems per site. Same thing when you are downgrading. When an employee leaves the company, you can simply remove his or her as a user. You can customize most cloud-based solutions per account.
Requires no long-term commitment
A lot of traditional IT business solutions require you to invest in infrastructure. Investing on an infrastructure means you have to live with the setup for a long time. Once implemented, you have to be committed to it until you get a return on your investment (ROI). That is not the case with cloud solutions. Most cloud-hosted services are offered via subscription so there is no real long-term commitment required. You can enjoy the service as long as you like, or if you are not happy with it, you can simply unsubscribe to the service. This way, you can also get a quick return on your investment as you will not be shelling out any huge amount.
Upgrades and updates are automatic
Unlike with traditional systems where upgrades have to be implemented per client, cloud-based services providers roll out updates to all their customers immediately. Since the upgrade or update is implemented in the provider’s own data center, it will be immediately experienced by their users as well.
There is a myth about cloud-based solutions not being as secure as their on-premise counterparts. Most cloud providers actually take security as a top priority because an unsecure service is not viable for businesses. That is why their services are hosted in heavily protected and very redundant data centers. Connections are also heavily encrypted to protect data in transit or at rest. While security is a valid concern, any cloud-hosted provider worth their salt have implemented security features to protect client information.
As a small business, the flexibility of cloud solutions is just what you need to streamline your operations and make it competitive against more established companies. It is just a matter of finding which cloud-hosted solutions would best fit your company.
Mark Dacanay is a Digital Marketing Professional who has been working with a B2B company offering cloud-based services for more than 5 years. He is obsessed with anything about the cloud – the technology, not the fluffy stuff in the sky. You can reach him through Twitter and LinkedIn.