Small business owners should be looking for ways to run their small business as efficiently as a giant enterprise.As the year draws to a close, it is time to start thinking about how to make 2018 even bigger and better than 2017. For many small businesses, the great way to guarantee that continued success is by migrating systems to the cloud.

Let’s briefly review why cloud-based software is the smart choice for your small business and then run through six cloud tools your business absolutely needs in 2018.

How Small Businesses Benefit from Cloud-Based Software

Small business owners should be looking for ways to run their small business as efficiently as a giant enterprise. If you want to do so without blowing your budget on expensive hardware and systems, then cloud-based software is the perfect solution.

Here are some of the many benefits small businesses reap when they move to the cloud:

  • Smaller monthly payments that don’t eat away at capital.
  • Easy setup as most cloud software is ready to use out of the box. No need for professionals to come in and install the software on every machine or train employees on how to use it.
  • Less of a need for IT, as the software companies manage and maintain the hardware. According to Forbes, businesses are spending more money now on cloud computing than on IT support.
  • Greater efficiency through outsourcing tedious processes to software: “72% of SMB decision makers say that technology solutions can help them significantly improve business outcomes and/or run the business better
  • Improved collaboration and productivity as all data, communications, files, etc. are located in one central repository.
  • Access to your company’s systems from any device and any location. 83% of SMBs claim that over a quarter of their employees work outside the office, so mobile-friendly software is a must.
  • Improved security. RapidScale reports that 94% of businesses experienced improved security after moving to the cloud.
  • Cloud software is much easier to scale. You simply need to select a new plan, and the providers take care of the rest.
  • Many cloud tools integrate with one another, leading to smarter business processes, workflows, and increased automation capabilities.
  • As small business owners come around to the idea of using cloud tools, those that use them now will have a competitive edge over those lagging behind.

6 Cloud Tools Your Small Business Needs in 2018

As more businesses become mobile and people take on more complicated and time-consuming tasks, cloud-based software often comes to the rescue. If you want to give your business a push in the right direction for 2018, you will want to consider moving the business functions below to the cloud.

  1. Project Management
    It does not matter how large your team is, even if it is just you and a few employees, moving your project and task management to the cloud is essential. Centralizing all your company’s assets, documentation, checklists, and communications in one tool like Asana or Trello can immediately improve efficiency and workflows.
  2. Finance Management
    Keeping track of your finances is an essential for all business owners. You need to manage invoices, payments, and watch cash flow to ensure you are staying in the black. QuickBooks is a great cloud-based solution for all business that covers all the functionality you need and can be accessed anywhere at anytime.
  3. Customer Relationship Management (CRM)
    A CRM is the core of many small businesses. It is, after all, where you keep all the information about your customers and leads. Cloud systems like Zoho or Insightly help you to manage your contacts, leads, customers, partners and the sales flow real-time from anywhere. By having your CRM in the cloud, everyone in your business can see immediately what’s happening with a contact, thus massively increasing your customer service abilities and productivity.
  4. Marketing Automation
    There are a number of cloud-based solutions that can handle your marketing automation. You can opt for a singular tool like Hubspot that will manage all forms of marketing in one. Or, if you want less costly solutions for specific marketing tasks, you can choose individual applications to handle email, social media, and marketing campaign tracking.
  5. Content Management System
    If you are running an e-commerce business, you will need a content management system like Shopify. If you are simply trying to create a high-performance online identity for your business, then WordPress is what you want.
  6. Cloud-Enabled Devices
    It is just as important to find office equipment that is built to work with the cloud to increase business efficiency. For example, Xerox understands how powerful the cloud is, and that is why they have enabled a number of their printers with the ConnectKey smart workplace assistant.

Read 5 Essential Pieces of Office Equipment Every Small Business NeedsThere will always be a need for hardware like computers, phone systems, and printers. However, now the cloud removes the need for businesses to purchase software packages and hire expensive IT support to manage it all. Take advantage of this savings in 2018 and explore turning to cloud software to give you the virtual, flexible, and mobile platforms you need to run a better business.

Looking to upgrade more office equipment next year? Here’s my list of the top 5 pieces of office equipment every small business needs.

 

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