Wednesday August 26, 2015
If you’ve resisted bringing your business into the cloud because you weren’t sure it would actually get you any results, this study might change your mind.
New findings have demonstrated that business owners on average earn double the profits and achieve 25% more revenue growth when they use the cloud to manage at least part of their business. Software company Exact and Pb7 Research had their results published on August 19, 2015 in the Small Business Cloud Barometer 2015 report.
During research,a web-based panel was used to collect 750 interviews with US small businesses from February through March of 2015. The participating companies were all microbusiness and very small businesses,with 50 employees or fewer.
The results of this study aren’t much of a surprise to us here at AllProWebTools. We’ve seen for ourselves how managing business using a cloud-based toolkit makes our users more efficient, less stressed, and more profitable.
Here are five ways the cloud helps small businesses not only survive, but thrive.
1. Reduced IT and Software Costs
In the Exact/Pb7 Research study, they found that 26% of the cloud-using small business owners surveyed chose to use the cloud primarily because of lower IT costs.
But not all cloud-based software is priced alike. In many freemium models, the price builds the more employees or contacts you add to the system. The costs add up, as well. It seems like there’s a different tool for everything. Integration is also a problem, because no tools really talk to the others like you want them to.
We built AllProWebTools based on a pricing model that makes sense for a growing small business. We charge by the tool—not by the user and not by the number of contacts. We also created a complete toolkit, so that all the tools are easy to learn, fully-integrated, and bundled together at lower prices than our competitors.
Switching to the cloud can definitely reduce IT costs if you’re switching from an older system. For business owners who are moving to the cloud from spreadsheets or pen and paper, you can keep your costs low by investing in a toolkit rather than point solutions.
2. Less Maintenance, Easier to Use
But buying software is just the tip of the iceberg. Once you have it, you have to learn how to use it, and keep it running smoothly and securely. This is why 23% of the small business owners surveyed cited the cloud’s low maintenance requirements and lack of complex systems as a major draw factor to the cloud.
It can be a pain to keep business software up-to-date. If you’re using software that requires CDs, buying a new version is expensive, time-consuming, and inconvenient. But manually updating and downloading new versions of online software is just as frustrating.
Many cloud-based solutions update automatically, without you having to install a new version or do anything at all. For example, on September 1st, AllProWebTools is launching Version 4.0. All our users have to do is log in as usual, and their consoles will have been automatically updated.
Legacy business software requires complex systems of servers, a dedicated IT team, and a steep setup and learning curve, none of which small businesses can afford. Cloud-based software is hosted elsewhere, in a distributed manner that the business owner doesn’t have to engage with at all. They also tend to be more streamlined and easy to learn, saving you time and money.
3. Mobile Access
It’s a fact of being a small business owner that you’re on the go a lot of the time. Without cloud-based tools, getting business updates while out of the office means calling in, and you simply can’t access a lot of data. For this reason, easy mobile access was the cloud’s major pull factor for 23% of the surveyed business owners.
What’s so great about the cloud is that it can be accessed from any computer, and even from internet-connected mobile devices. They’re online services that can be accessed from anywhere just by logging in. This means you have access to the same information when you’re out of the office as when you’re in-office.
I use the cloud every day to check in on business through the AllProWebTools console. We have a tool in AllProWebTools that is especially great for this, called the Workflow Timeline. It’s a live feed of all the most important updates in my business, from new orders to client notes to employee tasks and clock-ins. This helps me make more of my time out of the office
4. Increased Security
Having all that information about your business on the internet scares some small business owners, but not the 32% of surveyed business owners who said security was a major reason they moved to the cloud.
Cloud security is complex, and improvements are being made all the time. As I discussed in this blog post, online security is a constant co-evolution, with security experts and hackers both constantly finding new, creative ways to outsmart each other.
Cloud-based software companies, like AllProWebTools, have to make security a major priority. Nothing is every totally secure, but we can help you protect your website, customer data, and information about your business better than most business owners can do on their own.
Any cyber attack you dodge saves thousands of dollars, so security is definitely a way the cloud can make your business more profitable.
5. Increased Efficiency and Productivity
We find that the biggest reason small business owners tend to become more profitable after switching to the cloud is simply the organization and clarity that comes with it. More productivity and efficiency was the reason 21% of the survey-takers moved to the cloud.
This trend wasn’t surprising to Kae Williams, general manager of Exact.
“Overall,” Williams said, “it's efficiency brought about by a full cloud system that is bringing greater profitability for small businesses. When companies look beyond single point systems, such as ERPs or CRMs, they are able to make the whole business more productive.”
Our users at AllProWebTools are able to increase profitability so much (by as much as 50%, in a lot of cases) because they’re able to automate, organize, and systematize all the parts of running a business that they aren’t passionate about. When all your time is free to pursue growth, quality, and new ideas, it’s amazing how far you can go.
Do you use the cloud to run parts of your business? Which parts? What benefits have you seen? Let us know in the comments!