For every mega corp there are hundreds of small businesses owned, managed and run by individuals, alone or with minimal assistance. Medium and large enterprises have moved from networked environments to private and public cloud services. Small businessmen have a tight control over all aspects of their business from manufacturing to purchase to sales and communications.
They wish to grow but that would mean more investment in manpower and IT infrastructure as well as specialized apps to suit their line of business model. The cloud, for them, is a nebulous concept.
“Whatever it is it may be fine for big companies. As for me I am happy with my office computer, my laptop, my smartphone, all of which help me do a lot.” This could be a typical response of an entrepreneur. He is in a groove, too busy with routine operations to even consider what a cloud is and how he can leverage it to grow his business at minimal cost. Why does he shy away from cloud computing? A few reasons:
- Cloud computing is perceived as being a solution for large organizations;
- It is too expensive;
- He does not need such advancements.
Let us take the first point. Cloud computing is a virtualized environment. It is available 24×7 from any location. You store data in the cloud and can access it from your laptop even while you are travelling. Not only that you can use the cloud based services to communicate with staff, vendors and customers. Scalable and flexible software as a service (SaaS) availability is increasing with plenty of solutions available for individual entrepreneurs.
As for the second issue, cloud computing services are not expensive. An entrepreneur need not invest in sophisticated hardware or pay for advanced applications. All these are taken care of by the cloud service provider. As a client he is billed only for usage. There is no minimum or maximum and there is no contract, penalty or fixed costs that would affect cash flows.
As for the third, if an entrepreneur looks at how he can leverage the cloud service offerings, he can take a quantum leap in business. Cloud service providers have developers on their teams and they are constantly looking to increase customer base. By smart negotiations and getting cloud service providers to deploy apps that suit him, he gets the benefit of high technology without the huge investment and only pays as he uses it, spreading costs and turning his individual business around. He can go national or international and enhance his image.
If you, an entrepreneur with your manufacturing-sales operation are reading this, now is the time to give serious thought to going into the cloud. The rains bring a shower of benefits you will appreciate in only a short time.
How does it benefit Individual Entrepreneurs?
There are many ways cloud services raise quality of your operations, reduce workload, get things done better and at a lower cost.
- For instance, if you look at marketing and customer relationships, you can let cloud services create communities and enable better exchange of information and data regardless of time and distances.
- You can do a whole lot more.
- You can collaborate online.
- Port the application to your smartphone and you have your office in the palm of your hand for immediate access to any file or information at any time, wherever you may be.
- You can react to a changing marketplace immediately and give customers the best experience with your services through the cloud. You no longer have to spend hours on the phone on routine matters.
- The time you save you can use in innumerable ways to better your business.
- There are fears about security of data in the cloud but in comparison to security on your laptop or desktop, cloud data security and data integrity are better.
- One of the best things about cloud is that as you grow, applications and technologies will be modified but not at great cost.
- You have access to enterprise level technologies scaled to fit your business model and at the same time you do not have to worry about upgrading hardware, storage, costs or returns; you simply pay as you go for services used.
- All these services are deployed quickly; transition is smooth and you have access to full back up and support.
If you are an entrepreneur, it is time to take a serious look at cloud computing benefits, get in touch with some cloud service providers and consider how you can use these to take your business to the next level even as you retain full control while having your head up in the clouds.
Preetam is a writer and blogger, who has special interest in Cloud Computing. Currently working for blog which covers the basics of Cloud Computing.