Not long ago, a small business may have found it difficult to compete with its larger competitors, especially those with the financial resources to develop or purchase advanced technology.
In recent years, however, innovative and relatively inexpensive apps for laptops and mobile devices have leveled the playing field by helping small companies increase productivity with smaller up-front costs.
Harness Cloud Capabilities
“The cloud” is a popular catch phrase that refers to on-demand computing resources delivered over the Internet. Instead of buying, installing, and maintaining hardware, software, and servers, companies may be able to pay for cloud-based business tools by subscription or on a pay-per-use basis. Of course, this requires a speedy and reliable Internet connection, which is less likely to be a problem today than in the past.
Why are more small businesses moving many of their computing functions to the cloud?
- Cloud services allow businesses to scale technology infrastructure up or down quickly to help meet business demands and facilitate growth.
- Cloud applications can make it easier, faster, and less expensive for small businesses to keep their technological capabilities up-to-date and take advantage of cutting-edge features.
- For disaster planning and business continuation purposes, companies are able to back up some or all of their data operations in the cloud instead of paying for off-site hardware and storage.
- Cloud services may offer more security than small companies could provide on their own, especially if their technology budgets are limited. On the other hand, companies with highly sensitive data — and those that must meet stringent compliance regulations — may be better off with a private network.
- Owners and employees can access company data with laptops or mobile devices and work from any location with an Internet connection.
Adopt a Mobile Mindset
Small-business owners and their employees aren’t the only ones spending more time on mobile devices. Growing smartphone use overall means it’s now possible to reach customers wherever they might be at the time.
For this reason, marketing and advertising efforts that target mobile devices are quickly becoming the norm. And keep in mind that if your company website isn’t optimized for mobile, potential customers may keep searching until they find a competing site that they can view and navigate more conveniently.
Of course, it’s always important to weigh the potential benefits and risks, and to consider contractual obligations carefully before committing to any major technology investment.