You want me to move my business up there (pointing to the sky and those white things called clouds)?
Sometimes it’s hard not to take things literally when talking about small business and the cloud.
For many entrepreneurs who aren’t 100% confident with technology The Cloud sounds like a mythical thing that can be a bit scary.
They’ve always done things on paper or a certain way… The reality is, most people are scared about change (until they embrace it).
In this post, we will give you 7 clear strategies on how you can demystify The Cloud for your boss to help them realise it will save them time, money and effort.
1. You’re already using it
Have you ever had a Google, hotmail or bigpond email account? Well, that is Cloud based technology and you’ve probably had the account for several years now.
Do you pay your bills accessing the bank account online? Well even that is Cloud Based Software.
The Cloud is basically software accessed via the internet. The data is stored online rather than on servers.
2. It’s more secure online than on your server
I know, sounds counter intuitive, but these days, most software programs have stronger security online than your own poorly maintained, internet connected server**.
Security procedures like two step authentication on many software programs makes the security online stronger.
What’s two step authentication?
It’s basically a token that you use when you access a program, often times linked to an APP on your phone. Again, most people are familiar with a physical token key given to them from their bank. The difference is that you can create the token on your phone, using an APP like Google authenticator or Authy (we prefer the latter in case you lose the phone or upgrade).
** Now, I’ve made a huge assumption here. Unless you’ve got an air conditioned server box, a regular IT person who regularly services and performs upgrades, and somebody on site who ensures the server is backed up daily and takes the backup off site every day, in our experience, it’s just as likely that your server was installed like any other piece of equipment and isn’t maintained correctly.
3. You will increase mobility and available free time
Most small business owners will understand that when everybody else is having a ‘break’ like a weekend, there’s always something that pops up that needs to happen. Ask the question:
Have you ever had to get a ‘quick’ big invoice or quote done on a weekend, but had to come back into the office to access the computer in order to do it?
Having key processes like your accounting / invoicing system using The Cloud your boss can get those quick things done from the convenience of their phone, tablet or internet at a fraction of the time (and inconvenience to your boss).
4. You can automate more functions
Our most valuable asset is our brain. Freeing up head space to do what it’s designed to do (i.e. thinking) is the single smartest thing that any Entrepreneur can do.
Instead, they’re often times slaving over their books with data entry into an accounting system, trying to figure out what all these numbers mean.
Or they’re spending hours at night figuring out what hand written job cards mean and what materials were used to complete a job.
Automation isn’t scary.
We’ve seen how automation of pricing using bar codes (which have been around since the 80’s in supermarkets) has made customers and businesses happy with increased speed at checkout. We all know the frustration when something needs a ‘price check’ (but as a little kid this was just part of going to the supermarket and we’d all patiently wait cause bar codes were relatively new).
These days, you can get software that allows you to (I kid you not):
+ Take a photo on your phone of a hand written invoice and have the software automatically code the Invoice number, Date of invoice, invoice amount and estimate a fairly accurate category to code it to in your accounting system;
+ Take a photo of a printed receipt that does the same as the hand written invoice;
+ Allows payroll employees to apply for leave online, and once approved by your Boss, will automatically calculate their adjustment to payroll;
+ Allows jobs to be tracked as they’re called in by customers and allocated to service personnel in the field who are already nearby and have capacity. Once the job is done, the service personnel completes the job card, take a photo of the work complete to be included in the invoice to customer;
+ Allow customers to book their next appointment online, updating a practice / salon calendar, and then automatically remind the customer by text message about their appointment the day before to minimise cancellations;
+ Allow farmers to track their stock online, with pictures and also get real time data on how much their stock are worth in the market and whether or not they should sell or keep; and
+ Automagically chase up old and outstanding debt – even allowing people to pay online with their credit cards.
These are just a small handful of things Cloud based technology can do that will free up time and head space for your boss.
5. You can make informed decisions in real time
Have you ever asked your boss if the business could buy a certain piece of equipment that you know will increase efficiency but they just delay the decision for what seems like a long time – almost to the point of it being incredibly detrimental to the business?
I bet, it’s because they aren’t 100% sure of where they stand, and the real underlying benefits that will result in an uplift that you, the employee can see with bleeding eyes.
Using Cloud based technology allows a business owner to have clarity over their financial position, and over the current work load of their employees, that traditional computer installed software generally doesn’t.
Cloud based technology encourages and makes it super simple for an Entrepreneur to keep things up to date – it becomes a bit addictive to be honest – because you suddenly can see on a daily basis how your business is performing and make real time ‘tweaks’ that often times used to happen every 3 months when the BAS was completed.
6. Growing the business will be easier
With increased available time by using smart technology and automated procedures combined with greater visibility, Entrepreneurs are often times inspired to grow the business.
Before, they were scared to grow their business because they already didn’t have enough time to do all the things they needed to get done as well as keep their existing customers happy.
Getting more customers before cloud based technology
7. In most cases, it’s simple to implement
Change is best done in small increments overhauling every process within a business in one go is a recipe for failure.
Start with the end in mind and work backwards. What pieces of software are going to give the biggest return to your boss?
We always recommend finding an Accounting system combined with the Supplier data entry software first. This will give instantaneous insights into their business – giving them more confidence to continue
We recommend Xero and not because we’re partners. We recommend Xero because of the following three important criteria:
a) their online security is the leader in the field,
b) their innovation for user functionality and automation of repetitive tasks is second to none, and
c) it has the most developed ‘add-on’ market place (i.e. bespoke business process software such as Job Cards, Clinic client management system or Salon schedules). This in turn increases the flexibility for a business to grow and add new products / services.
Once the Accounting system is in place, it’s a matter of finding the right business software than will help the client servicing people do their job and ensure your customer is looked after properly.
This might be a Point of Sale system (eg Vend); a Trades person job card (eg Tradify); a Health Professional’s client management system (eg Cliniko); a Salon’s client management system (eg MindBody); cafe and restaurant table service / kitchen order system (eg Kounta).
A final thing to note is that Cloud based software is often times paid by subscription on a monthly basis. This is great if you want to ‘trial’ something for a few months to see if things work the way you want without a huge financial outlay up front.
I hope the above has given you plenty of great strategies on how discuss the Cloud with your boss, and why it is important for their business.
Need more information?
Try our article about How The Cloud can sky rocket your business.
Want some help?
If this article was of help to you, please, share it with your boss and like minded friends! 😉