I was an early adopter of the cloud for my business, simply because I need to be able to work, collaborate, and stay in contact with my staff and clients regardless of where I am. I’ve become a cheerleader for the cloud because of the unprecedented flexibility I’ve grown accustomed to. Thinking about converting your business to the cloud? Wondering how it can benefit your company? Read on for nine unique ways the cloud can boost your business.
- Bids and proposals. Though having all of your apps on the cloud lets you work while you travel, sometimes it’s just impossible to make an important presentation in person. One of my favorite remedies is to create a dedicated web page for a particular prospective client and review it – including editing the page – while I’m on the phone or a video call with the client. It’s the next best thing to being there in person, and it’s incredibly efficient to end a meeting with a document containing everything you’ve negotiated.
- Video. I’m not talking about cute cat videos, here. I’m talking about high quality videos that let you reach out and create detailed, specific impressions on prospective clients. Don’t get caught in the YouTube or Vimeo trap. There are other players like LongTail Video that will let you create infinitely customizable, slick, professional videos that show off your company’s unique offerings.
- Printing and scanning. Your sales rep takes an order, sends the packing slip to the printer in the warehouse and the invoice to the printer in the billing department. Can’t get more efficient than instant order processing and billing facilitated by cloud-based apps in real time.
- Capturing your thoughts. Evernote is a classic app for recording notes, pics, links, music – anything you don’t want to forget. Another new fave of mine is Writer by Big Huge Labs. It gives me a distraction-free interface that’s perfect when I’m working on a chapter in my latest book or when I’m jotting down article ideas.
- Phone systems. Using a Private Box Exchange system lets me and my staff route our calls from our office extensions to our mobile phones. That way when a client calls my New Jersey office, the call reaches me instantly, no matter where in the world I am. It’s invisible tech that lets my clients reach me reliably, whether I’m in Italy or Istanbul.
- Tech support. Gone are the days when you have to physically hand over your laptop to your IT support person. Now, regardless of my physical location, our virtual network lets me give my tech guy access to fix any problems that arise while I’m out in the field.
- Music storage and access. I’ll admit that this use is more personal, but having access to virtually any song ever written makes travel so much more pleasant. Whether you use Google Music’s free service or whether you’re a paid subscriber to Pandora, it’s never been easier to access great music from anywhere on the planet.
- Language translation. As more business is done internationally, the need for reliable, convenient translation apps grows. The abundance and improving quality of both paid and free translation apps means that you can reach more customers than ever.Real world navigation. Whether you use a separate device or one of the many smartphone apps, getting to where you need to be has never been easier. My favorite recent development – integration of Waze (crowdsourced, real-time traffic information) with Google maps. Now you can get your route, complete with detailed, audible directions and you get Waze’s notifications about road hazards, police presence, and traffic reports.
Every day brings another reason to convert your business to the cloud and free yourself to reach more clients, work more efficiently, and operate more cost effectively.