Guest Post: How to Run Your Business Exclusively in the Cloud

Choosing to move your business exclusively to the cloud isn’t just a matter of being in good company, as a majority of organizations start making the shift. Working in the cloud, though, will also become the norm for your clients, who are accustomed to doing everything from holding meetings to managing projects with cloud-based tools. Now, moving to the cloud doesn’t have to be complicated. Here are five ways to leverage the cloud to benefit your business.

Back Up Your Data

Data loss due to hardware failure, hacking or human error are pervasive threats for any small business. Don’t leave yourself open to data vulnerabilities and profit loss. Set the standard for safety and organization by creating a data backup policy. Instead of relying on your own team to back up data and perform test restorations, outsource it to a third-party cloud provider.

A service like Mozy offers varied pricing for small businesses and enterprise companies alike to protect valuable workplace data, while helping to grow their business. Mozy also allows users to create an automated backup schedule to keep their data safe and ready to restore when needed.

Dominate Your Marketing Game

Marketers have long used the cloud to create and schedule social media posts with tools like Buffer. But creating podcasts in the cloud can also raise awareness for your business and attract new customers. According to a survey from Edison Research, fans of podcasts listen to an average of five on-demand presentations per week. As podcasts grow in popularity, they represent untapped opportunity to market to new audiences who are looking for business advice, insights and non-traditional entertainment.

Small-business owners can use podcasts with tools like Skype to interview guests and Audacity to edit their audio. These podcasts can be used to promote your products and/or interview delighted customers. Speaking directly to your target market every week can also quickly build credibility and trust to expand your marketing efforts.

Onboard Virtual Employees

Finding employees on sites like UpWork and Guru.com is the easy part. Figuring out how to onboard and train employees so they can immediately jump into their new roles isn’t always an intuitive process. Give new hires a face-to-face welcome with cloud-based tools through video chat or a group meeting with services like Redbooth.

Next, give your new employees access to online project management tools like Google Docs and Asana to help outline their responsibilities. But, unlike employees who physically work in the office, virtual employers tend to miss out on the social aspects that a traditional workplace affords. Looking for ways to make these employees feel like a bigger part of the team? Combat the negative side effects of isolation with weekly checkins to keep your employees engaged with your business and their work.

Collaborate Online

Cut down time spent on project management and collaborate online instead. There’s no need to schedule in-person or video meetings with employees and freelancers. Instead, use a cloud-based collaborative tool like Trello to set up a visual dashboard that will help to better manage your projects. Assign teams to specific tasks, upload images and videos, and stay in touch on project deadlines without leaving the Trello system.

Meantime, Slack offers users the ability to conduct real-time messaging and upload projects as well as stay on task and maintain their productivity. Through Slack, workplace teams get a completely transparent view of a project from start to finish and can make calls right from the platform to ask questions or follow up on a task.

Let Clients Find You

Working exclusively in the cloud makes it easier to find clients and start earning revenue immediately. Creating a company profile on LinkedIn is just the first step. Next, use LinkedIn’s publishing platform as another avenue to post your company’s content marketing pieces in order to directly target your next dream client.

Optimize your website to attract clients with videos explaining your services and products, offer unique content to prospects in exchange for their contact information, and routinely host an industry podcast. But there are other ways to find clients when they need you most. For example, expanding your reach by signing up as a consultant on a site like Guru.com can also help put you in front of clients who need you most.

Deciding whether to run your business in the cloud shouldn’t even be a debate. But finding the right tools and processes to help run your business can overwhelm even the best of decision-makers. Start by focusing on the tools you need most and expand as your company grows.

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