Delegate, Focus, and GROW Your Business

3 Cloud Services to Get Your Startup Going

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While it might not always be readily apparent to busy entrepreneurs, their startups have some great advantages over established businesses. Flexibility, a sense of urgency and a built-in sense of innovation can fuel your business, and make you stronger, faster and more responsive to trends and opportunities.

And startups have another advantage over existing businesses. They can set up the same kind of infrastructure as their bigger competitors with cloud-based services for a fraction of the cost. Information Technology researcher and author Joe McKendrick says cloud resources significantly lower the barrier to entry for entrepreneurs, enabling them to do things today more quickly and with little capital. That means using cloud services for essentials like email, storage and invoicing make startups operational from day one.

Email

Email is a prime example of an essential cloud service. The cloud-based infrastructure enables startups to start working without having to build out or maintain that part of their business. However, because communication is vital in any aspect of business, startups need a reliable, professional email presence that free email services like Gmail or Yahoo just don’t provide.

Using a hosted Exchange provider enables startups to access and present professional email for much less than running their own. Osterman Research reports that hosted Exchange users increased from 5.2 percent in 2012 to 11.4 percent in 2014. Furthermore, Rackspace explains that lower and more predictable costs, rapid deployment, scaling, flexibility and security are just some of the advantages of email in the cloud.

Storage

Startups may not have the same big storage needs as established businesses, but they still need to have secure data backup and controlled access to documents. The initial stages of beginning a business involve coordinating agreements, plans, legal documents like contracts and proposals, and secure storage and access to these documents is vital. Storing data on a laptop or desktop is risky because of the chance of loss, theft or hard disk damage or corruption. Storing documents in the cloud gives startups the security and mobility they need to compete and innovate.

In addition to cost savings and risk management, the advantages of cloud storage include usability, the ability to easily send large documents, accessibility from anywhere and easier disaster recovery. Websites like Top 10 Cloud Storage can help startups decide what kind of cloud storage they need by providing reviews and comparisons on common needs and concerns such as space, price, security and extra services.

Invoicing

Cloud-based invoicing services enable startups to generate invoices and keep track of payments without paying a dedicated staff to manage payables and receivables. Time tracking for freelancers and other entrepreneurs is a necessity and means the difference between getting paid in real time or waiting until a manual invoicing and collections is completed. Cloud services keep all the records, and make them available for easy access for financial activities like tax returns and accountant reviews. For mobile entrepreneurs, invoicing can be as simple as punching in some details on their smart phones with an app like Invoice2Go, Zoho Invoice or Time Tracking.

Posted on July 24th, 2014 by Rachel Braam, Office Manager

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