Most small businesses have corresponding budgets. Which can make it difficult to compete against larger organisations with more resources and extra staff. Yet despite the difficulties associated with being the small fish in a big pond, Australia is seeing a steady rise in registered small businesses annually. A facilitator in this bout of entrepreneurialism is the evolution of cloud communications technologies, helping to carry ambitious Australians into the digital age.
Here are five ways cloud communications are helping small businesses flourish in 2017.
Centralise important documents
As a business owner, you’re constantly liaising between staff, wholesalers and important stakeholders. Shifting important documents to a cloud-based platform eliminates the need to chase up information between these players. Create a master document online through a platform like Google Docs, so you can all access the relevant information and update documents as needed, from any device.
Virtualise your phone
A professional phone system is the backbone of any business. And a virtual phone system is the cloud-equivalent of an industry grade PBX system – without the technical headache or bulky equipment cluttering your office. When a phone system is “virtual” it doesn’t need any physical equipment (apart from the handset itself) and all the settings are managed online – in the cloud.
Manage incoming calls
For most businesses, the first impression is a phone enquiry from a prospective customer. So don’t leave them hanging. With a virtual phone system, incoming calls can be re-directed internally with an automatic voice attendant (press 1 for sales) and if you’re out of office, calls forwarded to your mobile or voicemail messages recorded and sent to your email address – all in the cloud. So instead of hiring extra staff to manage your incoming calls, use your very own cloud-based auto-attendant.
There’s no need to fork out for expensive hardware, servers, phone systems or their associated installation costs. With all of these systems “virtualised” and operating from within the cloud, you’ll also save the ongoing costs of upgrades, maintenance and tech support. And when it’s eventually time to move, or upgrade from the home office, you won’t have the cost and hassle of dragging your tired old equipment with you.
Prepare for growth
You are bound by the limits you set yourself, so why set limits at all? One of the best features of cloud-based platforms and services is that they have the capacity to grow with you. The cloud is virtual, so its capacity is endless and businesses don’t have to be bound by the parameters of a server or hard-drive. With virtual phone systems, you can add phone lines incrementally as your business grows – so you’re only ever paying for what you use.
While “the cloud” has become somewhat of a buzz term that gets thrown around a lot today by sales people and tech companies alike, it has real-world practical applications that allow owners and managers to lower overheads and streamline processes in nearly all facets of business. Best news? It’s actually fairly easy to setup and providers are usually happy to guide you through it. Cloud communications are helping small businesses more than ever – as they compete against the big guys, and punch well above their weight.
Nathan Udy, Marketing & Communications Specialist, MNF Group www.business.mynetfone.com.au