Damian Hanson, co-founder of CircleLoop, a cloud-based phone system for businesses, offers advice on how cloud technology can help start-ups look more professional.
As a start-up, looking more professional and established will prove beneficial in helping you win more business and increase profitability. Even if only on a small budget, advancements in technology are helping small businesses become more efficient and versatile.
UK cloud technology adoption has grown by 75 per cent since 2010, and further growth is inevitable as new technologies are developed.
Technology has revolutionised the way we conduct our business activities, creating endless opportunities for businesses to break out of the rigidity of standard practice, whilst staying professional, profitable and therefore scalable.
Here are three ways cloud technology can help start-ups and gig economy workers appear more professional:
By staying competitive
Cloud-based products allow start-ups and small businesses to integrate technologies that they otherwise might not be able to implement or afford. Cloud accounting services such as Xero, for example, allow businesses to manage their finances effectively to keep cash flowing, saving time and money. In many cases, start-ups or SMEs may lack the resources or hardware to facilitate these kinds of internal finance operations.
Additionally, cloud-based products can be mixed and matched to suit your business preference. By integrating a suite of cloud products, businesses can create a package that suits them, with which they can provide a more comprehensive service for their customers. For example, integrating an online business phone system with an online CRM platform will enable sales teams to make and receive calls via an app on their desktop, therefore changing the way they manage their customer relationships. This easy, flexible integration of cloud applications means that businesses can chop and change where necessary, and can quickly react to new trends in their industries to stay ahead of the competition.
By improving collaboration
Cloud-based technology can be accessed at any time, as long as you have an internet connection. This can be a huge benefit for start-ups or small businesses with employees that often work remotely or outside of an office.
Cloud storage services such as Google Drive allow various employees access to information and documents, regardless of whether they’re in the office or working from home. It also negates the need to send documents to colleagues or clients via email, which can be time consuming and cumbersome, especially if you need to wade through a mountain of emails to find what you’re looking for.
Similarly, online project management tools such as Basecamp offer collaboration, planning and document sharing, allowing you to work together and keep on track of workloads regardless of your team’s location. By streamlining processes via the cloud, this allows your team to be more professional and therefore more productive in the long run.
By being easily contactable
A YouGov survey found that two thirds of Brits consider businesses that have mobile numbers as their main point of contact as unprofessional. Having a dedicated business phone number can certainly have a positive influence on customer or client behaviour and can help start-ups appear more reputable and established than they may be.
The nature of being a start-up may require running a business from an unconventional office – perhaps a kitchen table or even a local coffee shop. Having reputable contact details and a landline business number, therefore, may initially seem unfeasible.
Cloud-based business phone systems such as CircleLoop take a modern approach to this issue, allowing users to manage their business phone numbers via an app on their mobile, desktop or tablet. If you regularly travel for work, you can access your business telephone system regardless of where you are in the world. In a time where communication, speed and efficiency are crucial, start-ups that have the ability to be flexible and adaptable will have an edge in an ever more competitive landscape, and cloud-based telephony services are enabling this competitiveness.
Similarly, if you’re still growing your team and have freelancers working for you, cloud-based business phone systems mean that they can use the same business phone number when out of the office via an app. This therefore gives the appearance of a larger, more unified team.
More than being easily accessible, however, cloud-based business phone systems allow users to add additional numbers - including local, regional and international numbers – or features when required, allowing the flexibility and/or scalability that many start-ups require. For start-ups with various regional (or international) bases, having the ability to add regional or international phone numbers can prove invaluable in placing business by helping you appear more local than you are.
As a start-up, appearing more professional will enhance and improve your reputation and therefore help you generate more business, and recent developments in cloud technology are making this easier than ever before. In an era where flexibility, adaptability and immediacy are key to getting ahead, looking to the latest technologies might just be what you need to put you ahead of your competitors.