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Social Media Week: Three reasons cloud companies could be good for your business

Being a small business owner means wearing lots of hats. You’re the IT guy, maintenance, web developer, HR and finance – the list goes on. Switching between them and constantly making decisions in areas not directly related to growing your business can lead to “decision fatigue”. That’s the view that entrepreneur Shaunvir Mahil presented – citing Daniel Kahneman’s Thinking Fast and Slow – at his Social Media Week talk ‘What is a cloud company and what opportunities does it present for your business?’

So, what is a cloud company?

Described by Mahil as the industrial revolution of the 21st century because of the productivity and efficiency opportunities they can offer, cloud companies are next generation cloud services that enable you to work smarter. Mahil himself runs a cloud company, Virtual Employee, a company that gives small businesses access to dedicated remote employees and/or offices in India.

Why they matter

Mahil set up the company in response to his own experiences. He found himself constantly having to deal with peripheral tasks that he felt hampered his progress. “I hated dealing with HR and operations. I didn’t see them as being pivotal to growing a business. Colleagues pointed out that I was being naive – dealing with keeping the lights on is something that most entrepreneurs accept as being part and parcel of running their business.”

There is something to this though. It’s hard enough for small businesses to progress, but when you add logistics to the mix, it becomes difficult to focus on the areas that matter. With this in mind, his talk focused on why cloud companies offered such a powerful solution to entrepreneurs:

1) It makes things run faster

Using the example of setting up a new office space, Mahil highlighted the amount of time that would need to be set aside – weeks, months, or even years – to get a space up and running, meaning that entrepreneurs who might be ready to launch a business would have to put their plans on hold while they focused on logistics. However, if your office is in the cloud, then you can save time, ”with cloud, you could be up and running in a few days”, he said.

2) It’s elastic and reduces risk

A key element of business is scalability – being able to scale your efforts and capacity both up and down. Pointing out that most businesses launch new projects by guessing capacity, Mahil said a lot of businesses then found themselves “wasting capital and resource”. This causes problems at different stages of any project. “You move from wasting resource in the early days of a project with little demand and lots of staff to panicking about waste and scaling back. Then when demand increases, you’re in a space of under-provision, bad service, loss of sales, and panic to get more capacity, over-paying and then over-delivering”. It’s an exhaustive, costly cycle.

With the cloud, you pay for what you need at the time, “The cloud is so fast, you don’t have to guess capacity,” pointed out Mahil.

3) It encourages innovation

In a moment of philosophical reflection, he posited that the most important question for entrepreneurs to ask themselves is “Are we thinking enough about what we are thinking about?”

In the same way that the 80/20 rule suggests that 80% of profits come from 20% of clients, we should ask how much value our preoccupations are actually contributing to business. In other words, do you get 80% value and productivity from what you think about and focus on? The answer’s a likely no. Instead, Mahil suggests that we should work less, to focus more effort on areas that will drive businesses forward. “The cloud is the future of work, as it enables us to do less and think more.”

The result? A stronger return on your investment. You can streamline your business, save time and resource. It’s empowering as it enables small businesses to tap into the world of offshoring, enabling anyone to run an international operation with ease, and all at the click of a button, or swipe of a screen.

As Mahil concluded, “There’s nothing that cannot be done in the cloud”.

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