30 Dec 2016

What is the Cloud?

The “Cloud” is a technical term that a lot of people use but can’t clearly define. In reality, once you strip away the technical jargon, it’s essentially your data and/or processing power running from somewhere other than your local device, whether that be your phone, laptop or even TV. Looking at the picture above you can begin to see how the evolution of the cloud has impacted services from email and security to finance and social media.

One example that I find a lot of people can relate to is taking a picture on your phone. When you take a picture, it is stored on your phone’s internal memory. However, when you upload that picture to Facebook you’re uploading it to the cloud. Another example that I normally talk about is Netflix; when you’re watching movies or TV shows from Netflix, you are streaming them directly from the cloud.

How can working in the cloud benefit my business?

Moving some or all of your workforce and business software into the cloud provides some short and long term benefits. Short term, you can expect to see an increase in performance and overall usability as you are no longer bound by your office email server or slow website. You can also expect to see more efficient workflows evolve out of what you’ve always done and a drop in capital expenditure. Long term you can expect to see a lower overall cost in a 1:1 comparison but don’t be surprised if you find yourself spending more on technology after moving, just remember to check if this increase is in line with your revenue and profit increases as well.

Now the above statements are true if a few assumptions are found correct. The first is that you’re infrastructure can support or be upgraded to support working from the cloud, specifically your internet connection. Your connection needs to be fast enough to handle your software or services in the cloud. Second, you and your work force are willing to go through a learning curve as some of your workflows and day to day processes might change. Third, I’m assuming you’ve found the right solution whether that be through working with a partner or doing the research yourself.

Final note

Whether your an existing business with decades behind you or a start up looking to scale, the cloud is something that you can’t simply ignore. If you haven’t already started moving to the cloud, I’d highly recommend investing some time and looking into it; you’d be surprised what it can do for you and your business.

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21 Dec 2016

The Importance of Social Media in Small Business

Every small business in Australia needs to be using social media. Period. If you think it’s a passing fad or that the social media bubble will eventually burst, your business will join the thousands of others with dwindling profit margins and fewer clients/prospects. In the good old days you worked with your Yellow Pages sales rep to get the best page and best graphics, those days are fortunately gone and you can now move into the social media space with little to no investment (other than time).

Here are just a few reasons why social media is so important for your small business

It will help you connect with your clients and prospects

The social media marketing channel isn’t the same as traditional, one way marketing. With the likes of Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn you can have a conversation with your clients and the people that are interested in your product/business. This might scare some people but being open, honest and conversational is what the current consumer is after. They’ll view you as someone they trust, and people buy from people they trust.

Your customers are already using it

Your customers are people. Whether you’re business-to-business or business-to-customer, the people that buy from you are exactly that, they’re people. And what are people doing more than ever? They are using social media to connect, communicate and disseminate information. They are talking about your business, whether that be in a negative or positive way regardless if you like it or not, so you might as well be involved in the conversation.

It will give you a competitive edge

As I said in my first line, every small business needs to be using social media but the simple truth is that not everyone is and if they are, they aren’t doing it very well. Getting your small business out there in industries that are yet to be involved makes you instantly more visible.

Social media isn’t just for the Fortune 500 (as a matter of fact the majority of those companies are falling behind because they are still spending eighty billion dollars a year on 30 second television commercials that people either fast forward or simply grab their phones and flick through, you guessed it… social media.

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