Cloud Computing: A Technology for Business Growth

Setting about to grow a business is a task easier said than done. Whether you’re part of a large enterprise looking to expand, or running your own small business and trying to get off the ground, the process will always be different. The new technology, cloud computing, can make a complex process much easier. We posted an article not long ago about “Business Fitness,” and how to assess the foundation of your business with regard to growth potential and efforts. But in this article we’re going to discuss how this particular technology and set of services that is becoming more and more prevalent in business can help you grow.

Specifically, we’re talking about cloud computing online, which is the ability to store digital data at off-site, online locations, rather than in your office or on company computers and mobile devices. The benefits to implementing this sort of service are numerous and significant, but here are a few specifics of the main advantages you stand to gain by adopting cloud computing.

Online Backup for Your Data

With a cloud computing network in place for your business, or even for an individual company branch, you immediately gain automatic, secure backup for your sensitive work files. Storing these files in printed form, or on company equipment, leaves them somewhat vulnerable – to theft, loss, damage, etc. However, having your sensitive data backed up in the cloud means that even in the event your office or work equipment is compromised, your files will be safe and accessible.

Increased Potential for Collaboration

Having the ability to upload files to the cloud also gives you unprecedented ability to collaborate on projects and share files quickly. When a given file is uploaded to the cloud, anyone in your business with access to that cloud can view it, download it, edit it and save progress. This allows collaboration and file sharing regardless of physical proximity or timing.

Regulated Working Environment

Cloud service has become so popular that even if you aren’t using it in your business, your employees are likely using it on their own – and this can be a security risk for your company. Instead of allowing employees to save business files on various cloud providers, regulate your working environment by providing a cloud computing partner that everyone can share. With the right service, you can even gain control over employee file sharing. Sharefile is one example, as it offers an “Enterprise” service that allows company IT directors to track communications and enjoy “centralized management and control.”

Remote Access to Work Files

We covered this in a way in the section on collaboration, but it’s also worth noting that individual flexibility increases with cloud computing. A cloud in place allows you and any employees you may have to work from anywhere at any time, provided there is Internet service and cloud access.

Cloud computing is already being implemented in businesses large and small around the world. If you’re in growth mode now may be the time to consider upgrading to this outstanding new technology.

Business Fitness: Prerequisite to Growth

Everyone knows the value of physical fitness. It may be a struggle in the short term, but the medium and long term benefits are worth it. The same is true in business. If you want your business to grow make sure it is “fit” first. A fit business is sleek, strong, stable, flexible and attractive.

My thesis has always been that it’s important to reach a state of business fitness as the foundation for future growth. You want to be able to answer “yes” to the following questions. If you can, your business is in a state of fitness and you are ready for growth.

Sleek
• Are you concentrating on the critical elements that determine the condition of your business – such as Gross and Net Revenues, Accounts Receivable, Inventory, Fixed and Variable Expenses, Unexpected Expenses, Cost per Unit Sold, Cash Flow, Net Profit/Loss, Cash Reserve or Debt?
• Have you clearly defined your market and targeted your marketing efforts to the most likely groups?
• Have you identified and eliminated all unnecessary expense?
• Is your inventory and/or accounts receivable as tight as possible? [Read more…]

Six Steps to Fiscal Fitness

Having a business that’s operating on sound business principles is absolutely essential if you expect to build a thriving business. One of the key elements of a strong foundation is fiscal fitness. A business that tries to grow without a strong foundation is heading for disaster. If your business isn’t “fiscally fit” – you might eventually find yourself dealing with that other “f” word – “failure”.

We all know the value of physical fitness. Well, the same principles apply to fiscal fitness. As with physical fitness, it’s good to start with some measurable goals; then create and act on a plan to achieve them.

Being able to meet expenses when due, without borrowing, is a measurable goal worthy of your efforts. The key to meeting this goal is effectively managing cash flow. That probably means pumping up income and slimming down expenses. You need to know the measurements that are meaningful to your business and then weigh in on a regular basis to see how you’re doing.

Here are the six steps I recommend to achieve fiscal fitness for your business. [Read more…]

How to Tame Your Clock

One of the complaints I hear most often from colleagues and clients is: I don’t have enough time to work “on” my business. I don’t even have time to finish what must get done. Lots of things are in the works, but little gets finished. Sound familiar?

We may start out with good intentions. We have plans for the week, plans for the day; yet somehow in the end a lot of what we had planned doesn’t get done. Why is that?

There are two typical reasons. First, we don’t actually schedule time to do what we had planned; and second, we allow distractions and interruptions to eat away our time. When operating in this mode we are being reactive rather than proactive. Fortunately, these are just bad habits and both can be changed with patience and diligence. To be proactive we must schedule and block enough time on our daily schedule to actually do the work. We must also disallow interruptions by consciously and consistently putting a buffer between ourselves and the things that distract us. [Read more…]

Groom Your Replacement

“But I don’t want a replacement”, you say. Well, maybe you will after you read this article.

Would you genuinely like to change the way you spend your business day? Is the business running you or are you running it? Are you doing jobs yourself that someone else could do because you want to hold down expenses? Or are you concerned that no one else will do the jobs as well as you?

What if you could not only delegate, but you could duplicate yourself? That means having another person who is able to manage your business in your absence. If you have aspirations of growing your business, this is a critical element of preparation. Growth always puts an additional strain on the person in charge, so you’ll want someone who can replace you in as many areas of day to day operations as possible. [Read more…]

Breakthrough!

We all love stories and I have one I truly love that I’d like to share with you. It’s a story about what I call “breakthrough”. When we’re looking to make major life decisions, we often spend a lot of time gathering information, taking courses, stewing over the pros and cons, and yet feeling unable to make the decision that will propel us through the barrier from confusion to clarity.

The story I want to share with you clearly exemplifies what I mean.

Larrry Zarda is the husband of a former client. He works as a workflow analyst and internet developer at a large Midwestern College. Larry wanted to take steps to find his place in the business world that would allow him to make the most of his potential. I could see he was eager to make some decisions, so we agreed to work together. And so his story begins… [Read more…]