The key to quickly growing your business is by making use of cloud technologies, new research finds.
Small businesses that use more than two types of cloud services grow 26 percent faster and are 21 percent more profitable on average than those that don't use cloud tools, according to a new report from Google and Deloitte.
More than 80 percent of the startups surveyed believe cloud technologies enable them to access tools and technologies they would not have been able to afford otherwise.
"The most successful startups use cloud technologies to help them overcome their most severe challenges: access to capital and skills," the study's authors wrote in the report. "Their reward is survival in the face of odds that see a quarter of new businesses fail in the first two years."
Besides the ability to grow at a rapid pace, small business owners find a variety of other benefits in using cloud technology, including:
- Flexibility: Small business owners say cloud tools allow them to free up resources for other needs, enabling employees to work from any location and improving collaboration and sharing.
- Cost: Cloud services don't require an up-front investment in hardware or software and give small businesses access to technical expertise without paying for a full-time staff.
- Innovation: With cloud tools, small businesses have the ability to test products and quickly determine if new products or upgrades to previous products are feasible.
- Security: Cloud services confer a number of security advantages: software is updated automatically to fix bugs, disaster recovery is easier because content is stored remotely and data is not held on transportable hardware.
Using cloud technologies also lets small business owners spend more time working on what matters most: their business strategies. More than three-quarters of the businesses surveyed believe cloud-based applications allow them to focus more of their resources on strategic projects.[Cloud Computing: A Small Business Guide ]
In the report, researchers quoted the founder of a startup that provides services to the restaurant industry, who said, “Cloud technology makes the maintenance and admin side of technology someone else's issue so I can focus on building the offering to our customers."
With the time saved on basic operations, entrepreneurs are able to spend more time scaling and growing the business.
"Cloud services are inherently scalable because they are based on 'virtual' infrastructure so it is easy for a business based on them to grow without worrying about the sustainability of their operating platform," the study's authors wrote.
In addition to helping businesses overcome the challenges associated with the startup phase, cloud technology also helps them thrive in the rapid-growth stage, during which the business establishes itself as a more significant part of the local and regional economy.
Overall, 90 percent of the rapidly growing small businesses surveyed believe that cloud technology allows them to grow and scale faster than would otherwise be possible, while three-quarters say it's what allows them to beat their competitors.
It’s not just startups that are using the cloud as a tool for fast growth, according to the study. Nearly 80 percent of relatively mature companies — those older than five years who are growing at less than 10 percent per year — believe cloud technology enable access new markets and revenue streams.
"Using the cloud to experiment with new ways of working either in the core business or in new innovative spin‑offs unfreezes a mature business; introducing flexibility that will enable it to respond to market change and prepare for another phase of growth," the study's authors wrote.
The use of cloud tools is only projected to grow in the years to come, with 66 percent of the companies expecting to increase their use of cloud-based technology in the next three years.
The study was based on surveys of 1,316 IT decision-makers who work at small businesses across six countries: the United States, United Kingdom, France, Spain, Italy and the Netherlands.
Originally published on Business News Daily