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Grow Your Business Technology

5 Ways to Harness the Power of the Cloud

5 Ways to Harness the Power of the Cloud

Cloud computing is turning out to be a Godsend for small business owners who are finding that tapping into resources offered by shared computing is allowing them to cut costs in a big way.

Ed Buchholz, CEO of 60mo., a startup whose service acts as a financial dashboard for small business, said small business owners can take advantage of the cloud in a number of ways while cutting upkeep costs, hosting fees, time being spent by IT staff or consultants. With cloud-based software, these items are handled by the provider, saving thousands of dollars a month in many cases, Buchholz said.

Here are Buchholz's tips on how to leverage the cloud.

Email and Scheduling

All small businesses need to have email and scheduling capabilities. Many companies do this through Outlook and Exchange server, but Google has really changed the discussion with Google Apps, bringing simple, cost-effective webmail and calendaring to businesses of all sizes.

Document Creation & Management

The market leader in document creation is Microsoft Office, but companies who need simple document and spreadsheet capabilities can utilize Google Apps at a significantly lower cost (free in most cases). Less functionality, but web-based and accessible from anywhere.

Data Backups

Many businesses back up data with network-based hardware that copies your files to a physical drive for redundancy. While that’s great, you don’t gain the assurance that products like Carbonite can bring to the table without the need to buy a device.

Accounting

Many organizations utilize installed accounting software like Intuit QuickBooks. While these products provide great functionality, they don’t give you the ability to access your financial data from multiple places or have automatic backups. Intuit’s web-based QuickBooks Online helps mitigate those concerns, and new vendors like Xero challenging Intuit’s dominance with easy-to-use alternatives.

Business Forecasting

Most small businesses don’t have time to create and manage a financial forecast, but having a strategic and financial plan is vital to maximizing the efficiency of every dollar you spend. Current forecasting and planning processes are hugely complicated because they’re typically performed in spreadsheet software and often involve numerous formulas across multiple tabs. 60mo provides a much simpler web-based methodology that makes the planning process much more efficient. Our customer advocates and coaches can guide you through the process of creating a forecast and translating your business model into a plan that makes sense for your company, and we do it all for less than $100 per month.

60mo’s offers instant access to important data like how much cash you have in the bank, where your income is coming from, how much you’re spending on what, etc. Additionally, 60mo gives you simple-to-use forecasting functionality that allows you to predict the future of your business and plan for upcoming changes or worst-case scenarios.