I am often asked if it is possible to run a business using only cloud technologies and online services.
The simple answer is yes. Furthermore, if you are a business starting out one should ask the question why wouldn’t you? There are significant cost-savings, and less potential anguish for business owners if set up correctly.
If you were a new business you could be pretty much up and running within 24 hours!
Businesses no longer need to have an on-Premise Server (and all the management this entails). It should be noted that Microsoft’s Small Business Server as a product ended on 31 December 2013. Businesses requiring a Server can still have all the functions provided by SBS as standalone products e.g. Microsoft Exchange, but with costs of licensing increasing, set up costs & ongoing maintenance, it would seem no longer a feasible cost to bear for SMBs.
Many businesses have already started migrating some technologies to the Cloud, in particular Microsoft Exchange (either Hosted or via Office 365) or Google Apps for Business, i.e. they are running a hybrid system (some on site and some in the Cloud). If a Server is required maybe worth considering having a physical Box installed at a Data Centre, or run a Virtual Server (in the Cloud).
For a new business husbanding cash is an important consideration. So why not move from a Capex model to knowing ‘exactly’ what you are spending each month, whilst also allowing the flexibility to gear up quickly if business is a success, e.g. adding additional employees. So you have cost savings and flexibility.
Whilst any individual can set this all up themselves I have found there are many pitfalls if you try to do so. Better to spend some of the money you have ‘saved’ on purchasing expensive equipment on an IT Professional whom has done this for others previously and can put it all in place for you, and have it set up properly at the start. This allows the business owner to get on with running and marketing their business.
So what does a New Business require?
- Register a Company and/or Business Name, including an Australian Business Number [ABN];
- Register a Domain Name;
- Set up email;
- Create a Website,;
- Marketing and Promotion of your business online & offline;
- Purchase Hardware – Laptop, Tablet, Mobile Broadband, Printer, SmartPhone, External Hard Drive(s);
- Software – Internet Security, Password Management, Online Backup, Remote Management, Microsoft Office, Specific Line of Business [LOB] Software related to your Business type;
- Virtual Assistant;
- Accounting System;
- Business Cards;
- Put others to work for you and project manage your tasks;
- If your business requires an office then an ADSL2+ Connection, requiring then a likely wireless/modem Router, or renting a Serviced Office to meet prospective customers. Increasingly, with Mobility does your business (at least at the start) require physical premises? Would you purchase or lease an ISDN Phone connection? Unlikely. So what about VoIP, which can be set up for use no matter where you are physically located.
- A social networking presence.
With the right guidance a new business can be up and running using the range of tools & services of today’s Internet almost before one knows it.