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7 Cloud-Based Tools That Can Boost Small Business Growth

Michael Tayco
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cloud-based tools

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Starting a small business is not an easy task. Many small businesses failed even before reaching their annual maturity. The Small Business Administration (SBA) defines a small business as an operation with fewer than 500 employees. Usually, a startup business has 5-10 employees top-up, and with these numbers, you can bet employees have a lot of tasks on their hands. Now that cloud-based tools are starting to ramp up the market, some startups are remotely operational. Before choosing the right tool, you must understand the essential functional tools to run a small business. 

As of the 2019 Small Business Failure Rate, startup failure rates are around 90%. 21.5% of startups fail in the first year, 30% in the second year, 50% in the fifth year, and 70% in their 10th year. In 2020, there were 31.7 million small businesses in the United States, making up 99.9% of all US businesses (Small Business Profile  2020). 

I didn’t want to wait any longer”, a statement said by Chelsea Kidd was echoed by many workers who quit their job during the ‘Great Resignation’ in 2021 to start their own businesses. This has driven many employees to quit their work not only to look for a better company but to also better themselves. One of these self-improvements is founding their own business (CNBC 2022). 

The Census Bureau recorded 1.4 million new business applications last year. So far, this has been the most significant surge happening in the 3rd quarter of 2021. Although it is alarming to see many companies lose their employees, startups are likely to hire more people and fill the gap in the unemployment rate in the country. 

Additionally, the Economic Innovation Group reported that it takes months to evaluate these numbers of entrepreneurial intent in the business formation statistics to actually root themselves and become a stable firm that can hire new workers. Promisingly, research shows a correlation between the number of new business applications and proper business formation. 

Essential cloud-based tools for small businesses

Running a business is like clockwork. Everything needs to be accounted for, and every task can be designated well and coordinated with ease.  

Any business owner would agree that in order to run a successful business, you need to have: a good understanding of your market, a steady cash flow, effective sales strategies, and a good business sense to tackle setbacks in the industry.

Communication tool

for organized internal communication within the organization. Email communication can be a cluttered place especially when you are going to deal with more employees and clients in your business. You must have a communication tool that can:

  • organize communication between teams or departments
  • let you communicate between chats, videos, or voice calls
  • import different types of media, especially code snippets for programmers
  • run on desktop and mobile devices

Accounting tool

for better financial management and tracking of cash flow in the business. Hiring an accountant is expensive for small businesses, but your accounting tool can help you grow your business with knowledge of basic accounting. You must have an accounting tool that can:

  • handle taxes and payroll
  • track expenses and revenue
  • generate custom reports
  • analyze and forecast finances

Sales and marketing tools

for sales lead generation, outbound sales outreach, and brand marketing. A steady stream of sales leads can help small businesses stay ahead of the competition. Without this, business revenue will plummet. You must have a sales and marketing tool that can:

  • automate sales and marketing tasks
  • move and nurture leads in your sales funnel
  • reach and segment sales audience
  • use omnichannel communication

Pro Tip: Some businesses will need more advanced tools depending on their needs. For example, OnPay payroll software offers an all-in-one solution with payroll, HR, and benefits tools.

Cloud-Based Human Operation or HR tool

for monitoring employee performance, satisfaction, and engagement. This tool helps establish the company’s backbone as it manages human assets in the business. Initially, for startups, the founder is the HR head, so doing these operations can take some of your time in a day. So, you must have an HR operation tool that can:

  • hire, onboard, and nurture employees
  • designate accountability and align goals
  • foster employees’ confidence and facilitate feedback
  • simplify company rules, protocols, and SOPs 

Here are the seven cloud-based tools that can help you address these points. Having a cloud-based tool enables your business to be flexible and cost-effective when you decide to set up a virtual and remote workspace. 

7 Cloud-Based Tools for small business growth

Reminder: Before you sign up with these cloud-based tools, ensure you have a working business email with your own domain name. Gmail and Titan are the best email service providers to help businesses establish an online presence and external communication. 

#1 Google Suite or Gmail for Business

Having a Google account makes it easy for you to sign up with almost any cloud-based service software. You do not have to worry about remembering your passwords with every login you make with new cloud accounts. Your email address can have your business website domain names like @cornhub.com or @washandry.com, depending on how your business name works. 

Price: Gmail for business or Google Workspace starts at $4.20 per user per month for the Business Starter plan. No charge for a 14-day trial, monthly payment after

#2 Flock: Team messenger and online collaboration platform

Flock is a collaboration and communication tool for small businesses and startups, with communication, productivity, and security features. Some essential communication features include video conferencing, channel messaging, and voice notes. Internal communication in business is crucial, so Flock made it easy for companies to conduct meetings, customize channels for specific teams, and record ideas using voice notes during meetings. 

It can also boost a team’s productivity with a “to-do” checklist for organizing daily tasks. The team can share their opinions with the poll feature, share ideas in team notes, set reminders for upcoming deadlines, and use a standard file sharing storage to access presentations, documents, spreadsheets, and even code snippets. 

Price: It comes with a free starter plan for businesses with 1-20 members. The Pro plan starts at $4.50 per user for companies with 20-100 members. 

#3 Quickbooks: Small business cloud computing software

As their website says, it is a “smart, simple online accounting software for small businesses”. Quickbooks can keep your business bookkeeping in line with your goals and budget. You can import and export spreadsheets for reporting, and you can set up your payment channel for faster payments from your clients. 

Pull out your records immediately when taxing time is about to come. Schedule your payroll to your employees with designation bank accounts and payroll channels. Connect your bank account and credit card to stay informed about your current cash flows and quickly view profit, loss, or balance. You can also run a predictive analysis with the software for better decision-making. 

Price: The Simple Start plan starts at $12.50 a month for the first three months. This is best for businesses that employ independent contractors rather than in-house talents.

#4 Aloware Contact Center Software and #5 HubSpot All-in-one Marketing Hub

Aloware is a cloud-based tool that can set up inbound and outbound contact center operations for small businesses. Aloware works as a customer service and support communications tool, but it also works best for outbound sales strategies. Manage your customer contacts and dial as many as 500 leads a day with its power dialer. The software can work with desktop applications, mobile devices, and web browsers. 

Its sales automation works with nurturing leads and making meaningful conversations over time. The sales dialer works with spam call detection for cold calling efficiency and local presence to improve call pickups. The voicemail drops and SMS drip campaigns work together to ensure no sales lead is left unchecked. It can be integrated with popular CRM platforms like Zoho and Pipedrive, but one sits at the top: the HubSpot CRM and its marketing automation.

HubSpot marketing software is a leading marketing tool for beginners looking into making their way into digital marketing. It lets you create workflows and sequences to manage your incoming leads, nurture them with content, and fill your sales funnel with qualified leads. Its marketing automation is perfect for launching effective text campaigns for SMS, email, and social media marketing. 

Price: Aloware’s price plan starts at $35 per user for unlimited inbound calling and $50 per user for unlimited inbound and outbound calling. Both plans come with a 14-day free trial. HubSpot’s price plan starts at $45 per month for starters. 

#6 Kissflow: Business Processing Operation software

Kissflow is a business process automation software that can manage HR processes in a single place, featuring an applicant tracking system for the recruitment process that aligns with business objectives. Kissflow offers employee feedback, performance management, and attendance management to set schedules and times in different time zones. Some extras align with local labor rules and employee on-and-off boarding for seamless hiring and exiting of employees. 

It also has dashboards for the visibility of operations, ad hoc/dynamic assignment to assign and deploy items to the right teams, an SLA manager to ensure SLAs are monitored and consistently followed, and smart alerts to notify company updates, events, and policy changes. Finally, their intuitive interface makes it easy to navigate and learn the software with minimal training. 

Price: The most popular plan starts at $9.90 per user per month, while the basic plan starts at $10 per user per month or $200 for 20 users. Free trials are usually 7-days, but it depends on the inquired plan upon the demo. 

#7 WordPress for Website Building

WordPress is a leading platform for creating and managing your website without the need to code. Consumers nowadays search for a business on Google to check its legitimacy. The platform makes it easy for startup businesses to create and publish their websites. There is more to the platform than just a website builder; it has more than 4000 plugins that can help you integrate apps for payment, storage, socials, analytic tools, and more. 

Price: The price starts at $18 per month for hosting and domain. It also comes with a 30-day free trial. 

Are you ready to start your small business?

Now that you have an idea of what costs to expect monthly in running your small business, you can set your budget. Of course, this excludes the upfront costs of registering your business, paying your employees, insurance, and purchasing your hardware equipment. If you are going to run a virtual company, then this is what your budget plan will look like: 

ToolsMonthly costs per user
#1 Google Suite$4.20
#2 Flock$4.50
#3 Quickbooks$12.50
#4 Aloware$35
#5 HubSpot $45
#6 Kissflow$10
#7 WordPress$18

Compared to a physical workspace, these costs are much more affordable since you’ll be running a small, virtual business. If you manage a team of five employees, that is about $646 monthly and $3876 for the next six months, excluding inflation rates. 

Suppose you quit your job last year to start your business today. In that case, you must do extensive research, attend business consultations, and have a ton of dedication to success with your business endeavors. But with the technology today, you have a lot of cloud-based tools to choose from that can help you run your business. You have to ask yourself, “Are you ready to start your small business this 2022?.”

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