Overseeing a business through a phase of rapid growth can be thrilling and immensely gratifying, but it's rarely easy. And though it may feel like the hardest part is over once you watch your plans become a chain of good decisions, preparing for added scale can come with planned and unforeseen roadblocks — a real double whammy when the growth you're facing is unexpected and massive.
Fortunately, technology doesn't just scale — it helps scale. The right cloud technology for small-business success helps during planned and unplanned growth by clearing bottlenecks and providing ongoing operational flexibility. Further, many useful tools help businesses quantify the factors influencing that growth. This can boost the company's organizational decision-making prowess, replacing gut feel with an evidence-based approach to planning.
On that note, here are a few ways cloud technology can help your company grow:
A Few Words on Structure
The same structure that helps a company thrive can be a stumbling block when the business has gained a larger measure of success. More importantly, a business experiencing higher volumes can't exactly unring the bell. Get a reputation as a cluttered or otherwise untrustworthy company to buy from, and you can kiss that early success goodbye.
Cloud technology shines in these situations by helping the organization meet its current needs while simultaneously leaving the door open to growth. A company doesn't need to define its structure around the tools it uses, but it should make sure the tools don't lock it into a specific size or shape from the onset.
For instance, imagine a company with a phone-based sales component, and a keen eye for the future, implements a new business phone system. Though the solution helps it operate at current size, the things it can do for the business later are arguably even more impressive. When that company needs to move to a larger office or add a second location (complete with a few dozen new lines) to its existing phone systems, it will find growing is far less complex than it would have been with the legacy phone system. So long as the locations have access to high-speed internet, the company can carry its numbers or add to its network whenever the need arises.
High-level features offering flexibility and scalability pervade cloud solutions, and with good reason: A solution is only as good as what it can do for you tomorrow. If no business can realistically plan for every growth-friendly phase, knowing you have the room to expand is a comfort on its own.
Measuring the Future
Of course, driving growth isn't all about capitalizing on unplanned success. Smart businesses understand what their customers want and their employees are doing to provide it — and cloud technology for small-business growth can help provide invaluable data on both.
Regarding the hypothetical phone-based business, cloud telephony illustrates an interesting real-world take on this idea. The organization could use features of its cloud-based system to determine what times of day tend to see the most sales and/or service calls, providing actionable data for everything from marketing efforts to scheduling to money-saving efforts and beyond. It could also decide on perk packages such as a work-from-home policy, which could be used in turn to offer an attractive workplace to top-flight talent during a period of growth. A company with a strong social media presence could also use cloud-based omnichannel monitoring tools to decide on future hiring trends and numerous other decisions that affect growth.
For another example, a company with an omnichannel approach to sales or service could use cloud tools to mine data from customer surveys across channels, which could help determine which aspects of its business to focus on when it comes time to pitch to investors (or spend their dollars).
Here, distribution is an underlying strength of moving to the cloud. Where monitoring performance across branch locations without a strong technological connection can be laborious or inaccurate, the right cloud tools allow everyone within the ranks to see and act upon relevant data. In an era where evidence-based decision-making continues to prove its worth, that can make scaling feel like it was meant to happen all along — no matter how much elbow grease it took to get there.
Whether your organization's growth has been expected for a long time or has left you scrambling to keep up, letting success get in the way of itself is one of the most frustrating feelings leaders can experience. Instead of wincing every time words such as "unprecedented" cross your computer screen, start thinking about a future with cloud tools now. After all, there's a reason they all promote scalability and flexibility as major selling points.
Visit Vonage Business to simplify the challenging side of success.