Small Businesses Embrace Subscription-Based Services
Small business owners know certain types of technology can help their business run more smoothly, in theory, but integrating new technology can be challenging. They want technology to work as advertised and do the things their business needs to operate efficiently—as soon as possible.
According to the second annual Small and Medium Business Trends Report by Salesforce, companies cited ease of use, price, ease of setup and simplicity of maintenance as the top four factors they consider when evaluating new technology.
Hmmm … sounds like the cloud to me.
With 63% of small business owners spending up to 24% of their annual budget on technology, cloud computing is a great investment. These subscription-based services charge only for what you use or a reasonable monthly rate, with the flexibility to increase or decrease services as needed. In other words, you’re in control.
Let’s take a look at cloud-based subscription services that can breathe new life into your business.
File storage and data backup require a lot of space. If your small business doesn’t have a server, you probably connect your office computers with cables or wirelessly to enable staff to share files, and use USB flash drives or even DVDs to stretch your storage and backup capacity.
But managing files in several places is challenging. Why not use the cloud instead? Cloud services essentially let you use someone else’s equipment to store data inexpensively. Today’s services are more accessible and readily available than ever, whether you’re on a desktop, laptop, tablet or smartphone.
Cloud applications eliminate the need to purchase and install software on your equipment, and that’s a true time-saver. Microsoft Office 365 has been the standard in office productivity software for several years, which is available at a low-cost monthly subscription.
There are also a plethora of online apps that usher in great efficiency, such as FreshBooks for accounting, Insightly for customer relationship management, DocuSign for contracts and Calendly for scheduling meetings without multiple emails.
Even Internet service is becoming more digestible these days. It’s simple to set up and available as a flat-rate subscription without a contract. You no longer have to suffer through several calls with a sales person (or one long call) to negotiate and order service, and then be available during an installation window.
Now you can simply subscribe to a high-speed Internet service online, assuming you have the basic equipment in place, and set up automatic monthly bill payments from a payment source. To make things even easier, some services enable you to add phone lines to the mix.
Consider investigating the use of digital marketing tools. Consumers, especially millennials and younger, expect to engage with companies through online channels and it’s only going to increase in the future. Tools like Hootsuite for social media and Hubspot for marketing campaigns can help you better understand your customers and prospects, and build relationships that help your business grow. They’re also subscription-based to suit the small business budget.
Managing a small business can be difficult. Learn how CenturyLink’s small business solutions can help.