Are you thinking about starting your own business? It is an exciting time in anyone’s life and I firmly believe that everyone should try it at least once before they die. We all know people who try and try again to make businesses a success and each time, they fail. No-one should ever let this put them off trying. The people who fail constantly may be trying to start businesses for the wrong reasons; maybe the thought of getting a job horrifies them.
So, if you have decided to take the leap, where do you start? Well, for most people, a pen and a piece of paper is all they need. The simplest business plan consists of jotting down a few thoughts to give a rough outline of what the business actually is; the details come later.
Before we take a look at the advantages of moving a business to the cloud, we will take a look at the costs of starting a business the traditional way.
Any new business is going to need funding to set up and carry it through the time until it becomes profitable. This could, and often does, take a number of years, so the amount of money required could be very high indeed.
If you are lucky and have a healthy bank balance, then you have the freedom to proceed in your own way and at your own pace. Many startups, however, need to approach the banks to find the funding they need. If you are looking for a business loan, the business managers will help you to be successful in your application by advising you as you build your detailed business plan. Business loans are not simply a case of the bank saying yes or no on the day. It is more of a process of negotiation. If you own property that will guarantee the loan, it is more likely to be granted.
The business plan will need to go into fine detail about your business. It will include all costs and projected income forecasts. Now, much of this will be educated guesswork as you don’t own a crystal ball. The business manager will guide you through the process and advise you of changes that need to be made.
Premises will need to be sourced. For the purposes of this article, we are looking at offices. Offices are available on short or long term leases. Long term leases have the benefit of offering security for the first years of a business. Monthly rent will be payable and is likely to be expensive for a large suite of rooms.
Business rates are often the outdated expense that kill otherwise healthy businesses. They are calculated on the rateable value of premises and are often very expensive. If you are renting a suite of offices, check the rateable value first, or you may find a bill for twenty thousand pounds, or even more, dropping through the letterbox every year. For new small businesses, there is a rebate scheme in operation, and it is set to run at until 2016 at the moment. This could be extended or cancelled altogether; there is no way of knowing.
Office furniture doesn’t come cheaply, and if there are a lot of staff, it can run into many thousands of pounds to equip an office.
Computer systems, though they have dropped in price significantly, are still very expensive. If each user is going to need a terminal connected to a database, the terminals themselves and the office server are going to cost a packet. Workers are now needing to use Insight laptops and notebooks too, for when they are out of the office. Add onto this the cost of the software required, and you may think that the office is becoming a money pit.
The business will need insurance for the protection of staff and the public. These come in the form of employers liability insurance and public liability insurance respectively. These insurances are a legal requirement.
There are many other expenses that a new, or existing business will encounter when starting up and running. As you can see, it is a wonder any business ever breaks into a profit within the first five years at all. Let’s take a look now at how moving a business to the cloud can save on costs.
With cloud working, staff perform their duties at home, so there is no need for premises. Each member of staff could, maybe, turn a spare room into their own work cubicle.
This expense is completely done away with by not using an office. That is one in the eye for the chancellor.
The workers cubicles are in their own home so supplying a desk and chair is their own responsibility.
Most workers will have their own computers, but, for reliabilities sake, it may be wise to buy them a new one. It needn’t be an expensive model as it will only be used for accessing cloud based applications.
A great deal of money will be saved by not having to buy servers and create your own network. The free cloud based servers are all you need.
Office software is expensive to purchase and update. The free software on the cloud servers is good enough to run any office and updates are not your responsibility.
Security is another big concern these days as hackers and virus factories become ever more sophisticated and complex. Should your office ever become a victim of an attack, it can be a business killer. Cloud based offices do away with this worry, as the giants such as Google and Microsoft have the resources to protect their servers from any attack.
The cloud also offers real time collaboration between all members of staff as if they were sitting across the desk from one another. The cloud offers a huge data storage facility too, so any documents can be stored digitally and accessed by anyone with the correct permissions.
While researching this article, I have come to the conclusion that cloud based businesses are the way of the future. The savings are so great that no traditional business can compete. Add to this the fact that offices and conference rooms can be rented for a day when they are required, and cloud based work will become the norm very soon.