How You Can Streamline Your Small Business

Chances are that you’ve already gone paperless. The Cloud has largely replaced reams of paperwork, stuffed file cabinets, and onsite data storage, making it easy to keep and maintain all the information you need. In fact, in the next five years the number of small businesses using the Cloud is expected to double to 78 percent. The convenience of being able to access your data from any device can’t be overestimated, but you can put the Cloud to work in other ways, too.

Using apps and online services to replace machines in your office can work wonders. Video calls and real-time messaging apps have enabled businesses to seamlessly integrate onsite and offsite staff, and the potentially infinite capacity of Cloud storage means your business is easily scalable.

You can also—finally!—get rid of your fax machine and start sending online faxes. Online faxing offers security and convenience in sending documents, and they can easily be sent from your phone or laptop. Recipients can print via a traditional fax machine or accept online.

Put Your Phone to Work

Since everyone at your company undoubtedly has a smartphone and a laptop, using them to handle as many tasks as possible is common sense. Streamlining your communication and storage, both internally and client-facing, can only make your business more efficient. True to the name, a small business usually doesn’t have space to spare, so offloading storage to the cloud frees up precious physical space in your building.

Services like Grasshopper can provide your phone with all the useful functions of an office phone. While email has its uses, 70 precent of businesses say that phone calls are important to their services. Even when an issue arises via email, sometimes it’s easiest to just hop on the phone. Grasshopper even allows you to use your smartphone to route voicemails to your email inbox and make calls from a Grasshopper caller ID, rather than your personal number.

Social Media Smarts

You can also leverage the smartphone use of your client base by increasing your social media presence, and thus visibility to your customers. Smart use of Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, LinkedIn, and Vine—and watching closely for the next trend—has been reported by 80 percent of marketers to increase traffic. Social media is free, and tools like Buffer let you syndicate content across multiple channels and do real-time analysis of their numbers. The key is to think of social media not as a burden but as an opportunity.

Outdated methods of storage and communication can hold your business back from its full potential, but change can be intimidating. Luckily, there are resources all over the web to help you in the transition. Research issues you’re having with your infrastructure, and implement solutions that seem like a good fit for you. With the tools you already have, you can streamline your business in no time.

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Hailey is a recent graduate with a degree in Journalism. Now that she isn't face first in books she is trying to travel as much as she can. She writes in her free time between fixing up her new house and teaching people how to live a longer, healthier life.
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