Technology; we're now at the point where we can't do without it. Our dependence on it is at peak levels, but this shouldn't be seen as a bad thing. In fact, if you’ve recently launched your own startup, the growth of digital technology could be the ultimate resource for your fledgling business.
In the US, startups generated around $50 billion in revenue last year, a number that's increasing year on year. As the internet bridges geographic divides and smashes cultural boundaries, the concept of the modern business model is undergoing a rapid transformation. With the aid of the Cloud, there really is no limit to the size and scale a new company can achieve.
Assemble a remote workforce
It’s now possible to run a company with no two colleagues living in the same country. Running your startup remotely through the Cloud can also help you establish a sustainable business without the immediate access to cash enjoyed by established companies. In fact, by creating a business that functions in this way, you can enjoy a number of advantages over traditional businesses.
Because everything is based in the Cloud, you don’t have to hire staff based on their geographic proximity. Instead, you can hire the best people for your startup from all across the world. As Matthew Guay of app-organiser firm Zapier explains, 'Face it: the best job for you might not be in your hometown, and you might work better when you aren't shackled to a 9-to-5 workday.' This method has the added bonus of enticing fresh talent with the promise of being able to work without having to relocate, and without the dated notion of being tied to an office.
Communicate and share intelligently
Startups rely on a number of factors to really take off, but one of the key attributes has to be great communication. That’s why it’s so important the platform by which you communicate is reliable, simple and consistent. By using a software suite like Google Apps, you can share documents in real-time and ensure everyone works from the same page.
The Cloud gives workers the opportunity to collaborate in real-time on the same document rather than through the inefficient email attachment method. Collaborating through the traditional email method leads to a myriad of problems; documents can be lost, old copies mistaken for the latest version and endless email chains can suck the life from otherwise healthy projects.
Harness the diversity of time zones
At first, having your team spread across the globe can seem like a daunting prospect, but it can also play to your advantage. With good organization and a diverse workforce, a startup with staff based around the globe can truly thrive. Couchsurfing designer Ben Hanna summed it up best when he said, 'Good timing can make a project literally zip around the globe with work being completed 24 hours a day.'
Say for example your marketing team is based in the UK while your engineers are based out in Taiwan (as in the case of analytics software company Clemmie.xyz). In just 24 hours, the marketing team comes up with a solid implementation plan for your new campaign, then your engineers in Asia put it into action while the West sleeps. With a startup, aspects of the business will inevitably involve a trial and error approach, so draw up a timetable that takes these time differences into account and see what works best for you.
Never lose material again
Technology has given us all sorts of marvels, but it’s also given us a whole new set of headaches. Perhaps the most infuriating feature of the modern computer is its ability to turn off, shut down or completely fail at the moment you need it most. Anyone who has been racing a deadline only to see their entire workload disappear down the digital plughole can tell you how exasperating this is, but the Cloud can make lost work a frustration of the past.
As it used to be, when a computer broke down and the work stored on it hadn’t been backed up, you had little chance of ever seeing it again. But by keeping all your startup work on the Cloud, you can access your material from anywhere in the world, on any device. This also means that even if you can’t gain access to your account, a trusted colleague can keep your business on track until you’re back in the game.
Stay on track, wherever you are
With the chance to work remotely comes the potential for a more unfettered flow of ideas. New ideas are the cornerstones for keeping any business fresh, and the absence of office politics can allow new concepts to thrive. For exactly the same reason the internet can be a mélange of acrimony and mass generalizations, it can also be a great place for new ideas.
The perceived anonymity of sharing your thoughts from a keyboard can give people the confidence to pitch ideas they would be too afraid to shout out in the boardroom. Using the Cloud in conjunction with a messaging platform like Slack or the newly announced Google Spaces can create a digital office, boardroom, and watercooler, meaning staff can openly discuss new concepts without the fear of being shouted down.
Save money on office space
When first developing your startup, you could be forgiven for neglecting to consider just where the business will be based. After all, plenty of startups have grown out of countless nights working away at a laptop in living rooms, bedrooms, cafes and even garages. But as your business grows, so will your workforce. Most people would look for office space when they’ve found their feet and have regular revenue coming in, but even this can have a dramatic effect on your business model.
Working in the Cloud means you can run a successful business without ever having to buy office space, as your colleagues can be based anywhere in the world. If you feel a communal workspace would be beneficial you can still choose to rent, but with all work stored in the Cloud you can create an office according to how your staff works best. Using the Cloud for your central storage system allows you to create a space that encourages creativity and challenges the restricting notion of individual desk space.
The internet has opened up a world of opportunities for people looking to get their business off the ground, but the possibilities for keeping it flying high are too many to count. By harnessing the pervasive power of the Cloud, the issues that arise in being a small startup with a limited budget can be nullified and ideas can truly take off.