About five years ago I had a revelatory experience.
My business had really started to take off and I had created some systems to deal with the increased workload. Now granted, these were not the best systems ever, but they basically worked.
Around this time I was doing some work with my pals from Microsoft (which I do on and off) and they sent a techie to my office to help me set up some new software. When she got there, she looked at the “systems” I had created and suggested that Microsoft had some tools and other software that would do the job much better, faster and more efficiently.
Here we are several years later and I am still using the process that she helped me set up that day.
I resisted for one of the same reasons that you resist adopting new technology (even though you know it could actually help you run your business better): The learning curve. I thought it was going to be too time consuming, too complex.
Yet I listened. And when my Microsoft rep explained in a little more detail about what she was suggesting and then gave me a demonstration of how it would work, I bought in. I decided to try something new, even though the process I had created wasn’t “broken” per se.
Did it take time to learn the new cloud-based process she suggested? You bet.
Was that a bit frustrating for me? Check again.
Was it worth it?
Well, let me answer it this way. Here we are several years later and I am still using the process that she helped me set up that day. In fact, I can’t imagine running my business without it.
What is it, you ask? It doesn’t really matter. What matters is that I had a problem that was particular to my business and it turned out that there was a better solution that was much more streamlined and elegant than the jalopy process (in retrospect) I had cobbled together.
In actuality, it is not surprising at all. One thing I know is that large corporations (like Microsoft, but many, many others too) spend a lot of money and devote a ton of resources toward understanding the needs of small business and then creating products that meet those needs. What small businesses need to realize is that there are in fact many powerful business solutions out there that are very affordable and easy to adopt.
Let’s take the cloud for example. Yes, you have heard all about the benefits of the cloud and you know that that is where you should be. But it is also probably true that you have done business without the cloud for a long time and are getting along just fine – or so you think.
But what you should know is that there is a better way.
Whether it is email, security, productivity, collaboration, or finances, there is an easy-to-use, powerful, affordable cloud-based solution that will almost assuredly make your business easier to manage and run better.
Typically, there are three reasons why a small business may not want to adopt a cloud-based solution. The first is what I have been inferring to so far – that it will take too much time, that the learning curve will be too steep.
As I personally learned, yes, learning a new process does take time, but that is also fairly shortsighted because the fact is, once you do learn it (whatever it is), it will save you time over the long haul. Did it take you time to learn your times tables in 5th grade? Indeed. Does it save you time, even today? Yes again.
The second objection people have is that they want to protect their current investment. But let me ask you: What is your real investment? It’s your business, isn’t it? Cloud based solutions are always up to date with the latest bells and whistles and security patches and as such, they mean that your investment in your business will always be top notch.
The final objection is financial; that it may cost too much to switch. Nothing could be further from the truth. Take Microsoft Office for example. Back in the day, you probably spent close to $500 to get a version for your business. Today, with Office 365 in the cloud, you can get Office for as little as $5 a month.
So, the real truth is this: Moving to the cloud doesn’t cost, it pays.