Nearly every small business dreams of growth, reaching new people, expanding to new areas, or just generating more revenue. But it’s hard to grow without the infrastructure in place to support that growth.
Fortunately, we live in the digital era—where entrepreneurs, consultants, and other professionals have access to thousands of incredible tools that can help them achieve more. The trouble is, with so many options, it’s hard to choose which tools might improve your work the most.
Some of the best tools you’ll find to grow your business are cloud-based, meaning they’re hosted remotely. Generally speaking, your cloud tools can be accessed by any device with an internet connection, making them convenient, and you won’t have to worry about locally hosting your files, making them more reliable and secure. If you’re working with a trustworthy provider, you can count on them to keep your data secure.
10 Cloud Platforms for Growing Your Business
In this guide, we’ll recount 10 of the best cloud-based platforms you can use to grow your business:
1. Proposable. Proposable is cloud-hosted software you can use to create your own proposal templates (and work from templates that have already been created). With a few clicks, you can input your pricing, define your services, add a few notes about the client, and produce a finished proposal that’s ready to send. Over time, you can create a pricing library, customize different types of templates, and streamline your entire proposal process.
2. Office 365. Microsoft’s Office 365 is a suite of cloud-hosted productivity tools you can access and use at any time. It includes long-time favorites like Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint, as well as email accounts and cloud storage for all your users.
3. G Suite. G Suite is a similar suite of productivity tools, with many cloud apps that rival Microsoft’s apps in terms of functionality—like Google Docs and Google Sheets for documents and spreadsheets. It also features a number of tools meant to make collaboration between team members much easier.
4. Amazon Web Services. Amazon Web Services (AWS) offers a ridiculous number of different tools for businesses, including detailed analytics platforms, database tools, customer analysis tools, security apps, storage features, and even access to advanced technologies like VR and the blockchain. Nearly everything relies on the cloud, and there’s something to find for every business.
5. FreshBooks. FreshBooks is a cloud platform for your finance department. With it, you can create, send, receive, print, and even pay invoices—all within the same platform. It supports a number of different payment methods to make things easier on your clients, and is even ridiculously easy for amateurs to use. It should save you time and make your accounting department less stressed at the same time.
6. Dropbox. Dropbox is one of the top names in cloud storage, with more than 300,000 teams currently relying on it. It specializes in cloud storage, allowing you to back up, share, store, and sync your most important files, with multiple redundancies, options to revert to previous versions, and intuitive controls for user permissions.
7. Salesforce. In the realm of CRMs, Salesforce has long been the king. Salesforce is designed to make it easy for you to collect and store customer information, tracking them as they move from lead to prospect to full customer. It’s also extremely customizable, so you can set up your accounts and workflows in the ways that work best for your business.
8. Cisco WebEx. If you find yourself meeting with clients virtually on a regular basis, or if you’re managing a remote or semi-remote team, you need a tool like Cisco WebEx. With it, you can quickly and easily get in touch with anyone around the world. You can even set an agenda and share files to make the discussion more productive.
9. Asana. Asana is a cloud-based project management platform that allows you to create and assign projects, tasks, and subtasks to your team. With an intuitive platform for both desktop and mobile devices, your team members can easily remain in contact with each other and send updates on your projects as they get them.
10. NetSuite. NetSuite is comprehensive enterprise resource planning (ERP) software for small businesses. It’s designed to help you coordinate different elements of your business, including product planning, manufacturing, shipping, and payment—as well as strategies like marketing and sales, all under the same umbrella.
These are just a few of the cloud-based tools that can help you grow your business. Spend some time researching different tools in each area, and experimenting with free trials to see which tools fit your organization best. Eventually, you’ll end up with a suite of tools that save you time and make your life simpler.