It’s time for small business to take on the big cloud

“At last, the argument of whether a small business should or shouldn’t be operating in the cloud has been put to bed. The cloud has won,” says Gary Turner, co-founder and managing director at Xero UK.

The world has become a place that operates within the digital sphere, and the use of cloud based technology is helping us to take a step in the right direction. According to Turner, cloud based technology is going a long way towards helping small businesses compete with “giants of their industry.” Moreover, research suggests that up to 78% of British organisations make use of cloud based services. We no longer live in a world confined by borders and boundaries, so South African small business owners need to take the necessary steps in order to become part of the global economy.     

We live in a world where ‘size no longer matters.’ And, “many tech advances which were once available only to big businesses are now ubiquitous. That means small businesses are better equipped than ever to compete with multinational powerhouses in their sector,” says Turner. Small businesses need no longer worry that they may not have the necessary resources to compete with big businesses because the use of cloud based technology helps to streamline small business and fill in the gaps that may not be filled by people.

“[M]any small business owners spread themselves wide but not deep. However, cloud technology is helping to fill the gaps that small business owners may not be able to tend to. As a financial platform, Xero is making many little, yet significant, impacts across the business; from allowing employees to track expenses easily, to cutting down report production to a few clicks, and billing effortlessly through an accounts receivable email address – it all adds up,” continues Turner. These seemingly small contributions could make the difference between being able to compete in the business world and falling behind the times. 

“I thought our size was our weakness, but I soon realised it was our strength,” recalls small business owner, Paul Davies. “That realisation gave him the confidence to take on big agencies head on, vying for the biggest brands… and winning” Turner added. Davies keenly remembers one momentous land grab: “We beat some of the biggest agencies in the world for a global retail business – which was amazing for a small business. We were invited to the shortlist, no-one knew who we were… and we won the business.” Turner goes on to add that “after a major scalp as a start-up agency, Davies went on to add LinkedIn as another household name on an increasingly prestigious client list. Although his days as a jack of all trades – fulfilling bookkeeping, IT support and day-to-day management – are over, Davies still wants to keep his team agile and efficient. Xero helps him to do just that.”

When Davies hired a Financial Director, Xero allowed him to make that role part time, just one day a week. Without Xero, Davies estimates that would increase to three days. It’s a small but meaningful difference.” The digital age affords small businesses the opportunity to thrive, and this is just one of the many examples of a business that has been able to do so. By hiring an accounting firm that is equipped with access to a cloud based service, like Xero, small businesses are essentially lowering their costs.The beauty of cloud based technology is that it can help you to “better forecast peaks and troughs and plan accordingly,” says Turner. Thus, by using a cloud based service, more small businesses are becoming better equipped to not only compete within their communities, but on a global scale.

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