Find Business Grants
Graphic image of letter A

What Is Cloud Computing?

With the Internet updating and improving every second - it seems inevitable that eventually we will all be living, breathing and working online. More and more services and products are going online to to it

Cloud Computing for Startups.

With the Internet updating and improving every second - it seems inevitable that eventually we will all be living, breathing and working online. More and more services and products are going online to to its accessibility and easy of use.

But what is Cloud Computing?

You might have already joined the Cloud without realising. Facebook, Hotmail, Tesco online shop, Internet Banking, all these services are all part of the Cloud. So quite simply, when people talk about the Cloud, they are referring to the services provided to consumers via the Internet.

Startups benefit hugely by joining the Cloud, as so many online services are free. Startups are small enough and flexible enough to be totally dependant on Internet services. Joining the Cloud supports this flexibility as services can be accessed from anywhere at anytime and from any computer. All you need is the Internet!

Cloud Services tend to provide a stronger sense of community and instant support due to the collaborative aspect of being online. Updates and improvements are regular and wont cost the user anything - its all part of the deal. Think about how many times your Facebook account has had a facelift!

These types of benefits are essential for Start-ups in those initial months of establishing a brand.

Startups should look for online services that will save their business money and time. Look out for the following list of things when choosing an online service: free trials, free support, regular updates, cancel anytime, clear design, easy to understand and navigate, no hidden costs, no credit card details, new and free features

There are lots of free Cloud based services ideal for businesses just starting out and looking to cut corners on costs:

1. Mail.Com
Free Business Email Account.
Be professional with an email address, by choosing your business domain name. The free, easy to use and practical email service offers 3GB of storage. Features includes: spell check, note pad, calendar, audio mail, anti spam filters and efficient customer support.

2. Huddle
Free Project Management.
This free online collaboration tool is ideal for small businesses. Account setup is easy, and takes only a minute. The free account provides basic functionality with 100MB of storage. Unlimited users are able to access your one account, which supports and encourages maximum collaboration.

3. Twitter
Free Marketing Through Tweets.
Twitter has been described as a quicker and lighter way of blogging. A tweet consists of writing 140 character update about anything you wish. Businesses have taken to Twitter and used their tweets to market themselves and their brand. Anyone can follow or read your tweets, which in reality means that more people are open to learning about you and your business.

4. Clear Books
Free Online Accounting For Startups.
Clear Books provides a clear, user friendly system that allows small businesses to understand and stay on top of their finances. The lack of accounting jargon means that anyone can get to grips with their business accounts. Whats more, all startups are offered a free account until they expand and start to make more transactions. Features include: VAT returns, reports, profit & loss, payroll, professional and customisable invoices, bank statement upload, unlimited users, free new features, cancel anytime. Sign up here for your free trial of Clear Books and start using our software in minutes!

5. Vimeo
Free Video Sharing.
Vimeo allows you to upload up to 250MB of video per week, which is a substantial amount for a free service! So whether you want to start a video blog, or your own business channel - Vimeo will allow you to upload and share this footage. Features include: sharing, embedding, uploading footage, downloading footage, tagging.

6. Free-Press-Release
Free Press Release Distribution.
This basic site allows you to submit as many press releases as your company sees fit. The clear layout and easily identifiable features allows for a speedy submission. Features include: Press Release writing tips, search, view press release by date, unlimited submissions, print, comment.

Free Business Collaboration and Communication.
This is a social networking site aimed for businesses to improve internal communications. With similar colours and layout of Facebook, members can create groups, events, surveys and polls for their company. Theres a strong sense of community if all members participate and collaborate. Status updates for colleagues revolve around what people are working on. This is a neat way of bring together all aspects of a business, especially if some colleagues in your startup are dotted around the county/world.

8. MailChimp
Free Email Marketing Service.
This attractive and bright user interface allows you to create email campaigns and send to contacts. The free plan allows you to store up to 1,000 subscribers and send up to 6,000 emails a month. Features include: campaign customisation, campaign reporting, support, easy to use, save campaigns new and old.
Cloud computing has arrived and is here to stay. Embrace the online world and stay flexible with your startup business.

Lizzie Fouracre
Sign up here for your free trial of Clear Books and start using our software in minutes!

Guest Articles Welcomed

As we cannot be experts in every relevant subject, we would love to receive 'guest' articles that may be of interest to anyone running their own business or thinking of doing so. ADD YOUR ARTICLE