Starting a business using the Cloud

27 June 2014


So after 20+ years of working for other people I have been through the process of starting a business. And it has given me an interesting insight into the world outside of major corporates or established entities. There appear to be many benefits and disadvantages to forging your own way in the world, and I'm sure there are plenty of books about this, but I think the thing I've been mostly surprised about is how many "easy to acquire" IT Services there are for small businesses. Cue Segway into a discussion on Cloud!

So as a one man band, the initial thoughts on starting up are to engage an accountant and get everything registered. Getting your URL registered takes about 30 minutes, followed by easily bolted on services such as web site generation and email integration. Possibly 2 hours after registering my domain, I had a "shopfront" web site and an email address to communicate with clients. Admittedly the initial website was dog turd, but it surprised me how easy this all was.

Then the management of financials became my next challenge. "Accounting in the cloud" services Xero soon sorted that. On a 30 day free trial , I was able to set up my company financial structure, invoicing regimes, expense management and all the other basic tools for managing money. Again about 2 hours work and I'm able to bill. Takes a bit longer for a business bank account (cue rant about regulation!) but who's counting. Working for corporates, you get no
appreciation of the availability of these tools to new businesses. And again, you realise the power of the "cloud" over the more traditional deployments for IT.

In between generally enjoying myself and mucking about at home, I have managed to set up a business using internet tools with about 16-24 working hours of effort. I admit I have used a third party for some of the more client facing services such as graphic and web design, business incorporation and formal setup and legals, but I was really amazed at how much the internet has made starting a business so easy. And why "through the wall" cloud IT services, at the application level, are so easy that (once more robust) they could be adopted on a broad strokes basis by many many businesses. And therefore why service quality and client interfaces are going to be the key differentiators for IT services going forward, as services get commoditised for the masses.



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