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JCC HeadShot-Aug11V2Jen Cohen Crompton is CEO of Something Creative, a marketing agency in Philadelphia, and an independent writer/blogger reporting on technology, big data, cloud computing, enterprise mobility, analytics, sports and tech, and anything else innovation-related for some major media outlets. When she’s not writing or blogging, she can be caught planning marketing strategies, presenting at conferences around the world, inspiring entrepreneurs to kick butt, or working on her fitness. Follow her on twitter @jencocrompton.

Entrepreneurs generally don’t really like to be told what to do, but if there is any advice they need to listen to right now, it is to embrace cloud technology – as an entrepreneur, you must embrace the cloud right now!

Why must entrepreneurs embrace cloud? They must embrace it if they’d like to continue down a path to success and to running their businesses more efficiently (let’s work smarter, not harder).

But first, let’s get this concept straight and address a question some entrepreneurs hesitate to ask – What is Cloud Computing?

Cloud computing is a technology that allows entrepreneurs to keep pace with workflow and stay competitive – two components essential for being a successful entrepreneur and running a successful business. It enables real-time delivery of products, services, and solutions via the Internet, providing the ability to run applications and store information in a virtual storage space, and to access those applications and information from anywhere, through most devices. So for entrepreneurs who are on-the-go and live and die by their mobile devices, cloud technology provides a way to integrate information across devices (syncing information so it’s consistent) and allowing access from anywhere with cellular or Internet access.

A recent survey of 550 startups from BestVendorOne, found that a majority of startups use cloud-based resources for basic company functions including: QuickBooks (71%) for accounting, Google Analytics (70%) for business intelligence, (59%) for customer relationship management, and Dropbox (39%) for storage and backup. And, according to the International Data Group (IDG) 2008 blog post, the growth trajectory of cloud computing and cloud services is more than five times the growth rate of traditional, on-premise IT delivery (so adoption is on the rise).

This chart outlines some of the problems entrepreneurs face when it comes to building a business, and the cloud functionalities that may serve as the solution.

Opportunities For Entrepreneurs

Problem Cloud Solution
Start up costs Cloud and social networking resources reduce costs to get up and running (no hardware to install or pricey products to purchase) and begin promoting a business (most social networking tools are free to use).
Competencies Cloud provides resources for basic business functions including tax-preparation algorithms, stock-market data, and algorithms about people and companies (CRM applications).
Connections and Collaboration Cloud can provide competitive incentives and connect people who can help globally solve business problems (this can include collaboration products such as Basecamp, Salesforce, etc. which fosters internal collaboration through chat and simultaneous document editing).
Capacity Cloud can expand a company’s capacity, and can provide computing, network, memory, and storage capacity that can scale up or down based on needs and use (storage products such as Dropbox provide different amounts of storage and a coordinating price scale).
Customer Service Cloud enables content and applications to be deployed closer to end-users, reducing user time and improving customer experience (so both employees and customers have quicker access to interactions and back-end information).

Cloud computing benefits entrepreneurs by leveling the playing field, and prepares companies to compete and better manage funds and resources. The strengths provided by cloud technology enable entrepreneurs to worry less and refocus their energy from short term survival, to long term aspirations, all while reducing expenses and giving them a stronger IT infrastructure.

So, entrepreneurs, embrace it and get in the cloud now!