Business owners who don’t use cloud-based software may think they’re keeping things simple. But in truth, they’re sabotaging their customer relationships.

Cloud-based software allows you to use the latest digital tools and solutions. Digitizing your business helps you become more efficient and proficient.

And even more importantly, it’s what today’s consumers expect.

What is Cloud-Based Software?

The cloud is a form of storage and computing power that doesn’t live on a business owner’s hard drive or location-based server.

Using cloud-based software removes any physical limitations. It also allows you to access your data or software programs simply using an internet connection. It can encompass everything from customer names and numbers to invoice receipts and more.

Instead of storing data inside a filing cabinet or even a computer hard drive, cloud-based software houses information, well, in the cloud.

The cloud not only helps you reclaim physical and/or hard drive space, but the cloud’s online-only nature means you can back up information easier and safeguard it from physical disaster.

The cloud is what allowed most information-based businesses to continue operations during the pandemic.

Outside of the more than 45,000 businesses that use Thryv, the most common cloud-based software for business owners is QuickBooks Online.

Use Software to Future-Proof Your Business

It’s to a new business owner’s advantage to think about cloud-based software early on.

Given 45% of new businesses don’t make it past five years, the sooner you implement cloud-based solutions, the better. Optimally, within the first six months of opening your doors … or launching your website, according to Joe Gaasbeck, Thryv’s AVP of Software Sales.

Having a plan, tools and technology is a have-to-have before you move forward.

Your operations, efficiency and customer experience all will benefit. Consumers expect convenient ways to find you and communicate with you online — software is integral to that.

It also helps you develop customer relationships after they’ve chosen to do business with you.

Enhance the Human Experience

While critics may claim digital practices get in the way of being human, we’ve found the opposite to be true.

Cloud-based software frees you from the back-office work that takes you away from your customers. It makes it easier to do business with you, which is a crucial part of the relationship you develop.

Software doesn’t put a barrier between you and the relationship you have; it only enhances it. It meets today’s consumer’s needs.

Further, software can build upon very human interactions that previously could only take place physically. You now can use technology to create personalized customer experiences — such as birthday messages, loyalty coupons, appreciation emails and more — without having to physically make them happen.

Using these personal touches in tandem with a hassle-free experience is how you transform a first-time customer into a lifetime customer.

Make the Move to Cloud-Based Software

If the idea of digitizing your business seems overwhelming, it doesn’t have to be. You can do it incrementally.

If you’re ready to take a first step, pick an area of your business where digitization will have the greatest effect. For most small business owners, that often is turning a customer list into a digital asset, typically known as a customer relationship management (CRM) tool, and then really using it — not just storing it.

Using it can look like sending your customers automatic appointment reminders, asking them for reviews or other ways of improving their experience with you.

Ultimately, not using cloud-based software doesn’t provide any real benefits. At most, it only offers a perceived one of possibly saving a couple hundred bucks a month. The ability to build your business for the long term far outweighs (and outlasts) any symbolic short-term savings.

Your business needs cloud-based software to attract consumers and ultimately compete. If you’re not using it, you’re hurting your chances to connect with customers, grow and survive.