A recent chat on small business productivity looked at cloud services among other options as a way to create a more dynamic company. The chat also included general suggestions on how to be more productive.

Moderated by Small Business Trends founder and CEO Anita Campbell (@SmallBizTrends) and Smart Hustle Magazine publisher Ramon Ray (@RamonRay), the chat featured plenty of participation. There were also many discussions on using technology to improve productivity including this tweet from Ray.

Productivity in action – here’s @barrymoltz and @ramonray being productive on a smart phone chat :) #MSFTBizTips — Ramon Ray (@ramonray) May 28, 2015

Microsoft representatives and members of the Microsoft community were also on hand to discuss how small businesses could shrink costs and improve capabilities through the cloud.  

Tips on Being More Productive

The chat got started with a discussion, prompted by a question from Ray, about what tips participants could offer to boost productivity.  

Keep rolling to-do lists w/ only 3 items at a time. RT @ramonray: @alyssagregory what’s your ONE tip to boost your productivity #MSFTBizTips — Alyssa Gregory (@alyssagregory) May 28, 2015

A1: For me scheduling is vital (using Outlook to keep on task) #msftbiztips

— Barbara Weltman (@BarbaraWeltman) May 28, 2015

A2. A tip I’m borrowing from @ccampb85 is only doing email on desktop rather than on mobile #MSFTbizTips — Think_Lyndon (@THINK_Lyndon) May 28, 2015

More About Microsoft Azure

During a discussion on cloud solutions as one option for improving productivity, here’s a brief explanation of Microsoft Azure by those who know.

@ramonray ?A3- Azure is a cloud platform that includes the ability to create cloud based apps. #MSFTBizTips

— Microsoft for Work (@MSFT4Work) May 28, 2015

Why #Azure and #Productivty asks – @MVPVisuals – cloud platform to speed your biz and boost it being nimble #MSFTBizTips — Ramon Ray (@ramonray) May 28, 2015

How the Cloud can Improve Your Business

The cloud can better your business in a variety of ways, beginning with lowering costs. Check out this exchange for more specifics from chat participants.

@smallbiztrends A4- First is time savings. Calculate man-hours saved from manual entry and activities. #MSFTBizTips

— Microsoft for Work (@MSFT4Work) May 28, 2015

A4: Having data in the cloud can prevent data loss, which can be a huge expense to recover. May be irreplaceable. #msftbiztips — Robert Brady (@robert_brady) May 28, 2015

A4 Moving to cloud is about more than cost savings. It increases business agility and flexibility,allows new business models #msftbiztips — Steve King (@Smallbizlabs) May 28, 2015

Q4: Easy access thru any mobile device, increasing productivity by any sized business infrastructure. @smallbiztrends #MSFTBizTips — Holonis (@Holonis) May 28, 2015

Q4: Cloud allows for unrestricted growth. As your small biz builds, so does your cloud infrastructure. @smallbiztrends #MSFTBizTips

— Richard B. Hollis (@richardbhollis) May 28, 2015

A4-The cloud also helps businesses make money. Tech-savvy SMBs increase revenue 15% faster. (BCG, 2013) #MSFTBizTips — Microsoft for Work (@MSFT4Work) May 28, 2015

Small Businesses are Becoming Early Adopters

Small businesses are quickly adapting to cloud technology, probably because they have the most to gain. These tools add significantly to their capabilities without the need for big investment.

@smallbiztrends A5- Millions of businesses have adopted Office 365. Fastest uptake is by small biz. #MSFTBizTips

— Microsoft for Work (@MSFT4Work) May 28, 2015

A5: Not sure if this counts, but mobile businesses (like food trucks) are really embracing mobile payments like Swipe or Square #msftbiztips — Robert Brady (@robert_brady) May 28, 2015

very small biz are pretty much ALL in on cloud apps; it’s the larger small biz who might be more cautious – #MSFTBizTips

— Ramon Ray (@ramonray) May 28, 2015

A5: About 38% of SMBs fully adapted to the cloud; 78% forecast to be fully adapted by 2020×6V #msftbiztips — Steve King (@Smallbizlabs) May 28, 2015

#MSFTBizTips A5 Definitely. My clients are moving to the cloud rapidly. Search tools, word processing- & my fave, cloud storage!

— Tinu Abayomi-Paul (@Tinu) May 28, 2015

RT @Lyceum: A5 Yes, new startups are living & working in the cloud. New media and tech co. are embracing the cloud. #MSFTbizTips — Akruto (@Akruto) May 28, 2015

How Secure is Your Data in the Cloud?

Security of data is often a worry expressed by businesses when considering a cloud option. But consider the alternatives of your valuable data stored only on a local server — or worse yet, on your laptop!

@ramonray A6- If you lose your laptop, or whole office—you can get back to biz. All your files are secure in one place. #MSFTBizTips

— Microsoft for Work (@MSFT4Work) May 28, 2015

@Smallbizlabs I think you hit the nail on the head. Most small biz don’t have the resources to properly secure on their own. #MSFTBizTips — Anita Campbell (@smallbiztrends) May 28, 2015

Final Answer: It comes down to this. Storing data isn’t your core competency. Why not find an expert? #MSFTBizTips

— Shawn Hessinger (@Shawn_Hessinger) May 28, 2015

A6- More than 50% of SMBs will fail within a year after a major data loss. Cloud offers biz resiliency. #MSFTBizTips — Microsoft for Work (@MSFT4Work) May 28, 2015

How to get Started

Maybe you’ve made up your mind that the cloud is a good fit for your business. But the services and option can be a bit overwhelming. Fortunately, there is plenty of information available.

Good article by Thomas Hansen – how to get started with the cloud if you’re not sure where/how to begin #MSFTBizTips

— Anita Campbell (@smallbiztrends) May 28, 2015

Hear what other options exist to create a more dynamic business? Follow the rest of the Twitter chat at #MSFTBizTips

At the time of the chat and creation of this article, Anita Campbell is participating in the Microsoft Small Business Ambassador Program.

In the cloud photo via Shutterstock

This article, “How to be More Productive: Build Your Biz on the Cloud” was first published on Small Business Trends