Our previous article examined what Cloud Computing is, and how a Small to Medium Sized (SMB) business owner can protect themselves from the security risks which are posed by it. In this article, we examine how a Real Estate Professional can benefit from it.
Remember, one of the prime advantages of a Cloud Computing environment is that of substantial cost savings.For example, you can obtain software applications and other IT related services at a fraction of the cost of what it would take to procure them directly.
The Advantages of A Cloud Computing Environment
Some of the advantages which a Real Estate Professional can gain by utilizing a Cloud Computing environment include the following:
- Eliminating the need for a physical office space, by using a Cloud based, ‘Virtual Office’;
- Eliminating the need for the traditional landline telephones, reams of paper, and expensive printers by using the Cloud to store and retrieve your online based documentation, as well as using Cloud based communication services (such as VoIP, which stands for ‘Voice Over Internet Protocol’, you can use the Internet to make your calls, thus saving you money);
- Your bottom line will be greatly increased as a result of decreased Information Technology expenses;
- A Cloud Computing environment can offer your Real Estate business a complete solution for backup and recovery, should your business ever be hit with a natural disaster or a Cyber based attack;
- All of your Real Estate Brokers can receive their messages wherever they are at, at any point in time; the of use e-Fax services has made this possible (this is the situation where you can send and receive faxes directly to and from your E-Mail address, respectively);
- You can even make use of a ‘Virtual Assistant’ to help out with the everyday, routine office tasks;
- Rather than having to fumble through a planner or calendar to figure out your schedule and set up appointments, you can make use of a Cloud based calendar and task assignment system, to help you organize your everyday activities efficiently and effectively;
- By using a Cloud Computing environment, you can organize all of your sales leads, follow up with them on a timely basis, and start to nurture the sales process. The most common tool used for this is the ‘Customer Relationship Management’ system, or CRM for short. These are Cloud based applications, and some of the most popular packages include ‘Salesforce.com’, ‘InfusionSoft’, ‘NetSuite’, etc.
How to Get Started On A Cloud Based, Real Estate Office
With the advantages now clearly spelled out, you could be wondering now, how to make that transition from a physical office, to a Cloud based office. Here are some simple steps:
- Take a look at what you need:
While it may be tempting to make a sudden plunge into a Cloud based, Real Estate office, you need to first ensure that the transition you make will be a smooth one. For example, you do not want to have any disruptions in the operations of your business, or have to reschedule client meetings. Make an assessment of what Cloud based services you need first. In other words, you should plan for a gradual, phased in approach.
- Find the right Cloud Business Phone Service which fit your needs:
There are literally hundreds and thousands of different types of Cloud based services out there. Therefore, you need to find those services which fits your needs and budget perfectly. The best way to do this is to experiment, by utilizing any free trials and demos which you can get. Many Internet Service Providers offer limited time, no obligation software trials, so take advantage of those, and see if they work for you.
- Try to think in terms of a ‘Mobile Mindset’:
Today, the Smartphone has probably become the most important asset for the Real Estate Professional. As a result, try to find those Cloud based solutions which can be downloaded quickly and easily onto your Smartphone, in the way of ‘Mobile Apps.’