Small businesses are engines of economic growth and generate significant new employment opportunities. In recognising the vast potential of small business, governments and policymakers in the Asia-Pacific region continue to actively encourage small firms to innovate and internationalise. Regional economic integration now offers greater opportunities for small businesses in the Asia-Pacific to venture overseas.
In fact, a majority of small businesses surveyed acknowledge that globalisation presents a significant opportunity. Small businesses identify 4 main growth opportunities: building closer customer relationships, introducing new products or services, innovating in sales channels, and overseas expansion.
Cloud computing provides enormous support for each growth avenue. Cloud-based software offers advantages such as low cost, flexibility, and scalability to small businesses looking to grow. Using cloud-based solutions, small businesses can access the same functionality as multinational corporations, but at a fraction of the cost.
Cloud-based systems allow small businesses to manage operations in multiple markets, dealing with local currencies, accounting regulations, and taxation. There is a clear linkage between the use of cloud and internationalisation. Cloud users among small businesses are 3 times as likely to internationalise as non-cloud users, and 3 times as likely to plan further overseas expansion. In short, businesses born in the cloud are also born global. As small businesses in Asia-Pacific seek to capture the international opportunities regional economic integration brings, cloud computing is helping them to grow with lower costs and risks, as well as greater flexibility than ever before.
Cloud computing presents immense opportunities for small businesses in the region. The adoption of cloud computing technologies is enabling small businesses to leverage their competitive assets – speed and agility – to access new overseas markets easily and optimise business efficiencies.
Use of digital technology often enables small businesses to disrupt existing industry business models, for example by going directly to end-customers, bypassing traditional industry sales and distribution networks. As with other growth opportunities for small businesses, cloud computing provides small businesses with the flexibility to quickly and easily innovate their business model. Companies that are digitally engaged this way are more likely to grow than those that are not.
To sum up, Cloud computing enables small businesses to roll out new products or services, often through digital channels, quickly and cost-effectively and serve customers worldwide, substantially reducing the risk of failure in innovation.