Ian Aldridge, Hub Hyde Park member and founder of Progressive Legal, has spent the last five years successfully transforming his legal practice to become completely cloud-based and virtual.
We asked Ian about his venture and how this cloud-based and virtual strategy has helped his business grow throughout 2020’s turbulence.
How have you seen COVID-19 impact business owners?
The pandemic could not have come at a worse time for many small business owners and their clients. With March, April, and May hitting the hardest, many businesses are now turning a corner amid uncertainty.
While there was initial shock for most clients, we saw an opportunity to engage with them.
They were going through a lot of stress, so we gave them time, called them, offered flexible arrangements, did some work up-front, trusted them to pay, and worked within their budgets – we know it’s just a matter of time.
What do you think of the cloud-based business environment right now?
‘Living in the cloud’ is an accurate way to describe the world – businesses will need to consider implementing it into operating strategies.
Cloud-based business has been the norm for Progressive Legal for 5 years – I’ve seen its value and believe similar SMEs can benefit from the transition. If you’re hesitating about cloud-based solutions, this year’s events should demonstrate the positives!
Customers and clients know they can engage with minimal face-to-face contact – nothing beats being in-person, of course, but I think most have seen that remote and flexible work is a reality. You could be on the other side of the country and interact easily with clients, partners, and suppliers, offering greater choice.
Cloud-based services allow businesses to effectively connect with their clients and offer products well-suited to their needs.
Using online sharing tools and accessible services allows you to provide transparent, tailored services to clients. It’s an opportunity to help SMEs build meaningful and long-lasting relationships.
How are cloud-based business operations faring during COVID-19?
Having cloud-based operations helped Progressive Legal immensely by maintaining client contact. In some cases, virtual services prove more attractive to clients by eliminating health risks and offering convenience.
Embracing technology has made it easier for my business to operate and grow smoothly, and I believe it will be the same for other like-minded SMEs. My team was able to communicate and share information securely through cloud-based systems, and it’s become easier to move towards flexible working, be paperless, and fast.
What should businesses do when making the switch?
When it comes to products and services, being active on social platforms and forums will help build your online reputation – focus on building a social media strategy and following, and provide assets like webinars and podcasts.
Our team continued to publish content specific to client’s needs and looked at our marketing and business development plan – when everyone else went “dark”, we remained visible, adopting a “contrarian” approach. It’s kind of our thing.
What are your predictions for cloud-based businesses?
More businesses will look to make the switch towards cloud-based operations as technologies advance. Flexible and remote work has become more viable, so why not move the entire system online?
Having cloud-based services benefits employees and clients, streamlining communication, and improving accessibility.
The future is looking bright and it’s in business owners’ best interests to transfer resources and operative methods to the cloud now.