06.01.2010 / 5 Ways Small Businesses Can Save Money Through Technology
It is obvious that all businesses and small businesses especially, are out to save money. Technology is a great way to accomplish that, so here are some ways your business can save money.
"It is obvious to almost all business owners that Facebook and Twitter are free and can promote your business in the community."
- Open Office
Using technology such as Instant Messenger, email, VOIP calling, online video chat, project management software and cloud based storage allows for work to be done from anywhere, not just the office. This can save on overhead costs and productivity costs of allowing your employees to work from where they are comfortable. Having the capability to work remotely also allows the company the option of hiring offsite workers, which normally come at a reduced cost. An increasing trend among Millennial and Gen X employees is that many are willing to take a lowery salary in exchange for the ability to work from home or offsite. In such cases as this, you save on both salary and capital expenses.
- Go Paperless
The more paper you keep, the more money you spend on shipping, printing, mailing, storing and finding documents you need. Being paper-free is not only more cost effective, it’s also eco-friendly.
It’s just as easy to save items that you would normally print as a PDF file and store electronically. It will also make your data easier to organize, store and link when needed.
There are many different types of software that can help you go paperless with little initial cost:
- Can’t get away from using fax? Try using a fax to email converter.
- Stuck printing for manual signatures? Try using E-signatures. These are legally binding signatures within the United States, Canada, several European countries and others.
- If things must be printed: Duplex or print on both sides of the document. Also, change your print configuration to FastRes (a lower quality print) and EconoMode (if available) to save on ink. This will reduce the amount of ink used, but will also slightly reduce the quality as well.
- Use Open Source Software
Free and Open-source software (FOSS) is normally far less expensive to obtain and maintain for small business owners. Many business owners will spend hundreds on programs like Intuit’s Quickbooks, Microsoft Word and Adobe Photoshop, but could get GnuCash, OpenOffice and GIMP for free. The software interfaces are similar and your customer may never know the difference, while you save hundreds or even thousands.
- Try Beta Versions
Beta versions of software are normally versions that are not quite the finished version. However, many times this does not mean it lakes significant quality. If you can get onboard with a software company, you may get to use their technology and software for free while helping the company solve kinks. Keep in mind that there may be kinks, so saving and backing up your work often is essential. That being said, there can be a ton of cost saving in using beta versions.
- Social Network
It’s obvious to almost all business owners that Facebook and Twitter are free and can promote your business in the community. You also don’t need to be a social media expert to do this effectively. Simply stated, if your customers are online, you should be online.
Most of all, it is important to know what your customers are saying about you online and to figure out how you can serve them better. Some tools that have been used for social media monitoring include Twitter, BackType, BoardReader, WatchThatPage, Trendrr, Social Mention and Yelp.
If you’ve got tips to share or ways you’ve used technology to save your company money, we’d love to hear it – let us know below in the comments.