Saturday, 16 November 2013

Ways to Save Money on Tech For Your Small Business

Ways to Save Money on Tech For Your Small Business
Small businesses need to be careful with how they spend money in order to be profitable and to have the money to invest and grow.  To ensure that they are spending wisely and getting the most bang for their buck, small businesses should research purchasing decisions carefully and should be on the lookout for opportunities to maximize the value they receive from each purchase. This is true with any type of acquisitions for the business but especially true when buying tech products.
The Tips
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To help ensure your business is getting the tech tools you need without breaking the bank, here are some tips for saving money on tech:
  • Shop around for printer ink. For example, if you use Brother printers in your office, you can look around to find Brother HL-2140 toner cartridges at a discount.  By doing your research and comparing prices before you make a purchase, you can get the same high quality printer ink but spend a fraction of the price.
  • Use the technology available to you.  Many businesses have software and hardware that they are not using to full capacity. For example, if your business purchased the Microsoft suite of office software but you are using it only for Word or PowerPoint, consider exploring the email, calendar and database features for use in streamlining communication among employees and staying connected with clients. Here are some tips to get the most out of Office.
  • Take advantage of free and open source software. There are a lot of great free software programs out there that use open source code and that provide close to the same level of functionality that higher priced professional programs do. For example, if your company needs a graphic design program, you could easily spend several hundred dollars buying Photoshop. As an alternative, you could instead use the free software program GIMP that provides many of the same features but that will not cost your company anything at all.
  • Look for discounts and buying opportunities for small businesses. Many office supply stores and online companies want to capture a strong market share in the small business market and thus will offer special discounts, deals or coupons for small businesses to use their equipment or services. You should consider looking for discounts on tech products and services from these online and local stores that cater to small businesses before you make any purchase.
  • Decide if VOIP is right for you. Phone service is one of the biggest tech costs for many companies. Instead of having dedicated phone lines, some companies can get away with using Voice Over Internet Protocol (VOIP) as their primary or secondary telephone service. Your monthly cost of phone service may be much lower if you use an Internet telephone service rather than having dedicated landlines.  You can also look into fax services that operate over the computer rather than having a dedicated fax machine in your office environment that you need to buy toner, paper and ink for and that you need to have connected to a dedicated telephone line.
  • Consider having employees use personal cell phones. It may be less expensive for your company to pay a portion of your employee’s personal cell phone bills and have them use these phones for business use than it is to buy dedicated phones that people can use only for business needs and pay for the full cost of the bill. Employees may be eager to embrace the opportunity of using personal phones with a portion of the bills being paid so they do not have to carry around two separate phones.
  •  Outsource some of your tech services. For most small businesses, it does not make sense to have a full-time IT professional employed by the business. Instead, you can use IT consulting firms or outsource to IT professionals only when you need help. You won’t have to assume the cost of benefits and salary for an IT professional when you only need occasionally assistance.
By keeping these tips in mind, you can make sure that your small business has the technology services and features that you need and you can keep costs to a reasonable level so you can make other important investments in your business.
Ralph Billings is a small business consultant who specializes in helping companies trim the fat. If he can’t get our business running more efficiently, no one can! Follow his blogging exploits to gain valuable insight on running your own company.

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