Your business is your livelihood so it’s no wonder you want your business to save money. It is completely understandable that you wouldn’t want to spend more than your business was making, but feeling like a miser scrimping here and there can still take a toll on you as a business owner as well as your employees.
Saving money and going for the cheaper options available to you may seem like the obvious thing to do when it comes to things like office furniture, which you can buy second-hand, or office supplies, which you can buy in bulk and use coupons and discounts to purchase. But when it comes to office devices and software, you may be afraid of buying items that are cheap and flimsy, especially since they’ll still cost you a pretty penny.
There are actually several ways that technology can help you save money, and there are ways that you can save on technology, too!
When it comes to using technology in order to save money, this step is always number one. Going paperless is not only cheaper, but it helps get rid of clutter and makes things easier to find.
Email correspondence is fairly commonplace these days, but using software for time sheets, important documents, receipts and the like make all of this data much more accessible and much easier to find. Instead of thumbing through folders and spending valuable time looking for something, you can instead use the search feature to find exactly what you are looking for.
Going paperless is also great when it comes to advertising. You will no longer have to worry about bringing ads to print, having them printed, making sure that they’re distributed and then be left with outdated, unused printed paper goods that will only end up seeing the recycle bin. Instead, you can make newsletters, ads, logos etc. once using a graphic design or illustration tool and simply post. If changes need to be made, you can simply update the old file.
Having a web page and a strong social media presence can also easily act as your source for advertising your brand. While these online tools sometimes require fees, they are still fairly cheap and very affordable. You can find great domain deals all the time, and making a social media profile is completely free!
Use Open Source Software
Buying the versions of the MS Office Suite to manage your company’s information can actually be quite expensive. Unless you find a great sale or qualify for a particular discount, these programs can still run you hundreds of dollars. But if you go Open Source, you may be paying as much as – you guessed it – nothing. You’ll find almost all of the industry standard, professional software that you’ll need to run your business. Just because the name may not be familiar does not mean that the quality is significantly less. Most of these programs work just as well as the brands you’re used to operating and have very similar interfaces so acclimation is never an issue.
Test Out Beta Software
Volunteering to test out software while it is still undergoing a testing period can save you lots. Sometimes it’s free and other times it can be offered at a significantly lower price. When it comes to beta software, most of the bugs have been worked out and the product you’re agreeing to use will most likely be extremely close to the final product. You may still hit a snag here or there but the companies producing this software will thank you for your feedback and may give you the final version of their product or provide it at a generous discount for helping them out.
The same goes for new gadgets and technologies, like those used for tracking data or digitizing receipts, you just have to know where to look.
Sign Up and Look For Special Offers
Technology is notorious for costing quite a bit, whether you’re buying cheap or not. There are, however, some companies that offer discounts for small businesses. If you have any students in your employ, you can ask them about deals that they may be eligible for as well. Knowing how to combine deals and where to look for them can be crucial.
Saving on technology can save you bundles, when you can find them. Just like anything else you can buy, there tend to be certain times of year where tech items are significantly less than usual. Try to plan your purchases for around these times if you can in order to get the best deal possible.
When it comes to buying the big guns, this is where you will want to look. Hardware can be incredibly expensive, especially if you are looking to fit an entire office with laptops, desktops, tablets and whatever else your business needs in order to run efficiently. You’ll want to get stuff that works and works well, but the top of the line stuff may be far more than you’re willing (or even able) to spend as a small business owner. Instead, you can look into purchasing refurbished equipment. Especially when you buy from a trusted retailer, you know that these products will work as best as they can and that they will be significantly less than their brand new counterparts.
Telecommute When Possible
With all of this affordable technology at your fingertips, why not use it to its fullest potential? If you can cut costs on commuting and want to save some energy at the office, consider working from home if you can. More and more Americans are choosing to work from home because it’s convenient and because it saves time – and time is money.
Know that You’ll Have an Edge on the Competition
As more and more small businesses are entering the digital age, some will undoubtedly be left behind. In order to make sure that your business doesn’t fall behind on the times, it is wise to jump into the ring as soon as you can. Using technology can give your business the boost it needs and will give you access to tools that you can use to your advantage.