5 Ways Small Businesses Can Save on Costs Using Technology




  • June 4, 2016

    save on costs


    Running a business is no easy feat. And if you’re still starting out, every penny counts. Plan, therefore, to increase revenues, improve operational efficiency, and save money where possible.


    According to Investopedia.com, there are six main reasons new businesses fail, and too little financing is one of them. This article presents five different ways for small businesses to save on costs with the help of technology.


    Advertising and marketing spending


    Marketing is a business lifeline that cannot be pushed to the back burner, even despite fund shortages. How’s your business supposed to make money if people are not aware of its existence?


    Peter Drucker, the inventor of management theory, once said, “Marketing and innovation produce results. All the rest are costs.” It’s a non-negotiable, in other words. For your business to survive in a highly competitive landscape, some form of marketing must be in place.


    On the digital marketing front, WordStream offers a few suggestions:



    • Publish great content.
    • Create instructional videos.
    • Repurpose old content.
    • Be active on social media.
    • Craft a customer referral or affiliate program.

    Bloated overhead


    As they say, it’s the small leaks that sink a great ship, so beware of small expenses. These costs tend to go unnoticed at first. The next thing you know, they’ve ballooned out of control.


    Some ways to counter this phenomenon include:



    • Going paperless
    • Using VoIP services instead of a traditional phone system
    • Getting a better insurance deal
    • Considering bundled services, such as web development, site maintenance, and hosting from the same provider
    • Revisiting your business subscriptions and memberships to weed out the unnecessary

    Travel expenses


    For business travel, there are a number of ways to get the most bang for your buck. A blog post enumerating varied ways for motorists to save suggests the following:



    • Use a fuel price app to locate the stations with the best fuel prices. WhatGas and GasBuddy are two of these nifty traveler apps.
    • If you own the vehicle, price comparison websites can help you find a parts supplier offering quality but affordable products.
    • Locate cheap parking, particularly in large cities where parking costs can run up to hundreds of dollars monthly. Some parking apps to consider include ParkWhiz, SpotHero, and BestParking.
    • Use sites like Google Places, TripAdvisor, or Yelp to find the best hotels and restaurants offering great deals.

    For frequent flyers, company-level frequent-flyer rewards programs can offset travel costs.


    Hiring costs


    Employee hiring isn’t necessarily a cost-effective exercise. Investopedia.com says it’s one of the top reasons small businesses operating on limited funds hesitate despite their escalating need to onboard new hires.


    If you factor in advertising, recruiting, training, turnover, and lost productivity costs, you’re looking at thousands of dollars in total hiring costs.


    The good news is that the internet has changed the way business is done forever. The same is true for work. As more and more jobs are automated, more and more qualified professionals are working for themselves and advertising their services on job platforms such as Upwork and Freelancer.


    You can retain their services on an as-needed basis versus hiring in-house employees whose wages you still have to pay even when business is slow.


    Free software


    The commoditization of software has given rise to low-cost, even free open-source software for small businesses looking to streamline their processes.


    Free productivity software run the gamut, from project management to work automation, from time management to enhancing your focus. Some of the most popular include:



    • Asana for collaborative work management
    • Any.do for task management
    • Evernote for note-taking
    • Google Drive for document management
    • HipChat for real-time communication
    • Hootsuite for social media management
    • IFTTT for process automation
    • MailChimp for email marketing automation
    • ZipBooks for accounting and invoicing

    Most free software options only offer limited features. These can be enough to address the uncomplicated needs of most small businesses. But if you need more, cloud-based tools are highly scalable and come with tiered packages that can address your current and future requirements.


    Conclusion


    If you’re strategic about it, cost-cutting measures can be implemented without negatively affecting overall efficiency. It is only wise, therefore, to develop a keen eye for opportunities where you can save on costs but not undermine business results.

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