Running a business isn’t easy or cheap. Only four out of every 100 businesses ever make it past the 10-year mark. That means that 96% of businesses fail within the first 10 years. One of the biggest contributing factors to businesses failing is cash flow. Small businesses especially tend to hit a curve where they really need to grow to continue to succeed, but they don’t have the funds to cover that growth.
Whether you’re attempting to grow your business or you just want to survive, finding small ways to save money is vital if you want long-term success. Even spending too much on paper supplies or the electric bill can impact your bottom line. Fortunately, there are some surprising ways technology can save your office money and help free up some of that all-important cash flow.
Some ways tech saves money are probably pretty obvious and common sense. Others, however, require that you think outside the box. To save the most money possible, consider implementing the following.
- Reduce Carbon Footprint
These days, it only makes sense to make your company as green as possible. Not only does it save those hard-earned dollars for other things, but you’ll be doing something positive for future generations.
If you want to reach out to the environmentally conscious, it’s also smart to take your company green. About 53% of consumers around the world state they prefer to buy a product from a company that has a green reputation. This may just be enough to give you that slight edge over your competition that means the difference between success and failure. If even one customer chooses your company because it’s green, you’ve made an impact while saving money.
Fortunately, there are some interesting technology capabilities when it comes to going green. Outside of the more obvious things, such as installing an energy-efficient furnace or using solar panels, there are a number of power-saving technology products that can help you reduce your company’s carbon footprint. For example, you could invest in interior lighting that dims automatically when it is brighter outside and more sun comes through the windows.
Similarly, you can install automatic lights in bathrooms and other less used areas. The lights are motion activated, so when not in use, they will shut off. When someone walks into the room, they will automatically turn on for a set amount of time.
- Update Industrial Technology
For industries that utilize compressed air, installing new technology can result in significant savings. By installing a more efficient system for producing compressed air, industrial facilities can save as much as 20-30% if they utilize a centralized plant air system.
In addition, an updated system can better help businesses track the EQ rating and monitor the efficiency of their air systems. This can result in significant monetary savings. An upfront cost of upgrading equipment is quickly recouped with such a large overall savings.
- Use Remote Services
Purchasing software, software updates and storing digital files can add up to a lot of money. In addition, you may need different types of software for different departments within your business. On top of those costs, you may need to hire a person who is efficient in using a specific type of software to update files. Ongoing training costs as the software changes from year to year can also add up to thousands of dollars in costs you may not need to pay.
At times, it is simply cheaper to hire a remote company that specializes in something like bookkeeping or data management. The company will be well-versed in how to do this type of work, which means the number of hours it takes to complete the work will be reduced and you’ll wind up paying less.
If you only need 10 hours a week of data entry for your bookkeeping, for example, you can hire a third-party company to do this work and skip paying an employee, shelling out money for benefits and all the other costs involved with hiring an on-site person to do the work for you.
Get a full list of costs and skills from the third-party vendor and compare that to the cost to hire someone to do the same work in house. Include costs you will incur purchasing software and providing training. Now, compare the two costs and see which is the best value for your business needs.
- Save a Tree
Technology can also help you cut down on the costs of paper. Printer paper can be quite expensive, especially if your business prints and saves a lot of documents. Instead, why not store those documents on your server or in the cloud? This can reduce waste of printer paper and is more environmentally friendly. With digital copies, you can also store important documents in more than one location. In case of a fire or other disaster in the office, you won’t lose documents you need.
As an added bonus, remote workers will be able to pull documents up from home with the proper credentials. When workers are at home instead of in office, your costs will naturally be reduced as there are fewer people using the facilities in the building. For each person who works from home, that is one less person microwaving their lunch, taking bathroom breaks and even turning on a computer that day.
- Use Digital Marketing
Although print, radio and TV advertising still has its place, much of it can be replaced with online marketing. Online marketing tends to be cheaper, so you’ll either get more bang for your buck or get the same exposure for less money.
Digital marketing can include everything from advertising on sites like YP to social media campaigns. Your marketing director can help you come up with an online ad campaign that will help you reach your target demographic and spend less money than you would for print ads.
- Add Mobile Payment Options
Over 80% of young adults own smartphones, and 60% of adults do. Seeing those numbers, it is probably no surprise that about 30% of shoppers state they’d rather take their phones than their wallets when going shopping. Offering mobile payment options is a convenience to your customers that might not exactly save you money per se, but it will result in more customers making purchases, which can just as easily impact your profits.
- Add VoIP
If your business ever makes international or long-distance calls, you can save quite a bit by utilizing the high-speed internet you already pay for to make phone calls. Assuming you are in a location where you can get the fastest and most reliable internet available, adding VoIP for long distance only makes sense.
Not only will utilizing a voice over internet connection save you money, but you’ll also gain access to additional features you might not have with a traditional telephone. For example, VoIP packages typically include text chat, call forwarding and recording options.
- Automate What You Can
Every month, new apps and software are released. Try to find time-saving tools that will automate the work in your office. For example, if you typically paid someone to write a blog post and spend time sharing that post on social media, set up automated plugins that will post to social media when you post a new article. One such program is called If This, Then That (IFTTT). You set up recipes, or formulas, that do things like posting to a Facebook page when a new blog post goes up.
By automating processes, you will save time, and that employee can work on other tasks. This is a more efficient use of time. You may even be able to eliminate workers, which will save you salary and benefit costs.
Time Is Money
Any technology tool you can use to get better organized and save time will also save your office money. Each minute you save is a minute that can be utilized for seeking out new clients or improving the product or service your company offers.
Of course, you’ll want to implement the ideas above, but you’ll also want to stay open to new inventions and developments as they occur. With a little ingenuity, your company can improve cash flow and help the environment at the same time.
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