Small business on a small budget: Simple steps for saving on technology expenses

We’ve heard it all before, that the exponential growth seen in technology has positive spin-off effects for businesses. However, technology can be a costly double edged sword and doesn’t always live up to expectations. If advanced tech doesn’t align well with your business needs, it’s something your business doesn’t require to grow.

The result? By deploying the wrong tech solutions to your business, you can end up incurring a lot of expenses without gaining any benefits. So choosing the right solutions for your business is key.

Here are some worthwhile solutions that can help your business save on technology expenses.

Switch over to cloud technologies

Cloud services can give your business a cost effective boost. Cloud technologies enable users access to their data which is stored and managed on remote servers. This eliminates the need for your business to own and maintain expensive servers.

Instead of deliberating over the need for a major overhaul that comes with an expensive IT infrastructure, get onto reliable internet services that allow your business to utilise the cloud. This way, you can access your web hosting and accounting needs at affordable monthly or annual fee.

Besides this, cloud-based data storage and communication services allow your team to collaborate in real time and share data across the web. Cloud services can also scale well as your business grows, unlike physical on-site servers that have maintenance, servicing and risk issues.

Eliminate travel costs

As a business owner, you’ll likely need to travel to meet with clients and suppliers. Though travel allows for face-to-face meetings, that can help you canvass new business opportunities, it can also contribute towards increased business expenses. Is there any way to tackle this dilemma?

Travel costs can be vastly reduced if you choose to communicate with clients and suppliers via video calls on high-speed internet connections. Video conferencing has matured and is now considered an indispensable business tool, so don’t let your business fall behind. You will probably still prefer to travel to meet with people for initial consultations. However, most follow-ups can be effective using video calls, saving you time and money.

Root for telecommuting

Although not a direct business expense, the hidden cost of your employees commuting to work is another persistent and enduring business reality. Employees go through the hassle of hours of daily commuting to and from the workplace, some even do so for hours each day.

Besides this, as a business owner you’re required to provide your employees with adequate space and work areas, along with utility bills and all the associated taxes. There must be a better way!

With telecommuting, everyone’s happy: your employees can easily work from their home. Telecommuting simply means working from home. All you need is reliable internet and phone connections. Many precious hours can be saved which otherwise would have been wasted in commuting. Since employees will be using space at their home, your organization will be able to utilize lesser space.

For instance, the National Telework Initiative launched by the U.S. government encourages employers to bring telecommuting to their workplace. This frees up more of your employees time and gives them a chance to achieve a better work-life balance.

Use free software

If you like cutting costs at every opportunity, here’s one to try: always go for free software. Why pay for software when there are reliable and free alternatives?

With free software, you have the ease of comparing, changing, and trying new solutions. You can’t have this flexibility when you’re working with a paid solution.

OpenOffice is a reliable office suite solution that more businesses are adopting. From photo editing software to analytics programs, everything is easily and freely available if you know where to look. Whenever you are looking to adopt new software solutions, search for ‘open source’ software. Be sure to read the reviews and how the open source offerings compare with the paid ones.

Bill electronically

Go paperless. Going green is the new business mantra. Generate e-receipts. Also, make sure your documents are saved online rather than being kept in office cabinets. Google Docs offers free invoicing templates that can be adapted to incorporate your logo and local invoicing requirements such as sales taxes.

Educate your employees

Train your employees up on all new technology solutions you deploy. The increase in productivity these solutions can offer provides an incentive for your employees to be onboard with any training as they too stand to benefit from the changes and many of them will relish the opportunity to upskill.

As a small business owner, you need to be looking at ways to cut expenses without cutting corners. With advanced tech and various online solutions available, your tasks can be made easier than ever before.

Chloe McDonald is a small business consultant who is knowledgeable in many areas of running a small business. She writes about technology, website design, marketing, finances and more.