In the current economy every business should be on the lookout for ways to keep costs down. One of the most effective ways to reduce operating costs is to utilize technology properly. Here are eight ways to use technology to save money.
Power off Devices
It sounds simple, but one of the easiest ways to save money is to make sure that computers and monitors are not running overnight. Require your employees to turn their devices off before they leave for the day and during extended periods of downtime, such as lunch breaks. Don’t go overboard, though; walking around the office turning off every unused computer in the middle of the day is likely to earn the ire of employees who have just stepped away from their desks.
Open Source Software
Many businesses spend hundreds or thousands of dollars on commercial office software, such as word processors, photo editing programs and digital spreadsheets. Consider opting for free, open-source software to replace these commercial products. While it is true that this free software is usually not as robust as the costlier equivalents, open-source programs like OpenOffice.org are still powerful enough for the needs of the average office.
Automated Bill Paying
Some of the most avoidable expenses for the average small business are late fees on bills. Consider setting up your electric, heating and other bills to be paid automatically and set up similar automatic options for your customers.
Take note of how many physical notices and messages you are sending to your customers and see what portion of those can be replaced with electronic messages. Postage and printing costs can easily add up to hundreds or thousands of dollars monthly. Offer your customers incentives to go paperless and make it as easy as possible to do so. As a bonus, when you do need to send out physical letters, customers will view them as unique and important.
Web Conferencing Services
Thanks to technology, in-person meetings (and the significant travel costs associated with them) are often unnecessary. Take advantage of video conferencing services to meet with employees, professional contacts and customers. This saves travel time and natural resources and reduces employee travel burn out along with helping your bottom line.
Look for ways to keep your electric bills down by switching to more energy-efficient technologies. For instance, compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs) use 25 percent less energy and last 10 times as long as ordinary bulbs. During the winter and summer months, opting for more efficient heating and cooling equipment can save your business hundreds of dollars. Odds are good that something in your office can be improved with more energy-efficient technology.
If your business needs to store documents and pictures electronically, consider cloud-based storage as an alternative to expensive storage devices. Because cloud storage can be accessed from any location, you won’t need to purchase flash drives and external hard drives to physically transport information from one place to another, nor will you have to spend on larger hard drives for your computers.
Sometimes, the best way to save money with technology is to actually cut back on your use of technology. For instance, evaluate all of your service subscriptions and consider whether you use each service frequently, infrequently or not at all. Stop paying for anything you do not use and try to find ways to eliminate the services that only see occasional use. You may be able to save money by reducing your Internet speed, eliminating land-line phones and more.