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8 Tips to Save Big Money on Technology
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8 Tips to Save Big Money on Technology
There's no doubt that technology can drive costs from your business and help you to become more profitable. Often technology can allow you to serve more customers, without adding additional staff.
And it can allow sole proprietors and business owners to be more productive and have a better quality of life, instead of working night and day. Wouldn't we all like that?
Recently I asked small business owners who are readers of my publication, Small Business Trends, for their best tips on saving money on technology purchases, or by using technology in their businesses. We got 51 excellent tips. Here are 8 tips that really shine, plus one bonus tip of my own:
1. Find Deals on Twitter
'Lots of companies are using Twitter now to broadcast deals, coupons and special offers. The trick is finding them. Don't worry; just take a look at this list of 30 deal hunters on Twitter* who are out there finding the deals for you! Follow them for savings!'
Shared by: Jim Kukral*
2. Use Google Alerts to Find Deals
'Before I make a decision on a piece of technology, I scour the review type websites like CNET* and PC Magazine*. I pick two items that have great reviews, and set Google Alerts for them-with the word 'deals' next to them. For the next few days I monitor the prices that come up, and buy when the time is right. This works!'
Shared by: Joel Libava, The Franchise King*
3. Eliminate Paper and Filing with Screenshots
'I'm finding I can eliminate a lot of paper and filing expenses -- not to mention filing and recovery of documents -- by taking quick screen shots of web orders and travel documents and such. I save them on my CPU unless they're travel documents, in which case I save them as JPGs and put them onto my iPhone.'
Shared by: Tim Berry, Palo Alto Software, timberry.bplans.com*
4. Save on Maintenance Costs with Web-Based Software
'A great way for small businesses to save money on technology is to utilize Software as a Service (SaaS)
solutions. They often remove the need for small businesses to buy pricey boxed software and the frequent upgrades that go along with it. Many Web-based applications also have a great support team that is available to the small business at no extra charge, and at all hours of the day/night (because, as we know many small business owners/operators keep non-traditional hours!).'
Shared by: Jessica Routier, IAC-EZ*
5. Keep Your Old Computers an Extra Generation
'You do not NEED ‘State of the Art info-tech'. Use one-generation old computers and software. They are much less expensive; the bugs have been worked out; most of the important stuff runs just fine on it; they are still good for 3 years+/-, by which time a lot more will have changed anyway. ‘Keeping up with the Newest' when it comes to technology is a big waste of money and time. Let the Nerds be the early adopters. You have a business to run and customers to serve -- don't spend your valuable time debugging new info-tech. Make your policy to buy and use ‘State of the Need'.'
Shared by: John Mariotti, The Enterprise Group*
6. Use Free Office Productivity Software
'Instead of costly productivity tool applications from Microsoft, use equivalent free tools. Google offers free versions of email, word processing, presentation, and spreadsheet applications. Sun offers a suite of free productivity tools called the OpenOffice Suite, including a word processor, spreadsheet, and presentation application. Mozilla offers a free email client, Thunderbird, which does most of the things Microsoft Outlook does.'
Shared by: Keith Klundt, Orange Soda*
7. Barter With Other Small Businesses
'Consider bartering. If you do Web design, get a deal on services like phone setup and maintenance by offering to refresh their website design. If you work with other small businesses you just need to think creatively and find a win-win situation.'
Shared by: Robert Brady, Lotus Jump*
8. Use Discussion Forums to Locate Discounts
'When shopping for technology products, this site can be addictive: www.Slickdeals.net*. The forums are full of deals submitted by users and sometimes there are great bargains. Check this site first for coupons or deals before shopping or technology products. I saved $5 in Best Buy last week with a coupon from here.'
Shared by: Shashi Bellamkonda, Network Solutions, blog.networksolutions.com*
Here's a bonus tip of my own. I frequently use outside service providers and IT consultants, and in general I've have great experiences. Unfortunately, a couple of times I've also been burned and have learned the hard way about saving money. Here's one such lesson I've learned.
BONUS TIP: Pull the Plug Fast on Floundering Tech Consultants
'You often save money by outsourcing technology projects, because outside providers can hit the ground running and work more efficiently than less-experienced people. But watch for warning signs of projects gone wrong, such as not seeing tangible results in a reasonable time frame, or worse, having to re-do tasks not done right the first time. These can be signs that the provider's skills are not a good match for the project... they may be in over their heads. Insist on answers and progress, and if you don't get them, bring the provider's activities to a halt sooner rather than later. Don't keep throwing money down a black hole - anything you've paid to date is ‘sunk costs'* you won't recover. You'll save money by cutting your losses and starting over with a contractor who's a better fit.'
So, you've heard from other small business owners. Now let's hear from you: what tips, resources or products would you like to share that can save other small businesses money on their technology? Leave a comment below.
About the Author:
My name is Anita Campbell. I run online communities and information websites reaching over 6 million small business owners, stakeholders and entrepreneurs annually, including Small Business Trends, a daily publication about small business issues, and BizSugar.com, a small business social media site.