No matter how good your business ideas are, there’s a no getting around the fact that realize.
This can represent a real sticking point for companies. Do you try to grow on a bootstrap budget? Or do you take the financial hit and hope that your growth can retrospectively fund the improvements you’ve had to make?
The good news is – there’s an alternative answer. If you’re a small business looking to continue growing, while at the same time keeping a firm grip on your finances, we’ve got 5 money saving tech tips that mean you don’t have to cut any corners.
Find alternative software options
Software costs a lot of money – at least, that’s what the people who make billions in the software industry want us to believe.
While it can be realize to think of anyone other than the big software houses (we’re looking at you Microsoft, Adobe and Google) there are thousands upon thousands of alternatives out there – they just don’t have the marketing budgets or high profile of the big names.
If your software licences costs are making too big a dent in your budget, there are ways to wipe them out – and one of those is utilising open source software. Open source software is really just a concept – the idea that software should be available to all – and there are some incredible programmers creating applications with that ethos in mind.
If you need an account management application, a customer relationship management tool, computer automated design tools – or anything else you can think of, there’s an open source option out there – and we’d encourage you to check them out. The ‘open’ nature of open source applications means you can very easily find someone who’ll make them a perfect fit for your company too – often at a fraction of the price you’d expect to pay for off-the-shelf big-name software packages.
Outsource your IT
If you’ve got some element of IT in your company at the moment, you’ll be aware that there’s often a support requirement that goes with any infrastructure your company needs to run.
Unfortunately, that support is often more-costly than that IT it’s looking after – which can represent another blow to your budget, especially if you’ve decided to take on an IT team in-house.
It’s these enormous costs that have seen a recent rise in the numbers of outstanding managed service providers (MSP). An MSP is an IT company who
The result is significant, especially if you’re a small business who needs to keep their IT budget under strict check. For a monthly payment to a good MSP, you’ll get the kind of knowledge, support and staffing that could costs tens of thousands if you wanted to maintain your IT with an inhouse team. What’s more, by outsourcing this specialist staffing, you’ll also find that you don’t come across the usual gaps in support that can occur when employees take holidays, are unwell – or leave your company.
If you’re going to look for an MSP, find one with experience of working in your sector – and check real testimonials too. You need to make sure the MSP you choose is a good fit, but when you find the right one, you’ll find they offer support at a fraction of the price you’d pay to recruit, keep and train an in-house team.
Only pay for what you use
IT services are increasingly being offered ‘as a service’ – or, in other words, on a subscription basis, rather than an outright purchase cost.
The reason is simple – there are more small businesses than ever before – and small businesses tend to have smaller budgets, so there’s just not as much room for movement when it comes to taking huge chunks of money out of a delicately balanced cashflow.
Unsurprisingly, large tech companies realise that this could preclude their products for a large part of the market – so rather than expecting your business to pay for a software licence upfront, they’ll offer it instead on a monthly basis. In fact, it’s not just software than works on this ‘pay only for what you need’ basis – there’s an increasing amount of virtual hardware that can be accessed through the cloud too.
The ‘as a service’ model often makes accessing the IT infrastructure you need much more cost effective than making an outright purchase – and it means you can scale up your operations quickly too – responding to market opportunities without worrying about your capital expenditure.
There’s a seriously good feeling you’ll get watching your team of employees grow – but that feeling can be dampened somewhat when you realize they need their own computer, tablet, phone – and more.
Although it’s not the right answer for everyone – there’s a lot of merit to be found in the idea that you don’t supply your employees with these things, instead, let them bring their own devices and work from those.
On the surface, it might seem like a penny-pinching exercise – letting your team go without essentials they need for work – but in actual fact, many fans of the ‘bring your own device’ (BYOD) way of working disagree. While the financial benefits are obviously large, there are enormous productivity benefits to be had – and the
Studies show that employees are often 10-20% more productive when they’re using a device they’re familiar with – a figure that could represent another hour or more of work from someone who’s in your office for the average working day. Add that up – and BYOD has the potential to unlock weeks of additional work – while saving you significant amounts of money at the same time!
BYOD isn’t for everyone – if you handle a lot of personal information you might feel more comfortable with devices that never leave the office – but if data is less of a concern, BYOD has the potential to save small businesses a huge amount.