There are many cases in which technology can reduce costs for your business by automating tasks to save time and manpower. However, there are other cases in which technology can be a big waste of money. Here are just a few instances in which you could be overspending on tech and what you can do to reduce costs.
Printers are no longer a necessity in today’s world. Most files can be shared via email or stored on the cloud where everyone can access them – there’s little need to print off documents any more. It’s even possible to sign documents electronically using a tablet and stylus and an app such as DocuSign.
By doing away with your printer and going paperless, you could eliminate numerous costs. Not only will you be spending less on energy by not running a printer, but you won’t have to buy ink and paper. Going paperless also has other advantages – without having to store paper documents, you’ll free up a lot of space and keep your office looking tidier. Going paperless can also result in less documents getting lost or damaged as they can be easily backed up. On top of this, going paperless is also good for the environment and could have a positive effect on your company’s reputation.
Not all companies can ditch paper and printing entirely. If you have older clients that still like receive information by physical mail or if you work directly in printing, you may have no choice but continue using a printer. In these cases, it’s best buying printing supplies in bulk and putting a quota on paper usage so that printers are only used when necessary.
Having the right software can help to speed up your company and make it more organised. However, many businesses invest in too many pieces of software – some of which may rarely get used. Often software subscriptions can go unnoticed as you may only be paying a few dollars a month, but over the course of a year this can add up. Consider going through your computer and getting rid of any software that isn’t used regularly.
You may also be able to consolidate software to save costs. Rather than having separate pieces of software for accounting, CRM and ecommerce, you can download an all-in-one business programme such as NetSuite that does all of these functions. Not only are these all-in-one programmes cheaper than paying for multiple programmes, but they can also help to centralise information in one place, helping to keep thing more manageable than having to switch between multiple pieces of software. There are various guides out there can help you compare software to find the best one for your needs.
In some industries such as construction and technician work, it’s common to waste money by buying specialist tools that may only get used once. Rather than buying these tools, you could save a lot of money by hiring these tools instead on a need-only basis. There are many hire companies out there such as Freo Group that specialise in renting commercial equipment out to companies. A good hire company will provide top quality equipment that is regularly serviced for faults – as a result, on top of saving money by hiring, you could end up with a tool that’s also more reliable.
Power-hungry old tech
Clinging onto old machinery rather than buying new machinery might seem like a way of saving money, but you could in fact be wasting money by not upgrading to newer tech. Even if the machine still works just as effectively, it could be using up a lot more energy than a newer machine. Whist buying a new machine will cost you a lot of money, you’re likely to make up costs in the long run through energy savings.
By and large, most new machines are pretty energy efficient. Companies such as Green Plus specialise in selling some of the most economical machinery on the market – if you’re looking to make super savings on your company’s energy consumption, this could be the place to shop. Most of these ultra-green machines run just as effectively as less energy-efficient machines and won’t cost you much more to buy.
Gimmicky new tech
Of course, if you are upgrading to new technology, it’s also important that you don’t fall trap to gimmicky tech. Many small companies waste money on machinery and software that is overly complex for their needs. If you only need the basic functions, you could save a lot of money by opting for something cheap and simple. For example, there are free accounting programmes out there that could be ideal for many small businesses and freelancers – investing in a top quality accounting programme with all the bells and whistles could be totally unnecessary if you never use half of these features.
Sometimes spending money on complexity can result in other extra costs. For example, many professional photographers wanting to get into aerial photography tend to invest in the most complex drones out there. Some of these drones can be so complex to use that they require training to operate – this could result in having to spend extra money when a mid-range drone may not require any training and could be all you need. Training people to use overly complex machinery could be even more expensive if your also have employees to train.
*This is a contributed post