4 Cost-Cutting Measures Every Business Owner Can Use

By George Otte

Could your company stand to reduce its expenses?

Just about every enterprise can. And you don’t have to look far for ideas: American Express’ great list of tips for business owners serious about reducing their business costs is just one of many publicly available resources for curious entrepreneurs.

Here’s a look at four of the easiest ways to slim down your business. Most require little to no upfront investment or reallocation of personnel resources—meaning you can get started at your earliest convenience.

1. Use Anti-Malware Protection

Anti-malware programs provide valuable digital protection against an ever-multiplying array of cyber threats. By protecting your system with a reputable anti-malware solution that regularly updates with defenses against the latest perils, you can greatly reduce the likelihood of a major systems breach—a costly, reputation-damaging event that can seriously set your company back.

It’s important to remember that no anti-malware solution is totally foolproof. You can further reduce your risk by training your employees to recognize phishing scams and suspicious files, by putting together a digital crisis management plan before breaches occur, and by working with a trusted computer repair company with experience recognizing and addressing cyberthreats.

2. Make the Most of Your Current Space

A growing workforce is a good problem to have. But the most cost-effective solution isn’t negotiating favorable terms on a new office lease. Rather, it’s reorganizing your current space to accommodate more employees and equipment. Consider switching from traditional cubicle or bullpen-style layouts to shared workspaces with open floorplans and a wider range of seating types: benches, huddle rooms, breakout areas, flexible cubes and depending what is most appropriate for your field of work.

3. Cut Energy Waste Around the Office

Conduct an office-wide energy audit to spot opportunities to boost your team’s efficiency. Look for things like:

  • Empty rooms with the lights on
  • Heat or air conditioning running during off-hours
  • Heavy blinds or open windows reducing the effectiveness of the building’s lighting, heating and cooling systems
  • Nonessential devices and systems remaining plugged in and turned on when not in use

Each of these issues is relatively easy—and cheap—to fix. Even with modest upfront investments, such as new blinds to block out sunlight on hot days, you’ll likely see savings in a matter of months.

4. Invest in Proactive Technology Maintenance and Repair

Proactive technology maintenance and repair can significantly reduce your IT costs. Take simple steps like regularly running Windows updates, upgrading programs and operating systems before the end of the support life cycle, and defragmenting your hard disk. And find a trusted computer repair partner to help you with tasks that you lack the time or in-house expertise to address on your own.

Cultivate a Culture of Constant Improvement

If you can follow these four tips, your efforts to streamline your company’s finances and reduce its expenses will be off to a great start. Keep up the momentum by fostering a culture of constant improvement at every level of your workforce—including at the very top. Whatever the day-to-day brings, always look for ways to do things better, faster, more effectively, at lower cost. In the long run, you’ll see the results in your bottom line.

6 Things You Didn’t Know Your Answering Service Could Do

How does your business stay on top of incoming calls?

Around the United States and beyond, thousands of small and midsize businesses rely on telephone answering services. Many more businesses should take advantage, as it not only provides efficiencies but cost benefit. If you have a telephone answering service like Responsive Answering Service, you need to take advantage of these six features and capabilities. If you’re still on the fence about investing in an answering service, think about which of these features align best with your business’s processes and mission—you may be surprised to find it’s all of them.

Call Screening

Call screening puts live, human operators between you and your incoming call traffic. Instead of reaching your voicemail when you can’t answer, callers state their identity and intention to real people, who can then forward the call to you in the time and manner (SMS, email, voicemail or fax) of your choosing. This dramatically cuts down on the amount of time you need to devote to calls and eliminates frequent interruptions throughout your day.

Appointment Scheduling

With appointment scheduling, your customers, clients and patients no longer have to navigate cumbersome, confusing touch-tone menus. Initial scheduling and subsequent changes are handled by live operators, who pass the information along to you in the manner of your choosing and automatically remind you when an appointment is approaching.

Telephone Dispatch

Dispatching capabilities allow for the timely, accurate dispatching of important messages, resources and work orders around the clock.

Registration Services

For companies hosting large events, such as trade shows or annual meetings, registration can be a cumbersome process. Outsourcing registration through your telephone answering service streamlines the process and empowers attendees to register over the phone, rather than by email or online forms. They’re able to ask questions about the event and note any particular preferences (such as special meal requests) with a human operator, without the added burden of creating yet another password-protected account.

Message Delivery

Message delivery services ensure that you receive important after-hours communications in a timely fashion. Delivery options include, but aren’t limited to, SMS, email, voicemail, Skype, fax. If you run a practice that needs to be “on” around the clock, but can’t afford internal staff to handle inbound calls at all hours, message delivery can help.

Virtual Receptionist

Virtual receptionist services offer cost-effective, on-hours answering capabilities for small businesses that can’t afford full-time reception staff. Virtual receptionists’ capabilities are surprisingly versatile—they include live answering and transferring, call screening, call routing, administrative support, message taking and much more. All services are performed in a timely, friendly, professional manner, just as you’d expect from an on-site, full-time receptionist—and at a fraction of the cost.

What’s your favorite answering service capability?