Getting newer, better, faster technology may cost your business money—but it can also save you a lot more in the long run.
We asked business owners how technology is helping them reduce their costs while providing other gains, whether greater productivity or better customer service. Here’s how they responded:
We use a software program called TextExpander that allows us to develop small “snippets” of text that automatically expand into pre-programmed larger blocks of text. It sounds boring, but it’s not. Consider this: We can type “zzproposal” and our client proposal template pops up in our price-estimating software, so our estimators have much of the wording already done for them. I can type “zzRob” and have Rob’s cell phone number pop onto the page. A subscription costs about $40 a year, and I share it with my team. TextExpander sends us a monthly email showing us how much time it’s saved us, and it’s usually around 12 hours per month.
—Paige NeJame, owner, CertaPro Painters of the South Shore and Boston, Rockland, Massachusetts
I run my tax practice virtually paperless. Customers email me their tax documents, I prepare their tax returns and share them through a secure online portal and then file the returns electronically using e-file. They love it, and the financial savings are significant. I prepare about 300 returns a year and estimate that I save $600 annually on office supplies, $1,200 on postage and $270 on gas mileage—for a total out-of-pocket savings of $2,070. When I factor in my time savings, it’s far greater. Based on my minimum billing rate of $100 an hour, I estimate I save an additional $13,600, thanks to not having to scan, print, compile and mail paper tax returns. And then of course there’s the added benefit to the environment—priceless.
—Carolyn Miller, owner, Carolyn Miller CPA, Bailey, Colorado
Maximizing the cloud
My startup was using a big website hosting company that was costing hundreds of dollars per year. I was able to move to Microsoft Azure cloud hosting. Beyond hosting, Azure allows startups access to enterprise-level tools for a relatively small fee. A great feature of cloud computing is that you can scale at your business’ own speed—and infinitely. You can start small and cheap, then grow as large as your imagination and industry take you. We are now able to host our website in the cloud for less than 20 cents per month and have access to all of these additional tools.
—Brian Barde, owner and CEO, Kindlewood Camping, Pittsfield, Massachusetts
“A great feature of cloud computing is that you can scale at your business’ own speed—and infinitely.”
Targeting the right audience
Our customer relationship management (CRM) software, Law Ruler—which is designed specifically for law firms—saves us money in multiple ways. For one, it allows us to automate certain processes such as filling in client information into documents, lead nurturing and sending clients’ email reminders. That automation saves our employees time—meaning they can focus on more complex tasks. The biggest money-saving aspect of the CRM, though, is that we’re able to target the right people. As a law firm with a few practice areas, there are specific criteria that we need to focus on when targeting clients. If we didn’t collect and analyze data, our marketing tactics would be much more generalized and we’d be wasting money by targeting people who aren’t the right fit.
—Seth Price, founding partner, Price Benowitz LLP, Washington, D.C.
Making outbound calling more productive
This year, we started using predictive dialing software to save time and money, while increasing our productivity. It allows us to call multiple leads at once and then connect our agent to the call when someone picks up. Automating the calling process has many benefits for our insurance business—which relies heavily on calling to generate business. The most significant advantage is that it improves our outbound call volume by getting the right party contacts with little to no downtime, increasing our agents’ productivity. It also can be used on mobile devices, is easy to scale and has a flexible pricing structure. We estimate it is helping us reduce our calling costs by 18%.
How does your business use technology to save money? Share your experience in the comments section below!Print this article