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How to Trim Your Small Business Budget

-- 2011-07-19 2:00 am --

In these uncertain economic times, many small business owners are looking for ways to cut back on their expenses and make sure they're in a sound financial position -- just in case the worst-case scenario becomes a reality. There are several great ways to reig n in your small business' spending and ensure your financial integrity for the long haul.

Consider VoIP or Virtual Phone Services

The days of paying a landline telephone operator huge sums of money for multiple telephone lines are long over. Sure, they still offer this service and have recently come down on the price they charge their business clients for the privilege of multiple lines, but their methods are increasingly outmoded by virtual phone services and VoIP service providers.

VoIP uses your business' existing broadband internet connection to route calls over the internet, rather than over the old-fashioned copper wires maintained by the traditional landline phone company in your area. Because these companies have no lines to maintain and no wire poles to erect, they are able to offer telephone services -- even on multiple lines -- at discounts that can reach as high as 80% cheaper than the traditional telephone company's best offering.

Best of all, it eliminates a utility bill entirely and gives your business a bit of convergence: internet and telephone, all centrally located and routed through the same provider. That also means that technical problems will be easier to address and more simple to diagnose.

Pay Bills Online

Banks don't just give out checks -- they're a costly investment for every small business. And for every check that needs to be written, a stamp must be purchased. Those costs add up over the course of a year, but can be quickly solved by switching to online bill payment. There are generally no fees associated with this type of service, and it will save your business on costly checks and the postage fees that slowly add up over time.

Go Open-Source for Productivity Needs

Microsoft Office is an expensive productivity software suit that most people feel is essential, but the company is increasingly dealing with open-source and free competitors that offer the same product without charging so much as a dime. So it is with Office's nearest competitor, OpenOffice. The software suite is open-source software, meaning it's actively developed by a community of programmers and distributed free of charge to anyone who wishes to download it.

Another option is the excellent Google Docs service that places all of your documents and productivity applications online, within reach of any internet-connected computer. That has the added benefit of making your documents universally accessible and shareable, too -- which is increasingly important as everything becomes digital and collaborative among small and large businesses alike.

 

Office equipment -- everything from computers and smartphones to printers and faxes -- can be purchased refurbished from any number of vendors. The savings on these items is oftentimes significant, with customers saving between 20% and 50% on factory refurbished office items. It all adds up to more equipment for less money, and a great value for the budget-conscious business owner.