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5 Costs Cutting Ideas For Your Small Business

The most important thing about running a small business during periods of rising costs is to cut expenses every way you can so that you can maximize profits. Even though it’s impossible to eliminate costs completely for most businesses, costs for basic services can be greatly reduced if you shop around. Here are some tips for making your company more cost-efficient.

1. Use VoIP for Phone Calls
Switching to a SIP phone provider or VoIP service providers is a great start since communication is a key to success and regular phone service can be expensive. You can cut phone bills by up to eighty percent and sometimes even get free phones by choosing VoIP.  Using VoIP helps you save by eliminating high cost standard phone lines, phone switch (PBX) hardware, and charges for long distance.

2. Market Your Business Online with SEO Content
Instead of gambling on expensive traditional media for marketing your brand, build a content rich website that serves a niche, which can cut marketing costs to almost zero. Use keywords that describe your business as web page titles. Concentrate on giving useful information that people are already searching for.

3. Interact with Customers on Social Media
Social media helps businesses save money in many ways. By engaging with customers on Facebook or Twitter, you can share product knowledge and get instant feedback. Social media can also help you build your client list and quantify responses so that you can quickly study how people feel about your product or service.

4. Consider Outsourcing
Instead of hiring employees you can cut overhead costs by outsourcing through websites that bring entrepreneurs and freelancers together. You can usually find experienced professionals through these channels willing to work for lower wages than regular employees.

5. Find a Low Cost Office Deal or Move to a Virtual Office
Working from home not only cuts office space costs, it can also save you money on transportation. If your work mainly involves a computer and/or a telephone, then you should definitely consider this option. Paired with VoIP phones, you can almost eliminate office rent and utility costs.  If you need to rent office space, ask a friend who owns an existing business if they would rent you space at their facility for a discount.

Your business will be much more efficient if you focus on reducing traditional costs as much as you can. Thanks to cloud computing, VoIP service providers and other modern tech solutions, it’s possible to run your business on a shoestring budget and still turn a nice profit. Keep in mind that the reason many businesses fail is because they spend more money than they bring in. Be very conscious of your accounting and you will have a much better chance of being successful.

5 Reasons Some Small Businesses Are Resistant To VoIP

Phone providers are making the switch from copper wire systems to Voice over Internet Protocol with good reason. In the US, AT&T is just one of the major providers of the old systems that are making the switch. Yet some businesses continue to fiercely guard their traditional phone systems due to misappropriated fear. Here are 5 common excuses business use for not making the switch.

We Won’t Have Service If The Power Goes Out

Copper wire systems had an advantage in that they still function if the power goes out. But today, a lot of those systems have been changed out in favor or fiber optics. Most customers are unaware that their phone lines won’t work indefinitely if their systems are running on fiber options. VoIP, on the other hand, will run for up to eight hours on standby if your system is equipped with a backup battery.

Call Quality with VoIP is Poor

It’s true that your VoIP call quality will be poor if you do not have a fast and stable internet connection in your place of business. However, in this age of high speed broadband services at affordable rates, even for businesses, there’s no excuse for not having a reliable internet connection. With the right bandwidth, your calls on VoIP will be just as clear as any landline phone. If you do happen to hear an echo or a bit of static, it could be coming from the other end of your call. A good idea is to hold on to your existing phone until you’re satisfied with the quality that VoIP offers.

The Current Systems Work Just Fine

You might be resistant to introduce a new phone system into your business if your current system works fine, that’s easy to understand. But no system is fool proof and with time as your older technicians retire, new hires will not be familiar with the old systems and that can pose a problem. Additionally, it is never wise to wait until your old system fails completely before adopting something new. The downtime could be detrimental to your business goals.

If budget is a concern, you can start planning ahead for the purchase of the VoIP system. Usually the initial investment of purchasing the equipment pays off almost immediately. You’ll realize instant savings in your monthly billing, plus you’ll eliminate the cost of having on-site technicians to maintain troublesome equipment.

What About 911 Calls?

Nobody wants added complications of verifying their address when there’s an emergency. To eliminate troubles with 911 calls, VoIP vendors enter customer information based on a verified address so you’ll be easy to locate. The truth is that there could be problems with 911 calls even with landline phones, and a lot of 911 centers use VoIP systems themselves.

Our Old Phones Are Made To Withstand Anything

Older phones won’t break like smartphones and modern lightweight phones if they’re dropped. But older phones are not as flexible and portable as new phones. Think about the work involved in rewiring an office to accommodate your phones if you have to move. Plus, with VoIP your employees can accept and make calls while on the go.

Finally, you would be a smart business owner if you make the decision to switch on your own rather than have the phone service provider make that decision for you.

Steve Brown made the switch to voice over IP years ago. Skype is just one of the services that he uses regularly. To find out about some other great solutions that he’s found and rated, see what he has to say on uSwitch.com.

5 Ways Skype VoIP Benefits Small Business, Solopreneurs And Freelancers

Freelancers, solopreneurs, and microbusiness owners would benefit from having a business number through Skype. The popularity of the application has grown for several reasons, and with Microsoft’s recent acquisition of the company, we see a lot of possibility for Skype’s future.

As a solopreneur, here are five reasons you should consider Skype to meet your communication needs.

It’s Mostly Free

Sure you’ll have to pay a small fee before you can access Skype’s premium features, but the application offers a lot even if you never pay a dime. For instance, you can call other Skype users for free or chat online with your clients. You can conduct online calls with multiple people at once or have a video conference with just one user.

Upgrade your package for a small monthly fee and you can add more users to your video chat, call landline or cell phones, make international calls, setup voicemail and so much more.

Getting Started Is Simple

No technical savvy is needed to master Skype. That’s saying a lot for an application that does so much. You’ll need to sign up for a Skype ID, or use your existing MSN ID, and the application will more or less do everything else for you. By far the best feature for beginners is the Skype test call that you can use to play around, adjust your microphone and speakers, and learn the interface.

Take It Anywhere You Go

This current era is defined by the mobility of its generation. Smartphones, tablets and similar devices are developed with the mobile user in mind. It’s the same principle with Skype. As long as you access to the internet, you’ll have your Skype account within easy reach of your laptop, smartphone or tablet.

A small monthly fee will give you a Skype number that you can use for business. That number can be used as a backup for clients to reach you if your phone gets lost, or your battery runs dead. You can also forward the number to your smartphone while on the go.

More Reliable Than Your Smartphone

Really? Yes, it is! The quality of VoIP calls has improved drastically. The dropped calls and poor audio are a thing of the past if you have a robust and stable broadband connection. If, for some reason, your call quality drops, an automated Skype operator will notify everyone on the call of the danger of a dropped call. Skype is also using call feedback as a way to improve the quality of the service.

With this type of commitment to detail, where would you take your chances when you have to make an important call to your client?

Excellent Call Quality

Skype delivers crisp, clear calls almost 100% of the time. Even more important is that the quality of the call is not affected if you use the built-in microphone on your smartphone, tablet or laptop.

If you’re making calls from a desktop, you’ll need to purchase and connect a microphone. Any inexpensive microphone will do, but if you would like to improve the quality of the call get one with mid-range capabilities.

Steve Brown made the switch to voice over IP years ago. Skype is just one of the services that he uses regularly. To find out about some other great solutions that he’s found and rated, see what he has to say on uSwitch.com.

5 Reasons Why All Small Business Should Use VoIP Service Providers

The use of traditional landlines is slowly declining in use. It’s only a matter of time before they become completely phased out. Just like the Sony Walkman that became displaced by the Apple iPod, advancements in technology are quickly changing how we work and connect with others.

A perfect example of this is the rising use of smartphones. While many were initially reluctant to embrace this innovative piece of technology, today it’s almost impossible to find someone without one. In fact, a recent study by Nielson found that approximately 44% of Americans own a smartphone.

As we become more connected, many are opting to take advantage of technology and other services to make their workflow easier. One particular service that does exactly this is VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) which relies completely on the Internet to make calls.

If you’re not yet convinced of how powerful VoIP can be, here are five reasons why all businesses should use VoIP service providers.

1. Cost effective

Traditional landlines are costly. Installing the system requires more equipment and separate wiring. The price of the service itself can easily cost several hundred dollars per month. In comparison, setting up VoIP services don’t require as many resources and costs are kept to a minimum.

2. Customized services

Not all businesses are created equal. VoIP service providers understand that companies require customized solutions to better suit their business needs. Such solutions help to save even more money when compared to traditional phone line services, which tend to be much less flexible.

3. Mobility

VoIP services can now be integrated seamlessly with smartphones. Other features also include automatic forwarding and virtual extensions, which are particularly beneficial for those companies with traveling staff or remote employees.

4. Increased flexibility

In this digital world, it’s not uncommon for businesses to have clients all over the world. Many business VoIP service providers offer unlimited nationwide calling and discounted rates for international calls. These features mean that businesses have more inexpensive resources at their disposal to increase their reach.

5. Free faxing

Another reason for businesses to use VoIP is that many providers allow customers to send their faxes online, completely eliminating the need for a physical fax machine. This has the added benefit of saving on extra costs such as ink and paper.

With more businesses connecting online to reach a more global audience, it has never been more important to stay in touch with employees and clients. VoIP is particularly beneficial for businesses as it offers cost saving features and other excellent extras that traditional phone services simply can’t compete with.

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Chuck Stevens is an avid blogger always looking to share his experiences and recommendations. He has been a business advisor for over 10 years. You can follow him on Twitter @chuckstevens12.

3 Basic Ways To Lower Your Small Business’ Monthly Bills

As a small business owner, you are consistently looking for ways to save money, including lowering your monthly bills. This often seems like an impossible feat but there are actually a variety of ways to reduce your monthly bills without suffering any consequences. If you’re looking to save your business money, you must consider cutting out the things you don’t necessarily need, like your cable subscription for the lobby. You must also watch your gas and electricity usage… every little extra light or temperate degree cooler (or warmer) can make a big difference. Finally, look for ways in which you can lower your monthly phone bill, which may include switching over to a VoIP phone system – look into VoIP service providers that fit your needs.

Cut the Excess
Do you really need a large cable subscription just for the television in the lobby? By getting rid of cable all together, you can save at least $100 per month. Instead, put together a DVD promoting your company and play that on the television, or opt for basic cable. Put out some magazines or books as reading material for visitors who wait in the lobby for a bit.

Watch Your Gas and Electricity Usage
Gas and electricity usage is the number one money-eater that many business owners tend to forget about. Let’s face it – heating or cooling down an office can be tough and oftentimes, there has to be a set temperature for businesses with a large amount of computers and other technology. However, a few degrees hotter or cooler won’t make a huge difference in office atmosphere, but it can make a big difference in your monthly bill. In regards to electricity, it’s important to remind employees to shut off lights to unused rooms and you may even want to consider installing detection lights that turn off or on automatically in the restrooms.

Switch to VoIP Telephone Systems
Switching to a VoIP phone service can help save a ton on your monthly bill while giving you some great added features – all you need is an internet connection. Some benefits from a good VoIP service provider include professional greetings, music on hold, custom auto-attendant, internet faxing, conference calling, and more. You save money by eliminating expensive business phones lines from the phone company and getting rid of complex phone switch (PBX) hardware.

These are just a few basic ways to save on your business’ monthly bills. It all comes down to cracking down and using things such as electricity minimally and cutting out the excess bills while keeping up-to-date on the latest technology to save you money.

Featured images:
  •  License: Royalty Free or iStock source: http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/images/results.aspx?qu=saving+money&ex=1#ai:MP900411794|

Samantha Wideman is part of a team of writers and specializes in writing about current news events.