Cutting costs, increasing productivity? It can be done

A survey undertaken by the United States Federation of Small Business and DYMO showed that because of the downturn in the economy many small businesses are making cuts to stay afloat. No surprise there, right? Here is a breakdown of where small businesses are making those cuts:

  • 23% of respondents have cut their staff
  • 29% of respondents have put a freeze on bonuses and raises
  • 36% of respondents have decreased their business travel; marketing efforts fell into the 36% cut category

During all of this, though, small businesses are looking for ways to increase productivity – 45% — according to the survey.

For companies looking to cut staff, the owners still have to come up with ways to make sure the work gets done. They have to find ways to make the remaining staff more productive. Technology may be the answer to the struggling small business’s dilemma. Remember, while technology can help you be more productive, it’s easy to get drawn into overly-tech solutions that deliver more than you need – or may be able to figure out! There are gadgets galore that make promises of making your business more productive and effective, just make sure they fit your needs and address a true concern that you have.

Here are four places to look at when deciding whether to utilize these new technologies:

(photo courtesy
  1. Data Storage. Some small business owners have discovered that their employees spend far too much time searching for forms, reports, or other data. If you find this to be the case in your operation, maybe you need to invest in a network or upgrade your hardware or software that will make it easier for employees to access information with the click of a button rather than by rifling through a filing cabinet.
  2. Communications. Maybe a push-to-talk phone would be a quicker option to communicate with offsite employees. True, dialing a phone doesn’t take that long but imagine pushing a button and having almost immediate access! Maybe you could consider routing calls virtually to the employees’ cell phone if they are out on the road or working from home.
  3. Office space needs. Speaking of working from home – why not see if you can free up office space or even downsize your office operation by letting your employees explore a work from home situation. Offering employees the option to work from home can be a boon to the small business owner. You’d have to make certain those off-site employees had access to the network and keeping in touch with them is certainly something you’d want do and you can do that virtually through online chat rooms or instant messaging.
  4. Customer Relationship Management. Does your business have a contact management system? How do you keep track of your customers? There are several options like Salesforce, Act or Goldmine to keep track of clients and leads. If your business needs to communicate frequently with customers or track of leads, CRM software is worth the investment. CRM technology is a time- and money-saving investment.

Technology – if utilized wisely – offers small businesses the opportunity to organize data, communicate more effectively with employees, increase productivity and streamline technology. Remember, though, before you write that check for a new technology that you knew exactly what you need it for and make certain it will perform the tasks you expect of it.

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