Business News sponsored by Republic of Gamers ROG Zephyrus M16
While the global economic outlook seems to be turning upward, things are still constrained locally. Coupled with this is the imminent annual holiday season, which is high season for retailers, hospitality and related industries, but often low season for professional services businesses as everyone switches off for the summer holiday.
For SMEs, cost saving continues to be critical, and here technology can help. Says Euphoria Telecom CEO John Woollam, “Modern technology has enabled businesses to use and pay for services on an on demand basis, giving them much greater flexibility in how much they pay and much greater variety in the services they can use, often at very little cost.”
Woollam provides the following cost saving tips:
Say no to contracts: From your office productivity suite to your telephony solution, getting tied into long-term contracts isn’t cost-effective, particularly because technology costs often decrease over time (like internet bandwidth). Find a provider that will allow you to sign up on a month to month contract basis and review that contract often to make sure your spend is still in line with your needs.
Say yes to usage-based billing: Per user, per second, per MB, you should pay for what you use in the smallest viable increment. This means not signing up for 10 end user licenses when you really only need five, or paying call costs per minute. It may take a bit more time to work out what your exact need is, but it’ll pay off in the long term. Also make sure your provider will allow you to scale up or down easily, adding user licenses, for example, or storage to your cloud-based business infrastructure, immediately and cost-effectively.
Reduce, reuse, recycle, or in the case of your hardware requirements, buy refurbished: While it doesn’t make sense to skip on mission critical things - like the laptop that makes your world go round - you can get refurbished VoIP handsets, smartphones and other devices that do the job, can be purchased for cash, come with warranties (not always, so do be careful to check) and won’t set you back the premium prices that new equipment often does.
Sharing is caring: The great resignation may be less of an event in South Africa than it is in the US but the pandemic has seen people start gig economy businesses to support themselves after losing their jobs, or to supplement their income. So unless you really need one, consider using a shared resource - like an HR consultant or accountant. And if you find yourself in the awful position of having to let some of your resources go, it might be viable to help them set up as a resource you can use part time and share with other businesses in the same position. How is this technology, you ask? Technology is what enables remote, seamless resource sharing, obvs.
Go virtual: This isn’t what the property sector wants to hear, but evaluating whether or not you really need an office is prudent under the circumstances. The pandemic has shown that a fancy business address isn’t an essential requirement and many people are going to prefer doing virtual meetings for some time to come. This means having no office, or a smaller office, geared to accommodate some of your people, and equipped for meetings and the like, is now a realistic option. Modern telephony solutions mean your landline can go with you wherever you are, on your browser or via a mobile app, so you’re no longer tied down by that requirement either.
Technology also enables you to semi-grate to Plett and no-one will know the difference. Seriously though, investigating flexible, adaptable and cost-effective solutions to all your technology needs is a viable cost-saving strategy. And remember to review annually for maximum effect.