If there is one thing that every business has in common regardless of size, it is the desire to save money wherever and whenever possible. Even the fat cats don’t like wasting money. They have investors to appease. Shareholders and board members care about the bottom line. And every wasted penny is a mark against that line.
For small businesses, the situation is more dire. It is not just about fractional movement in the stock price. It is about whether or not you will still be in business next month. You will always be on the lookout for easy changes that can save your business big money.
In doing so, many businesses make the mistake of looking for savings in all the wrong places. There are some services that cost what they cost, and cannot be significantly reduced. Attempting to do so means cutting back on mission-critical services on which your continued business survival depends.
The challenge is that it is not always immediately apparent that cutting those key services had a negative effect. You can go on for quite some time before suffering the consequences of the budget cuts. But eventually, the bill comes due as it always does when cutting too deeply into the following services:
You simply cannot run a business with a slow and unreliable internet service. Everything you do requires connectivity. And it is unrealistic to believe that every machine you use for work will have a wired connection. So whether it is Optimum wifi or some other connectivity from a different broadband provider, you have to get the best rather than the budget option for your business.
It is perfectly okay to save money by using your home broadband provider for your business. Just make sure they have a business option you can choose. You want the fastest broadband with the most bandwidth. And you don’t want to be sidelined by low data caps.
Your uptime has to be as close to 100% that is offered in your area. When the big order comes in for a thousand of your finest widgets, you can’t afford a slow and unreliable connection to your servers.
In 2009, a survey found that 1 in 5 businesses were cutting back on IT security spending. Perhaps they would have made a different decision had they known about all of the data breaches that would dominate the news cycle every year since.
As it turns out, some of these were the biggest companies in the world that could afford better security. They just grossly miscalculated the risk/reward of investing heavily in IT security. Chances are, yours is not one of the biggest companies in the world. And you will not be able to weather the storm that arises from having your weak security exploited.
You have to remember that it is not just your information that is at stake. It is every customer that ever does business with you. It is their contact information, financial information, and depending on your business, other personal information such as health data. So when it is time for budget cuts, make sure IT security is never on the chopping block.
All too often, the sales department competes with the customer service department for funding. In companies that are confused about where their money really comes from, the customer service department loses every time.
Every new customer brought in by the sales department is worth one sale. That will not sustain your business. What customer service does is turn that one sale into a lifetime customer good for many sales, along with her entire network. A bad customer service experience not only leads to losing that customer, it snowballs into many lost customers due to negative word of mouth.
There are plenty of ways to save money in business. Don’t buy $400 chairs. Lease instead of purchase your workstations. Outsource non-critical services when possible. Use a staffing service instead of hiring. But never cut the oxygen to your internet, security, and customer service. These are what will see your company through the rough patches.