If you’ve started a small business, you may be aware of how challenging it can be to finance your operations. Due to this, business owners are constantly on the lookout for ways to cut costs that won’t hurt the quality of products or services. One area where you can drastically lower the costs of operation is communication.
Getting your messages across to platforms to their intended recipients is no longer as expensive as it once was. Internet usage has increased to billions of people worldwide, which is more than enough to connect your small business to your target audience. As this trend shows, new and existing technologies will continue to change the way businesses communicate internally and with the outside world.
Here are the best ways to reduce the communication costs of your small business:
1) IP Telephony
Internet Protocol Telephony or IP Telephony is the umbrella term for the communications technology that uses the internet to record and send voice as well as multimedia. In simpler terms, it involves using the internet to make phone calls and send faxes to anyone in the world. It’s the type of program made popular by Skype in 2003.
This kind of software uses internet protocols to exchange call media. It’s led to the development of Voice over Internet Protocol or VoIP, Fax over Internet Protocol or FoIP. These services work for small businesses because it’s relatively inexpensive to operate, provided the business has high standard internet connectivity.
It can be used for internet fax, sending voice messages, and forwarding calls. Many IP telephony software comes with integrated and synced to mobile apps, so you don’t need a desktop to do the basic communication functions. They come in a vast number of packages, so businesses can decide with features they would use and pay for.
Traditionally, businesses had to use telephones connected to analog landlines to make calls. However, within this age of digital technology, landlines are falling out of usage. This can hamper communication with anyone who doesn’t have one or leave you cut off from the world.
2) Web Teleconferencing
Since teleconferencing technology has improved over the past decade, many companies have adapted to host their meetings online. Video conferencing and cloud calling has introduced a more flexible means for working teams to communicate without convening in person.
For your small business, investing in video and telephone conferencing will reduce travel, company car, transportation, or accommodation costs. Instead, participants can host an online live chat or virtual meeting. This will also save you money on having to book conference halls and catering for business guests.
Many of the most used video conferencing software have monthly or annual subscriptions. A business account with all the features and services will set you back about USD$12 to USD$20 a month. This is fairly cheaper than having to finance a company car, paying for gas, or provisioning expenses for your workers to travel.
3) Social Media
By far, the most popular means of communication for businesses today is social media. These are the tools that make it possible to market your business. This has been a game-changer because social media applications are free to use and have a large number of daily users. Small businesses no longer have to compete with established corporate giants to reach the same amount of people.
Conventional advertising media in print and billboards cost thousands of dollars per ad and is charged daily. However, with social media, advertising can be charged weekly or monthly. There’s also the added benefit of each post staying up, so you don’t have to pay per day since it’s already online.
If you plan to use a digital marketing agency to do your social media, you’ll be happy to know there’s a variety of competitive pricing plans to choose from. You can choose to pay only for the services your business will use. Another option is a do-it-yourself approach where you can learn the digital marketing skills necessary for your business and make this communication even less expensive.
4) Going Paperless
In an ever-increasingly digitized and environmentally conscious world, the usage of paper should be at an all-time low. This doesn’t mean your business should be paper-free and fully digital. It simply means to cut down on the amount of paper used in your business. It includes having fewer letterheads and company-branded notepads.
Using less paper has a domino effect on cutting down communication costs. Buying less paper means there’s a reduced need to buy storage for the paper. This, in turn, leads to spending less of your budget on ink and printing, and stationery.
There are still ways of communicating with your company’s unique brand logo and image. This can be in the form of email newsletters sent out at the end of every week or month to staff or signed-up consumers.
5) Text Messaging
Mobile has become one of the cornerstones of communication in the 21st century because almost every person on the planet has at least a cellphone. For your business, this can be a powerful tool to cut down communication costs by using SMS. The great feature of SMS is that it works with recipients who have a basic phone, i.e., a phone without online capabilities.
A short message service or SMS sends text messages to a receiver’s phone, which doesn’t require them to have an internet connection. This is perfect for small businesses with a limited or niche clientele who want to send reminders and promotions from time to time.
In addition to this, most mobile applications are free to download. They give you direct access to communicate with clients, consumers, suppliers, employees, or other businesses. You can send multimedia, voice messages, and documents directly from a smartphone. The feature on many business texting apps to form group chats will come in handy to help you manage staff and clientele on the same system.
As seen above, the answer to lessen the amount you spend on communication is about focusing on technology. Once your business has invested in high-speed internet, the tools needed for communication can become less expensive. On the other hand, if your attention is solely on running your business, there are experts and software available to provide this service.
In the long run, paying for monthly subscriptions that allow your business better communication will be less expensive than using traditional methods. If you take it a step further by applying yourself to learn how the technology works, it can become almost free to use. Adapting the software pricing plans into your budget will ensure your communication costs are lower and the investment is worth it.