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The news out this week is grim. Unemployment has reached a 25-year high and more layoffs are in the offing. The Dow Jones Industrial Average—the barometer of our economic health—continues to drop at record rates. Retailers are reporting the first declines in 20 years and there is news of the three big automakers consolidating to the big two.

Today’s market is challenging at best. Now is the best time to review your costs related to your business and the productivity of your employees. Successful small business owners know that now is the time to cut expenses to increase productivity and profits.


Printers: When it comes to cutting costs, your printers are a great place to start. Everyone has at least one printer in their office. The printer must be continuously fed toner and paper. Reviewing how your company prints and how many devices you really need is essential. Review your cost per page and limit color printing to external presentations only. Standardize your supplies and buy genuine supplies only—they’re more efficient and help prevent maintenance problems. Reducing the footprint of your printers can also offer energy savings. And always set networked-printers to power-saving mode—no sense in keeping them at full power when they’re doing nothing.


Document Management: How many times a week do you fax a document or send documents overnight? Using a document management system you can save on these costs and streamline your processes. You will recognize not only cost savings but an increase in employee productivity.


Telecommuting: Many small businesses are finding the cost of maintaining remote offices is increasing at a time when many of the customers prefer you go to them. Consider downsizing your office and allowing your sales employees to telecommute. This saves you on all expenses related to their office: power, square footage, office equipment.


Contract Services: Why own when you can lease? Professional and technical service employees are the most cost-intensive employees on your bench. When you contract a professional service or technical individual, you’re paying only for the time required to complete the project. There is no ramp up time nor are you required to pay for the necessary education and certification. These staff members maintain their certifications as part of their offering to your business. You are also not responsible to provide benefits or time off. You are also not required to provide equipment or tools for these services as the contractor will maintain these.


Considering these items for your business can save you money, allow you to expand your offerings and increase business productivity. Once you have mastered these savings in your business consider offering these same services related to business savings to each of your customers.


Performing a consultation related to increased productivity and cost savings with your customers can be a value-add no cost offering from your business or you can charge for this professional service based on the total hours it takes to complete. These reviews often include ROI tracking and savings recommendations which results in increased sales rates and will be a key differentiator in bids involving your competitors.

Kathleen A. Martin is CEO of RocketComm, a professional and marketing services firm for solution providers and a regular contributor to Channel Insider.