Cutting costs is always a good business practice.
Even when the economy is good, you really shouldn't purchase things you don't need or pay more than you need to for the things you do need.
In a down economy, more than ever before, you want to be sure you're using what you have more efficiently and reducing expenses wherever possible.
An effective cost-cutting approach that has had a major effect on businesses of all sizes is moving away from purchasing technology that requires onsite software and/or hardware.
Web-based services are a "pay-as-you-go" model that eliminates the need for huge up-front capital expenditures, high maintenance costs, and ongoing support costs. Because your provider can update the software on their web servers, you also ensure that the technology you're using has all the latest features and upgrades.
Web-Based Software Solutions In Action
Here's how it works. Let's say your business relies on faxes, and you send and/or receive enough that you need a dedicated line for your fax machine. Then one day the fax machine finally breaks down.
Normally you would head to a nearby office supply store and buy a new fax machine. Don't forget that you'll also need a spare toner or two, which adds to the cost. And you'll then have to set up and install the new machine as well as find a place to dispose of the old one.
Your other option when the old machine goes is to sign up for an Internet fax service.
With an Internet fax service you can send and receive faxes on your PC, laptop or mobile device -- no additional machine required.
So you can eliminate the cost of the machine and the toner. You can also eliminate the cost of the second phone line since all faxes will be sent and received over the Internet connection you already have.
Since the files come in electronically you'll be able to reduce paper costs as well; you only print the pages you choose to print.
An Internet fax service is just one example of many, in which you can leverage a web-based business solution.
Larger, more complex applications such as a contact management or e-mail campaign management system provide even greater opportunities for savings because you're eliminating the need to maintain both hardware and software.
The bottomline? Desktop software and many common office equipment items are slowly but surely going the way of the dinosaurs, and for good reason. Web-based applications make more sense. They tend to cost less, have built-in flexibility, and make small businesses more efficient.