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How American Businesses are Saving Money

04/09/2015 04:44 pm ET | Updated Jun 09, 2015

While producing more sales and bringing additional clients on board are two sure-fire ways to increase profits, there may be an easier option: cutting costs and overhead expenses. In light of the recent recession, American businesses are taking the idea of saving money seriously.

Paperless Policies and Digital Documentation 

You may have heard about businesses that go paperless and thought to yourself 'that's impractical.' However, it's a lot easier and more efficient than you realize. In order to make a paperless office a reality, you'll need to keep these tips in mind:

  • Paperless is a mindset. You have to start with the mindset of your employees. Unless you help them understand the reasoning behind the decision, they're unlikely to cooperate or understand the value.
  • Actively discourage paper. Even with employees on the same page, you need to discourage paper usage by making it less convenient to print and by tracking activity.
  • Invest in digital documentation. Finally, you're going to need a positive alternative to make the transition to digital documentation easier. Find good tools and resources and teach your employees how to use them.
While few companies are able to completely eliminate paper, many have been successful at reducing their dependence on paper, and thereby slashing costs.

Eco-Friendly and Sustainable Office Additions

The good news for businesses is that saving money is often directly correlated with going green. While bathroom matters generally aren't discussed in public, this is one worth talking about. By installing low-flow toilets, American businesses can expect to save hundreds of dollars per year. In fact, the payback period for replacing an old four gallon toilet with a new 1.28 gallon toilet could be as little as 6.3 years.

Speaking of toilets, what about bidet toilet seats? European and Asian countries have been using them for years; however, widespread use in the United States has yet to catch on. Don't let this dissuade you, though. In addition to installing low-flow toilets, purchasing bidet seats can allow you to reduce your office's dependence on toilet paper - saving money and contributing to environmentalism. Bidet seats take the place of existing toilet seats, and, according to this infographic published by BidetsPlus.com, bidet seats can reduce toilet paper use by 75% or more. The infographic also points out that Americans use 50 pounds of tissue paper per person, per year. Could your organization find value in a switch to bidet seats?

Investment in Cloud Technology

Throughout 2014, cloud technology was so heavily discussed that it's easy to roll your eyes when you hear someone bring up making the switch from physical to digital servers. However, there are so many financial benefits of moving to the cloud that you'll want to hold off a bit longer before tuning out:

  • Lower power costs. Cloud computing uses far less electricity and power than physical servers and data centers. Depending on how many servers you operate, these savings could add up to thousands of dollars per year.
  • Less human capital. IT employees are expensive, so finding a way to hire fewer is always better. With cloud technology, your service provider will usually offer some level of support that allows you to shrink your own internal department.
  • Diminished recovery costs. Finally, an investment in the cloud means your overall risk of losing data is diminished - which means you won't have to spend thousands of dollars on data recovery should something catastrophic happen.
By 2020, nearly 80 percent of all U.S. small businesses are expected to use some form of cloud computing - will you?

Allowing Employees to Telecommute from Home 

Most businesses have a strict stance on telecommuting. Some love it, while others think it's an invitation for employees to kick up their feet and relax. But regardless of where you stand, one thing is clear: it can significantly reduce costs. And that's the primary reason so many American businesses are adopting telecommuting practices.

Think about it from this perspective. By allowing a handful of employees to work from home, you can rent a smaller building, reduce overhead expenses related to office supplies, and diminish the number of sick days people take. Compound that over months and years and the dollars can add up quickly.

Outsourcing Certain Tasks

Finally, it's worth considering outsourcing tasks that don't fall within your company's expertise. According to data, 44 percent of all companies that outsource do so for the financial benefits and cost savings. These may include duties like accounting, web design, marketing, or PR. By using an independent contractor or firm, you can avoid taking on additional salaries and scale according to your needs.

Save Where You Can 

The moral for most American businesses in the post-recession age is "save where we can." While all of these ideas won't apply to your business, it's quite possible that one or two could provide you with significant savings. Next time you have a budget meeting or the opportunity to sit down with key decision makers, consider these as options and review the financials to see what makes sense and what won't work.

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