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Never stop improving your business

Article provided by HP

Over 30 years ago, an American airline found that by eliminating one olive from each passenger’s salad plate, it would reduce costs by $40,000 – around R690 000 in South Africa in today’s money.

This story has been told many times over the years, to business leaders looking to cut operating costs and – particularly – to entrepreneurs and home-office workers working within budget constraints.

The message is clear: it’s not always the big-ticket items that cost your company the most. A regular audit of all your costs could show where the small-but-steady inefficiencies drain your profits.

As a home-office worker or a small business owner, the pressure is always on to save costs wherever possible. HP believes that running your operation with less capital outlay and fewer resources is vital to your bottom line, and provides products, solutions and services that reduce costs, improve productivity and enhance efficiency.

Any time your office equipment saves you time, it is also saving you money. HP helps drive competitive advantage so small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) can survive and thrive.

Here’s what you should be looking for to weed out that “olive” that’s costing you extra cash:

Tips for saving at the business or home office

Printers

  • Are you getting the best deal you can from your consumables provider? For example, some suppliers may give you a better rate on reams of paper if you sign a monthly contract with them. Work out how much paper you use; if you can stock this amount in your premises; and take advantage of any savings you can get.
  • Take a look at your printer and determine whether it’s the most efficient one for your business, taking into account cartridge or ink costs; whether you can print double-sided when necessary; and any down-time you may experience due to its age or speed. Waiting for equipment to become available means wasted time – and time is that olive.
  • While your current printer may be doing its job, newer models may be far more efficient and save on electricity, toner/cartridges, and time due to better speeds, all of which adds up financially.
  • Note that a good printer may enable reduced outsourced printing costs by being able to print your letterheads and business cards in-house. One such product is the HP Neverstop Laser Printer, the world’s first cartridge-free laser printer designed for smart working with a saving of up to 80% on HP toner and up to 5000 pages printed before your first cartridge reload.

Computing

  • If IT is not your core business, it may be worthwhile to call in a professional who can guide you in buying a computer that is fit for purpose in your office, rather than an expensive one that has features you may never use.
  • The options of operating systems these days are varied, and your choice can result in cost-saving. Before buying software, find out how many licenses you’ll need to operate legally; and whether you can get a better deal using software in the cloud.
  • If you have difficulty with using a new computer or software package, go to YouTube and search for a tutorial – it’s free and very helpful. Some distributors will also send someone to your office to guide you and other staff members through the software at no charge.
  • Always check your warranty and note that you may be required to fill in a document certifying the date you purchased your goods for submission to the distributor. This could save you money when your equipment needs a service or is faulty.

Staff and outsourcing

  • Home-office workers are often single operators and hiring permanent staff is not always cost effective. Create a list of trusted people who perform tasks you aren’t able to, and outsource work to them.
  • SMEs doing well may be tempted to staff-up too quickly. Take advice from other SME owners if you find yourself in this position. Sometimes you can employ someone who is able to perform more than one function in your business. While they may need to earn more than a less experienced staff member, they often work out more cost–effective in the long run.
  • Encourage your staff members to learn as much about your business as they can, and keep training them as you get new equipment or new clients. Upskilling your staff is not only valuable for your organisation, but encourages motivation and loyalty in your employees.

With all aspects of your business, the key to success is agility and a willingness to see things differently. How you work, the tools you use, and the enthusiasm of your colleagues all plays a big part in your success.

Even while businesses are currently faced with unprecedented change and an economy that makes things difficult, the winners will come from that pool of people who back themselves to make wise choices in every aspect of their work – and never stop looking for new opportunities to improve their product or service offering.

HP is a proud Partner of the NSBC