IT & Small Businesses. It can help grow your small business and cut cost where you never thought possible.

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1 It can help grow your small business and cut cost where you never thought possible.

2 Contents Introduction Cutting Cost Saving Time Creating a Competitive Advantages Conclusion Title of the book

3 Introduction Technology is like a healthy relationship, it is constantly growing and making your life better. Technology is not something that should be looked at as bad or costly. Instead as small businesses we should look at technology as an investment, something that will help grow our business and make it successful. Technology has been around for a while, but it seems over the last few years technology has really become a part of our everyday lives. Technology used to be something that only business people used and even then they just used it because every other company were using it. They never saw it as an investment. Technology is an investment, it something that will help earn us more money in the long run. We should stop looking at technology as another expense. Technology can help cut cost, save time, and give you the competitive advantage you have been looking for. In this e-book we will look at these three areas and see how technology can be an investment instead of an expense. 3

4 Chapter 1 Cutting Cost You try to cut cost wherever you can in order to grow your profit margin and become the company that you have always dreamed about becoming. Having lower cost is what every small business wishes they had. You look wherever you can in order to cut cost. Have you ever thought about using technology to cut cost? Technology has gotten a bad reputation of being too expensive and not worth it to buy something that will probably not help your business grow. That is where you are wrong. Technology is the complete opposite. While at first technology is costly however, if you look at the bigger picture and how technology can actually cut cost you will see technology as an investment rather than a big expense. There are many different ways that technology can cut cost. It all depends on what technology you purchase and how you use that technology. The ones that see the most results in cutting cost are the ones that sometimes think outside the box on how to use the technology they have. Since technology is so flexible and diverse many companies will use different technologies different ways. While there are many different ways technology can cut cost we will only focus on a few ways that technology can help your business cut cost. We will look at storage as an area where technology can cut cost. We will then switch over to the sharing of information. Then we will look at automation and then finally we will talk about different ways that social media has cut cost for companies. 4

5 The cloud is a great alternative to having filing cabinets that are just taking up space and costing you extra money. The cloud is a safe and secure area to store all of your important information. If you are worried about losing all of your information if the cloud goes down don t be. That is what a backup is for. With a backup all of your files are copied over to another server that is easy accessible if your cloud or other server goes out. Cutting Cost with Storage Many of you probably have a lot of storage space that is taken up by filing cabinets that contain important information that is crucial to your companies success. Many of you are spending extra money on that storage space that you do not need to. With the latest technology like the cloud you can eliminate that extra storage space and let the cloud become your virtual filing cabinets. If you are worried about losing your information if the cloud crashes or something happens to your server, don t sweat it. With the new technology all your important data can be backed up. This allows you to be sure that even if the cloud goes down or your server goes down you will always have access to your important files. Let s be honest finding an important file is way easier to find on the cloud then to dig through all those old filing cabinets. 5

6 Cutting Cost and Sharing Information In order to ensure a company runs well we have to share information with many different people. Whether that be a client, vendor, shareholder, or employee. Sharing information or training someone cost extra because you either had to deliver the information through the mail or you had to hire someone to train your employees. Now with newer technology such as , Drop Box, and online advertising sharing information has not only been made easier but it has also brought down the price. With it easier to share information with your customer and get a response more quickly. Before when you had a proposal to send over to your client you had to mail it out to them and then had to wait for a response. Now with you can send it to them and can hear back from them the same day. Saving you time and money. With e-learning you are able to have your employees trained in no time for no cost at all. Before you would have to hire someone to train them now with technology you are able to have them train online for free. makes it easier for you to share information with your clients and get responses back more quickly. helps you save money by not having to send information through the mail. 6 6

7 Cutting Cost with automation Automation has not been around for that long, but the benefits from having automated systems is huge. There are many benefits to having an automated system. One of those benefits is cutting cost. Automated systems such as accounting software allows you to not have as many employees in the accounting department. This also ensures that you will have reports and financing done correctly therefore avoiding costly mistakes that some employees may make. Another automation tool that you can use that will eliminate some cost are things such as Constant Contact, Salesforce, and ActOn. All of these tools can be used in your marketing department and will help automate things so you can just set everything up and then it runs itself. These tools save you money by not having to hire as many people to do your marketing and it also allows for your employees to have more time to focus on other areas of their job. Automated marketing tools have also been proving to bring in more sales since most of them have a more personal touch and they are not always trying to sell you something. 7

8 Cutting Cost with Social Media Most people look at social media as something that will actually hurt their business more than help it. This is not the case at all. If you use social media in a professional way then social media cannot only bring in new business but it can cut down a lot of cost for you. Many people spend the major of their day scrolling through the different social media sites. They use it to connect with old friends and to stay up to date on the latest news. Many people actually turn to social media when making a decision. They gather information from the different businesses pages or they see what friends are saying about the different businesses. Social media is a way to interact with your potential clients and existing clients. It let s them feel like you are more of a friend than someone that is trying to take their money. Social media is a place where they can go and find all the content that you have been working so hard on. The best thing about social media is that it is a much cheaper way to draw people into your business than hiring someone to go door to door to sell your products or services. Most social media post are free all you have to do is setup a business page. If you want to make your social media marketing bigger than you place ads on the different sites. The good thing about social media advertising is most of the time the cost is half of what it would be to advertise somewhere else and your reach is better and more measurable. Social media should not be looked at as something that is actually going to hurt your business but as something that will help it. If you are too worried about your employees spending too much time on social media and not enough time on their work then there are web filters such as Barracuda s web filter that can limit how much time your employees are spending on social media. Technology should not be looked at as a big expense but should be seen as an investment because in the long run you end up cutting more cost than what you spent. 8

9 Chapter 2 Saving Time All people want is more time in a day whether it is to get more things done at work or to be able to spend more time with family and friends. We all feel like there is never enough time in a day, a week, or a month for us to get everything that we need/want to get done. Small business owners especially understand this because they wear so many hats. Most of us plan our days in the morning or the day before. We try to trick ourselves into thinking that if we plan out our day then there is no way that we will not get everything we need/want to get done. Enviably at the end of the day we find ourselves at the same place we did the day before. We have gotten through some of the work we needed to but there is still so much to do. We wonder how can we create more time in a day in order to get more done. We consider coming in to work earlier or staying late in order to get things done, but then we realize that takes away from spending time with our families or having time to just relax. We think if we just take work home one night then we will be caught up and we will never have to bring work home again. Once again we are wrong because we start bringing work home every night. We never stop and think what if we use technology to help us get things done and save time. After all small businesses do adapt to change faster than bigger corporations so why not try to change things through technology and see if that helps us get things done more quickly giving us a competitive advantage over other companies. Believe it or not technology is your answer. Technology can help you get things done by taking over things that can be done through technology. 9

10 helps you have more time in your day by allowing you to get information to the end user more quickly. The speed in which you get information to a client or employee will allow them to make a decision more quickly than when you used to have to mail the information. is a great way to communicate with others that allows you to save time by not having to pick up the phone every time you have one question. also allows the responder to be able to respond when they have free time which when it is is easier because they don t have to call. More Time with We have already talked about how can cut cost, but it can also save you time. Imagine that you need to get a proposal out to a customer and you know they are going to buy if you get the proposal out to them quickly. Most of the time you would have to mail the proposal and you would probably end up paying extra so it would get there faster. With you don t have to sit around and wait for the proposal to get to the client to hear back from them. With you can send it and have a response that same day. s also save you time by being able to send a quick message to a client and not having to call them and then get caught up in conversation that will cause you to lose precious time that you could be doing something else. 10

11 Software and Time Many new software is there to help you have more time in a day. There is software out there that can help save you a lot of time by taking some of your work for you. For example an accounting software. An accounting software can help in many different ways when it comes to your accounting needs. At IT Solutions we use Peach Tree. So, we will use it for our example. Peachtree allows us to be able to track our money, do reports, and do all the ordering for us. Peachtree is a quick and easy accounting software that allows us to be able to just click a few buttons and it runs reports for us, the same is true when ordering different products from our vendors. Peachtree takes a lot of stress off of us because we do not have to worry about doing all the different accounting tasks, Peachtree takes some of those tasks and does them for us. Peachtree and other software can help you have more time by taking tasks from you and doing them within their system. Software saves you time by taking your tasks and doing them for you. This free up some of your time so you can get more accomplished and stay ahead of your competition

12 Chapter 3 Creating a Competitive Advantage In order for any business to survive they have to create some type of barrier so another company cannot come in an do the exact same thing the exact same way they are doing it. If all the companies were ran the same way and had the same results then no one business would ever be profitable. It is because each company is a little different that make each business profitable. Many people try and differentiate themselves by being better at customer service or by making their product compatible with more things. Businesses focus on little things when it comes to a competitive advantage. Technology is sometimes looked at as a big thing but in reality if you make one change to your technology then that could be your competitive advantage. Since technology is so flexible it can be used in a variety of different ways. If you decide to use your CRM system as more of a marketing tool then more than likely you will have a competitive advantage over other people in your industry. How you use your technology is a good way to gain a competitive advantage and bring in more business. 12

13 Conclusion Technology has been around for many years. It has always been a part of our lives, but not until recently did any of us really realize the benefits that technology can have for our businesses. With being a small business you are always looking for ways to make yourself stand out against the competition so why not use technology for your advantage. Technology can be used in many different ways for many different purposed. All these different things can help you save money, gain more time, and have a competitive advantage. So, why not try and look at technology as an investment instead of another expense

14 About IT Solutions IT Solutions is an Indianapolis based IT consulting firm. We are dedicated to making sure that our clients and community know about the latest IT trends and how they can help their businesses grow. We offer many different services to ensure that all your IT needs are taken care of. We believe in putting our customers first in everything we do. IT Solution offers different contracts they allow you to worry about other things besides your server or computer going down. We offer 24/7/365 support to clients and non-clients. IT Solutions has over 50 year of experience in the IT Industry. We understand what your needs are and we are committed to finding a solution that is just right for your company. We also offer technology products and have partners such as Dell, HP, Citrix, Barracuda, Sophos, Vmware, and many more. For more information you can visit our website at or follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, or Google plus. 14

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