Gina Blitstein Article

Gina Blitstein Article
Picture of Gina Blitstein Gina Blitstein combines her insight as a fellow small business owner with her strong communication skills, exploring topics that enhance your business efforts. That first-hand knowledge, matched with an insatiable curiosity to know more about just about anything, makes her a well-rounded writer with a sincere desire to engage and inform.

Alternatives to Purchasing Pricey Office Needs

Alternatives to Purchasing Pricey Office Needs

Among a business' most significant costs are its office expenses. Circumstances vary among businesses but chances are, you need access to at least some equipment and services to keep the backend of your company running. Wouldn’t it be a relief to unburden your budget of the hefty price tags associated with running your office?

There are, fortunately, ways to trim the cost of performing your office functions - especially on those required only occasionally. Imagine the freedom of having more cash at hand and less tied up in rarely-used equipment! When you purchase equipment you won’t use frequently, it is likely to become obsolete before you really get your money out of it. The solution may lie in outsourcing; using another company’s offerings to fill your business’ needs when they arise.

Here are some means by which you can run your business’ office while avoiding unnecessary costs:

Basic office equipment when you need it - Several companies that formerly specialized in shipping have expanded their offerings to include a wide array of business services. If your business doesn’t generally utilize these services in day-to-day operations, it may be worth checking out what these establishments have to offer. You could patronize one of these facilities to take care of your printing, scanning, faxing, shipping and shredding needs offsite for a nominal charge. The equipment there is professional grade, so the quality is high. Many offer an option of personal service or self-serve. Oftentimes these locations even provide computer rental and wi-fi should you need to work online from a remote location. Just think of all the equipment you could avoid purchasing by utilizing the services provided at such a facility!

Shared office - Another way to avoid plunking out big bucks for your own office equipment is to find a shared office situation. These facilities provide equipment that is centrally located and shared among those renting space in the office complex. Access to the equipment and facilities - usually computers, printers/copiers, fax machines, coffee stations, telephone systems, conference and reception area - is included in the cost of your rent. A setting like this ensures that the equipment and services are available to you when necessary but that you don’t have to pay for it all yourself. At times, personnel are also available at these facilities, such as a receptionist and administrative assistants, whose salaries are shared by all the business’ utilizing their services.

Co-working facility - Many communities are creating office centers in which individual offices and conference spaces are rented out on a short-term basis. The purpose of these facilities is to provide a place for businesses which may not have a dedicated physical location but need an office environment when necessary. The renters at a co-working facility are independent of one another, simply setting up shop in the same location for a specific purpose for a short duration. These are generally bring-your-own-equipment operations, serving the needs of those who require temporary space for working on a project, holding a meeting or conducting a seminar. The costs of such an arrangement are significantly less than renting an office full-time when you only need it sporadically.

Virtual assistant - While you may normally cover the tasks of correspondence, recordkeeping, data entry, billing and the like yourself, there may well be occasions when these administrative duties take a back seat to your professional work. Hiring a virtual assistant is a prudent way to get extra help you need when you need it - without hiring a full-time employee. Like any professional you hire for assistance, such as a CPA, business attorney or cleaning service, a virtual assistant picks up the slack when you need it without being a constant expense.

Barter - Even if your business generally buys what it uses, consider the equipment that you and other businesses in your office building have in common. Could you propose a barter arrangement whereby someone who has a high-quality printing capability could print your annual report in exchange for the use of your conference room for their quarterly meetings? No doubt there’s something each business in your office park could give and receive from the others.

Research other low-cost alternatives for equipment and services you use infrequently - Think long and hard about those expenses you automatically consider necessities for running a business. You may be able to trim costs with a little practical creativity. A few examples of places to save include:

  1. Does each employee need a hard-wired office phone? Phone systems are expensive and there are so many alternatives now. Look into the possibility of a phone routing service that will utilize a central number that routes calls to your employees individual cell phones.
  2. Do you really need a fax machine? If you fax very rarely, look into free/low cost fax services that work through your computer. Scan the documents and fax via the Internet. Usually the first several pages are free.

Thankfully there are many options available to help you run your business on your own individual terms. Purchase outright that what is critical and take advantage of lower cost options for the rest. You’ll have more operating capital to spend growing your business - instead of simply running it.

How can your business benefit from outsourcing instead of purchasing?

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