TeamViewer Saves Travel Costs Through Online Collaboration

TeamViewer lets you connect between employees--and contractors or customers--to share online presentations, whiteboards, transfer files, and more. It's a virtual meeting environment that can save you time and costs versus face-to-face communication.

While the home version is not supported for business applications, it's a free download and includes the same features; check it out to see if TeamViewer will help in your situation.

Each party downloads and runs a small software package, with support for Windows and Mac operating systems. Since TeamViewer relies on Flash and your web browser, you don't have to install additional utilities.

Read more »

2

Stop Wasting Money With Needless Printing

Aside from cheap tricks to reduce paper and ink costs, you can take a broader perspective of your company's use. Print Job Manager records who prints what, how much, and provides other details about where you can cut back. Sure, it's an incremental step to savings, but for bigger businesses especially, those bits can add up.

Your biggest initial question is if a Print Job Manager can save money, since you'll pay for it per-user or -computer. Prices scale fairly well to small installations, but I think you'll only recoup your initial investment--and then some--with dozens of employees. Regardless, if your office seems to have a high volume of printing, check out the 30-day demo to see if it'll fit your needs.

Essentially, you'll instal Print Job Manager on client PCs and print servers, and it acts as a gateway and auditor. You can restrict users to certain printers, limit the amount or kind of prints they can make, or just gather these and other details about general use.

Read more »

2

Make Remote Backups On the Cheap

Backups are only as good as how you make and keep them. For best results, you'll want redundant backups, including one offsite to protect from a major disaster. But instead of paying monthly fees to store data inside a hollowed-out mountain (which sure tempts the super-villain side of my personality) you can have nearly the same level of protection with no ongoing fees.

Form a backup-exchange plan with another business or friend to cut costs. You host their backup, and they host yours. This data criss-cross should be enough for most small, and many medium-sized businesses.

And instead of trying to just upload everything to an offsite location, you'll first make a local backup in a matter of hours, and physically send that to the off-site space. Even including the time to ship or drive the disk over, the process will be faster--and less taxing on bandwidth--than uploading hundreds of gigabytes.

Read more »

2

Be an Expert, and Customers Will Find You

Your medium- or small-business can live or die by its marketing. One of the greatest angles costs you no capital. Establish yourself as an expert in your field by offering advice through websites and magazine trade articles. Readers will migrate to your business, and you can point potential customers back to the articles for an extra marketing push.

To get the best results, find publications and topics that fit. I know a therapist who has written about meditation for spirituality and yoga websites. He uses mindfulness in his practice and has built up a stream of clients who have found him through those articles. Consider these tactics for nearly any other service-based business.

You can get similar results--but it can take more work--building up your own audience. Many, local real-estate blogs, for example, give details about market conditions in a specific area. If the content is good, offering home-buying tips and tutorials, readers will associate that help with the author. If that author leaves a blurb about their day job, readers will seek them out.

Read more »

1

Get Employees Free Discounts at Other Businesses

Corporate discounts let employees buy cheaper movie tickets, phone plans, and more, but they're for companies with thousands of employees, right? Wrong. Depending on the program, businesses with about 35 employees will often qualify, but I've seen programs for small businesses of just a few. Plus, you can establish your own relationships with local businesses, both promoting yourself to their employees and saving your workers cash.

Corporate discounts succeed by increasing overall sales for a third-party company, while offering your workers a discount. You'll promote the savings in an office bulletin board or HR handout, and you should be able to give employees these benefits at no other cost.

Several websites act as clearing houses for these programs. Check out Working Advantage--which requires 35 employees--and TicketsAtWork.com. Those sites can get discounts on hotels, theme park tickets, and other vacation events.

Read more »

1

Free Trademark Searches Get Business Started

As I prepare to launch an online business, I'm encountering the typical startup steps. Branding and naming are important; of course you should pick an identity with an open domain name. (Visit any registrar, or even Wolfram Alpha to check.) But take precaution against having to change your name later by entering a trademark search, too.

I feel silly mentioning that a free website isn't as good as an attorney who will research and file your claim. But if you see that someone already has a trademark on your name before you even launch, you can save a lot of headache.

Just visit the United States Patent and Trademark Office website. Click the Search link on the right, then use one of the forms. I just entered my business name into the New User Form Search (Basic) and left those settings at default. Since the search came up empty, I have a good sense that once I'm ready to hire an attorney to file a trademark, I'll be the only one requesting protection of that name.

Read more »

1

Save Money While Controlling Multiple PCs

In some situations, you might need multiple computers, so you'll just need to get a new keyboard, mouse, and display each time, right? Instead, try a more effective--and cost-effective--ways to use two systems. Here area few ways to get multiple-system benefits without the full multiple-system cost.

Virtualize
If you just need to check web design within different versions of Windows, for example, you could run those operating systems in virtual machines. In this case, you'd just use a single computer, but the VM software allocates your hardware resources so that you can install another operating system at the same time.

VMware Workstation is one way to create that virtual machine. You'll need to provide your own OS installations for each virtual system. Once set up, you can toggle between the two operating systems, or even use them at the same time. Virtual machines are great for general use, however, for tasks with high-end system requirements, such as video rendering or gaming, they'll be noticeably slower than a dedicated PC.

Read more »

2