Friday, October 31, 2008

79 Ways for your Small Business to Save Money

I just read a great article on InsideCRM called 78 Ways for your Small Business to Save Money in this Economy. It’s filled with great advice and is even broken down into categories like Technology, Office Items and Office Space, Advertising, Travel, etc. I highly recommend you check it out.

I was surprised that an Internet fax service like MyFax did not make the list. It’s inexpensive and it doesn’t tie up any phone lines since you send and receive faxes through your Internet connection. It also helps you save energy, paper, and toner since all documents are electronic.

Fax machines are huge energy wasters, in fact the The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency have named the fax machine as the biggest energy hog in the office.

Here’s a few other numbers you might find interesting if you are looking for ways to save money. Over five years, a standard fax machine in the $150 range will cost you about $5,400 if you add in the cost of toner, paper, and a 2nd phone line. (And this doesn’t cover your long distance charges or any maintenance if it breaks down).

MyFax on the other hand is $10 a month with no long distance charges and free 24/7 support and you can cancel at any time. Even if you’re like me and not great at math, you can still see that is a considerable savings.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Faxing as a punchline

I was watching a movie on TV the other day, and saw something I thought was pretty amusing. Although it was a recent movie, it was set in the 1980s, which is important to the story. At one point, the main character told his companion he needed to get some important information to a person who was far away. His companion said something to the effect of, “Here, we’ll go into my office. We have this new machine up there that lets you send an entire page over the phone lines. And it only takes 17 minutes per page.”

I have to admit I laughed – just like I did when Drew Barrymore’s boyfriend brought over this amazing new music-playing device called a CD player in The Wedding Singer. It doesn’t take long these days for one era’s hot new technology to become the next era’s punchline.

It’s hard to imagine a world when 17 minutes per page was considered a marvel, but that’s the way it was not so long ago. Of course today it takes longer to a prepare a fax than to send one thanks to advances such as MyFax. With just a few clicks of a mouse you can select your recipient(s), add your attachments, and even choose the style of cover page. Then all you have to do is write the note and hit send.

Probably the biggest difference from the sender’s perspective is you don’t have to stand by a machine somewhere while the fax goes through to make sure it’s successful. MyFax sends you a confirmation e-mail that shows either that it was delivered or that it failed – and why.

One other nice thing about an all-electronic sending method (versus the mechanical task of pages feeding one-by-one into a machine) is you never have to worry that the rollers are going to grab two or three pages at once. That used to happen a lot with lengthy documents (like contracts) being sent over fax machines. In those cases, the person on the other end would be missing pages, requiring a re-send either of those pages or the whole thing. Which at 17 minutes a page isn’t much fun. Today, your whole document arrives intact, where it can be reviewed on-screen – no paper required.

I wish I could remember the name of the movie, but I can’t. If I see it again, though, I’ll update the post. Or, if you happen to know what I’m talking about, let me know! In the meantime, be glad you don’t have to spend 17 minutes per page just to send or receive a fax. Isn’t technology marvelous?