Technology and business go together in a natural, productive way. Maybe that’s because so many of the world’s technological innovations were created by business professionals or for them, or both. It’s come to the point where thousands of large and small organizations now operate virtually, eschewing physical offices, high-rise buildings, corporate parking garages, huge meeting rooms, company cars, and all the trappings of yesteryear commercial enterprises. What is the common feature of these new entities? There are many, but the main one pertains to expense minimization.

Going without physical office space is one of the most effective of all money-saving techniques among owners of online-only companies. Add to that the fact that most of them outsource more than half of their daily operational tasks, live and die by email lists, leverage the power of transcription services, do lots of local networking in person, and stick with a few holdouts of the old ways, like using business cards as marketing tools. Here’s a closer look at how virtual companies strive to keep their operating expenses as low as possible and their profit margins higher than ever.

Go Without Office Space

For many small entrepreneurs, rent expense is the single largest liability on the income statement. When you don’t have to pay rent, you’re automatically ahead of the game. Even relatively large firms, particularly in the legal and accounting sectors, operate completely without brick-and-mortar offices. All the employees are home-based, meet regularly in high-definition video conferences, and never have to worry about parking, leases, security, cleaning bills, office politics, where to go for lunch, and dozens of other dilemmas that occupied the minds of traditional company owners. The bottom line for companies who make telecommuting a way of life is a rent expense of zero dollars, month after month. Whenever groups need a physical space for a day or a week, whether to host an in-person event or just to meet face-to-face, one-time facility rental is an inexpensive way to go and won’t break the bank.

Use a Transcription Service

Transcription services offer multiple benefits to business owners for a variety of reasons. For instance, a manager can save interviews, TV appearances, speeches, and seminars in print form. Anytime a company employee speaks in public, on the radio, or at a conference, the goal should be to get audio and video footage. Later, you can use the transcription service to produce a document that can be filed away for reference or given to prospective customers as an advertising piece. The possibilities are endless. Services can create printed e-documents or hard-copies in a matter of seconds from a video or audio source, and offer the versatility to do so in more than 119 languages. Even Spanish, Russian, Japanese, or French transcription is possible, as are all other modern languages. Companies opt for this uniquely valuable service to save time and money compared to the old way of transcribing recorded files by hand.

Outsource

Functions like legal assistance, accounting and taxation, tech security, marketing, and human resources are all on the ‘can be outsourced’ list for companies that want to focus on a core competency, like engineering, video production, or consulting. Hiring someone else to do an essential task used to be frowned on in the corporate world. Now, the situation is almost the opposite, as managers and entrepreneurs often brag about how many non-core functions they’ve been able to send out the door, or hire someone else to do. Even when fees are relatively high, as they can be for jobs like full-scale accounting services or legal review work, organizations stand to save huge amounts of money compared to the cost of maintaining permanent in-house departments to handle those tasks.

Create a Master Email List

Having a work in progress email list for networking and building a long-term customer base is an essential part of chopping expenses in areas like marketing and product development. By starting small and slowly adding to the list as the years pass, owners can create a deep base of go-to clients, reviewers, and social media agents. Some firms pay big money for ready-made lists that consist of opt-in customers who have asked for information or expressed a desire to purchase a specific type of product in the industry. In reality, it’s not an either-or proposition because most entrepreneurs and managers use both methods for building their all-important email lists. Many sales-oriented firms maintain lists of thousands of former, current, and prospective customers. The regularly mine those names via special offers, corporate news announcements, and invitations to special giveaway events.

Hand Out Business Cards

The traditional business card refuses to die. Or maybe it wants to, but we won’t let it because it has so many worthwhile uses, like acting as a calling card at trade shows and conventions, representing your organization and its products in a fast and convenient way, highlighting your vital data to people you randomly meet as you go about your life, and much more. Owners who want to get the most bang for their marketing bucks print thousands of cards and use them every day. They hand them out at the barber shop, the gym, the grocery store, and everywhere else they come in contact with others. You’ve probably seen people posting cyber cards on websites, in chat rooms, and via social media. That’s an effective technique, too, but nothing takes the place of a hard-copy, rectangular piece of cardboard with your corporate logo, name, mailing address, email address, and phone number on it.

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