|Cost Cutting and Savings Measures - What Have You Been Doing?|
Not quite yet out of the recession so is austerity still the business model
Just curious how many of you have cut costs/overhead, are still cutting costs and/or are looking for more or new ways to streamline your business, reduce overhead, cut costs, etc.?
I took a scapel to my domain holdings. I may know take a knife, but not an axe, to what remains.
I changed webhosts for a better deal.
I actually took the plunge and have begun exploring outsourcing some work, a step that pains me a bit but a step that also confronts the harsh reality of available funds.
I'm happy that Wordpress has become such a useful tool of the trade. It wasn't so long ago that a "content management system" of almost any kind was a $$$$ to $$$$$+ proposition.
So, how have you been reigning in costs? Any suggestions where to look for savings? Any surprises when you looked at your costs? Any surprises when you started looking for a better deal?
What have you done that you didn't particularly care to do?
My life is always one of buying and investing, then realizing that I don't need most of it and reducing costs on them. Then after a year a new investment cycle starts :)
Recently I have reduced costs with a number of things:
- Abandoned two dedicated servers and moved the functionality to one new co-located server. This is an initial investment but saves per month substantially.
Mission critical stuff is still on a leased server with 24/7 hardware support though.
- Abandoned really obscure domain names in my portfolio which I would never develop and which have no potential buyers in the market.
This was about 20% of my domain portfolio.
- With my new Windows 7 laptop I decided not to upgrade my Microsoft Office XP but go for OpenOffice instead.
- I have also started to outsource work. Not complete projects, but hour-intensive tasks which would otherwise prevent me to do more profitable things.
- I have bought a few desktops from the refurbished market. I found one desktop of 6 months old for less than half the original price. Comes from a company where they had to reduce staff.
- For local virtualization I now use VMWare Player instead of VMWare Workstation. It has less functionality, but is still adequate for using legacy applications, and better, it is free.
Our office has become a muti-tasking office were we trained at least one or more employees to do the task of another. This lets those that are say getting idle to kick in and help another area get the job completed.
When your dealing with clients that don't pay till they are up and running a couple days can be costly.
We operate bare bones so when 1 is out (sick, vacation, meetings) it can usually stop production by cross training we can continue production and then help the ones that got behind.
I can be SEO, part IT, part coding, part customer service, part office help, maintaince
This has really helped our company continue to operate in this tough time, and made us a better company by learing the others work you tend to have more respect of the workload they carry.
My operations are already so slim there was little fat to trim. I dropped a few domains. I also reigned in some vanity (ie not profitable) AdWords campaigns, stopped others entirely.
I've found a lot of Adwords spend to be very expensive and unprofitable over the last year and so have had to stop that, or at least trim it considerably.
What has surprised me is that the volume of keywords being searched doesn't seem to change that much, but the number of conversions does. People must spend their life searching for stuff even though they know they aren't going to buy.
I let a few domains go but that's been about it.
I operate on a shoestring anyway. Trimming fat is one of my specialties. If it was available to be cut, it was cut years ago.
Sold some domains that were only eating money and not producing anything and started to look more into free software and scripts like OpenOffice, Filezilla, Esyndicat Omega etc.
I let most of my niche parked domains go as I have no time to develop them. All new tools are Open Source. In 2010 zero budget for new software.
One major PC here died with Windows XP and Office Pro on it. Replaced it with an 1 year old machine pulled from the trash - a rich neighbor threw it out, less hard drive. I added a hard drive to it from idle pile then loaded Ubuntu Linux and Open Office.
I spend most of my time in my home office. I've stopped heating the rest of the house to daytime levels in the daytime. Now 59F all the time. For showers during the day I use a small room heater in colder months. Electric costs are down 25 percent so far.
Like httpwebwitch, our operations are already pretty lean. Unlike others, we've actually been spending more during these lean times. There are some great deals to be had (although, unfortunately, we don't really need any new equipment)- even big name companies seem to be willing to haggle over prices. Besides new stuff, slightly used computers, office equipment, furniture, etc. can get found for great prices from companies going out of business or downsizing. And if you're looking for new office space, it's a buyers market in most areas.
We've also decided to go forward with some other projects that have been on the back burner as we've been negotiating some good deals for development and other partnerships.
I wish we could do more and hire more staff. But we're being realistic and not overextending ourselves.