As a small business owner, you’re probably used to making trade-offs—work-life balance for business growth, predictability for entrepreneurship. Sound familiar?
And of all the trade-offs, there’s no bigger compromise than the one between time and money. Either spend the time doing your own marketing, or spend the money paying someone else to do it. Do your own taxes, or hire an accountant. Manage your own IT system, or contract it out.
It’s rare in business that you can save both time and money. But that is exactly what Office 365 offers.
The Double Bonus of Office 365
With Office 365, there’s no need for trade-offs. Office 365 saves both time and money.
Office 365 saves small businesses time by reducing the work required to manage an IT infrastructure. You can easily add and manage user accounts without the need for IT expertise using a new web-based management portal specifically designed for organizations with less than 10 users. At the same time, there’s no need to install on-premise servers, manage software licenses, or worry about securing your system.
Office 365 is a subscription service that’s in the cloud and is managed by Microsoft. Like a utility such as electricity or water, you pay a predictable, monthly cost based on your actual usage of the service—and you always have the latest software updates.
Among the small businesses that have saved time by adopting Office 365 is Bea’s Insurance Agency, an Ohio-based insurance company with two employees. Says owner Kerri Stewart: “As a small-business owner with a lot to do, I appreciate how Office 365 removes stress and makes technology less complicated and overwhelming.”
Likewise, by moving to Office 365, the 25-employee engineering firm C&I Engineering has been able to save time spent on managing technology and redirect it to the core business. “It’s huge that Office 365 is hosted in the cloud and Microsoft is taking care of it all for just a few dollars a month per user,” says Jared Walther, the company’s business development manager, “It allows me to do my job instead of getting up to speed on something that is not my job. I don’t have the time, patience, or money to build an Exchange Server or SharePoint Server setup for our office.”
In addition to saving time, Office 365 can save small businesses money by reducing the need for technology equipment and maintenance. Small businesses no longer need to purchase servers and software, reducing their capital costs. And with a smaller infrastructure to manage, administrative costs are greatly decreased.
For example, Affirma Consulting, which employees 40 consultants in Bellevue, Wash., has reduced both hardware and administrative IT costs by moving to Office 365—and the savings are significant. Says Michael Brown, CEO of Affirma Consulting: “We anticipate a 25 to 30 percent cost savings when we complete our transition to Office 365.”
Similarly, the staffing services company Redwood Global Inc. has greatly reduced maintenance and repair expenses by moving to Office 365. “With Office 365, you don’t need to hire a $100-per-hour IT professional to fix problems, or worry about updating on-premises servers,” says Randy Clemens, the company’s managing director. “I expect we’ll save at least $8,000 a year by slashing these maintenance and repair expenses.”
In addition to reducing IT expenses, Office 365 substantially increases small business productivity and reduces the need for travel, decreasing costs even further. Using SharePoint Online, for example, C&I Engineering has been able to set up a central portal for document storage, reducing the time it takes for employees to find critical information.
And with Lync Online, the small real estate firm findwell has been able to replace in-person meetings with web conferences. Says Kevin Lisota, the company’s CEO: “By using Lync Online, we have a more time-effective way to share complex information such as contracts, market valuations, and home details with our clients. Now we can replace a lengthy email exchange or a long drive with a quick online meeting.”
A Win-Win for Small Businesses
With Office 365, there are no trade-offs. Unlike many of the time-money choices small businesses face as they debate whether to do it themselves versus contract it out, Office 365 adds up to both saved time + saved money.
As Chaundra Smith, owner of the beauty products company Naturally Me puts it: “Everyone in the company saves five to 10 hours a week now that we’ve got Office 365. I spend that time with my daughter and making more products.”