* * *

References

"Bruce Freeman, The Small Business Professor, is a most valued and enthusiastic guest contributor to the business segment of our radio show dealing with the challenges facing today's entrepreneurs. His practical and insightful advice has served to enhance our ability, as broadcasters, to help business owners move ahead in their various fields of endeavor. ....Thank you, Bruce."

Sue Tovey / Sande Foster

Co-Hosts

WTBQ 1110 AM (ABC Affiliate Station)

"I find the column inspiring and helpful to me in running my own small business."

Dan Janal

President and Founder

PRleads.com

"The Small Business Professor is a site that should be bookmarked by every entrepreneur. In today's business environment, it is difficult to gather information and obtain answers to the myriad of questions that face business owners. Bruce Freeman's 'Ask the Small Business Professor' column is an excellent resource that provides guidance, up-to-the-minute information, mentoring, and more."

Irene Maslowski

APR Principal

Maslowski & Associates Public Relations

"'Ask the Small Business Professor' is a must read for small business owners looking for free expert business advice. Using a Q&A format, Bruce Freeman covers important small business topics weekly by bringing in recognized experts on subjects including accounting, legal issues, trademarks marketing and sales. Don't miss it!"

Joseph L. Rosenberg

CPA

"I've been working with patients for almost 10 years as a Chiropractic Physician. I'm always looking for new ways to increase awareness of the valuable clinical services provided at my centers. Bruce Freeman has given me insightful ideas to assist in my marketing efforts. I rely on his 'Ask the Small Business Professor' column to keep me abreast of new trends and developments in the field. I couldn't ask for a more knowledgeable and capable advisor as my companies move forward into providing nationwide healthcare for patients."

Dr. Daniel Houshmand, D.C.

AlternaCare Wellness Centers, LLC

Small Business Technology Services

Dear Professor Bruce:

What are some steps a small business owner can take to reduce information technology (IT) costs?

Answer:

Marc Bressman, president of Falcon Computer Consulting offers some excellent advice.

1) Outsourcing : Outsourcing certain IT components -- like e-mail, web services, internet connection management and others -- can represent a significant savings when compared with keeping them in-house. Also, using outside IT vendors means needing fewer employees and allows your existing staff to focus on more productive pursuits.

2) Streamlining Software : Having streamlined software in the office makes usage, support and upgrades much easier and less expensive. Rather than trying to maintain a litany of different software packages, pare down to a few major products that meet the needs of your business/organization. This way, when problems arise, they're easier to locate, diagnose and remedy. And, as an added benefit, fewer, easier-to-use software programs usually means increased productivity.

3) Streamlining Hardware : Along the same line as above, having standardized hardware makes supporting and repairing machines easier and less costly. When hardware is consistent throughout the office, IT personnel tend to be more familiar with the characteristics and common problems of each machine. This cuts down on repair time and cost.

4) Shopping Around for Lower Costs : Shopping around for a lower-cost internet service provider is a tried and true money-saver. Many small businesses could easily switch from a dedicated internet connection to a business-grade connection from a major provider (Comcast, Optimum/Cablevision, Time Warner, Verizon). Such connections represent not only a less expensive on-ramp to the information superhighway, but they are also faster in many cases. The same advice holds true with any service provided by a 3rd party - shop around for the best prices but be sure not to sacrifice quality for lower cost.

5) Security : Having suitable network and computer security throughout your organization protects you, your employees and, most importantly, your customers. Inadequate security can lead to numerous problems, some of which are potentially catastrophic, including viruses, spam, spyware, malware, security breaches, introduction of error-prone or prohibited software, and more. All of the above can lead to costly repairs, network down-time, data loss and/or theft, and system-wide crashes. That's the bad news. The good news is all this can be avoided by making security a priority.

For further information, please visit www.falconcc.com.

This advice is true with any service provided by a 3rd party - look for the best prices but be sure not to sacrifice quality for lower cost.