Business Communications a’la MacGyver

Business communications expert, Steve Adams, sent over a list of of ways to “MacGyver” your business seed money to make it go a little further. I was such a Richard Dean Anderson fan that I couldn’t help but share this article!

Back in the late 80’s I admit I watched MacGyver get himself and others out of sticky situations with a stick of gum and some duct tape. In fact, that series inspired me to once fix my Toyota Celica’s clutch fluid leak one night – using those same tools. Years later, whenever I find myself in a pickle, I often look at the ordinary objects I have at hand and think WWMD? (What Would MacGyver Do).

Anyway, without further walks down memory lane, here’s the article:

The popular 1980s television show, “MacGyver” gave rise to a whole new term. People began using the coined character’s name as a verb to express a sticky situation they might have gotten themselves out of (i.e. I locked myself out of the house, but I managed to McGyver a paper clip onto a popsicle stick with some chewing gum and use it to unlock a window so I could get in).

Ironically, entrepreneurs who are starting their own business in today’s economy- whether by choice or circumstance- could learn a lot from MacGyver. Because while starting a business using conventional methods can be expensive, there are things you can do to severely reduce costs without reducing your ability to do the work or service your customers properly.

Here are a few ideas on how to MacGyver your seed money to make it go farther.

  • Opt for Used Computers Instead of New – Sure, new and trendy computers are nice, but most small businesses don’t need all that processing power. Take a look at what you need your computer to do. If you need it for basic business applications, opt for a used or refurbished PC for a fraction of the cost ($99). If you need to share files or resources with one or more co-workers, you can build simple file and print sharing networks with used wireless routers or low-cost devices available at local retailers.
  • Create a Business Phone System Using Mobile Phones – Mobile phones and PDAs are displacing land line phones among consumers. The latest figures show that roughly 20 percent of all American households are wireless-only. Now the technology exists to move business phones in the same direction. Virtual phone services for small business allow you to overlay an entire business phone system on top of any working phone number – including a mobile number. This type of phone service is perfect for virtual offices (or employees) since the service connects all employees and offices (no matter location and phone type) with customers and vendors through one phone number. Basically meaning you will never miss an important call no matter where you are without ever having to give callers your private phone number. Among several key features, users can also receive voicemails over e-mail via their desk computers, laptops, phones, etc.
  • Skip Leasing Office Space – There is something thrilling about having an actual office to go to; nothing says “legitimate” like a separate office. But if you’re trying to conserve cash in a tight economy, consider passing on leasing one office space for your organization in favor of some thrifty alternatives. An obvious one is to have everyone work from home. You’ll save on a lease, furniture, tools, decorating and more. Or, see if you can sublet a company space in your area, or try sharing common office space.
  • Beat the Odds – The key to MacGyver’s genius (and popularity) was how creative his solutions were. He simply improvised using whatever he thought would work. Remember that most small businesses fail within the first year because their spending outpaces their income. The best way to beat those odds is to keep spending to a minimum. With a little creativity (and a little help from the right technologies) you can MacGyver together an office that is both fully functional and economical. And one that will serve as a launching pad for when the economy gets better.

Steve Adams is Vice President of Marketing for Protus, provider of the highest quality Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) communication tools for small-to-medium businesses (SMB) and enterprise organizations, including my1voice, the cost-effective, feature-rich virtual phone service that travels with the user from phone to web, award-winning MyFax, the fastest growing Internet fax service and Campaigner, an email marketing solution with advanced automation features. Steve can be reached at sadams@protus.com.

Pretty good ideas, right?!
I’m all for skipping the leased office space and thinking outside the box (or cubicle).