By Dave McNally, Product Marketing Director, Dell Imaging, EMEA

For small businesses, everyday costs are critical. Whether considering the price of stationary or coffee, expenses must be kept to a minimum to ensure company accounts stay in the black. Some things will always be too important to cut out completely, but there are ways to help day-to-day activities remain cost effective.

With tight budgets and limited resources to consider, small businesses are particularly sensitive to financial pressures. There are, however, a few small changes that can be made to ensure that the cost of printing doesn’t become a concern. Here are a few top tips to help you take control of your printing output and costs (and help reduce your company’s carbon footprint, too):

Implement rules based printing policies
Encourage employees to print only when necessary — that way you can achieve both cost efficiency and sustainability. Choose a printer with Print management software that can help you to manage your printing centrally, allowing you to monitor, control and record printing capacity.

You should also consider how and what your co-workers should print. Simple steps such as always using print preview can help - there’s no point in printing something only to find out that the formatting is incorrect, or that the document won’t fit on the page. Consider when colour or high quality printing is required and when simple black and white will suffice — altering your default settings means that team members will need to actively choose to print in colour.

Use original consumables
Although non-branded cartridges may seem like the cheaper option in the short term, it makes better long term sense to use the correct ones for your printer. Using the wrong cartridges can damage your machine and you may void your warranty just by inserting them. By using the original branded products for your printer, you will not only help ensure its longevity but also realise the full yield capacity from the cartridge.

Take advantage of BYOD devices and the cloud
Printing straight from the cloud or from a smartphone or tablet helps to speed up business processes. This in turn will make the action of printing faster, and when time itself costs money, efficiency is key. You should also think about whether or not something has to be printed or whether a digital copy will work. With smartphones and tablets, less essential documents can be saved in the cloud and brought up easily on screen when you need them. Document management software is also available to help make this process smoother, allowing you to share, create and print across different cloud platforms.

Consider laser printing rather than inkjet
If you print mostly black-and-white documents, a laser printer could be a more cost effective option than inkjet. Laser printers use toner which lasts longer than ink and page yields are in thousands rather than hundreds.

Re-use paper where possible
Non-sensitive, day to day emails, meeting documents or files that have been printed by mistake needn’t be relegated straight to the waste paper basket. Consider keeping hold of paper that’s only been printed on one side that could be re-used for other less important prints.