When I was in fifth grade, my teacher distributed a list of school supplies every student needed to bring for the year. They included the basics like pens, pencils, paper, a gluestick, and a box of tissues for the classroom. I also had to purchase some oddities, like a pack of origami paper the teacher collected on the first week and I never saw again.
But the thing I remember the most was his insistence on not buying just any pair of scissors, but Fiskars. Fiskars, he told us, were really, really good and would last us many years, so it was pointless to buy anything else.
I didn’t end up buying Fiskars scissors at the time. My parents, quite reasonably, thought it was weird that my teacher asked every student to bring high-quality scissors to school.
But years later, when I got an Amazon Prime account and the majority of my purchases came wrapped in plastic and in a cardboard box, it was time to buy some scissors. Having a good pair makes more sense than stabbing my pen into the tape and dragging it, tearing things with my bare hands, and getting frustrated with clamshell packaging. So I remembered my teacher’s enthusiasm and bought (on Amazon, naturally) a pair of stainless steel Fiskars scissors, with a sharp blade and a soft grip.
It transformed my life.
The scissors are sharp, well-built, and feel sturdy in my hand. Using them is immensely satisfying. Until I had scissors I loved, I didn’t realize just how useful scissors are. I use them to open packages of food I’d otherwise tear open with my hands, cut threads when I need to sew a button back on a shirt, precisely size pieces of tape, and everything else.
I’ve had other scissors before, of course, but they weren’t like this. My older, cheaper pairs weren’t as sharp or strong, and using them would result in jagged edges, require greater force, and just didn’t have that satisfying snip. With my Fiskars, cutting is a joy. The imperfect results I used to get are now only perfect, but easy.
Fiskars is really good at designing scissors because they’ve been good at designing household items for about 400 years. The company was founded in 1649 in its namesake Finnish village, first as an ironworks shop. By the early 1800s, they had machines manufacturing everything from cutlery to steam engines. Its scissors are its flagship products.
Their most celebrated design element is the orange handles, first created in 1967 when they acquired a surplus of plastic left over from a juicer production. They’ve sold more than a billion of them since. My scissors are grey instead of orange, but it cuts just as well.
Fiskars also makes more specialized scissors, like ones for fabric and table-top cutting. But the standard eight-inch stainless steel softgrip scissors are so good, I can’t imagine needing anything else.
By Jacob Shamsian for www.businessinsider.com
Business owners are constantly under pressure to reduce costs – but the things that are losing your business money might take you by surprise.
Here are a few practical tips on how to identify areas where small changes could bring about big savings:
Insurance is vital in securing the costly assets that assist in running your business. Compare quotes to find the cheapest, most comprehensive insurance plan that meets your business needs. When speaking to insurance brokers and agencies don’t be afraid to negotiate – ask for multiple quotes to compare and find what you need.
If it’s viable, try a multiple policy option – different types of cover from one service provider – as this often results in a discounted overall premium. Also consider consulting your bank for insurance options. Periodically review your coverage to ensure it’s still appropriate for your business’s needs – if it’s not, change it.
There’s nothing more costly than an inefficient workforce – and studies show employees spend 30-40% of their time looking for documents. A document management system stores and processes documents electronically, so employees don’t waste time searching for paperwork. They can spend time on what’s important, instead of getting bogged down with admin. This is especially beneficial for businesses having to cope with limited staff resources.
Explore digital tools that can assist with archiving, providing remote access to documents and streamlining workflow, like Nashua’s Managed Document Services.
Check your charges
Stay on top of bills to avoid penalty costs. Keep track of upcoming payments by using online banking and scheduling payments ahead of time. Remember to factor licences and permits into your annual budget to avoid unpleasant surprises. Be selective about subscriptions and memberships – only pay for what you need now. A journal subscription may have been useful at one point in time, but is it still a must?
Switch to green
Staying on top of what you’re spending on expenses like printing and stationery can save a considerable amount and help make your office ‘greener’. One way to eliminate wasteful printing is to manage print jobs digitally in one central hub, banish duplicate prints and audit the size of your device fleet, to downsize where possible. Nashua offers Managed Print Services (MPS) which can help significantly reduce printing costs.
Assign one or two people to manage office supplies like stationery and keep track of what’s being used. Make the process transparent and urge employees to use stationery conservatively and reuse where possible. For example, make it a rule in your business that all internal documents should be printed on reused paper.
Be mindful of devices to reduce your electricity bill. Remember, power is still drawn if machines are switched off but plugged into a live outlet. Wherever possible, use natural lighting and invest in power saving or solar-powered light bulbs – they often last longer too.
Replace desktops with laptops – they use less power. If you can’t use laptops throughout the office, aim to introduce energy efficient desktops. Look out for Energy Star qualified hardware – it’s engineered to consume less energy when performing regular tasks and automatically switches to a low-power mode when not in use.
Increased connectivity means employees don’t have to be in the same room to hold an important meeting. Assess all planned business trips and eliminate the unnecessary. Ask yourself: does this actually require face time? Can it be done over the phone or via conference call? If so, can the trip. If you can’t avoid an out-of-office meeting, try carpooling with team members or use services like Uber, Ryda and Snappcab.
Consider switching to an IP-based telephony service – because calls are all routed via the same line, it can drastically reduce your call costs. Nashua Voice offers this kind of cost-cutting technology – it also means you’ll be able to switch to virtual fax, virtual boardroom and virtual conferencing to further reduce costs.