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Do More with Less and Win a Windows 7 Phone!

Posted Nov 15 2010 1:30pm

You heard me. A WINDOWS 7 PHONE. So awesome I’m prematurely jealous of whoever wins the one I’m giving away. That’s right, one of you lucky readers will win this delectable phone by leaving a comment on this post between now and November 29, when the contest ends and I pick a winner randomly, and I do mean randomly. Not by committee in front of Phineas and Ferb like I’ve done…before…but by using Something I look forward to learning more about. Because it might help to assign time slots on the Wii.

Our family is not alone in facing continual needs to do more with less in this economy. (Whenever I hear the phrase “this economy” I wonder which economy we’re speaking of, specifically? The one we’re experiencing right this minute, the one that pushed us to sell whatever we could and recommit to saving money and reduce expectations for the near and distant future? The one preceding this one, the one whose chain of events ran up national debt, decimated the American job market, and jacked the unemployed/underemployed stats through the roof? Or the one before that, the one that led us to believe that you really can make something out of nothing and sustain the downpour of money coming from any business decision to be anything but brick and mortar? Discuss.)

We’ve downsized, sold our home, sold possessions (do you have any IDEA how much you could get from a local jeweler for all those broken or out-of-fashion gold chains, bracelets, bits of flash you never wear? I’ll tell you what I got: $650 dollars. That’s a lot of Cheerios.), blended a family to avoid double-paying utilities, housing, and upkeep (no, that wasn’t the only reason), and moved to a house in a town less convenient to schools and work but much more affordable and roomy for our expanded family. Considering what our two families had and did and were responsible for before the move, we’ve certainly learned to do with less, and in a lot of ways it has yielded more. More free time, more savings (well, less spending), more…not having bad diet/stress/tension…man, that last one is so foreign I don’t yet have a way to describe it without using double negatives.

A recent article on Forbes/com (okay, it was from February 2009 but that doesn’t make it ANY LESS RELEVANT) inspired me to absorb their business-oriented recommendations and put on twist on them to serve our work and family lives. Oh come on, it’ll be fun.

The basic idea is to “determine thresholds and tolerable trade-offs and re-feature offerings.” I can do that.

5 Ways to Cut Costs While Improving Service Do More With Less

  1. Raw materials Think the materials you use make your products “gold standard?” Think again. Your customers probably wouldn’t be able to tell if you cut back on some of those raw materials or found a completely different way to produce your product.
    Darn tootin’. They don’t need to know I buy the Safeway brand instead of the name brand or that I buy the humongous boxes of cereal and keep small, graspable containers instead, or that I picked up that bike at Kmart. It’s a perfectly lovely bike and will get you there when I won’t drive.
  2. Sales staff It is possible your customers don’t value substantial hand-holding. Small businesses looking for a simple way to manage their customer contacts don’t always want to deal with complicated, customized pitches.
    EXACTLY. Moving into a new house has given me the delicious opportunity to say, “I just moved here too, everything’s in a new place! Let’s all get familiar with where to find the bread and the snacks! Quick - make a sandwich and I’ll time you!” I really don’t need to line everything up in a complicated assembly-line and do it all myself. They can do so much themselves if I just step back and let them explore. Or go hungry. Whichever.
  3. Post-sales support Companies can expend a significant amount of money providing the exact wrong kind of post-sales support to customers. While some customers want human interaction when they have a problem, many want the ability to find precise answers to their questions quickly and to see how other customers have solved similar problems, [like] online forums where customers can learn from other customers.
    Whenever the kids ask me how to do something, I’ll say “Ask your brother.” If siblings can’t help, I suggest calling a friend to find out how they handled homework. If all else fails, I’ll shout over my shoulder, “Google it!” Boom. Workin’ them forums.
  4. Features Maybe there is a whiz-bang feature in your product that doesn’t matter that much to a particular customer set. For example, many newspaper companies have reduced or combined sections of the newspaper, or moved away from daily publishing.
    Two words: weekly laundry. If they need more than that, see previous item.
  5. Marketing Generally, we believe that much of a company’s investment in marketing is a waste—in an effort to “build brands.” Instead, focus on stabilizing your business and gaining a competitive advantage.
    I don’t care that your friend has his own flat-panel TV or that he are allowed to have a computer in their room. Things don’t have to be personalized or exclusive to have value. Go watch iCarly in the family room, or look something up on the computer in the living room or on the one on my desk. Or use the laptop I last saw under the couch. There is plenty of technology in our home to get you where you need to be in life, or at least through middle school.

How do YOU do more with less? Let me know in the comments below and you could be sitting on your doorstep one day very soon, waiting for the delivery of your brand-new Windows 7 phone!

  • Win this phone by leaving a comment on this post between now and November 29.
  • You can leave a maximum of one comment per day from now until 11:59pm on Monday, November 29th.
  • Use a valid e-mail address. No one else will see it and will be deleted once a winner is selected.
  • Again, to be eligible to win, your comments must be entered by November 29, 2010.

Disclosure: This giveaway is brought to you by the new Windows Phone 7. Learn more about Windows Phone online and see it in person at local T-Mobile stores today. Find the contest rules here .

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