Have you ever considered going paperless? Small business owners, especially those of us working from home are always looking for ways to increase our green credentials and ultimately save money. Becoming a paperless small business is not only great for the environment but also for the wallet. A survey conducted by YouGov stated that UK small and medium-sized enterprises wasted more than £42.2 million per day in income looking for printed and filed documents. This could be easily remedied by creating a more paperless office.
Even worse is the fact that UK small businesses spend a crazy amount of money storing and transporting paper and it doesn’t have to be this way. There are plenty of ways in which your small business can go paperless here are my top eleven.
- Digital Documents : With modern advances in technology digital documents are the future. Not only are they easier to store and share but they are faster to access and locate. Digital documents are far more versatile than paper ones you can even access them on a mobile phone. With a plethora of programmes, such as Dropbox, at your finger tips enabling you to share data, contracts and even invoices with customers, co-workers and clients.
- Look to the Cloud : Cloud based applications are useful as you don’t need to worry about file formats. As they are stored online on secured servers they are safer and reduce the space utilised on hard drives.
- Investment : Going paperless will incur some start up costs. Upgrade equipment such as faxes and consider installing dual monitors. The second monitor will eliminate the need to print documents to cross reference with others.
- Customer Service : Digital Documents enable you to locate and deal with customer service issues, i.e. Complaints, delivery issues and warranties quicker and more effectively. Providing you with a more responsive customer service department.
- More Efficient : Electronic invoicing is a great way to save and make money. At a glance you can see which invoices are outstanding, unlike shuffling through paperwork and bank receipts.
- Simpler to Recover : If there was a fire or flood in the office it’s much easier to recover data stored on a laptop than paper in boxes.
- Space : Whether you work from home or in an communal office paper is a distraction. Paper clutters up desks and minds, we are far more productive in a tidy environment. There is also the serious issue of space. Paper documents take up an awful lot of space and equipment (shelving, boxes, paper-clips, files) which needs organising, maintaining and cleaning.
- Saving Money : Reducing the need to print documents has an obvious impact on ink, paper and storage space and boxes. As well as the aforementioned organising, maintaining and cleaning of storage and documents. You won’t know what to do with that stationary budget!
- Saving the Planet : On average 55,000 trees are felled every year in order to produce receipts and invoices for UK small business owners. Less paper usage via small businesses also equals less energy consumption for the creation and transportation of paper. Which in turn is good for the environment.
- Productivity : You should see and increase in productivity as co-workers are no longer queuing (possibly chatting) at the printer. Desk areas are also tidier and all information is just a click away.
- Easier Business Development : Moving to new offices is easier and more cost effective if you don’t have to move boxes upon boxes of stored paperwork. Digital documents allow for easier business growth.
If you don’t feel your small business is ready to go completely paperless you can always look at ways to reduce the amount of paper used on a daily basis.
- Keep track of what items are being printed and why? Would any of these be more beneficial being digitalised or shared on cloud?
- Limit the amount of printers available in the office and set printing budgets.
- Digitalise pamphlets, leaflets and brochures enabling you can send PDF copies instead of hard ones to prospective clients/customers.
- Use your email signature to discourage receivers to print.
Have these tips inspired you to go paperless?
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