Paperwork is an inevitable aspect of doing business — from invoicing to tax preparation to correspondence. Yet every minute spent managing these documents is a minute taken away from value-adding tasks that actually bring profit.
Unless you are in the business of document management, time invested in these areas can negatively affect your overall productivity. This is especially true when your paperwork is literally “made” of paper. There is a direct financial cost to you — in the form of materials and equipment. Even processing something as positive as a paper check can cost your business anywhere from $4 – $20, after considering things like:
- Printing and postage
- Processing (including delays)
- Lost and replaced checks (more delays)
- Man-hours and bank visits
When you add all the other administrative documents in your workflow, the investments in time and money really start to add up. Although larger businesses can absorb these extra costs, startups often devote a disproportionate amount of their budgets to these low-level activities.
This article explores how improved document management can optimize your business and help you reclaim some of these lost resources.
1. Less “Paper” Work
The most critical step involves getting paper out of your life. By digitally scanning documents, you create a centralized and electronic copy of every file in your business. The benefits of this system include:
- Automated naming, indexing and tagging. Every document receives the appropriate timestamps and metadata, thus, removing human error from the equation.
- Anytime-anywhere access. Everyone with the proper permissions now has access to the same information — even if some of your team members are on the road.
- Reduced equipment costs. You don’t have to invest as many resources in fax machines, photocopiers, printers, paper reams and envelopes. The money you’ll save on ink cartridges alone makes document scanning a no-brainer.
2. Faster Processing
Document filing and retrieval are such common practices in the business world, that most of us don’t give them a second thought.
However, consider the following:
- Let’s say it takes an average of 3 minutes to retrieve a paper document within your filing system;
- and it takes another 3 minutes to return that document when you’re finished.
If you do this once every “business” hour, you’ll end up losing two entire workdays every month — just filing and retrieving documents.
By contrast, digital files can be retrieved and returned in seconds, using nothing but tags.
3. Backup and Recovery
Even with the most efficient filing and retrieval system, paper-based documents eventually get misplaced — and when the Johnson file disappears, it’s gone forever.
Keep in mind that electronic document management systems come with disaster recovery technology. If someone should accidentally delete that digital Johnson file, an online backup exists.
4. Security and Accountability
With the right document management setup, you can restrict access using different permissions and criteria. For example, no one below a certain position or in a particular location is allowed to review the Smith account.
What’s more, thanks to versioning histories and timestamps, there is always a digital record of who accessed what and when.
5. Storage and Space
If you’ve ever converted an LP collection or CD library to MP3s, you can instantly appreciate the following:
Digital storage takes zero space.
This is in sharp contrast to the clunky file cabinets most businesses use. By storing your data in the cloud, you can avoid the trap of renting offices larger than you really need.
Some entrepreneurs discover that they don’t need offices at all.
One Final Document Management Benefit
The advantages of enhanced document management are easy to measure. In addition to having more time for your core business, you’ll also enjoy:
- Cost reductions
- Productivity increases
There is one final benefit to note:
Going paperless is a cost-effective way to green your company’s infrastructure. By promoting this transition, you can attract more clients, better employees and environmentally conscious investors.
Denny Hammack is the President of FileSolve, an industry-leading supplier of electronic document / content management solutions. FileSolve has operation centers in Roanoke, Charlotte and Orlando and services customers in a wide range of markets.
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Social media was formed to connect people, to bring them together. It succeeded indeed bringing people together and therefore made way for new form of marketing. Social profiles like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Google+ have become a big medium to endorse yourself or your business in this internet-led world. But at the same time such profiles are increasing in number by time passing. Previously it was easy to juggle 1-2 profiles of Facebook and Twitter. But with new brewing ideas these profiles are increased in number and it has become time consuming to update such profiles. But now some of these minds which brew up new ideas have also found some tools with special qualities of managing multiple social profiles at the same place. Here are the 7 of them,
Hootsuite is considered best in this business. It allows you to associate with social profiles including WordPress. Its dashboard gives you complete look of the notification from various accounts. You can also schedule posts, perform campaigns on various profiles, track conversations and can get the detailed analysis of your profile. It also has a mobile app.
With free pack you can link up to three social media accounts. You also have an option to upgrade to pro or enterprise mode.
Buffer allows you to schedule posts and messages on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkdIn. One click and you can share data on all profiles. It also gives you a complete analysis of profiles. You can also handle it through mobile app.
Buffer is free to use for a short trial period and then you’ll have to pay $10 per month. With unlimited scheduling you can link up to 12 accounts with 2 team members.
SumAll gives you complete analysis of your account in a central dashboard. You can get the report by visiting the app or you can opt to get the weekly e-mail. Here, you can link to various accounts like Facebook, twitter, Instagram, Google+, LinkdIn, Pinterest and Tumblr.
With special features like auto-following the new followers, this app allows you to schedule your tweets as well. You can handle your social media activity at one place with Facebook, Twitter, LinkdIn and Plurk account. You can use it for free.
Sprout special too can handle multiple social profiles. You can send, share posts on Facebook, twitter and other accounts easily saving lot of time. It also shows you analysis of your profile.
You can use this application for free but only for some time and then you’ll have to take up package which includes prizes as $39, $59 and $99 per month.
It has special feature which allows you to choose important accounts from twitter and it gives you account’s report every time it does an activity. It successfully tracks the activities of that twitter handle. You can schedule the reporting at different time.
Sendible allows you to link with blogging sites. It also has features which give you freedom to write and publish articles. It also gives you deep analysis of social media marketing efforts.
You can have its 30 day free trial but then it charges for its services after the time span. Good Monster an SEO agency in Syracuse, believes that social media is best strategy for SEO.
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Negotiation is essential in business. Even if you hate the idea of negotiating or do your best to avoid the whole process it is a skill which you will need in order to become successful. Many negotiations will make you feel overwhelmed; you may even see yourself as David against Goliath. However, it is possible to tackle any negotiation and for both parties to be happy with the result. The following tips will enable you to get the right result:
- Focus on making a good first impression
Research has shown that the first five minutes of any meeting can decide how the whole process will end. In the first five minutes you should be looking to assess the mood of your opponent and adopt the same mood. You need to come across as likeable so that the other party will listen to your arguments. The easiest way of achieving this is by talking and letting him see a little insight into you personally. Connecting with the other party on a personal and emotional level will make both parties more inclined to find a mutually beneficial outcome.
- Start high
The first offer is very rarely accepted and it is imperative to start higher than you want or need to get. The higher the initial figure the more your opponent will focus on the worth of these figures; this should leave you plenty of room to maneuver. A high starting point will also allow you to come down a little and let the other party think they have come away with the better deal.
- Make the first offer and prove your determination
As with starting high an offer on the table becomes the anchor point. This is the starting point to which all discussion will centre around. If you have made the first offer, and gone high, you are likely to obtain a better than expected outcome. It also shows the other party that you are confident – whether this relates to a product or to your own worth and this will help prevent them from attempting to walk all over you.
- Negotiate with passion
Emotions do have a place in negotiation. A heated argument is not an acceptable tactic and will invariably lead to the failure of the negotiation. However, letting the other party know you are happy with an offer by smiling or frowning if not. Showing emotion in the right manner will ensure your opponent reconsiders their offer, particularly as it will show you are passionate about the subject.
- Stay energized with coffee!
Studies have shown that the more caffeine you consume the less likely you are to change your position. This is one way to ensure you do not easily give in to their demands. This should result in a better offer than you may otherwise have accepted.
An important tactic in any negotiation is too subtly point out that time is running out. By advertising the offer is only on the table for a limited time you will place pressure on the other party. It is human nature to want what you cannot have and this is true in any negotiation. If you threaten to take it away they will want it.
- Back up your claims with solid data
Data can be used to back up your argument. Whenever possible you should do plenty of research and amass as much data as possible. The more proven data you have the harder it will be for the other party to argue with you. The data must be factual correct and from a good source or the negotiation will be detracted into the quality of the information. An abundance of data shows the other party that you have done your homework and know what you are talking about. The data supplied may even address many of their concerns and make the whole process simpler.
As you can see, business negotiations are not that hard when you know what you’re doing. The key to landing the best deal is to enter meetings prepared. Be ready to face all kinds of challenging situations, and don’t run away from a win-win. Believe it or not, sometimes win-wins are a lot better than no deal; of course, this doesn’t mean that every deal is a good deal. In special circumstances, walking away may prove beneficial.
By Davis Miller and TheGapPartnership.com!