Going paperless has excellent benefits for small businesses. Going digital can both eliminate costs and have positive benefits for the environment, and when you choose to go paperless, it removes the need for document storage and printing equipment. It also reduces postage costs. This kind of digital transformation can reduce overheads dramatically. When you go paperless, you can also provide a better experience for customers, partners, suppliers and employees. You will be able to find documents more easily, and it helps to keep your office tidy. Read on for some effective strategies that will help your small business go paperless.

1. Conduct an audit of where you currently use paper

Start by documenting all of the processes you currently follow that involve you printing or sending documents. Start by picking one or two areas that you can go paperless and then start to put some of your other ideas into practice. You will soon be paper-free.

2. Use Google apps for business

The suite of apps offered by Google can help small businesses cut down on the number of paper documents they need. You can collaborate electronically on projects via Google Drive – its word processing and spreadsheet functions can be contributed to and saved by multiple members of a group. Asking your staff to work solely on their devices can ensure you cut back significantly on the wasteful use of paper.

3. Switch to electronic payroll and accounting

Reduce the number of paper invoices and checks your business sends out by taking your payroll and accounting needs online with the FreshBooks website. It’s a cloud-based accounting solution designed specifically for small business owners that allows you to create invoices and track expenses and hours worked all with an intuitive software interface. FreshBooks offers a mobile app so you can handle all of your accounting responsibilities on your smartphone if you happen to be on the go.

4. Choose the right cloud platform

When you go paperless, you’re going to need a cloud-based platform to store your documents. It’s best to keep security in mind when deciding on the right platform for you. Many small businesses choose Google Drive, Microsoft’s OneDrive, Box or DropBox. DocuSign allows users to retrieve documents from several cloud storage services.

5. Go paperless with your expenses and receipts

Keep track of your expenses using apps that allow you to snap pictures of receipts and track business-related spending. To keep track of your expenses, try the Shoeboxed or Expensify apps. Get electronic receipts for office supply purchases. The next time you head out to pick up miscellaneous stationery supplies or larger purchases, ask to have your receipt emailed to you – it’s one less piece of paper to keep track of.

6. Use eSignature for documents

You can use DocuSign eSignature for signing and sending important documents for agreement instead of going through the process of printing, signing, scanning, faxing and emailing. Its enterprise-level security protocols make it the market leader in the eSignature industry.

7. Create sales contracts with contract lifecycle management software

Are your sales staff preparing agreements and printing and posting them, or re-keying in data to documents already in Salesforce? Try using contract lifecycle management software like DocuSign Gen for Salesforce. Rather than printing agreements, re-keying information already in other systems or using outdated templates, your team can create polished sales agreements with just a few clicks. There is no need to print or fax quotes and sales orders, and it helps to focus on closing deals quickly. You can send a sales quote to a customer in minutes, and they can receive, sign and pay the deposit all from a mobile device.

8. Embrace digital marketing

Adopt a digital marketing strategy and reduce the use of printed marketing material like direct mail campaigns, newsletters, magazines, brochures and posters. Using social media is an effective technique for promotion of your brand. According to an IDC research report sponsored by Facebook, 18 to 44-year-olds who own an iPhone or Android check Facebook an average of 14 times per day. Your social media platforms, website, email campaigns, and online content can all help to communicate your key messages to customers.

Final thoughts

If you are really going paperless in your small business, it helps to set a deadline that you wish to become paper-free. Share your plan with your staff so that everyone is working towards a common goal. While helping the environment, you will also be creating a better experience for your employees and customers. Want more tips on becoming paper-free?  Find out almost everything you need to know about going paperless.

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