SMEs across all industries globally are being slowed down by archaic, paper-based processes. At DocuSign, we’re driving digital transformation in SMEs throughout the world. In fact, in a recent survey from Tech City UK, looking into the most important cloud-based tools for startups, DocuSign was the only company named by respondents as being essential in the field of legality and compliance.

We were also honoured this week with the award of ‘Technology Provider of the Year’ at the British Small Business Awards. The judges were impressed by how comprehensively DocuSign addresses the e-signature market’s SME needs, with proficiency in minimising client costs and also benefitting the environment.

Below are some examples of the work we’re doing to help small businesses get big rewards.

Need for speed

Small businesses have a unique relationship with speed. Whilst larger organisations may move fast, lightning-quick responses are expected of startups such across a wide range of vertical industries. In fact, speed is widely regarded as a startup’s main advantage over bigger companies.

Small companies have more freedom to ramp up and launch growth drives that can get them shipping faster, but routine tasks such as signing contracts can really hold a company back—a scanned paper contract could take whole days to execute, a lightyear in startup terms. Using DocuSign, Property Button, a marketplace used by property professionals to reduce rental void periods, lowered vacancy time by one month-and-a-half across 127,000 properties in the Republic of Ireland. Furthermore, the company has reduced homelessness by 27% across its properties thanks to its digital operations.

Staying agile—and mobile

SMEs, much more than other businesses, need to be able to work on the go. DocuSign allows employees to sign documents and complete deals at any time, and from any location.

USP Recruitment, a specialist sales recruitment and training provider, adopted DocuSign to increase the speed of contract execution. It has enabled the sales teams to accelerate the sales cycle, letting them strike while the iron is hot by sending documents to clients instantly, wherever they may be, closing the deal immediately.

Standardising workflows

A lot of an SME’s time is spent standardising processes for routine tasks, which may have been initially cobbled together from multiple files across a single user’s computer. Fast launches can leave a lot of chaos behind in their wake, so any process that can be streamlined lightens the administrative load.

An electronic signature service allows employees to organise and store files collaboratively, and even integrates with commonly used apps, removing the disorder. DocuSign is compatible with over 300 popular services such as Google, Salesforce and Box.

Scalable solutions

Paper is becoming a thing of the past. A modern document signing tool such as DocuSign sends the message to clients and partners that a company is on top of digital trends. It is a service that can grow alongside a business – a truly scalable solution.

For example, the founders of energy and utility software solutions provider UD Group used DocuSign to help scale their business from a two-man garage operation to an international organisation. By implementing electronic signature within an online transactional tool for switching business energy customers, UD Group created the first, and only, website where end users could search for a business energy price, do a comparison, and accept a contract online. The integration made use of DocuSign’s API offering, allowing the continuous addition of new suppliers, and helping to complete the package of UD Group’s platform with its ability to get prices, get information validated and get contracts completed online.

Consequently, UD Group has been able to scale far beyond its beginnings as a two-person organisation, and the company has at least doubled in terms of turnover year on year.

The bottom line

As well as ensuring the legality and compliance of transactions, DocuSign’s latest offering also helps to ease frustration for SMEs that struggle to collect payment for the work they complete.

  • The challenge

We know that 65% of businesses experience delays or even a total failure to collect payments. For small businesses in particular, the ability to collect payments on time can have a huge impact on a company’s bottom line, and can be critical for safeguarding a company’s future.

  • The solution

This year, DocuSign has announced DocuSign Payments – a platform developed in conjunction with international payment processor Stripe, that is supported by Apple, Google and Payments saves SMEs time and effort by providing a fast and easy way to collect payments and signatures in just one step.

The small business use cases for DocuSign Payments are practically limitless – apartment lease agreements, insurance policies, contractor services, mobile phone purchases, car registration renewals, hotel stays, car rentals or leases, accounting and tax preparation, among many others. But the benefits do not end there – DocuSign also helps SMEs to overcome a range of the additional challenges they face:

What’s next?

We’re also working on advancements in the development of smart contracts, based on blockchain technology. For instance, DocuSign has worked in partnership with Visa to develop a proof-of-concept for fast, secure contracts and payments designed for Visa’s connected car. The prototype showcases how car buyers can drive off the forecourt in a matter of minutes, after securely signing all documents and paying electronically, avoiding the complication and time-consuming process of purchasing a new car.

Going forward, DocuSign is looking to broaden its development of smart contracts to facilitate disruptive change for small businesses across wide-ranging industries and sectors.