Once seen as a disruptive change to how business is done, going paperless is now a relatively easy transition to make for small businesses. Embracing the advantages of going paperless promises to make managing stacks of paperwork a thing of the past with even traditional businesses shifting to this simplified way of working.
Advantages of going paperless
Going paperless can save money on storage, printers, technical support and, perhaps most valuable of all, allow your staff to concentrate on their work rather than rummaging around searching for a document.
Plus, the potential cost savings from eliminating spending on paper and ink are a major attraction for small businesses, with a report from AIIM finding that 84 per cent of companies that embark on a paperless project see payback within 18 months.
Improve your reputation
Countless studies have shown that customers want to buy from and work for businesses that champion responsible and sustainable practices. 80 per cent of respondents in a survey by Nielsen believe it is extremely or very important that organisations introduce programs to improve the environment, illustrating the reputational benefits companies can gain from going paperless.
It’s environmentally friendly
Being at the forefront of implementing sustainable initiatives can boost an organisation’s environmentally-friendly credentials.
A survey from research firm Loudhouse found that the average office worker uses 10,000 sheets of paper each year, with around 6,800 of these pages being wasted.
If more small businesses went paperless, millions upon millions of sheets of paper could be saved from going to landfill and help contribute to wider environmental targets.
How to start going paperless
1) Set realistic goals
The journey to a paperless business isn’t an overnight process but by setting realistic goals for the transition, companies can ensure any timeline that is agreed makes practical sense. Employees may take time to adjust to new procedures making it a good idea to phase out using paper gradually.
2) Go paperless in meetings
Going paperless for meetings doesn’t just reduce paper usage but can also improve the flow of conversations as digital versions of the documents can make accessing handouts and resources quicker. Instead of searching through many pages of meeting notes, employees can go straight to the page they need on their device.
3) Use technology smartly
Advances in technology have made it easier than ever to go paperless. DocuSign eliminates the need to print, sign, scan and send contacts and documents via email, thanks to the ability to sign with a secure electronic signature. All deals, no matter how big or small, can now be closed in an instant.
4) Get creative
From discouraging paper use in the office by creating a sustainable culture within the company to ensuring that documents are shared digitally rather than being photocopied for internal use; even relatively small changes can make going paperless for small business easier.
Summary: Top 4 ways to start going paperless
In a relatively short amount of time the advantages from going paperless will be seen across your business and the hassles of dealing with tedious paperwork will be consigned to the past, leaving you to focus on what’s most important – growing your business.