With rising paper costs and a push towards “green” solutions in business, going paperless is not only a beneficial financial move for your company but also one that benefits the planet by creating less waste. Less waste is ultimately one of the best ways that businesses and individuals can cut down on pollution and its negative effects. Here are seven ways to help your business go paperless for good.
1. Create An Email Newsletter
Does your business provide a newsletter or other monthly publication? This can be easily transferred to an e-newsletter, which can be emailed to customers at the press of a button. This means less paper waste and possibly even better customer engagement.
Often newsletters and other publications get filtered into the junk mail pile and make their way to the trash. When this happens, not only is your customer base missing potentially vital company information, but they’ve completely wasted the paper your printed the newsletter on. That means every time it gets thrown away, you’re losing money.
An e-newsletter can also be discarded, but when it is, it doesn’t end up in a landfill.
2. Ditch The Filing Cabinets For Cloud Storage
Cloud storage is a secure, paperless way to store and organize important documents such as customer profiles and invoices. Cloud storage is cost-efficient and accessible. You won’t need to look in the safe for a filing cabinet key anymore.
There are many cloud storage options, and of course, how much storage you need depends on the volume of the documents you’re uploading. You can either upload every company document from the past or simply begin using the cloud for all future documents. Either way, you’ll want to make sure you get the right amount of storage so you’re not paying for what you won’t use.
Google Drive offers up to 15GB of cloud storage for free, and Dropbox offers 2GB free. With Google, you get the added benefits of having a Google account, like access to Google Docs, Spreadsheets, Calendar, and more.
Files can be easily shared, edited, and downloaded by other Google accounts that you give permission to. No one can see or access documents without the creator’s permission. Both Google and Dropbox offer premium accounts with added storage should the basic account not meet your storage needs.
3. Use An Online Invoice Service
If you’re going paperless, you can even offer a paperless invoice or receipt to your customers. This allows the customer to save the invoice in a digital space such as email or cloud storage, so there’s no need to search pockets or purses should they need to review the invoice.
You’ll find that an invoice generator online offers customizable templates and can be combined with online payment software to create a seamless transaction. You can view sent invoices, due dates, and even set reminders for unpaid invoices.
Overall an online invoice service will only serve to benefit your company by making the checkout process more customizable and less costly in terms of supplies.
4. Make Your Meetings Paperless With A Slideshow
Traditional paper handouts at your business meetings can be avoided with the use of a simple slideshow. If there’s any pertinent information that you absolutely need the attendees to remember, you can always email copies of the document.
Often the paperwork from meetings eventually finds its way into the trash can; which is as close to throwing away money as you can get. Email your presentation materials so that if they end up in a trash can, it’s a digital folder instead of a plastic can.
5. Send E-Flyers And Ads
Advertisements come in many forms; from traditional handouts to email flyers and promotions. If you’re looking to go paperless, cutting out the traditional paper flyers is a good first step.
Ask your customers instead if they’d like to sign up for email promotions such as coupons and sales reminders. This can be a great way to close out a sale: “Would you like to be added to our email list for coupons?”. Chances are if the customer was happy with their shopping experience, they’ll appreciate coupons and the option to avoid misplacing paper flyers.
6. Use E-Signatures And Contracts
A legal document can still be binding if it’s done electronically. There’s no longer a need to have all of your company’s contracts and agreements printed out. E signatures are just as legitimate as a traditional pen-to-paper signature.
The added flexibility of e-signing means that your clients (or employees) can sign documents from anywhere in the world, at any time. This works especially well for remote workers since you won’t have to email and scan documents back and forth or risk them in the mail system.
7. Shred Unnecessary Documents and Scan The Remaining Ones
A thorough examination of your company’s stored paperwork is likely to reveal some old and outdated documentation that you can have shredded. Always shred sensitive documentation so that it does not fall into the wrong hands.
Once you’ve sifted through old documents and disposed of them properly, organize the remaining documents and scan them into your cloud storage. Be sure to organize relevant documents into their own folders, and give the necessary employees access to the cloud.
This will not only cut down on your paper waste and aid your company in going paperless, but it will likely create some extra space by removing filing cabinets and paper storage. Should you need a copy of any documents, they’ll be easily accessed and printed within your cloud storage, you so only print what you need, when you need it.