Going Paperless from the Individual to the Business

Whether you are an individual or a business owner, going paperless has several benefits. At the individual level, it clears clutter from your home, provides better record-keeping for bills and other documents, and benefits the environment. It offers similar advantages at the business level, where going paperless can also save a significant amount of money. Here are ten tips you can use for going paperless, at both the individual and the business levels.

#1: Scan Documents to Your Computer

If you already have a significant number of physical documents lying around, then you will want to make digital copies. You can do this using a scanner. These documents can then be converted to PDF formats, be stored on an internal or external hard drive, or put into a compressed folder to save space. Services like Lucion’s Filecenter can assist with converting files to pdf.

#2: Organize with Digital Folders

When you had physical copies of your files, it is likely that they were kept in folders. You will also want to do this with digital copies. While you could perform a search every time you wanted to find something, it will be much easier if documents are organized into their own files.

#3: Sharing Documents

Another advantage of going paperless is that you can share documents without taking a trip to the printer. You can use a free service such as Google Docs or another service if you want something for collaboration and sharing at the corporate level.

#4: Switch to Paperless Statements

It is very likely that your utility company, bank, vendors, and others already have started to go paperless. Many times, you simply have to sign up and agree to the terms of paperless billing to get this started. You can also take advantage of automatic bill pay if you choose this option, which is very convenient if you want to be sure you are paying bills on time.

#5: Document Editing Software

One of the biggest complaints among employees and even some individuals is that digital copies of documents cannot be highlighted or written on. This is not true, however. You can choose to use document editing software on your smartphone, tablet, or even your computer.

#6: Try to Avoid Printing Documents

What reasons do you print documents? Is it to share them with others, keep hard copies on hand, or send memos? Printing documents can be wasteful and cost your business (or even your home) quite a bit of money. Instead, take advantage of scanning and faxing machines, emails, and other means of communication.

#7: Don’t Forget to Backup Data

One of the reasons that companies or individuals do not want to go paperless is because they are afraid of the safety of data. Remember to backup data to a disc, external hard drive, thumb drive, or external storage location to ensure it remains safe.

#8: Take Advantage of Email Signatures

In the paperless world, email signatures are becoming more popular as a means to verify documents. Take advantage of this so that you do not have to collect signatures on paper and scan them into the computer.

#9: Signature Software

Software that allows customers to digitally sign is also quite beneficial. This can be used for contracts, credit card transactions, and more. It instantly provides record of the transaction and does not require the use of paper.

#10: Try Digital Marketing

Sometimes, businesses refrain from going completely paperless because they want to pass out business cards and share information. However, you can find smartphone applications that will send your information over to a potential client. Some also collect information for email marketing, which is another way to go paperless while still staying in regular contact with customers.

These ten steps are simple to follow and great ways to allow you to switch to paperless. These can be effective on the individual or business level. Good luck!

Author bio: Lautaro Martinez is a freelance writer and business owner who has recently become more paperless savy. He shares articles, tips and experience in running an office, paperless. If you would like to learn more about Lautaro, check out his google+ profile.
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