Having your own successful business is probably the fulfillment of a long held dream. Like most entrepreneurs, you are proud, happy, and exhausted. Fulfilling dreams is hard work, and if you have only a small staff, or no staff, you may be afraid to go away on vacations. You want and need to make as much profit as possible, so you keep sticking around, day after day, and year after year. Your life is your business.
Repeat after me, “I will take a vacation.” Yes, you are self-employed, but your business will not fall apart if you take some time off, especially if you implement a document management solution. Once you've gone paperless, you'll have more flexibility for vacation.
Your customers are happy because their needs are being met…
You can keep your business running smoother and your customers happier with document management software. You can install a program or implement your paperless solution via the cloud. If you are sipping a margarita on the beach and a pressing business issue arises, you can hop online and work with your staff or client to fix the need. You can pull up customer records, invoices, tax returns, agreements, etc. You can store emails, PDF’s, images, and audio/video files. With alerts, document retention, digital signatures, workflow and integration with QuickBooks and Microsoft Office software, automation and digital files become easier to manage.
Creating a secure web portal for your customers is also a great way to free you from the office. If you have a site set up where your customers can access, upload and manage their own files in connection with you, it saves both paper and time. The customers won't have to wait to receive their information in the mail, fax or courier, and you don't have to personally fulfill the task. Your customers are happy because their needs are being met. They have all their personal account information at their fingertips, and that easy access makes them feel important and cared for. They are your priority, and you've made them feel that way. In the process, you've reduced costs and earned lots of vacation time.
Speaking of reducing expenses, electronic records remove the need for more expensive, commercial real estate. Security is always an issue with physical files as well, and retrieving information means wasted labor. Paper regularly ends up in the wrong place because everyone uses different nomenclature for storing. For compliance reasons, many businesses also need to keep their files for years. Going digital solves many problems for you, your business and your customers. They can access their information through the portal, and you can go back years to find documents with no trouble. Everything will be backed up and secure, so both you and your customers are protected.
Small business profitability can be fragile, so your reluctance to leave your baby in the hands of others is understandable. However, if you refuse to take time off and recharge your batteries, your business is going to be run by a tired and grumpy boss. You started your own business to make money and to have more freedom, so enslaving yourself is self-defeating. Get your document management software up and running and take off to parts unknown. It's not like you're going cold turkey. You'll have the cloud as your safety net.
Matt Peterson is the CEO of Lehi, Utah based eFileCabinet, Inc. Founded in 2001, eFileCabinet, Inc. began as a cutting-edge tool to digitally store records in accounting firms.