5 ways to organize your business in 2020

business The start of the new year is the perfect time to take a step back from your biz and hit reset. You’re reviewing the past 12 months and setting goals for the year ahead, looking for opportunities for improvement.

business

Part of streamlining your business into 2020 comes down to simple organization. And while it comes naturally for some, it’s more challenging for others.

Organization is critical to maintaining smooth business operations and sustainable growth—not to mention your sanity. In fact, 83% of business owners believe having an organized office is vital, and 63% believe it also contributes to profitability.

Check these five organization tasks off your list to start 2020 off with a clean slate.

Automate business processes and workflows

Business automation is when you set up tools and systems that trigger a sequence of events that automatically happen in a specified order. You essentially set up an automation once and let the process run on autopilot, checking in only as needed.

According to one Red Hat survey, 34% of organizations are focused on automating business processes. Automation keeps you organized because it eliminates time-consuming manual processes and mitigates data discrepancies caused by human error.

“You can eliminate the manual work by automating small things like emails,” said Juliana Brasil, co-owner of Canuck Collective. Zapier makes it easy to automate email, social media, accounting, payroll, and other business processes, with more than 1,000 integrations—including Wave. 17hats and IFTTT work similarly to Zapier, leveraging third-party integrations and connecting various platforms.

More ideas on how to automate business processes:

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Ditch the paper and head to the cloud

A staggering 94% of companies use the cloud, according to research conducted by RightScale. The cloud offers remote accessibility, because you can log in to the platform you’re using from any compatible connected device. Most cloud systems update in real-time, too, making it ideal for collaboration with team members.

Plus, the cloud offers extra security in that if your hardware is destroyed, your data is saved.

There are tons of ways to use the cloud: from managing your books, to sharing valuable documents, to clocking time. Here are some ideas on how to use the cloud to help you stay organized in your business:

  • Remote file management with Dropbox or OneDrive, and document management (along with e-signatures) via DocuSign or HelloSign
  • Collaboration in spreadsheets, documents, and slideshow presentations with Google Drive
  • Wave’s free financial software to track income and expenses, send invoices, and collect payments
  • Time tracking with Toggl, Harvest, or Clockify

Tackle your email

Email is the second most popular form of communication, behind cell phones and texting. People send more than 205 billion emails each day—a figure expected to grow 3% annually to hit 246 billion by the end of 2019. That’s 126 emails per person per DAY. That’s a lot to stay on top of.

If “inbox zero” seems like a pie in the sky idea for you, there are tools out there that can make your email more manageable and less anxiety-inducing. Here are some suggestions:

  • Schedule emails to send later with Gmail or Boomerang
  • Sign up for Unroll.me to create a single daily digest email with all your newsletter subscriptions
  • Turn emails into tasks and workflows with Sortd
  • SaneBox will automatically sort your inbox and prioritize emails
  • Create free email accounts to use for forms and other online signups with Maildrop, so your inbox isn’t inundated with spam or unwanted messages

    Use templates

    Templates help you stay organized and consistent. Instead of starting from scratch each time you need to do something, you can use a template. This saves time and also makes it easier to hand tasks off to other team members who can use the template as a guide.

    Consistency is also key here because a template keeps things uniform. Synchronicity allows for better organization, and keeps your brand strong, too.

    You can use templates for almost anything in your business: proposals, web pages, invoice templates, emails, and more.

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Get a head start on tax prep

The National Small Business Association found that approximately 20% of SMBs spend up to 120 hours on taxes each year. That’s 15 business days’ worth of time away from your business.

Though you only file your taxes once a year, tax prep can happen year round. And when you organize your business financials with tax prep in mind, you’ll stay organized even when the deadline is looming.

Upgrade to a double entry accounting software like Wave, so you can easily hand off the books to your accountant at year-end. Ensure you keep records updated at all times: don’t wait until December to do a full account reconciliation.

Moving forward with your business in 2020

There are lots of things to be excited about when it comes to your business in 2020. Whatever your goals may be, taking the time to get organized will go a long way in ensuring sustainable success and incremental growth.

How to provide feedback to your clients

clients In our article on collecting feedback from your clients , we have shown why feedback is important for your business. However, the opposite is also true: feedback is important to your clients. Among other things,  it motivates your clients  to become better collaborators.

feedback

However, for your clients to improve, you must give them a constructive remark, which they will accept if it proves appropriate. We present in this article the best tips for providing feedback.

Provide feedback as quickly as possible

Let us start by answering the following question: when should you provide feedback to your client? As quickly as possible! If you wait too long, there is a greater risk that your client will forget the words or gestures you criticized. It will be even more difficult to remedy the situation, especially if the working environment has deteriorated in the meantime.

And even if it’s positive feedback, do not wait to compliment your client. Everyone needs to feel appreciated at work, and this can only help your client to continue working with you.

Prepare yourself

Of course, you must provide your feedback as quickly as possible. However, do not contact your client on the spur of the moment. Take a moment to think about what you are going to communicate to your client, and also to consider how you are going to express yourself.

To help you, do not hesitate to rely on solid documentation. This could take the form of emails, or even notes shared between you in your project management tool. For example, with the online Nutcache  solution, you can perform a search in your table by entering your client’s name in the “Member” field.

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Meet your client privately

Nothing prevents you from providing feedback to your client on the telephone or online.  However, if you prefer to see your client in person, make sure to meet him or her privately. Your client can then concentrate on the work that remains to be done without worrying about what your colleagues think of him or her. Moreover, even if it is a compliment, some people do not like to be the centre of attention. Help them feel comfortable in order to receive your feedback better.

Be accurate in your feedback

In teamwork, good communications are an important element of the success of a project. And for there to be good communications, the message must be understood by both parties. That is why you must be as accurate as possible in your feedback to your client .

For example, do not just say “nice job” to your client. Provide more details on the actions you wish to see repeated in future collaborations. This also applies to negative feedback, with areas for improvement. Fortunately, you can count on your documentation work to support your remarks.

Concentrate on the facts

The best feedback is based on the facts, and not on opinions. Remember that good feedback is for the purpose of encouraging your client to continue working or to improve. It is above all for him or her that you must provide guidance.

When communicating your feedback to your client, you need to distance yourself from your personal views and remain objective. This is an additional reason to become well informed before the meeting. Indeed, if you base youself on verifiable data, your client can notice his or her good and bad moves. It is thus more difficult to dispute your remarks.

Add the positive

Few people enjoy being criticized, even if it is constructive criticism. However, there are many ways for your client to be open to your feedback. One of them is the “sandwich method”, which consists of placing a criticism between two “slices” of compliments.

This method may also be improved by more positive “slices”. As an example, you can start by making some positive comments about your client’s work. Do not forget to emphasize your client’s qualities, because they will be brought back after your negative “slice” to restore confidence. The important thing is that everything end on a positive note!

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Encourage your client  to take action

In case of negative feedback, it is necessary to go into solution mode so that this situation does not happen again. It’s not about giving advice, but about involving your client in finding solutions.. After all, he or she is an expert in his or her field and is the best person to improve his or her own products or services.

Do not hesitate to ask him or her questions in ourder to start thinking. For example: “What would you have done differently to solve the problem? By involving him or her in the solution, your client feels more like your teammate.

Follow up

Finding a solution is good. However, it must still be applied and you must see changes. Before ending your exchange with your client, make sure you agree on the next steps. Will your client have to come back to you with an action plan? Should you establish a date to evaluate your client’s progress? There is no predetermined prescription.  However, it is still important to let your client have some time to implement the solution. And if there is improvement at your next meeting, providing positive feedback  will be very appreciated!

Thanks to these tips, your client will be much more disposed to listen to you. Providing feedback is not always easy, but when it is accomplished with good intentions, it can only contribute to better results.

Small Business Survival Plan for COVID-19

Survival Plan Even if you have totally run out of money and are completely without hope, your business can almost certainly survive the COVID-19 crisis. Furthermore, you can emerge with a business that is stronger than the business you had before the crisis.

Survival Plan

How do I know this? My name is Bob Adams. I have started many small, woefully undercapitalized businesses and successfully navigated them through one crisis after the next. The most common and painful crisis was running out of cash. At times not only did I have no cash on hand, but I projected massive cash shortfalls in the months ahead. At other times my bank showed me the door and no other bank would lend me money either.

I’ve survived running out of money and so can you.

All too often it seemed like my business was finished. I was totally out of money and hopelessly in debt. And the future looked even worse. It seemed like there was no way out.

But time after time, I put together a plan and found a way to survive. For example, I started my book publishing business in my basement apartment with just $1500 and took it through one crisis after the next, eventually growing and selling it for $40 million.

No matter how bleak things seem now, your business can survive. And you can create an even stronger business model at the same time. Here’s how to do it.

First, calm it down.

When the bleakest moment hits, you have to calm yourself down. For me, I’d first go for a run. Then I’d remind myself that while running out of money was bad, it wasn’t as bad as let’s say getting hit by a truck. But sometimes I felt so shocked by sudden bad news – such as finding out that we would be $400,000 short in 30 days – that I would have to digest the news for a day before being able to work on a solution. Sometimes you can’t just dive into it.

You might be thinking how can I get calm when the crisis is threatening to end my business and throw my life into upheaval? You can’t expect to get totally calm. But you can get calm enough to start working on a new plan for your business.

OK… so you’re maybe you’re thinking…forget getting calm and coming up with a plan, I already am out of cash and can’t pay my bills. Now what?

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Second, understand the key positive difference for you in this COVID-19 crisis.

Listen. This COVID-19 crisis really is different than any other. Everyone on the entire planet knows about it! And everyone is being impacted by it!

And that’s a huge benefit to you! Usually, your business problem is YOUR business problem. But this business problem is the WORLD’S business problem.

Because it’s a global problem everyone understands what your problem is.

This crisis gives you a carte blanche to stop paying your bills! It gives you a carte blanche for creditors to understand why you are not paying your bills.

You’ve got a carte blanche to stop paying your bills.

One of my friends got a letter from his landlord saying that they expected him to continue paying his rent. So he told me he still needed to pay it. But the reason the landlord sent the letter is because they don’t expect him to pay the rent! Or at least they expect there is a good chance he and many of their other tenants are not going to pay the rent. At least not right now.

This crisis in your business did not happen because you made a business mistake. This crisis did not happen because you were not prepared for a recession. This crisis happened because of a global pandemic that led governments forcing businesses all over to shut down and consumers to stay at home. It’s not your fault.

You can’t be expected to pay your bills normally when the government is shutting down both businesses and consumers.

People don’t expect you to run your business and pay your bills the way you usually do.

To be honest, from a legal perspective, you are taking on risk if you don’t pay your bills. But if you can’t pay your bills or all your bills, then you can’t pay them. During this crisis, there is nothing dishonorable or unethical about not paying your bills if you can’t. It is possible that creditors could take legal action against you. But in most cases, the legal action is not going to begin quickly, especially at this time.

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But you do need a survival plan.

So let’s start developing a survival plan that’s going to get you through this.

If you have some key employees you may decide to completely involve them in all steps of creating your survival plan. For me, during a total cash crisis, I tend to do most of the work in creating a survival plan on my own. Speed and making difficult wide-sweeping decisions quickly matters. I do whatever I have to do to find quiet time, out-of-the-office to get going on a plan. And I typically work on it deep into the night.

Then once I have a basic plan, I’ll go and present it to key employees, get their feedback and modify the plan. Rushed as I might feel to get a survival plan into action, I would try to listen patiently to feedback from key employees. My plan may change significantly after getting their feedback. And even if my plan doesn’t change much, it is important that the key employees felt that they had a “voice” and their opinions were “heard.”

If you have a really talented and highly involved team of employees you may instead decide to involve them completely during this process of creating a survival plan. This, of course, can get messy if even part of the discussion gets into even temporarily eliminating their positions. So think out this approach before you embark on it.

Now I know many business people, like my son, think that I run my business like someone from the age of dinosaurs since I don’t involve my key people throughout a process like this. And I don’t think he is necessarily wrong. You need to choose which approach will work best for you.

Forget how you ran the business yesterday. Today is a whole new ball game.

Whether you create a survival plan by yourself or with your team, there is a basic mindset that I recommend: “zero-based planning.” In other words, the past is past. Forget it. It’s not going to work now. Start with no assumptions. Start with a blank sheet of paper.

In other words, you are not going to think about maybe trimming the hours you are open or reducing your marketing costs or trimming your overhead.

Instead, you are going to redesign your business totally. And you are going to design it to survive during this tough time.

Advantages & Disadvantages of Small Businesses

Advantages Whether you plan to start a full-time entrepreneurial venture or one you work on during evening and weekend hours, starting a small business comes with a variety of benefits and responsibilities. From increased income and personal satisfaction to long hours and potential bankruptcy, the risks and rewards involved in starting your own company should be weighed carefully.

Advantages

One of the main advantages of starting a small business is the personal satisfaction you get from taking an idea from concept to reality, being your own boss and using your talents to make your business thrive and grow.

Working for others can lead to frustration based on unfair managers or knowing you could do better if given more authority. When comparing employee and entrepreneurial situations that pay relatively the same amount, many people use personal satisfaction as the deciding factor.

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Long Hours

Running your own business often results in working long hours, seven days each week. This occurs because small-business owners often don’t have enough money to hire enough people to share the workload or because the entrepreneur is the expert and must handle many key responsibilities himself.

If you have a problem with delegating, it’s very easy to take on too much responsibility at a small company. Consider your family and other personal relationships and how the long hours and stress of starting a small business will affect them and your health.

Financial Reward

You’re more likely to make millions of dollars working for yourself than for someone else. Even if your goal is only a higher salary than you’re currently making, a small business offers you the chance to make an exponential leap in your annual income, while working for someone else usually only comes with an incremental annual pay raise.

Even if you keep your current job, starting a part-time business can help you move from a comfortable lifestyle to an affluent one. Turning a hobby into a part-time business lets you write off business expenses that might be enough to justify launching the business even if you don’t make much money.

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Financial Risk

No matter how hard you try to separate your personal assets from your business, there’s often considerable personal financial risk involved with starting a small business. Even if you aren’t completely responsible for the liabilities of a failed business, you might lose your personal investment and damage your credit.

If you use credit cards or take out a loan against your mortgage, the damage can be severe. Meet with an accountant before you launch to determine if you need to incorporate, which type of incorporation to choose, how to create budget projections and what financial procedures to follow to minimize your financial risk.

Competition

Starting a small business often requires a low cost of entry and first-year overhead expenses, making it better able to compete with larger, established businesses on price. The reverse can be true if the company starts with little operating capital and immediately depends on sales to cover its operating costs, requiring higher prices to stay in business.

Sometimes, people are often curious about and willing to try a new brand, while in other instances, new companies can have a tough time cracking customer loyalty.

5 Tips to Run a Successful Business Out of Your Home

Home Running a business out of your apartment is low-cost and convenient — it’s also easy to do. That’s probably why 50 percent of all small businesses are home-based, according to the SBA.

Home

If you’re gearing up to be your own boss, use the following tips to get started on the right foot.

1. Sort out all legal issues

While many home businesses can be run from an apartment, there are zoning and ordinance regulations in place that might slow you down. Remember what happened to the Michael Scott Paper Company?

TheSelfEmployed explains, “If your local area has an ordinance that covers home-based businesses, take a look at it to make sure that your plans are acceptable. These ordinances can vary widely, but most are logical and prevent you from running a commercial enterprise that would be damaging to the area where you live. For instance, a business that sees a lot of foot or car traffic is not likely to fly on a quiet cul-de-sac. Also, these ordinances often limit the number of employees a home-based business can have.”

If you do plan to increase foot traffic to your apartment or will be running a loud business (think music lessons), take a look at both local regulations and your lease. Your rental agreement may have a clause regarding running a business in the space and what is acceptable. If your business is run solely online, you likely don’t have anything to worry about.

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2. Create a clean working space

A cluttered desk leads to a cluttered mind. The same goes for a cluttered space because clutter creates excessive stimuli, distracts us from work, makes it difficult to relax, and can create feelings of guilt, according to PsychologyToday. To be productive and effective during the workday, you need a space that’s clean and ready for work.

A separate room, or corner of a space with a room separator, is ideal. This allows you to shut out any potential home mess and also makes it easier to step away from work at the end of the day. Shut the door and work stays there, allowing you to unwind and avoid burnout. However, if you don’t have an extra room, focus on keeping a clean space for yourself, even if that’s the kitchen table.

If you can’t avoid clutter, build a quick cleanup into your morning routine so you’re not distracted by the pile of dishes or unfolded clothes.

3. Choose a go-to coffee shop

If you’ll be meeting with clients, choose a go-to coffee shop to meet — your apartment is likely not a professional enough space for client meetings unless there’s a separate door that goes directly to an office.

The goal is to find a location that’s easy to get to (ideally with parking) and quiet enough to have conversations. With a go-to coffee shop, you don’t have to stress about finding a new location for each meeting and will have one less thing to worry about going into the meeting itself.

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4. Find your most productive hours

It may feel normal to work the same hours as you’re used to, typically 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. However, you’re no longer working on a schedule. If you find you’re most productive between the hours of 10 a.m. and 6 p.m., make that your new schedule. Without a boss to tell you when to be at your desk, you can focus on working when you know you’ll do your best work.

The key is to set and stick to this schedule. Yes, you can work at 8 p.m. if you want, but if you put off working all day and don’t work well at night, you’ll likely spend more time doing something that you’re not even putting your best effort into.

5. Make time for networking

Working from home can feel like living in a bubble, especially if you live alone. To combat loneliness, while also keeping your business skills sharp, attend networking events.

Networking allows you to connect with like-minded people who can provide a fresh perspective or spark new ideas. Without someone to bounce ideas off of everyday, it can be easy to get into a rut with your work.

Plus, networking is a chance to practice your elevator pitch and connect with potential clients. As such, when running a business out of your apartment, this is critical.

The Small Business Mindset You Need Right Now

Business If you’re a small business owner, there’s really only one question on your mind; how do I stay in business through this COVID-19 crisis?

We’ve never seen anything like this before.  But then again, we have had disruptions that have shuttered businesses before.  Maybe you’ve lived through some of these;

  • The energy crisis in the 1970’s with cars waiting in line for gas and inflation rates through the roof.
  • The stock market crashes of 1987, 2000, 2008, and now.
  • September 11

Millions of businesses didn’t make it and attributed their failure to the crisis.  That’s normal.

And yet, there were businesses in the same industries that succeeded.  They not only survived, but thrived in the face of a crisis.

Choose: Victim or Victor

Let’s pretend that what’s different is who you are in the face of a crisis. Who do you say you are? Victim? Or Victor?

The question you have to ask yourself is where do you want to be when we are all on the other side of this?

It may seem like you have no choices, but the choices you have are numerous.

You get to say whether you’re a victim or a victor. No one else. And how you say is how it is.

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Speak With Power

What you say to yourself (and others) about the way things are is how things are. Your family and your team are looking to you for clues about how to react.

As the leader of your family or your team, you must be responsible with your speaking.

Look back on the last few conversations and reflect on what you said about the current situation.

Business

If you see a crisis as an opportunity and the inevitable fumbling and messiness as part of the process, then that’s what it will be.

From this day forward, speak powerfully. If you don’t see the opportunity, look for it. Your outlook and attitude in a crisis will influence the outcome.

If your biggest customer cancelled orders for 60 days, what will you do with the time you have? If you have excess inventory, what other distribution channels can you try to get your goods and services into someone else’s hands?

Reframe Reality: Things Happen FOR You, Not TO You

Despite what others want you to see and believe, tell yourself that this is happening FOR you and not TO you.

This mindset will give you a sense of control. And, while you can’t control events and people, you can absolutely control how you view them.

What if the latest crisis is something that happened FOR you?

Imagine that?

Focus on Courage not Fear

Fear is an appropriate human emotion. But, left unchecked, your fear will drive you out of business.  Don’t let some external crisis define you or your business.

Give yourself the time and space to acknowledge your fear.   And then let your courage take over.

Courage means being afraid and doing it anyway.  Think about what you can do now — and what you can do once things pick up again. Brainstorm expansion ideas.   Make a list of things that a courageous person might do in your situation.

Here are 5 questions you can use to prompt idea generation:

  • What’s missing, that if it were present, would blow the roof off of your sales?  Do you need to hire another salesperson? Run more ads? Or perhaps a targeted email marketing campaign to existing customers at a level you’ve never done before?
  • What are some things that you would NEVER do in your business? Now, what if those were things you always did in your business?
  • Instead of focusing on your product or service, think about your capabilities. What other things can your business produce or provide with the tools, resources or people you have?
  • In what ways can you pre-sell your customers? Are there creative credit solutions?
  • What have customers been asking for that your business hasn’t provided up to now?  Review customer service feedback. Can you figure out a way to deliver?

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Replace Worry with Action

By taking action, you replace fear.  Instead of worrying, pick a task and devote your entire attention to it.

Fear, uncertainty and doubt get pushed aside when your mind has to focus on an activity.

Think of five projects you never seem to have time to do. Now is the time to tackle one of them — maybe more. The same goes for keeping employees productive — give them projects to do.

Here are just a few projects you might tackle to put your mind on something productive and keep employees contributing:

  • Hold a “clean out and organize your email inbox” day.  If your inbox drives you crazy because you have a lot of unread emails, now is the time to go through them.  Unsubscribe from newsletters you no longer read. Change social media settings so you no longer get a notification for every little thing (notifications you don’t read!). Make it a team challenge.
  • Improve your website. Websites often get neglected during busy times. Slow times are great for updating your website design such as updating product pages, landing pages and images..
  • Compose blog posts and social media marketing updates.  Even if you can’t use them now, create them as drafts. Stockpile them for when activity picks up.  You’ll hit the ground running.
  • Brainstorm new marketing and sales ideas. Make a list of 13 different ways you can put your product or service in front of your customer.  Even if everyone is working remotely, you can do brainstorming in an online conference call over a shared brainstorming document with your team.
  • Develop a stockpile of custom social media images.  A simple tool like Canva can make great images for sharing on social media like Facebook, Twitter or Instagram —  either now or when activity picks up.
  • Install new software. Have you been thinking of implementing a CRM system? What about online appointment scheduling, or a way to accept online payments? A new accounting system?  Now is a perfect time to address any such systems and improvements you want to make.
  • Work on your business continuity plan. Every business needs a plan. The current situation will help you think of holes and items missing in your disaster preparedness plan.
  • Organize your tax documentation.  Tax day has been pushed back to July 15, 2020.  But don’t wait — use this time to gather and organize your documentation, if you haven’t already done so.

These may seem like minor activities in the midst of a major crisis.  But they will get you back to feeling in charge. Once you accomplish a few proactive activities, you will feel more confident in the face of bigger issues.

Find the Good Feelings

It’s easy to feel down and out.  But so much better to feel good and happy.

What makes you happy?  It might be as simple as enjoying the sunshine, petting your dog or cat or going for a walk.  Do that. Talk with your family and neighbors.

Find something to do that will provide immediate results.  Clean something, do laundry, read a book.

Did you know that whatever emotion you are feeling right now will multiply?  Left unchecked, your mind will spin and churn on negative thoughts if that’s all you feed it.

While it may seem impossible to shift from despondent to joyful, it’s a lot easier to shift from despondent to grateful. Then you can move from grateful to hopeful.  And finally from hopeful to joyful.

March to Your Own Drum

Sure, people will call you NUTS for not freaking out with the rest of the world.  But after reading this, you know better.

I’m not saying to ignore the news or pretend like everything is peachy.  Don’t be irresponsible when it comes to health matters. I am encouraging you to not bury your head in the sand. Get comfortable with “what’s so” and look for opportunities that are hiding below the surface.

Benefits of Document Scanning for Business

If your office is stacked high with paper, you might’ve thought about how scanning documents can help your business. You may wonder, is imaging worth the initial investment for my business? And should I scan documents in-house or outsource it?

Document

From reducing clutter to improving productivity throughout your office, imaging can help you in multiple ways. Here are seven benefits of document scanning that your business can prosper from:

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7 Advantages of Scanning Documents for Business

1) Maximized Office Space

Scanning documents frees up expensive real estate. Instead of dedicating valuable office space towards records storage, you can reallocate it to a more profitable area of your business. And no matter what format your documents are in – tax files, patient records or invoices – scanning consolidates and stores information in a secure cloud database rather than in overstuffed file cabinets.

2) Enhanced Compliance

Whether you’re in the healthcare, legal or financial industry, you want to ensure your business adheres to legal and regulatory requirements. Paper documents are not only challenging to organize, but they’re easy to misplace. Document scanning offers secure access to your most confidential documents when you need it. When you face the most stringent auditor or annual review, you’re fully prepared.

3) Greater Efficiency

A cloud-based document management system permits employees to focus their time on business-at-hand, instead of endless document searches. Sharing electronic documents with multiple staff members in various geographical locations streamlines business processes in a practical, collaborative manner.

4) Improved Security

Your paper documents may be susceptible to deterioration or damage from unfavorable climate conditions or unexpected disasters. Fortunately, document scanning offers enhanced disaster recovery options to minimize impact and get your business back up-and-running quickly. Digital documents are securely backed up to prevent your information from being permanently lost or accessed by an unauthorized third-party.

5) Enhanced Customer Service

In today’s world, there’s a demand for fast answers.  Scanning provides employees access to information quickly, allowing them to respond to customer requests faster. As a result, your business will provide enhanced service levels, thus benefiting from increased customer satisfaction.

6)  Environmentally-Friendly Workplace

Converting to a digital workplace contributes to an environmental management system (EMS).   Imagine how merely altering your document management procedures could reduce deforestation, pollution, and fossil fuel usage.  Document scanning ultimately reduces the amount of paper circulated throughout your workplace while promoting a more eco-friendly environment.

7) Cost-Effective Solution

While document scanning may be considered a costly up-front investment, it can save you money in the long-run. If you imagine the time and resources spent on paper and records stored within your organization, you might find savings by going digital. And best of all, you can scan the documents you need immediate access to, and store the rest in an offsite records storage facility.

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Benefits of Outsourcing Document Scanning

Businesses like you need to be productive to grow your business. From boxing up documents, removing staples, to the actual scanning process, scanning documents in-house can be tedious and time-consuming. Scanning services provide professional imaging specialists, high-speed scanners, and state-of-the-art imaging software to turn your paper into searchable digital formats. When you need a file, you can retrieve it from a cloud-based repository and share it easily with staff. Outsourcing your digital transformation project to a qualified document management partner not only helps save time and money, but it empowers your employees to focus on the business at hand.

5 Top Business Benefits of Narrowband IoT

Narrowband

Narrowband IoT (also known as NB-IoT or LTE-M2) is a proposed technology which will not operate in the LTE construct. Instead, it is being designed to exist in one of three ways:

  • Independently
  • In unused 200-KhZ bands that have previously been used for GSM (Global System for Mobile Communications)
  • On LTE base stations allocating a resource block to NB-IoT operations or in their guard bands.

Telecommunication giants such as Huawei, Ericsson, Qualcomm, and Vodafone are actively involved in putting this standard together. In fact, Vodafone is set to roll out the first live, commercial NB-IoT launch markets in early 2017 in Germany, Ireland, the Netherlands and Spain.

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5 Top Business Benefits of Narrowband IoT

POWER EFFICIENCY

Efficiently powering IoT devices is critical. Think about it: who wants to be out there changing the batteries on 20 billion devices every six months? While nearly all IoT technologies are developed to save power when they aren’t operating, they do draw energy when the modem is running and handling signal processing.

COST SAVINGS

Technologies with simpler waveform—like NB-IoT—will consume less power. A 200 kHz NB-IoT frontend and digitizer offers reduced complexity of analog-to-digital (A/D) and digital-to-analog (D/A) conversion, buffering, and channel estimation. Power savings = cost savings. Plus, NB-IoT chips will be simpler to create and thus come cheaper.

RELIABILITY

Rolling out NB-IoT on a licensed spectrum means improved reliability for users as well as the guaranteed resource allocation needed for managed Quality of Service (QoS).

WIDER DEPLOYMENT

Compared to LTE-M1, the NB-IoT has lower bitrates and better link budgets. Additionally, per Huawei’s Emmanuel Coehlo Alves in an IoT Hub article, the NB-IoT does not need gateways to provide connectivity. Instead of “creating another piece of equipment you need to manage and operate,” he said, the NB-IoT can directly connect sensors to the base station. This can boost flexibility while lowering costs.

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GLOBAL REACH

While heavy hitters in the U.S. have already invested billions into LTE networks, there are many areas around the world with less LTE. Outside of the U.S., there are larger GSM deployments on which to find unused bands to leverage for NB-IoT. The NB-IoT then could help IoT innovators find affordable entry points in new markets globally.

Even in the U.S., smaller carriers such as Sprint or T-Mobile might also deploy NB-IoT on existing GSM spectrum to expand connectivity without the LTE investment of a Verizon or AT&T.

Foreseeing NB-IoT Applications

NB-IoT applications can cross many service categories. These include:

  • Smart metering (electricity, gas and water)
  • Facility management services
  • Intruder and fire alarms for homes & commercial properties
  • Connected personal appliances measuring health parameters
  • Tracking of persons, animals or objects
  • Smart city infrastructure such as street lamps or dustbins
  • Connected industrial appliances such as welding machines or air compressors.

Realistically, there remain some questions about NB-IoT. Deployment could be a problem with most carriers moving to LTE support. With NB-IoT deployed in a side band, there could also be increased initial costs to develop operating software. Further, modem frontends and antennas may become more complex in cases where there is little existing GSM spectrum. Finally, there’s the risk that giants such as Ericsson or Huawei will charge licensing fees for NB-IoT.

Nevertheless, with so much underutilized 200-KhZ GSM spectrum many are looking to make this the best low power, wide-area network yet. It’s no wonder then that Gartner sees NB-IoT as the standard most likely to dominate the LPWAN space in the long-term.

Grow Your Remote Business with Virtual Resources

Virtual As a remote company founder or business owner, sometimes things take such a positive turn that you need to expand your team quickly in order to accommodate new accounts. Or perhaps you or a teammate will require time off to manage a personal health issue or  welcome a new baby.

Virtual

The only problem: hiring remotely has its own share of challenges. When done well, screening resumes and interviewing take a significant amount of time—not to mention the legal set up and onboarding processes necessary for success. These would ordinarily be handled by HR professionals in larger virtual organizations, but when you’re running the show, such responsibilities will inevitably become part of your workload.

Of course, you have the flexibility of hiring candidates from a broader talent pool and the luxury of not having to add to fixed costs or overhead by doing so. But knowing just how to proceed in filling critical staffing needs can save you a significant amount of time, money, and a lot of frustration in the long run.’

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Below are helpful strategies to enable you to quickly and easily maintain or even grow your remote business:

Effectively promote remote vacancies and screening candidates.

  • A bevy of remote-focused job boards exist, but not all are curated carefully. Remote.co and its sister site. have stringent quality assurance measures in place to safeguard against spam postings, and as such attract serious remote applicants. The former caters to fully ,emote international and domestic roles, while the latter also includes flexible options such as job-share opportunities, alternative schedules, and hybrid onsite/offsite work.
  • Other remote work websites include We Work Remotely and Remotive.io, although paying to post on more than one of these may be a waste of internal resources, as job seekers tend to regularly check a variety of websites rather than scouring only one. Use keywords relevant to the tasks at hand, and consider requiring a writing or coding sample or responses to strategic job-related prompts. These efforts will greatly assist in whittling down the number of applicants to those who are most interested and qualified.

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Seek out temporary virtual talent with specific skill sets.

  • If you anticipate requiring only a temporary boost, you have more options available. Some companies, such as Boldly, offer fully remote staffing subscriptions in certain specialties like marketing, web development, or executive assistance. You can begin by testing out a new colleague for 10 to 20 hours per month, or investing in a heavier workload for a longer period of time—without having to handle all the paperwork and the risk associated with making a new hire.
  • If you’re in need of remote professionals who possess additional creative skills or specific project support, communities like CloudPeeps offer access to a variety of freelancers who could fill critical roles. Last but not least, offering paid internships for recent grads or returnships for seasoned office workers returning to the workforce are two other excellent options for temporary help that can also serve to diversify your team.

Business should invest in Digital Transformation

Business Regardless of sector or industry, to thrive on today’s commercial battlefield, embracing the emerging technologies, trends and cultural shifts is crucial.

If your business is looking to secure a sustainable commercial future, investing ample time, money and energy into your digital transformation strategy is a wise move.

Business

By 2020, experts project that spending on digital transformation strategies will break $2 trillion globally. That’s a colossal level of investment by companies across sectors.

1. 80% of today’s video consumption is video-based. Print media, while still relevant, is a less potent force than it once was. Today’s hunger for visual content is inherently digital and to connect with your target audience you have to provide engaging marketing materials that are video-based. Digital channels and touch points are the best way to deliver such communications.

2. Today’s average college student has never so much licked a postage stamp. In the age of the digital native, analog approaches to promotional as well as internal communication will seldom provide the results you need for success.

3. 61% of smartphone users admit to regularly sleeping with their smartphone under their pillow or next to their bed. A staggering insight that is a testament to today’s mobile-centric mindset. By investing in your mobile offerings, from applications to mobile-optimized landing pages and social media content, you stand to accelerate your business success in an increasingly digital age.

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4. 76% of companies feel their relationship with technology and digital transformation is on the whole, average or above average. The vast majority of companies across sectors are on the path to digital transformation. If you fail to embrace the digital age and all it has to offer, you could fall behind the pack and risk becoming obsolete in the long run.

5. Around 70% of companies feel their CEOs’ practical understanding of emerging digital technologies to be solid or above average. If you feel that your understanding of digital methodologies and technologies in the digital age is lacking, now is the time to upskill.

6. 61% of enterprises state that the Internet of Things (IoT) plays a pivotal role in their digital business strategies, with manufacturing and high-tech leading all other sectors. By investing in the power of the IoT and its business-enhancing benefits, in addition to a host of other emerging digital technologies, you stand to accelerate your commercial success, exponentially.

7. 56% of CEOs feel that digital advancements have already led to boosts in revenue. With this being the primary goal of business growth and acceleration, this is a clearcut case for investing in digital transformation.

8. By 2020, 47% of all revenue will be influenced by digital. Without a doubt, digital technologies will become all the more sophisticated in the not so distant future. To remain relevant and continue to foster growth, embracing the power of digital is a now a necessity rather than a far-flung luxury.

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9. 39% of today’s marketers plan to boost their digital budgets without increasing overall marketing spend, essentially reallocating their current budgets into digital channels. The wealth of digital channels, platforms and touchpoints available to today’s businesses is on the rise and by investing in such outlets, you stand to enjoy a healthy level of ongoing business success.

10. More than 50% of the world’s population are under the age of30 – With over half of the population being under 30-years-old, there are more digital natives (or indeed, budding digital natives) than ever before. To continue appealing to this new generation of digitally-minded consumers, investing in digital transformation on a continual basis is nothing short of essential.