It’s time to clear out the clunky machines and aisles of file cabinets. Businesses nowadays can function without a ton of storage space for supplies and paper records. Use these seven essential tools to save money, time and space for your small business.
Contracts take up a lot of space and resources. Multiple pages and copies need to be printed and copied, then mailed, and finally stored away. Enter EchoSign to save the day. Contracts can be filled in and signed, verified and secured, and a PDF copy distributed to everyone in no time at all.
Cute PDF allows you to save any webpage or document as a PDF. Instead of printing something out on a piece of paper that you need to file away, save it as a PDF and keep it as an electronic copy that you can access easily on your computer. CutePDF is installed as a printer. To use it, go to “print” and choose CutePDF as your “printer.”
Donate your fax machine. You don’t need it anymore. Use eFax to send and receive faxes from anywhere. When you receive a fax, you’ll get an e-mail notification with the scanned document. You won’t have a machine taking up space or need a stash of paper to feed it.
Do you have large audio, video or image files that need to get sent to clients or vendors? Are you still burning them on a DVD and mailing them because the files are too large to send via email? Use YouSendIt instead for files up to 2GB.
There are various services available that helps businesses back up their data in case of a computer crash. I use Mozy and love it — it’s affordable and no fuss. Once it’s set up it works quietly and efficiently in the background with no further action required from me. There’s no need to manually transfer your data to an external hard drive or burn hard copies of the data periodically.
Do you still carry a bunch of flashdrives to carry your important e-files with you from work computer to home computer? Do you need to e-mail documents to yourself when you’re traveling? Dropbox will make your life easier. Put documents you need to access in Dropbox and retrieve it from any computer. There are also sharing features that allow others to access those documents, too.
There’s no need to continue to print out and mail invoices. Just use FreshBooks to create simple invoices and have it delivered to their inbox. Clients and vendors can view and save a copy fo their records. It doesn’t get any easier than that.
Keeping up with the latest technologies and features is not just something that will help streamline your own processes and cut expenses, but will help the relationship with clients, customers and vendors alike. They may be used to using these new apps and if you aren’t up to date, it can affect the ability for others to interact with your business. While you don’t want to jump on every new thing that comes out — that would be inefficient if it turns out to be a dud and you have to go back to an old system — you want to always be aware of what many businesses have started to adopt so that you can decide whether it’s a good option for you.
By Lynn Truong
Lynn Truong is the co-founder of Wise Bread.
I left the 9-5 world in 2004 to take a break and never went back. In 2006, Wise Bread was created with two friends. We wanted to blog. But mostly, we wanted to create something that we could call our own.