As read and seen in The SPECTRUM Magazine
Remember when we all ran a business with paper, ink and printers? I took the plunge a few years ago to officially remove paper from my office and I can tell you running a paperless operation is not an easy one. However, I’m excited to announce that my ad agency (FPM3) in Hamilton, Ontario has managed to overcome this challenge and is completely paperless as of 2016. The last box of paper I purchase was in October 2015. That box still has over 10,000 sheets remaining. Technology has taken us to a level where everything is in the cloud and backed up securely. Information is easily accessible from any computer at any place in the world. The future of 2017 with the technology announcement of the new smartphone Samsung S8 and Note 8 we can expect our smartphones to the mobile computers. All we’ll need is a monitor and keyboard and it will be able to have you up and running as a normal standard desktop computer.
When we chose to go paperless, the planning process wasn’t an easy one. It was a lot of outlining specifically how each of the departments was going to operate. The old way I did business included a binder for every project and printing everything related to the project going into the binder. Emails, artwork, memos invoices etc. I had over 600 binders at one time in a dedicated room. Now that we are paperless, I’ve managed to release 1500 square feet on my rent and now save over $500-$700 in paper, ink and supplies. Not to mention the efficiency I’ve saved in the office with time to print, sort the binder and further….storing it for 7 years to go with my accounting for the tax man.
We did a test in the last month. All staff had to work from home for the day. Everyone was perfectly healthy and had to find a location they could work and be productive with a good computer and internet. We had our staff meeting by using Skype. The balance of the day was communicated through instant messaging, emails and our cloud-based systems (Google Business Suite) communicating the tasks to each other with what was to be done. I’m proud to say mission accomplished. We started this paperless process at the beginning of 2014 and of course there was some challenges, and the transition wasn’t an easy one. I’ve managed to get my complete Business Online using 5 basic cloud-based services:
- QuickBooks Online (QBO)
- Project Management software
- Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software
- Google G Suite system
- Android operating systems with Galaxy Samsung and Pixel phones.
This pretty much operates business! It allows my staff and all departments to easily communicate and share all systems and expectations of what needs to be done. It’s exciting how software has been able to integrate with each other, but also allows my USA business in New York to also connect with little cost. Today it’s very easy to link with all the cloud software systems available. We backup all our systems in the case of emergency and keep one copy in Toronto and the other in Vancouver, BC.
I’ve also managed to save some operating costs time as staff can work from home and only requires a few hours a day with my bookkeeper working from home remotely. My staff are able to sign into meetings and are not limited to traffic, parking or weather issues. Everyone is all working together as if we’re in the same room. Today, small business cost savings are critical for small business and this has been one of the best investments I’ve made for my company. When I finally got rid of the paper, I then got rid of the landline for the office. I have setup a virtual phone system, with the extensions connecting to each of the cell phones and make us accessible or forwards to someone who can assist with a question easily. The cost for the phone lines with unlimited texting was less than the cost of hard lines.
2017 will the year we need to save on expenses and be more efficient and productive with the software and the technology we have available to us. I’ve mentioned all the selfish reasons for why going paperless works, there is an environmental reason as well. Less paper, less ink, less carbon emissions from driving etc. If you haven’t started going paperless it’s time to consider the value of saving some serious costs for your small business and doing some good for the environment!