Startup Life: 5 More SME Industries Ripe for Digital Signatures – Part 2

Startup Life: Digital Signature Solutions for 5 More SME Industries

I’m back with the second instalment of digital signature solutions for SME industries! Once again, I’m ready to prove that eSignatures can enhance any industry.

Without further ado, let’s get started with our top 5 industries:

1. Education

The education sector deals with a lot of paperwork. Schools must keep track of thousands of students and employees. If things aren’t done as efficiently as possible, this can quickly become overwhelming and completely unorganized. Digital signature solutions will make sure things run as smoothly, and efficiently, as possible. They can do so in many ways, such as providing staff with pre-built templates. Instead of creating individual documents for each recipient, staff can save a tremendous amount of time by sending out these pre-built templates. Not only will this help the staff, but it will also enhance student services and a student’s overall experience. Administration can speed up important processes, such as admission, course changes, and student loans. Moreover, the document sender can view real-time updates, and send reminders when necessary.

2. Construction

Digital signature solutions can keep projects on time, unify all parties, and manage important documents in one place. With their ease of use and instant delivery, projects will never be delayed from the unnecessary waiting and back and forth handwritten signatures bring. Moreover, since there are usually several teams involved, this can exacerbate the waiting period and make everything that much more complicated. Using electronic signatures keeps everything in one place, unifies all parties and opens a direct line of communication, through real-time updates. By sending automated reminders, you can ensure all activities stay on track.

3. Customer Service

eSignatures can drastically improve the overall customer experience. Agents can respond faster to customer inquiries, keep customer information current, and eliminate clerical errors. Using electronic signatures streamlines field support, allowing agents to acquire customer signatures faster! On the flip side, customers can sign from anywhere, anytime, and on any device— increasing overall customer value! For both parties, eSignatures makes the entire signing process easier, simpler, quicker and hassle free!

4. Finance

The finance industry is extremely paper heavy. Paperwork must be signed for virtually every transaction. As you may know, paperwork is particularly tedious, mundane and, frankly, a waste of time. eSignatures solve this problem, by bypassing traditional time delays— never miss a deadline again! For example, every document requires meticulous review, which would normally fall under an agent’s responsibility. By using electronic signatures, the software can do it for you! As such, the entire transaction and approval process would be shortened and quickened. With all this newfound free time, agents can focus their work on what really matters, their clients. Moreover, eSignatures are legally binding, and far more secure than handwritten signatures. Digital contracts have stronger transaction security and reduced opportunity for fraud. Additionally, they require signature authentication and provide users with an audit trail.

5. Human Resources  

Human resources can benefit from using electronic signatures in a multitude of ways. Ditch the paperwork, and make signing documents easier for new hires and for internal operations. You can create and reuse templates, and ensure all the required information is correctly filled in. Additionally, you can even cut the time it takes to obtain signatures in half— just imagine, no longer having to chase employees to sign! You can also keep track of all employee contracts and milestones in one safe and secure place. Through this, you can onboard, manage and transition employees smoothly— plus, it’s a great first impression for new hires!
Digital signature solutions are quickly making paper contracts obsolete and for good reason. Stop living in the past, and experience their immense benefits first hand!
Miss Part 1? Click here to learn about more industries that can be enhanced by eSignatures.
Looking to take your business paperless? Sign-up now and get free access to Signority’s Team Plans.

Border-Free Business: Your Definitive Guide To International Contracts

International contracts for SMBs

My first experience with international contracts did not go so well. The year was 2004, I was travelling and had just recently met up with a very promising business prospect. We had the responsibility of finalizing a housing development project, by creating sandcastles from the toys we found scattered around the beach shore. Oh, did I mention I was only 8? Well, anyway, turns out my new found friend at the beach purposely hustled the only toy shovel right from my little naive hands.
This is my story.
Both of us wanted the shovel, so we decided to figure things out fairly- with a legally binding contract, aka, a game of heads or tails. Now, my new sandcastle developing partner, seeing an opportunity to push their own agenda, said “tails I win, heads you lose”… as you can probably guess, I blindly agreed to these terms. At the time, I didn’t realize the fine print of their offer and grudgingly gave away the only toy shovel. Only years later, lying wide awake at 3am, did I realize how unfair and one-sided that “contract” really was!
Don’t let yourself make the same mistake, because there’s probably a lot more at risk. So keep reading to learn what to watch out for before signing or sending international contracts (and some other useful information too).
International contracts can open up a lot of opportunities…. opportunities that you should take advantage of, like right now. If your business is not, at least, looking to expand into foreign markets, you are losing a huge slice of potential market share. Our economy would not be where it is today without the access and ease of entering into international markets. International trade is a part of every aspect of your, and my, day-to-day life. 
Now, you may be thinking, you work for a small to medium sized business and have no idea how to handle international contracts. Well fortunately for you, we have already done the hard work.
So here it is… Your definitive Guide to International Contracts!

Laws When Doing Business with a Foreign Company

Obviously, international business agreements are substantially different from domestic. For international, you have to be aware of the country’s political environment, economic environment, culture, and legal system. For example, as explained by Business Management, India’s laws protect small businesses and consumers, whereas China’s government strictly controls its business sectors. With this being said, it is very important to know the country’s specific contract laws. Countries that follow common law systems, like the United States, have very detailed contracts compared with countries that follow a civil law system, like Russia. This is an important detail to note, as common law system contracts can be time-consuming and expensive to create.

Sending International Contracts: What to Look for

The first, and most obvious, thing to look for is if your terms are properly stated. Make sure your international contract is easily understandable, free from any grammatical errors and is written in plain English. According to the State Bar of Michigan, writing contracts in plain English can improve the contract’s substantive content, and promote the client’s interests. Furthermore, your contract must follow a logical segmentation- if you can’t follow along with what the contract is saying, your signee won’t be able to either. Along the same lines, you should look out for vague standards, such as “reasonable” or “significant”, as these phrases can cloud your actual objective. Furthermore, read through and remove any implying terms. Make sure everything is explicitly stated and said with intent, especially in regards to price and payments. Making your standards more concrete and clear will make them easier to reinforce, and easier for signees to follow. Click here to learn how to include remote workers and digital nomads into your business plan. Already know how/why you want to hire international workers? Click here.

Receiving International Contracts: What to Look for

Most importantly, you need to read it over and agree to everything stated. Make sure the contract leaves none of your questions unanswered. For example, it should clearly define whether the method of payment is a fixed fee, or based on the current exchange rate (and whether you will be paid in local or foreign currency). It is usually a good idea to have a lawyer look over any international contract before you sign (don’t worry, we’ll explain how to easily find a cheap lawyer a little later on).

Receiving Employment Contracts: What to Look for

Unfortunately, international employment contracts are more technically complicated than standard employment contracts, as employment laws, tax laws and immigration laws affect them. As such, there are several things you should watch out for. First, make sure all of the nitty-gritty details are spelt out and clearly defined. For example, ensure any and all promised benefits are fully laid out. Second, be sure to read every single clause. You do not want to end up in a sticky situation because the “past” you was too bored to actually read what you were agreeing to. The non-compete clause is an important one to note, as, according to Wikipedia, this can prohibit you from working within a competing profession or trade with your soon to be employer. Especially if you’re uprooting your life and moving for this job, you want to be sure you have plenty of opportunities if you ever decide to quit (and that you’re not forced to move back home).

How to Find a Lawyer

All this responsibility does not have to fall on your shoulders; to be safe you should hire a professional to look over everything and make sure things are in order. You might be rolling your eyes and groaning, but hiring a lawyer does not have to be expensive. Let me repeat, hiring a lawyer does not have to be expensive. And the added security is definitely worth the minimal cost. You can always ask around for lawyer recommendations, but this can be extremely time consuming and friends/family are not always the most reliable source. Thankfully, there are also online sources available. LawTrades can help you find employment contract lawyers for cheap. Since they don’t have the overhead expenditure of law firms, they are about 60% more affordable – score!

Digital Vs. Paper Signatures

Contracts, in general, can be stressful, and it doesn’t help when you’re sending/receiving them half way across the world. International contracts have the added stress of time and distance. Paper signatures not only prolong the signing process, it also increase the frustration and overall inconvenience (and sometimes the associated costs). Thankfully, the future is here! Digital signatures speed up the process by sending contracts across borders instantaneously. As such, they save time, money and make everyone’s experience as stress-free as possible.
Online eSignature companies like Signority, can be the solution you’ve been waiting for. Compared with digital contracts, paper contracts make about as much sense as sending your mail by pigeon.
Well there you have it, all you need to know about the basics of international contracts. I bet heads your small to medium sized business will exponentially grow from being introduced to international markets, and tails that international contracts are not as hard as they seem.  
Thank you for reading, now please sign the dotted line below to grant us full access to all of your bank accounts: ____________________
To most of you who didn’t sign, I’m very proud of how much you’ve learned. To those who did sign, maybe just stick to hiring a lawyer.
Well, we have given you the basics of international contracts, now it’s time for you to start applying this information into your business strategy and open up a whole new world, literally and figuratively.
Also, check out our recent article on “The Ultimate List: 100+ Tools & Resources For Skyrocketing Business Growth in 2017” to help further automate and streamline your international business deals!
Looking to take your business paperless? Sign-up now and get free access to Signority’s Business Plan for 14-days.

What You Missed: Highlights of The CSIO eSignature Webinar for Insurance Brokers

CSIO eSignature Webinar for Insurance Brokers

The “eSignatures: Benefits and Implementation for Insurance Brokers” webinar was sponsored by the Centre for Study of Insurance Operations’ (CSIO) and hosted Michael Spiar (Broker Relations and Communications Specialist at CSIO) on January 19th, 2017.
With over 100 participants who came to learn about eSignatures and its implementation from the panellists: Karen Hoflin (Vice President, Go Insurance), Rebecca Reed (Operations Manager, Callister Musico Insurance Group), Samer Forzley (CEO, Signority). We have highlighted several key moments, observations and announcements from the webinar in this short post.
Below, you can see some highlights from the “eSignatures: Benefits and Implementation for Brokers” webinar, such as:

  • The legal overview for implementing electronic signatures
  • Current brokerage adoption rates in Canada
  • Workflow & Benefits of using electronic signatures
  • Broker testimonials and our personal observations

The legal overview for implementing electronic signatures

The webinar was kicked-off by Michael Spiar, who introduced the panellists and broke down the common legal definition of electronic signatures — I.e. “electronic information that a person creates or adopts in order to sign a document and that is in, attached to or associated with the document (Ontario Electronic Commerce Act, 2000).
The Five Broad Exclusions Under Insurance Law, namely:

  • Notice of cancellation
  • Nomination of person as having rights/interests of insured on insured’s death
  • Beneficiary designation (testamentary disposition concern)
  • Alterations to policy by insurer
  • Trustee appointment

Broker Adoption of eSignatures in Canada, courtesy of CSIO:

Broker Adoption of eSignatures in Canada

Workflow & Benefits of using electronic signatures:

There are several reasons for using Electronic Signatures and Digital Signatures, below are a couple of main points from Samer Forzley’s presentation:

In-person Signing (Insurance Brokers)

In-person Signing Insurance Brokers
According to IBC’s 2015 report Facts of the Property and Casualty Insurance Industry in Canada, operating expenses (Including employee compensation) amount to over 20% of total revenues — that amounts to about 20.6¢ for every dollar.
Which is due to: Travel times, phone calls and client onboarding.
Other reason for the high operating costs:

  • Documents are prepared and printed for signature by all parties
    • Print, sign, scan, email/courier/fax method
    • Internal and external customers/clients
  • Documents are often returned with missing signatures or incomplete/incorrect information, which can cause delays and restarts
  • Document transactions are halted without completed signatures, leading to further interruptions

eSignatures Signing Workflow (Insurance Brokers)

eSignatures Signing Workflow

  • Send: Upload and securely send documents for electronic signatures
  • Sign: Customers or Recipients receive, review and electronically sign the document. On completion Customers or Recipients receive a copy of the document and audit trail
  • Manage: Besides receiving a copy of the contract via email, broker’s can view signed documents, audit trails, a document’s status and even automate reminders

Benefits of eSignatures to Insurance Brokers

Benefits of eSignature to Brokers
According to EY Global’s “Insurance Digital Survey 2013”, Insurers aspire to future digital leadership; however, attaining their goals will require significant — and rapid — improvement to close the current gap. By their own admission, more than two-thirds feel they have delivered some easy quick wins, but they have not made transformational progress to realize their ambitious digital objectives.
Below are a few key reasons Insurance Brokers’ should go digital:

  • Ability to initiate and complete sales cycle quickly
  • Improved retention through customer convenience
  • Reduced errors and follow-up calls
  • Reduce overhead costs
  • Tamper-proof records

Benefits of eSignatures to Customers

Benefits of eSignatures to Customers
According to Ernst & Young’s report titled “Insurance in a digital world: the time is now.”
The two biggest drivers of digital strategies are “enriching the customer experience” and “regaining more direct control of the customer relationship” — far ahead of “attracting prospective customers and increasing sales.” While the cost of acquisition continues to rise, retaining existing customers is an increasing necessity and should be a critical and measurable benefit of any improvement in the customer experience, digitally enabled or otherwise.
Some benefits of eSignatures for your customers:

  • Improved convenience and experience
  • Customers can sign by mouse or touchscreen anywhere, anytime
  • Elimination of the antiquated print-sign-scan process
  • Secure storage of documents and personal data

What toLook for in an eSignature Solution Vendor

What to Look for in an eSignature Solution Vendor
5 things to think about, before choosing you Canadian eSignature Vendor:

  • Does the product answer your needs as a business?
  • Is the vendor’s product easy to learn and use?
  • Does the eSignature vendor have the level of support your business needs?
  • Does the eSignature vendor understand your business?
  • Is your data contained in Canada?

Other important notes
There were 2 main polls conducted during the webinar that brought about interesting results:

Poll #1

Primary learning objective in today's webinar
What is your primary learning objective in today’s webinar?

  • Legality of eSignatures
  • Workflow Benefits
  • Best Practices
  • Implementation Tips
  • Other

Poll #2

What is the primary concern of implementing eSignatures in your brokerage?
Primary concern of implementing eSignatures in your brokerage

  • Security/legal concerns
  • Workflow
  • Staff buy-in
  • Cost/effort
  • Other

We thoroughly enjoyed presenting and would like to thank CSIO for opportunity to be a part of the webinar.
Click on the download link below to get all the slides
Download Now
Are you an insurance broker with questions about the legality of eSignatures and its implementation?
We’d love to help, click on the contact us link below to send us a quick note.

5 Habits of Highly Effective Insurance Brokers

insurance-brokers-electronic-signatures-digital

Do you use electronic signatures (eSignatures) for insurance?
Do you have the right contacts?
Are you on the right way to be the best insurance broker in the business?
As with any other profession, there are habits and best practices an insurance broker has to acquire in order to be on the top. I developed mine while working in the Canadian insurance industry for over 7 years, and I’d like to share them with you.
We all know that highly effective brokers use certain tactics to inspire confidence in their prospective clients to convince them on their choice. Which of them do you need to make a habit? Let us see!

1. Get yourself a good backup system

Whether it be the company you work for, your assistants or mentors, make sure that you have solid help to fall back on in challenging situations.
If you’re pressed for time, your eSigning service and means of communications should be ready for you. When what you need most is advice, your mentors should be there, and in cases where the key to getting a good deal is contacts and acquaintances then you should know where to go to get it.

2. Stay organized

Albert Einstein once said, “If a cluttered desk is a sign of a cluttered mind, of what, then, is an empty desk a sign?”
To me a cluttered desk means an organized mind. While this may be true only for a few people, what is most important is that you get a system working for you.
Take your Post-It’s out, get some cheerfully colored highlighters, use bookmarks, red threads and pins, whatever works. Make sure you feel comfortable navigating this system and you’re set. What worked for me was getting all unnecessary items out of the way. I got my office paperless, automated my assistants and did most money transactions online. The time-saving was considerable and infinitely helpful.  

3. Stay up-to-date

If you want to crush the competition, the key is to know it well. Go to trade organizations, keep up with the latest news, know what you’re doing inside and out. Attending industry events will not only give you valuable insights, but also make you friends in the right places, and that is also highly beneficial for business.
Don’t forget to keep notes on what standard practices everyone around you is following. While some of them may end up not being right for you, you can learn from them. If electronic signatures for insurance or TeamViewer is a popular choice, then there might be a reason for this. Conducting meetings over Skype is saving your competitor money? Try it out!

4. Cross-sell

One of the best qualities an insurance agent should have is the ability to cross sell products to customers. Remember that just about everyone needs more than one policy; combining homeowner’s or renter’s insurance with car or life insurance. Getting clients to buy additional products or services is key to maximizing profits and offering your customers a good deal.
Don’t skip on offering a bundle of products instead of just one policy. If they agree on a deal like this then good for you, if they don’t, then you’ve just done some publicity for another of your products.

5. Follow-up

Follow-up.
Your clients will notice, potential buyers and colleagues will appreciate it.
According to Follow Up Success, even though, 80% of sales are made on the fifth to twelfth contact, nearly 48% of sales people never follow up with a prospect.
Don’t hesitate on the follow-up. Send your customer or potential a personalized thank you note. Even if you didn’t land the deal at first, keep the interests of your prospective client at heart and drop them a line in case you can fix something up for them, it can become a successful arrangement in the future. Establishing good relationships with clients and colleagues alike can become a good foundation for growing your business.
Looking to take your business paperless? Sign-up now and get free access to Signority’s Business Plan.

Going Digital: Modernize Your Business for Under $1000 Per Month

electronic-digital-signatures-sales-marketing-insurance

Do you hear about “go digital or go home” initiatives and instinctively tighten your purse strings? Many entrepreneurs feel completely spent, and it’s understandable considering all the money they already shelled out to get their businesses off the ground. Let’s not mention all the money they may still owe the bank, friends, relatives, and crowdfunding sources that all contributed to the humble beginnings of their start-up.
And just when they think they are standing on fairly solid ground, someone tells them that the next trend is to go green by shifting to digital business practices. But here’s where they’re misinformed; going digital isn’t a trend nor should it be referred to as the “next big thing.” There is an undeniable progression towards digital operational processes and it has been gaining speed based on historical evidence. It was something that we explored in-depth and shared with you in our piece on The Paperless Journey: The Evolution and Future of Document Signing
First of all, digital business practices aren’t just about living the childhood dream of growing up in a world straight out of the cartoon “The Jetsons.” Going digital has become far more than just the ease of having everything automated or disappear into the virtual cloud and plucked out by voice control. Well, yes, it can be all those things but more importantly, digital business practices has become a social responsibility.
A digital transformation would mean a significant decrease in human error, having multiple devices access all your content, and information would be shared throughout your company easier and faster. You’d be cutting costs by reducing the need for printing, binding, and distributing documents which can all be done via email or digital system. Your people would be communicating more efficiently and getting their work done faster. Furthermore, you are contributing to the bigger picture by lessening your carbon footprint and changing your environmental impact.
Perhaps the issue here isn’t winning the argument on whether a digital transformation for your business is something you should desire but rather if it is possible given the costs it would require to make the shift. Do words like “investment” and “consider the returns” not sweeten the deal nor make you sound like Scrooge any less?

Paperless practices within your reach

But what if there was a way to go digital for less than $1,000 a month?
We’re not talking about cheap alternatives or knock-offs here. Many don’t realize that with the digital “trend” on the rise, more and more options are also riding the wave and developing services to help organizations go green. If you were one of those people who still think that technology costs more than a pretty a penny, then you will be surprised to know just accessible and affordable it now is.
You may think that modernizing your outdated business model will take thousands of dollars. But we said go digital or go home, not go big or go home; meaning you don’t need to make drastic changes immediately. Greener, more digitally driven organizations really start with individuals willing to make the shift.
Not only will going digital and paperless cost you less than $1,000/month, but it will actually save you money in the long run. Your digital beginnings can include signing up for paper-free billing for all your business correspondence with your vendors, suppliers, and utility bills. And your next step would be exploring all the options to modernizing your business.
We’ve done the legwork for you by finding inexpensive ways for your organization to begin its evolution to the modern, eco-friendly business model that so many other companies have already adapted to.
Whether your needs are email marketing or accounting, a cloud service will meet your needs taking into account your technological thresholds and more importantly, your budget. An excellent cloud service will guide you through everything from project management (PM) to customer relationship management (CRM) and even backing up all your precious data. And yes, all these suggestions for each department of your organization costs less than $1,000/month:

Administration

Good CRM software should go beyond tracking and maintaining client information and viewed as just a sales tool. If your company is still passing along information through a shared spreadsheet or long email threads, then it’s likely that you’re missing something or forgetting it entirely. CRM software keeps all your information in one place and organizes it efficiently.
CRM services like Zoho CRM, Insightly, Apptivo, and Pipeline Deals all offer free trials. CRMs can cost as little as $12/month to as much as $300/month. Find one whose services, apps, and add-ons apply to your business.
With business plans that are only $50 per month, Signority is trusted by over 150,000 businesses and individuals for their document signing needs. As a business owner, you deal with multiple forms and contracts that all need to be signed. Signority ensures your recipients can view and sign documents from anywhere and on any device.
You would spend less time managing the details because all your documents would be stored in Signority’s centralized location and easily managed with an intuitive dashboard. Our business plan offers unlimited documents, unlimited templates, bulk sending, bulk signing and electronic & digital signature. For those of you wondering how digital signatures work or the differences between electronic and digital signature solutions, this should help: “The Breakdown: Electronic Vs. Digital Signature”.

Information Technology

Yes, building an IT infrastructure for your business can become a mammoth task, that can take months to set up. You’ll be constrained by your limited resources, lack of expertise, time, and inability to understand the tech jargon. Lucky for you, software companies have taken into account non-teck folk — like me — by building tools that don’t require a master’s degree in computer sciences.
Virtual infrastructures and cloud-based data centers are expensive and probably not something you want to undertake at this point. If your only concern is making sure your data is secure, then a service like Dropbox guarantees that your data if protected against human error, hardware failures and any other reason under the sun.
Costing only $8.25/month or $99/year, Dropbox Pro gives you the option to subscribe monthly or annually and the subscription includes 1TB of space. Dropbox Business, on the other hand, is meant for organization and groups and depends on the size of your team and billing country. Dropbox Business for teams cost $12.50 per user and comes with unlimited space to work with.

Sales and Marketing

Depending on your industry, you may still need to take customer satisfaction surveys regularly. When was the last time you were handed a printed out paper survey? With so many people preferring to type or click buttons, we doubt that any of your clients will be happy to hand-write anything for you.
Zoho Survey is a survey management software that costs just $19 per month. You can create online surveys in a matter of minutes and reach your audience across all devices.
And at just $25/month, MailChimp will automate your emails for 1,501 – 2,000 subscribers for your email marketing campaigns. You can pay as you go as your email list grows. With Mailchimp, you create, send, and track your email marketing campaigns while also managing your contacts and segmenting your customers list. Furthermore, you can automate your emails to send on schedule without having to login and doing it manually.

Finance and Human Resources

With service rates that start at only $39.95 per payroll run, SurePayroll is not only affordable, but it takes about 10 to 15 minutes to complete enrollment and set up within five business days. It boasts that it the only full-service online payroll solution in the market by making all the calculations, paying and filing all federal, state and local payroll taxes while even working with IRS, if needed.
For your business, this means saying goodbye to writing multiple checks every month just to pay your people. SurePayroll is your digital option to paying all your employees including independent contractors and even hourly workers, including employees that are working in other states. Furthermore, SurePayroll offers the free option for clients to go mobile with their payroll through their apps for both IOS and Android devices giving you complete control wherever you are.
All in all, modernizing your business can be hassle-free and affordable — whether you are a small or large business.
Know of an app that’s has helped transform your business? Let us know, we’d love to add it to our list!
Looking to take your business paperless? Sign-up now and get free access to Signority’s Business Plan for 14 days.

The Future of Electronic Signatures and What You Should Expect

The future of Electronic signatures and general trends to look for

WHAT DOES THE FUTURE OF ELECTRONIC SIGNATURES LOOK LIKE?

When machines do the work of humans, “signing on the dotted line” will be a thing of the past. Until then, we may still need to pay attention to signing and getting documents signed — whether through paper or electronic signature. So let’s dive into it: what is the future of electronic signature?
It’s true that we’ve come a long way from Egyptian manuscripts, that served as contracts, to where today’s electronic signature gurus and futurists believe we’re heading towards — let’s just say it has a lot to do with biometrics and chips (secured under your skin) used to authenticate transactions.  
All in all, the future looks golden. But for now, let’s discuss why we think the market is set to grow.  According to a report from MarketsandMarkets, one of the largest market research firms in the world, the eSignature market is expected to grow to $2 billion by 2020. In another three years, the market will quadruple in size.
So, what’s driving this incredible growth?
There are three primary factors driving the growth and future of  electronic signatures and its market:

1. ONLINE Business continues to Explode 

More online business is good for the eSignature market. As more and more business moves online, more legally-binding documents are required to govern such business. eSignatures are a necessary part of online business, which is said to continue double-digit growth through 2020, when sales will top $4 trillion, according to a recent article by eMarketer. As one grows, so does the other.

2. ELECTRONIC security is more important than ever 

While the internet has made it easy for us to shop, socialize, learn and even work, it has also made us more vulnerable to fraud. It should be relatively easy to see the relationships forming here. As more business moves online, there’s more reason to protect that business.
Electronic signatures make it incredibly easy for business owners to protect their most important documents. eSignatures use a combination of public and private keys to encrypt and secure your important documents, further reducing the risk of online fraud. Most electronic signature platforms, similar to Signority, are built to protect you and your client’s information. Ensuring that you and your customer’s data is secure.

3. Businesses will always be in the business of making money: 

And eSignatures can drastically reduce operational costs, thereby increasing profit margins. For example, it costs U.S. businesses nearly $8 billion each year to manage their paper documents.
Going paperless can be quick, easy and affordable — in case you’re not aware, we recently did a how to go paperless post: “A paperless business and 5 ways you can achieve it now”. A paperless business brings drastic (and nearly instantaneous) cost benefits. In the end, money talks.
Even still, electronic signatures simply make sense for nearly all businesses, regardless of size or industry. It simply makes business easier while saving companies time, money, and unnecessary headaches. When it’s all said and done, it wouldn’t be the least bit surprising to see the global electronic signature market outperform its three-year projections.
Looking to take your business paperless? Sign-up now and get free access for 14 days to Signority’s Business Plan.

The Always Busy Syndrome: How Automated Operations Could Lead to More "You" Time This Holiday Season

Automation-Electronic-Signature-Solutions-business-operations

This time of year isn’t just crazy-hectic for those who celebrate the holidays. For the majority of businesses — even the one that are heavily automated — Dec 31st marks the end of the fiscal year. So even if they’re not partaking in the festivities, surely they’re feeling the pressure to wrap up it all up neatly, so none of the backlogs spill over into the next year.
I am by no means, lazy. A procrastinator, occasionally.
But when I first started my business, I had this bad habit of waiting until the last minute to take action. This was partially because I had complete faith in my hiring skills. I desperately wanted to believe that I could trust everyone I had handpicked to be on my team to deliver consistently on time. But I would always find myself poking in just before a deadline to see if the work was done. The majority of the time, it wasn’t.
I thought I was a pretty good boss. I had a great team. However, there was something seriously wrong with our business processes. And until we could figure out what it was, I decided to be that obnoxious boss who sat squarely on my staff’s shoulders peering into everything they did. And it seemed my team didn’t mind me monitoring them because it meant they didn’t carry the burden of monitoring themselves.
But about a year ago, the flurry of the holidays started to overwhelm me. I was missing out on more and more at home, with my family and holiday festivities. When I first started my business, I had promised that a time would come that I would enjoy an actual personal life and yet here the holidays were, and I was still unsure about going on the out-of-town trip we had already booked and had planned for months.
I started to realize that I had to loosen my grip on the reigns.
I knew 2 things at this point; first that I had to start small and second, I didn’t want to hire a personal assistant; not yet anyway. I figured that the best way to go about this was by looking at the aspects of my life that I could automate.

Automation in my personal life

So I started with my bills. For both my home and business, I decided to finally let my computer do some of the work for me and have my bills pay themselves. My main bank account had a sub-savings account which automatically paid for all my invoices. I no longer had to put time aside every time a statement came in. Now, I just needed to monitor my account every 2 weeks or so rather than manually pay a bill every time one was due.
As I started to feel this renewed sense of freedom, I realized that giving up control actually made me feel more in control.
Soon, I discovered other ways I could automate my life and just in time for the holidays. Did you know that you can automate things like shopping on a schedule to buying groceries? From all these great breakthroughs on how to automate my personal life came the realization that automating my business was the next step.

Why automating my life and business was so important 

Work-life balance seems like a myth. But I have found that all myths are born from legend, and somewhere out there is someone who has discovered how to finely tune all the elements of their life into one seemingly perfect mechanism.
We’re talking someone who wakes up and has time to take a few moments to meditate, recite their intentions or speak to their higher power. Then proceeds to a routine that involves a shower — that isn’t rushed — and an actual breakfast — that wasn’t last night’s cold leftovers nuked in the microwave. This person gets to work on time, with a moment to spare to have a cup of coffee and engage in small talk with colleagues before settling into a productive day of real work.
This legend finished up their work day on the dot, because they executed all their tasks so efficiently. There is no need to go overtime thus impressing the boss with their stellar time-management skills. They don’t cost the company more money because of their inadequacy to get things done within the reasonable time allotted.
I think about this person who after work now has the freedom to do anything. They could be headed to after-work drinks with colleagues or friends. They could be headed to the gym to workout, go for a swim, or a yoga session. Maybe they’re headed home to help their kids with homework. Or perhaps they are even taking evening classes.
The point is, after work, they are actually living their lives.

Why Work-Life-Balance starts with Work 

Those of us who think this life is unachievable simply haven’t grasped what makes it possible. Simply put, it’s a routine. It’s also about the bigger picture and us not seeing the details that went into that seemingly perfect day unfold.
This work-life-balance legend of a person may appear to us like a fully-automated robot, but in fact, they are probably happier than us tenfold as they go through their days and still have adequate time to be with the ones they love and do the things they want to.
Here’s a real myth – perfection. It’s people who have discovered work-life balance that know that perfection is unrealistic and have long let go of desperate desire to attain it.
Do you suppose that the only thing automated about this picture is that those who have found the balance between work and life are the ones who utilize automation in their routines, particularly in the way they work?
For most of us, the reason we can’t reach that work-life balance is that work weighs us down to the point that we cannot tip ourselves centered. But for organizations whose cultures have steered towards a work-life balanced environment, they have discovered that eradicating all the tedious processes and substituting them with automated processes has result in wasted time and frustration — which is the key to making the most of their workforce.
People who enjoy a balanced work-life are probably those who belong to organizations who value their skills and have discovered that automating processes doesn’t necessarily diminish that human element but rather, complements it.

Automation: introduction and implementation

So, I decided to put my theory to the test and find ways to integrate automation in the everyday operations of my business. I started with automating the easiest processes first, particularly the ones that were most prone to human error.
A company who is on the verge of going fully automated doesn’t need to go big right away. They can evolve at their own pace and automate the easier processes first. This allows their employees to adapt as the organization starts to make the shift, allowing the organization to eventually embrace the changes and feel less that it threatens their jobs.
Organizations today are inspired by the leaders and innovators who have taken automation for their companies to the next level. You’ll hear about companies who have been voted as “The Best Place To Work” and wonder “why?”. Sure, there’s probably free food constantly, flexible scheduling, and enormous nap rooms. But really, it’s these companies that looked at their people and wanted to not only make their work easier, but also wanted to improve the quality of their lives thus keeping them for longer.
We as an organization started to define our processes and began determining which steps could be automated. Sure, our never-ending email exchanges, sticky notes, and countless trips to the water cooler were all fun ways for us to pass information along but it was horrible for business. It was time wasted and susceptible to error, miscommunication, and misunderstanding.
Because of the nature of our product, we were already running a paperless business (read more on how to make your business paperless on this post), but we still needed to automate digital workflows. This led us to find an automation partners. They helped us automate our workflows starting with the way we communicated with each other. Workflows were streamlined and accessible on visual dashboards. Every person on my team could monitor their own progress and even keep records of it for future use in presentations. Productivity was at its highest as no one was no longer asking who was doing what and if they were in fact, doing it. We were minimizing costs because of the significant decrease in human, manual errors.
Soon, I could see the transformation of my business. Not only were our processes more defined and our strategies more successful resulting in an increase in sales, but my people were happier overall. They had more time to get their work done on time and more importantly, done right. No one was charging me extra for overtime! They were no longer dragging their feet into work in the morning and dragging them out the door every night. My team was living proof that there could be balance in work and life.
So while we think that the person who encapsulates work-life-balance is a living legend, perhaps we should also give the companies they work for a huge chunk of the credit.
Looking to go Digital? Sign-up now and get free access to Signority’s Business Plan.

The Paperless Journey: The Evolution and Future of Document Signing

The Paperless Journey, The Evolution and Future of Document Signing

As a kid, did you ever trade your entire lunch for your friend’s Pop-Tart? You probably didn’t know it then, but you were bartering. It wasn’t a fair barter but a barter nonetheless.
The barter system dates all the way back to 6000 BC, and it exists still. In fact, 30% of transactions occurring worldwide today are barter. If you think about it, perhaps the first form agreements being made could be seen in bartering.
Speaking of agreements, when was the last time you installed new software, a game or even an app and agreed to terms and conditions without reading them first? I’m guessing, recently.
We sign contracts every day without even realizing it. Did you know that contracts don’t even have to be physically signed to hold up. Ever heard of a verbal agreement or sealing a deal with a handshake? Well, those are just as binding.
In fact, in 1987, Texaco learned this the hard way when the verdict was reached that it had wrongly broken up a deal between Getty Oil and Pennzoil that was sealed by a handshake. That lesson cost Texaco $10 billion back in 1987, and if you’re in the habit of calculating inflation out of curiosity, that would be $21 billion today.
A lot has changed since 1987. Signing agreements can be as easy or as complicated as you want it to be. But before we can truly appreciate today’s revolutionary solutions to completing forms or signing contracts to save you from making a $21 billion mistake ultimately, it would be kind of interesting to go back in time and revisit how the verbal agreement and handshake has evolved through the generations.

The Curious Case of Contracts

The Phoenicians were influenced by the Mesopotamian tribes and adopted bartering and the Babylonians eventually improved the bartering system with the exchange of goods in return for spices, food, tea, and even weapons. Every time a barter took place, and there was an exchange of goods, a contract was made.
The origin of written agreements will make most people uncomfortable, but sadly, the first evidence of a written contract was discovered in a tablet showing the sale of a slave. More evidence of written contracts for the sale of a slave was found from 2300 BC during the Sumerian period.
Perhaps one of the most fascinating pieces of evidence that written contracts existed as far back as 2400 years ago is the recently discovered Egyptian manuscript. It is a little under 8 feet long and details the financial agreement of a couple engaged to be married. Yes, you’re reading it right. We’re talking about a 2400-year old prenuptial agreement.
At some point in history, perhaps in the absence or lack of opportunity to produce a written contract, the handshake became a natural way for two parties to agree on something. It makes sense that the verbal agreement complemented the handshake in sealing deals. While the handshake can be a way to lock in an agreement, most societies use them as greetings.
We know of the existence of handshakes as far back as the 5th century where a depiction of two soldiers can be seen shaking hands is engraved on a funeral stone. However, back then, the handshake was more of a gesture demonstrating peace, proving that they weren’t holding any weapons. Nonetheless, an agreement.
Fast forward to the Ancient Greeks and Romans and contracts have changed dramatically. Not only were signed contracts introduced, but also the classification of contracts based on the nature of the transaction.
Infact, Plato actually had this to say about contracts in “The Laws:
“If a man fails to fulfill an agreed contract – unless he had contracted to do something forbidden by law or decree, or gave his consent under some iniquitous pressure, or was involuntarily prevented from fulfilling his contract because of some unlooked-for accident – an action for such an unfulfilled agreement should be brought in the tribal courts, if the parties have not previously been able to reconcile their differences before arbitrators (their neighbors, that is).”
– Plato, The Laws, Book 11, §23, Contracts.

Sealing the Deal

Times changed. Transactions and people became more complex. Signing agreements moved towards another direction with the introduction of affixing a seal to a contract. There’s abstract reasoning behind how sealing a document with a wax seal by way of imprinting the warm, malleable wax with a ring or seal matrix to leave an impression unique to the owner or organization somehow makes it more valuable. If you received a document and noticed that the seal had been broken, this meant someone had just invaded your privacy. Today, seals are no longer used to close documents or as signatures but to authenticate documents particularly those that are legal in nature.
But despite the progression that agreements and contract signing have gone through, some things are still stuck in the past. If you thought that the 8-foot long Egyptian prenuptial agreement written on papyrus was overkill, let me remind you that legal documents just like that still exist today. We’re talking about a considerable amount of paper used to represent one legal agreement. We’re talking about so much paper that they often need to be kept in a binder and then stored in filing cabinets.
And for companies who had transactions with an international partner, this meant shipping a legal document to be physically signed all the way to another country. Depending on the reliability of shipping service, weather conditions, customs procedures, those documents could take days to months to reach the hands of the person whose signature sealed a deal. This meant that it could take a deal days to months before it became legally binding even if an agreement had already been made over a long-distance call.
Companies soon began to adopt the practice of emailing these documents as PDFs, and the receiving party would affix their signature on them by inserting an image of their scanned signature.

Electronic & Digital Signatures

There have been innovative advancements that will help you with affixing your signature to a PDF document and save you the hassle of having to buy a digital pen tablet like the ones that digital artists use. Signority, allows you to sign your signature with just your finger via your smartphone or tablet. You can even upload an image of your signature with the click of a button.
There’s also been some much-needed progress in the way businesses share documents for signing. Perhaps it was the annoying stack of legal documents or that companies now have both a social and legal responsibility to go green, but soon, paper contracts may be a thing of the past with the introduction of eSignatures.
In 2002, the Electronic Signatures in Global and National Commerce Act (ESIGN Act) was signed into United States law that officially made the e-signature acceptable and binding. The ESIGN Act states that a contract or signature “may not be denied legal effect, validity, or enforceability solely because it is in electronic form.”
For so many companies, it was the electronic signature that was their biggest blocker from going completely digital in their exchange of documents electronically. But with this law being passed and being accepted by the majority of international markets, companies are now able to progress to greener business practices and adopt a paperless platform — saving them tons of money in the long run.

The Future of Document Signing

I doubt that when ancient man first exchanged a human skull for tea and spices, they imagined a day would come when anything but blood sealed agreements would be the norm. Centuries have passed, and just a decade ago, our handwritten signatures were what signed deals and cemented contracts. Today, signatures can be affixed digitally, and contracts can be legally binding in a matter of clicks.
But with biometric technology that already unlocks our smartphones, laptops, doors, and cars; is it impossible for that day to come when we can “sign” a document by simply placing our hand or palm on the surface of a tablet or touch screen? How about “affixing your signature” with the scan of your retina?
If you think about it, it doesn’t really seem impossible or that far off — especially, since implantable technology is already predicted to be available to consumers in the next 5 years.
We’re talking about internables or implantables that are being developed to do everything from unlocking doors, control objects, and automatically sets your thermostat to your desired temperature when your home senses you are a few meters away. These ingestible pills or chips will be secured under your skin, and yes, they will even be used to authenticate transactions.
With the rapid technological advancements that we are currently experiencing, it’s hard not to believe that a complete digital future is just around the corner.
Looking to go Digital? Sign-up now and get free access to Signority’s Business Plan.

How to Effectively Run Your Medical Marijuana Business: Paper vs. Electronic

Electronic Signature for Medical Marijuana Business

In 1996, California became the first state to legalize medical cannabis.
Shockingly, that was 20 years ago. That’s 20 excruciating years of back-and-forth between pro-marijuana supporters and opposing groups, all debating the effectiveness of marijuana — when used for medicinal purposes.
Today, we can thank the internet for providing us with a wealth of information on exactly why and how cannabis went from a drug associated with unemployed stoners — an image popularized by films like Cheech &  Chong’s “Up in Smoke” or the more recent, “Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle” — to what the Washington Post recently reported as a stunning reversal of that age-old stereotype — based on findings by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Currently, with 28 states — including, the District of Columbia – having legalized marijuana for medical use, it’s needless to say that there is no other industry creating more of a buzz than cannabis.

The Green Rush

Today’s “potpreneurs” are opening medical marijuana dispensaries all over North America, and they all have varying reasons for why they choose to do business in the industry.
There are those whose eyes instantly light up with dollar signs every time there is news that confirms the arrival of the “green rush”. On the other end of that spectrum are those who may have a personal connection to cannabis, benefit from the plant’s medicinal properties themselves and would naturally want to go into this line of business, not necessarily for the money but because they truly believe in their product — like the popular talk show host and entrepreneur-activist, Montel Williams.
Can you hear the sweet sound of a vintage cash register ring in your head every time you explain your medical marijuana business to anyone who asks? Or are you a champion for marijuana’s indisputable and evolving presence in the medical world? Whether you are one or both, there is one thing that all marijuana business owners have in common; they are all trailblazers.
Despite the fact that there are still limitations and strict regulations for marijuana business owners, they’ve pushed forward, hopeful that the rest of the country will catch up and embrace the future as they have.
And if medical marijuana business owners are innovators and disruptors, who are looking towards the future and welcoming the revelations of science and nature, it would only make sense for them to combine both technology and the environment — by going green and shifting to electronic business practices.
With medical marijuana now being legal, and although it’s being socially accepted by more people, your business still bears the burden of an entire generation who were raised to believe that marijuana was only for “pot-smoking hippies” and frequently associated with criminals, most of who still remain behind bars today.
Like we listed in our previous post — A Paperless Business And 5 Ways You Can Acheive It Now — going paperless has numerous advantages, for a business in the medical cannabis space, one primary benefit could be helping you soften your business’ image by proving that you are not just a “dealer”, but an organization dedicated to improving the lives of your customers.
If you’re going to sell green, your business should go green.
However, if you’re not entirely convinced, let’s explore the pros and cons of both sticking to paper and embracing technology.
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Onboarding your clients with a traditional paper system

As a medical marijuana business owner, you are likely to have clients walk in with a prescription that has been printed out. You will need a copy of their identification card — possibly, driver’s license or their passport. And if they have a medical marijuana card in lieu of a doctor’s recommendation, you’ll need a copy of that as well.
After gathering all that, you would need to take their prescription and identification, scan & print them or use the copier. You’ll then ask your new customers to fill out a membership registration form manually. If you’re lucky, they have excellent penmanship, and you can easily, yet monotonously encode all their information into your company’s own record keeping system which is probably a spreadsheet or most likely, the exact same document you just had the customer fill out.
Or if your company hasn’t begun the practice of keeping any electronic files at all, the form your client just filled out gets put in a folder and deposited in a filing cabinet in the back of the office.

Filing cabinets: Can’t live with them, can live without them

Those dreaded filing cabinets, they’re large, bulky and visually unpleasant.
If your medical marijuana business requires that you lease a large office area because you need more space for ugly, bulky filing cabinets to store all your paperwork, then you might need to think about getting on the paperless business bandwagon. For one — as you may already know — filing cabinets take up a lot of room and as your business grows, you’ll eventually need to buy more cabinets and potentially, rent a larger, more expensive business space.

Onboarding your clients electronically

Picture this: Your customers walk into your store, filled with a new hope and excitement — waiting to get their hands on your great product. And bam they’re handed a clipboard with a pen attached to it, with paperwork they need to fill out — reminding them of some of the worst days of their lives, that were spent in the hospital filling out health insurance, waivers, consent and release forms.
Making the switch to electronic business processes can have a strong, positive impact on the experience your patients have with your medical marijuana business — before they even walk through the door.
Electronic signatures and digital documents present members of the medical marijuana industry with a modern solution for delivering an improved way to help patients, while cutting costs, increasing operational efficiency, and adding an enhanced layer of security. Additionally, providing your customers with an electronic alternative, shows them that you’ve taken into account their needs by providing them quick and easy registration.
Embedding digital registration forms on your website – instead of requiring on-site completion – can save patients headache of waiting in line to fill out tedious paperwork. As you know, many of them are experiencing significant pain or other health related matters that make mobility difficult. Implementing processes that reduce the need to travel is more than just convenient, it’s considerate. It’s moral.
Not only does this result in an easier sign-up process for your patients, it shortens lines, so everyone is helped faster.

Security and Privacy

Choosing to run your business electronically reflects your determination to keep your customers’ privacy preserved. It means that they can trust that you’ve built a strong foundation of security that is tamper-proof.
Electronic signature and storage companies — like Signority — include tamper-proof electronic signatures and document tracking, all on a secure PCI DSS Compliant hosting platform. Your patients can rest easy knowing that their important health-related information is safe, and managed by a team with government level clearance.
What’s more, storing your files electronically also ensures your customer data is protected in the event of a fire, flood, or tornado, as the information is not located onsite, it will be accessible and safe even if your building has been damaged.

Ease of Access

Through electronic business practices, your clients will not have to wait as you walk to the back of the office so you can pull out their files. Storing them electronically means having the most control of their visibility and that their customer records can be located with the click of a button.
With digital onboarding and document storage — there are no more sorting errors, lost files, redundant copies or damaged paper documents — just up to date information you need, where and when you need it.
By removing the tedious tasks of managing and storing paper documents, along with the risk of exposing  sensitive employee and patient information, medical marijuana businesses can work faster, cut costs and increase efficiency.

It’s obvious that there are a lot of benefits for your customers when you present yourself as an environmentally-sensitive organization who has their best interest at heart. But choosing to go paperless also has benefits for you and your business. Sure, investing in electronic practices may cost you today. And, that’s why it is called an investment. Consider how much you will potentially save when you are no longer stocking paper or hiring the extra manpower to monitor and archive all that paperwork. Most importantly, it leaves you with more time to do what you love to do – building a great product.

Looking to streamline your customer onboarding? Sign-up now and get free access to Signority’s Business Plan.

A Paperless Business and 5 Ways You Can Achieve It Now

Achieve a paperless business with Signority

Read on to learn about the five ways you can turn your business into a paperless business – today.
Flashback: it’s 1980.
Inflation is creeping higher and Americans are helplessly watching their purchasing power vanish into thin air. Retirement funds dwindle while it gets harder to put food on the table. The dollar’s inflated to 10% and everyone’s worrying about buying things before they go up in price. Anxious consumers are purchasing goods the same way squirrels pack away nuts for winter.
Problem is, this ever-consuming loop of fear is actually driving prices higher. Fear contributes to a rapid, debilitating buying cycle. And as prices go up, employees ask their bosses for a raise. Bosses comply with wishes, left with no choice but to raise prices. The result is a self-fulfilling prophecy of inflated prices.
But here comes Paul Volcker, the newly appointed Federal Reserve Chairman. Notorious for his devil-may-care attitude and allowing his socks fall scrunched about his ankles, he’s intent to fix the economic mess. His way.
Traditionally, inflation is supposed to stop once you stop printing money. Volcker’s stopped the presses, yet things just keep getting worse! Having iced the economy, we’re in a recession now too, and Volcker is facing an uproar.
But he’s sticking to his principles, cool and collected. Winter is coming, heck, it’s already here – but the Fed Chair knows that a frozen economy must thaw before financial security springs anew.
What did Volcker do to end the woes of inflation?
He showed the American people that the problem was all in our heads. He didn’t succumb to convention, refused to print more money, and made us all stand firm. This is what allowed the dollar correct itself. We had to stop worrying and just accept things as they were for a season.
By the end of a 1981, inflation dipped to 9% – then 6%, then 4%. Since then, inflation has been effectively non-existent.
What does inflation have to do with the paperless office?
The obstacles to a paperless office are in your head. Just like inflation.
Paper consumption and papertrail headaches are a ‘mo’ paper, mo’ problems’ scenario in the modern office.
Since the “paperless office” was heralded in 1978, we’ve all looked ahead to a space-age time where we’d save trees and feel great about it – all while increasing efficiency and productivity.
Well, that time is now.

The Modern Paperless Office

You still with me after that Doctor Who-style history lesson?
Now in the present day, we’re enjoying a wireless age of information that empowers us to send, receive, and consume immense amounts of data formerly reserved only for sheets of paper. The internet and cloud platforms allow our ideas to circulate without boundaries, be they time, or space, or paper.
And yet, companies in the US already spend more than $120 billion a year on printed forms, most of which are outdated in three months or less. The average office worker uses 10,000 sheets of paper a year. Businesses pay for this wasted paper, pay to file it, pay to search through it, and pay to have it tossed out when more space is needed.
By comparison, the internet creates almost 3 million blog posts each day, but we never have to print those files. They simply exist, or can be stored and sorted as we see fit. Imagine if we printed all the articles we read and circulated. How much would that cost? You’d need to print and distribute each Word file, Google Doc, Adobe Acrobat PDF, and Adobe Reader you read all year. That’s an unrealistic, costly number.
This is the beauty of the paperless office: infinite informational capability, zero limitations. So here’s the five best ways to move forward to this paperless reality.
[socialpug_tweet tweet=”Companies in the US already spend more than $120 billion a year on printed forms, most of which are outdated in three months or less” style=”1″]

1. Paperless Meetings

According to a recent AIIM survey, 59% of respondents said that the biggest driver of paper consumption is meetings. The second highest user of paper was signatures.
If you’re serious about a paperless office, start in the meeting room. Printouts for each employee across every meeting adds up fast, yet most documents are trashed immediately afterwards. While paper is flexible, portable, and easy, the same is true of modern technologies.
For example, Doodle and SurveyMonkey provide free service for conducting and scheduling meetings.
But what about all the printouts during the meeting?
Try TeamViewer to conduct paperless meetings. This powerful office package gives you remote access to office computers 24/7 through any computer or mobile device. It also includes features for screen sharing during presentations, transmitting videos, sharing files, accessing whiteboards, and teleconferencing.
TeamViewer lets you avoid handouts by simply hijacking your colleagues’ laptop while you’re showcasing an idea. Then easily upload the slides to Dropbox or Basecamp so everyone gets access to the digital copy. Now everyone can reference ideas on the fly and there’s nothing lost.
When it comes to meetings and printouts, good technology puts an end to the printout cyclone that surrounds every meeting.

2. Paperless Statements and Bill Pay

Remember the classic Seinfeld episode when George Costanza loses his fiancé to postage stamps? I’m sure your company is doing better than dear ol’ George, but my point is you needn’t stress over such minor things anymore.
The more online bill paying you do, the less you’ll shell out for postage, envelopes, and employee time (and potential damages) spent on invoicing, checks, and mailings. Office finances that run through the web make sure payments are prompt, immaculately recorded, and easily tracked. Business at the speed of paper is no longer efficient for many, especially when we consider the file shares, mobile, and social collaboration platforms in the competitive space.
Many merchants turn to apps like Square to process payments through smartphones. With recent developments in digital signature technologies — like Signority — getting bills paid and approved via eSignatures has never been easier. And studies show that consumers would rather receive paperless receipts through email than in hand.
Plus, think of all the papercuts you can spare your valued employees.

3. Paperless Storage

If your business is located in a major urban center, space is a key concern.
In terms of rent per square foot, storing thousands of paper documents in San Francisco, Manhattan or Toronto can skyrocket office costs. Instead of renting additional office space for storage, convert files and have them stored on secured off-site servers or in the cloud. The latter option will be much cheaper.
And easier to access. Turn to PDF converters make the transfer process easy, PDF editors that allow you to make changes, and PDF readers to allow easy access to documents. Plus, you’ll save on the costs of disposing of sensitive materials.
A few companies in the digital signature space also provide their customers with full-fledged storage and document management solutions, as part of their monthly package.
With paperless storage, you’ll be able to access documents easily through keyword searchability as well, no more rummaging through file bins and back rooms. Digitally thumbing through thousands of documents is both cost and time effective for employees. This will also decrease the likelihood of losing valuable data.

4. Paperless Scanning and Faxing

Yes, scanning and faxing is still highly prevalent among businesses.
The paperless office saves on ink, paper, and hassles by eliminating the physical component by sending and storing documents seamlessly. The initial hesitation for many companies is that shuffling documents through a scanner will be less efficient than paper copies and cost in terms of employee work hours.
But costs are already through the roof. Reduce.org reports that the cost of using paper in the office costs between 13x – 31x the costs of actually purchasing paper. As Xerox reports, the US already spends roughly $460 billion in salaried time to simply manage paper-driven information overload.
Meanwhile, effortless digital solutions are abundant in this space. For example, Turboscan is an excellent app that allows phone cameras to be used as scanners which then convert captured images to PDFs for easy-send emails or upload to Signority for grabbing that quick eSignautre. For only $15 per month, eFax takes incoming faxes and puts them into your email box and paperless, easily-searchable emails.

5. Paperless Connectivity

Sending files instantly is the best aspect of a paperless office.
If you’ve got multiple offices, accessing relevant documents from anyplace is truly a revelation. And connectivity is only getting better. With the ever increasing internet of things, data usage and storage rates are up. Data accessibility is expected anywhere at anytime and streaming data is a given between more and more devices.
Quocirca’s recent report finds that 72% of enterprises surveyed already have “some paper-free processes in place and are planning to implement more.” Why? Because the companies that go digital create opportunities to spot bottlenecks and inefficiencies in their workflows while maximizing productivity and using fewer material goods.
In coming years, paperless offices will mesh with home offices. As the prevalence of AI increases, so will the use of private contractors and employees who work from home. Yes, telecommuting and working from home will signal a substantial reduction in paper and office costs for businesses, but more happier, more effective employees too — we know, contractors are a huge part of the Signority workforce.
As a Global Workplace Analytics study reveals, two-thirds of employees would take advantage of the opportunity to work from home, and 36% said they’d rather telecommute than receive a raise. Sharing documents with cloud-based platforms will have increasingly positive impacts for between workers, managers, and even clients.
For businesses moving with digital trends, digital signature services complete the paperless office model and Signority provides an affordable solution for seamless integration into your business process. A modern agile business means agile data, accessible from anywhere — even when it comes to connecting pen to paper — when every level of business is able to exchange signatures and data fluidly, companies can move forward at lightspeed.

Signing Off

These days, technology is inflating the capacities and capabilities of businesses in a big way. And like a balloon set to rise, integrated technology promises a positive impact upon how far businesses can stretch their money. From cloud platforms to handheld apps, it’s no secret that businesses directly benefit from being more connected and more effective than ever. In coming years, we’ll see the  best companies enjoying increased productivity, reduced costs, and a competitive advantage as a result of a move towards the paperless office.
As environmental concerns stay top of mind, companies with the paperless office will enjoy a boost in their bottom line. Value-conscious consumers eager to change the world with their purchasing power are always happy to endorse the green company with the paperless office. Will your company catch the trend upwards?
Looking to go paperless? Sign-up now and get free access to Signority’s Business Plan.