We are all familiar with the New Year’s effect. The time we dust off our gym passes, our grocery baskets become much more green, and “hot yoga” appears more than once on our credit card statements. Though they may be uncomfortable at first, all habits may take a little time to become second nature, however, once you overcome the initial resistance, you can really reap the rewards! The same goes for utilizing document management software and forming the habit of digitizing your small business– and, like healthy living, going “paperless” has plenty of advantages.
For one, it’s a fantastic way to clear mental and physical clutter. But even more than that, it’s a way to be better organized and have the right information at the right time. With the right document management software, once your paper documents have been scanned, you’ll easily be able to access them at any time, any place, from any device. This will not only allow you to transform your paper documents into digital files but also ensure that they are able to easily be sorted and searched.
So, what’s next?
You’ve scanned your important documents…now what? To prevent data loss, experts recommend a redundant backup. In practice, this means taking a two-fold approach to your file management.
First, upload your documents to the cloud provider of your choice, like Evernote, Dropbox, or Google Drive. A good scanner, like ScanSnap, and document management software, like Neat, can turn your documents into searchable PDFs, editable Word or Excel docs, or JPEGs.
These searchable PDFs work exactly as they sound: they automatically make your scanned papers searchable, meaning you can search inside them for exactly the information you’re looking for. That makes finding a crucial document much easier!
Second, create a backup on a physical external hard drive that can be stored off premises, away from your home or office, just in case. Depending on the nature of your data, this can be as simple as leaving it at a trusted friend’s house; or storing it somewhere secure, like a safe deposit box at a bank.
It’s best to update this backup on a quarterly basis; set a calendar reminder for yourself. With this approach, you can rest assured that your data is safely backed up and accessible whenever you need it.
Sounds easier said than done, right? …Especially as you’re looking at the stacks and stacks of paper in your home or work office. But like any worthwhile project, you just have to start somewhere. What do we suggest? Divide this big project into smaller, more manageable chunks. So, instead of marathon sessions of continuous scanning, set a goal to scan in only a handful of papers before bed. You’ll feel a great accomplishment as your pile gets smaller and smaller – and one day soon, not only will you have finished your big project, you’ll also have formed a helpful habit that can help streamline your business.
The SmallBizRising Blog is designed to be an educational content hub pulling information, best practices and practical advice for the small business owner and features topics including accounting, marketing, technology and more. Be sure to subscribe to stay up to date with new content as it is posted. The blog was created by The Neat Company and receives contributed content from a group of contributing companies that provide technology, services and solutions to small businesses.