Did you know that it takes around 24 trees to produce one ton of paper? That’s nothing to sneeze at, considering the rate at which we use and dispose of paper every day.
Of course, that’s not the only reason to go paperless, especially if you’re a small business owner. When you migrate your files into a digital environment, it:
Increases your efficiency
You only need a few seconds to find an electronic file. If you’re a PC user, all you have to do is press the “Start” menu button—the one with the Microsoft logo—on your keyboard, type in the file name, and click the file you’re looking for. If you’re a Mac user, just go to the Finder’s toolbar, type the file name in the Search field, and click.
Also, online collaboration tools like Google Drive make it easier to create, edit and download files wherever and whenever you need them. With these tools, you no longer need to worry about misplacing files, accidentally printing out unedited documents, and other problems that come with multiple people working on a single physical document.
If an office drawer fills up to the point where you can’t even slip in one more sheet of paper, you’ll have to buy another one. When that one fills up, you’ll have to buy another, and another, until there’s not much room for anything else in your office anymore.
Granted, cloud storage services like Dropbox and hard drives also limit the number of files they can accommodate at a time. But usually, they can accommodate much, much more than even a hundred office drawers combined.
Tightens your security
When your office gets hit by fires, floods and other forces of nature, it won’t be easy to salvage your physical documents—assuming you’ll have anything to salvage at all.
In contrast, files kept in the cloud can be accessed wherever you have an Internet connection. As long as you protect these files with the best encryption and antivirus software, there’s no need to worry about hackers, malware and the like.
Weeds out unfit clients
Even if you’re determined to go paperless, you’ll have clients who’ll insist on having physical copies of pertinent documents.
In this case, you have two choices: accommodate their requests, while still keeping your paper waste to a minimum, or enforce a policy of avoiding these clients altogether.
Keeps you up with the times
You may think that only small businesses can afford to go paperless. After all, larger companies still keep stacks of decades-old documents, right?
Actually, even multinational corporations like Accenture are encouraging their employees to go paperless. If this trend keeps up, perhaps every office around the world will be 99 percent—if not 100 percent—paper-free sometime in the future.
Makes more money
Considering all of the above, it seems being paperless will be more profitable for your business in the long run. You allocate resources more wisely, run your business more efficiently, and generally make your office a better place to work in.
That’s not to say that all your problems will go away once you go paperless. There will still be issues, like manually converting your physical documents into electronic ones, re-training your employees, and the need to back up electronic files regularly. But, compared to the old-fashioned way of organizing documents, going paperless is much better—not just for the environment, but also for your business.