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How document management can help any business emerge from the chaos of too much paperwork

How document management can help any business emerge from the chaos of too much paperwork

There are many different types of cataloging processes, all of which are generally referred to by the term document management. At its most primal level, document management can even refer to simply shoving your important documents into a desk drawer. But at its most sophisticated level, document management is the process of keeping track of these important documents from the time they are printed to when they are finally shredded. When reading articles about document management online or in print, you will find that for the most part, these articles are in agreement about the definition of document management, as well as it’s function. They also agree as to how document management is practiced among modern day businesses. What document management strives to do is make it easy for any business to create, store, and update all of their critical business documents. An organized document management system guarantees that classified documents remain private and that any document will be easy to find if needed. When computers were still new, it took sophisticated and expensive equipment to be able to organize a business’s important documents, and so only really wealthy companies were able to utilize document management systems. However, within the last twenty years, computers have become both more sophisticated, as well as more affordable. This has made it so that even relatively small businesses can now get document management systems. However, not every document management system has the capability to do every aspect of document management. Some products are broader in scope than others are. One document management company, for instance, concentrates its services on helping businesses shred important documents in a secure way. All of these companies focus on bringing a higher level of order and accuracy to businesses, no matter which particular area they specialize in. Below, you will find a list of some of the businesses that offer document management services. We have also detailed what areas each company specializes in. If you would like more information on any one of these companies, then go to that company’s individual webpage. Imanage Document Management works to help corporations with world wide operation bases manage a wide variety of documents. Astron Document Management offers a wide range of services, including customer service, e-commerce, insurance claims, online transactions, business transcription, and data entry and capture. Invu Document Management’s services are so broad that they can help an office become nearly paperless. This software merges existing computer systems and puts all of a business’s documents into a filing system that can be searched and updated from any location in the world. Cintas Document Management specializes in document shredding, long term storage and imaging of important documents. Alfresco Document Management provides a document management system that can be tailored to the unique needs of any business. It???s ability to integrate with installed Microsoft systems make it easy to put into operation with minimal disruption of day to day operations.

How to expand your salesforce without hiring anyone

How To Expand Your Salesforce Without Hiring Anyone

We all know that all businesses have to sell to survive, let alone prosper. Most businesses will have some sort of specialist sales function, but this could be a small percentage of the total number of employees. If non sales people, who have contact with the customer, could be trained to promote your services or products in an appropriate way, how much extra business could that generate?

Those not directly involved in sales often have preconceived ideas about selling and sales people and a lot of those ideas are negative. The word, ‘salesperson’ itself has certain connotations. Pushy, spivvy, lack of integrity, questionable honesty to name just a few. And what’s a good salesperson? Well maybe someone who can palm you off with something that you don’t want. We think of such things as double-glazing and time-share and there are lots of horror stories about people’s experiences from dealing with such unscrupulous sales people. The word, ‘selling’ conjures up all of these images and it’s not an image that many want to be associated with.

So the first thing that we need to make clear is that relationship selling is a very different thing. With relationship selling, you do not sell anything as such. You ask the customer what they need or want and show how this can be achieved with the use of your services. This is something that non-sales people can feel comfortable with and therefore do.

There is no place for those high pressure selling techniques; no place for tricks; no attempts to force the customer to buy and no place for the guilt trip so often used in the pensions and insurance industries (‘…if you had died before I arrived here tonight, what kind of mess would you have left your family in? Yuk!)

If the customer does not, at the moment, need what you have to offer, then you have nothing to sell. If you do manage to palm them off with something that they don’t really want, then they will be dissatisfied and they won’t buy from you again. Whereas if you just say that, unfortunately, you don’t seem able to help at the moment but that you’ll keep in touch, even promising to come back in three months time, perhaps, then you’ve been honest and you’ve still got a contact. If you sell encyclopaedias, then you only sell to each customer once, so it doesn’t matter so much if you’ve conned them. With relationship selling, you are selling an ongoing relationship, hopefully for many years. If you con your customers at any time, the relationship is lost.

Businesses need to grow to survive so they need to sell. And by selling more, they increase the job security of their staff as well as the probability of providing more interesting work in an expanding company. Everyone understands this, but to conquor the inertia non-sales people have to promoting their products and services, they need to develop the skills to sell in a ‘non-salesey’ way.

Something that all businesses are searching for is a Unique Selling Point. What is it that makes you different, better than your competitors? You have to be honest with this one and say, ‘Nothing really’. You can bet your competitors know as much about the service that you both provide as you do. You can bet that they are as technically able. You can bet they try as hard. It’s a truth of life that any time you do find yourself one step ahead, your competitors will soon mimic what you do and thus close the gap. (You must, of course, keep on searching. If you don’t search for something extra, then you will soon fall behind.)

So, if the products and quality of service you sell are more or less identical to your competitors, why should a prospective customer choose you rather than them? Well, assuming you’ve got your product and pricing about right, then the only difference is the people. Business is about people. One company does not do business with another company. People from one company do business with people from another company. To be successful you need to get on with your contact. You don’t have to be bosom buddies and slap each other heartily on the back each time you meet but you do need to get on well enough to do business. Your customers need to trust you.

Training your customer support, accounts, quality control, transport etc functions in Relationship Selling techniques will strengthen the relationship with your customers and provide opportunities for additional business. Your salesforce has just grown dramatically!

To quote from Mark McCormack, ‘All things being equal, people will always buy from a friend. All things being not quite so equal, people will still buy from a friend!’

Insurance for business

Insurance For Business

Whether you are running a multinational corporation or a small business operating from a spare bedroom at home, insuring certain aspects of your business is essential. For a number of years an increasing amount of people have been choosing to work from home. With cheaper IT costs, broadband and a greater accessibility over the internet, running a business from home is now an affordable, realistic option. But before you start thinking of converting that shed in the bottom of your garden to a new office, you should seek some professional advice to make sure you cover your business requirements.

Before you start a new venture you need to address the business insurance cover that may be required. These include:

Professional Indemnity

Professional indemnity insurance indemnifies professionals against third parties claims of negligent acts committed in the course of their professional duties. In many businesses such as accountancy or IT consultancy it is a legal requirement to have PI insurance. There are three main areas of PI insurance cover, firstly against a negligent act, error or omission. Secondly cover against a breach of duty and thirdly cover against civil liability, which include breaches of contract, libel or slander.

Employers Liability

Employer’s liability protects a business from any claims made by the employees, for instance claims for accidents in the workplace or sickness caused by the working environment. There are many different types of claims employees can make on their employers, some of the more common include slips, trips or falls, stress and anxiety or an unsafe workplace, for example falling objects. Even if you work alone and you employ someone on a temporary basis, you will be liable for any injuries that they receive.

Public Liability

Public liability insurance protects against claims of a third party due to damage or injury as a result of your businesses activities. The owner or occupier of a business premises is required to provide a level of care for the general public, there are three main degrees of care. Firstly people who by some form are invited onto your premises they are called ‘invitees’. If this ‘invitee’ spends money on a service, your duty of care and your chance of being liable increases, for example if you run a karting centre and one of your customers is hurt due to faulty machinery, you are liable for their injury. Secondly if people enter the premises with the permission of the occupier (called ‘licensees’) but without any economic advantage to the occupier, then the duty of care is less than in the case of ‘invitees’, for example a travelling salesman. Thirdly if there are ‘trespassers’ who enter the business premises without the permission of the occupier, there is still a degree of care owed but it is slight compared to both ‘invitees’ and ‘licensees’. A good example of this is a child who wanders onto a business premises and injures themselves, without necessarily knowing the dangers associated with the building.

There are many other types of insurance that small businesses might look into getting, including,

Equipment Insurance

Equipment insurance covers the damage or loss of equipment within a business, subject to the terms of agreement. For example if a new PC is damaged or dropped and wasn’t covered in the warranty, a good insurance policy would cover the purchase of new equipment.

Buildings and Contents Cover

Buildings and contents cover insurance protects a business’s property from damage, it also covers the fixtures/fittings within the property. Also if you are storing your stock at home, then contents cover will be essential. You could be left heavily indebted if your products or tools are stolen and you risk losing business and income if new tools cannot be purchased.

Legal Expenses insurance

Legal expenses insurance helps protect a business if legal action is taken against the company, for example legal fees and court costs.

Many self employed workers in small businesses rarely consider the implications of being sick or having an accident, leaving them unable to work for long periods of time. Sickness and accident policies cover these eventualities, as well as some longer term policies such as income replacement insurance. It is generally a good idea when shopping around for the best insurance quotes to compare like for like cover, it is a well used tactic to lower cost by lowering cover. So make sure you understand every aspect of what is included under the proposed insurance deal, it will greatly benefit you when you need to make a claim.

It is important to seek specialist advice when looking into insurance and it is important that you request quotes for your specific needs.

How to use it technologies to improve your business

How to use IT technologies to improve your business

In order to make clear, how you can use technologies – you have to pace three steps. First one is to define the way you create value – whether your business model is value creation chain, value atelier, or value production net. Then, choose of the possible ways of improving your business the most important In the end, choose the software you need.

Step 1 – define type of value creation for your business:

Examples of value creation chain are all kinds of manufactures, illustrations of value atelier are legal consultation, clinic, government structures, samples of value production net are mobile operators, financial, insurance establishments, job- , date-, freelance- portals.

Model of value chain implies, that product value is added consequently, on following stages – supply logistics, manufacture, distribution logistics, sales and marketing, maintenance. Product value depends on expenses on each stage. IT technologies  are used to reduce costs, as well as to manage customers’ information and for marketing. Technologies can also serve to make the product more technological and more up-to-date.

Value atelier , plans the operations and allocates the resources according to customers’ concerns The main resources of the company are knowledge and reputation. Technologies are implied to increase the value of decision created – through usage of past experience, computer modeling, decision support systems. Technologies can be used to verify the decision and for documental support.

Value production net is typical for the company, which creates value through integration of the customers. Unlike first two models, the value is added not by stages, but through parallel processes. The more clients have access to the company, the higher is the company’s value for the clients. Technologies are used to mange clients relationships, to realize certain services for the clients, to protect the clients’ data.

Regarding  the way that company creates value of the product, IT technologies can be used the different way. For value creation chain, they help increase rationality and effectiveness of manufacture, for the value atelier technologies add value for knowledge processing, for the value production net technologies are implied to create and support infrastructure.

 However, the decision, what kind of software is best for a certain business, is strictly individual. This decision should be based on the specific of the company’s activity, company’s issues and goals. Often IT companies are consulting their clients, using their past experience.

Know your business inside and out

Know Your Business Inside and Out

Really understanding your business and your industry is a key step towards becoming successful. It’s not about just opening a book and thinking you can learn what to do to make your business thrive. There are a lot of different aspects in business. Things like management, marketing, human resources, and taxes that have to be understood. In addition you need to understand exactly how they apply to your business.

When we think about the management issues of your business what comes to mind? Maybe what kind of skills might your managers need. What kind of compensation will be required to attract good help? What kind of positions within your organization may need to be staffed in the coming years? And where are you going to find qualified managers or will you need to train them from the ground up. It’s these kinds of questions that you need to ask yourself so that you can learn more about your business.

In small business you have to be concerned with the marketing of your services or products. Do you know what kinds of advertising methods are best for your business? Do you know the costs of those kinds of services? Have you checked on the competition lately to see what methods they use to sell their products or services and do you know what kinds of prices they charge? Have you taken the time to develop an effective marketing plan? Marketing your small business is not an easy task and the things that have worked so far may not be effective in the future. Do you know what other methods you might be able to turn to if something you use today fails?

When we consider the human resources portion of a small business it is possible to find many questions that will need to be asked. Things such as how much should your employees be compensated? Do you plan to offer helth insurance or if you already do is your plan the best you can get? How will you handle employee reviews and the issue of raises? What do you plan to do if you end up needing help quickly? Will you use a temporary labor agency or do you have an alternative method. There are many questions in the human resources field that should be answered.

One of the most horrible subjects out there is always taxes. Can you do your taxes or do you rely on someone else? Are they doing the job right and are they saving you as much money as they can? Do you know how to handle payroll taxes and sales tax? Are there specific taxes that apply to your state? Something like a headcount tax maybe? How about if you sell items across the state line or operate locations in other states do you know the tax laws for those states?

There will always be questions in business that need answers. It’s up to you to take the initiative to search out those answers and ask yourself whatever other questions you might be able to think of. The old clich?hat knowledge is power is especially true in business. And as a small business owner you need every edge you can get.