7 Simple Ways For Your Business to Go Green

These days, everyone talks about “going green.” It might sound like a lot of expensive mumbo jumbo, but the truth is that it’s never been easier or cheaper do it.

And yes, it’s a good idea for any business. Even if you’re not inclined to go out and hug a tree, you’ll find that going green will save you money in the long term. And in business, the bottom line is everything.

Here are 7 reasons why going green is way easier than you thought:

green business

green business

1. You Can Pay Your Bills Online

Why are you still getting invoices in the mail? Why are you still writing checks? It’s 2015. You can do 90% of your banking and bill paying online.

2. Fax Machines Don’t Need Paper Anymore

The days of your fax machine spitting out reams of paper are long over. These days, you can have faxes sent straight to a digital document, no printing or scanning necessary.

3. Your Devices Come With Energy Saving Settings

You don’t need to have a great memory or bend over backwards to remember to power down your devices when not in use. Most will now have energy saving sleep settings that do it for you. Remember to configure things on your computer, laptop, tablet, and so on, and you’ll never need to remember again.

4. And If They Don’t, Affordable Surge Protectors Can Help

For devices that don’t have energy saving sleep settings, it’s easy to accomplish the same thing with today’s better power strips and surge protectors. Look for models that automatically power off when device are not in use, cutting back on so-called “phantom power usage.”

5. Scanning Services Do The Work For You

There is no need to burden yourself with scanning all your important documents in order to create digital archives and go paperless. There are third party services (such as ScanDoc) that can handle the workload for you. Once everything is in your system, keeping up with it in the future so you stay paperless will be a breeze.

6. Letting Employees Telecommute Is Painless

There is nothing to fear from letting certain employees telecommute. The technology that will let them work from home and for you to remain in close contact with them is well-established.

7. Rearranging Your Office Layout Is Free

Getting workstations near windows means you can utilize sunlight instead of lamps and indoor lighting, and depending on the weather, it means you can nix the heat or A/C. This means less reliance on using energy, and that’s the very definition of “green.” Plus it saves you money.

Didn’t realize some of this was so easy, did you? No more excuses. Even small business owners can bring their operations into the 21st Century – and the time to start is now.

Giving to Charity this Holiday Season is Good For Your Business

With the holiday season upon us, you’re going to hear a lot of talk about giving. ‘Tis the season, after all.

Most of that talk tends to be focused on individuals, but businesses can give, too – and they should. In fact, there are even sound business reasons to do so.

Of course, the very best reason to give is because it’s in your heart and you can to do some good. However, we recognize that business is business. That’s why we offer this list of 6 reasons why charitable giving is actually good for business:

Fantastic Tax Deductions

This one is obvious. Charitable donations are tax deductible. Be sure you donate to nonprofits that are approved by the IRS, but otherwise feel free to give as you see fit. The cash value of your donations is tax deductible, which means you can donate old vehicles, stocks, and in some cases even your time.

Develop More Loyal Customers

When you give to charity, you tell your customers something important about you: that you are a business that actually cares. That’s a powerful message and one that can help develop increased loyalty among you customers. Charitable giving humanizes you and brings your customers and clients closer to you, and that is priceless.

Get Your Customers Involved

Charitable giving can also be a way to get your customers more involved with what you do. By participating in or even hosting fundraising drives and charitable events, you can encourage your customers and clients to participate, get more involved in what you do, get to know your company better, and feel as if they gave a stake in what you do.

It’s An Added Benefit For Employees

While you should never make participation mandatory, taking part in charitable events can feel like a nice perk for employees. Going out to charity walks or taking part in some enjoyable local event is not only a fun way to serve a good cause, it makes your employees feel as if they are getting something extra, something they enjoy and like participating in. Basically, it’s like another benefit.

It Gives You More Publicity

Yes, this entry might seem a little crass and cynical, but it’s also the truth: when your company is involved with local charities, it gives you another platform to get your name and brand out in front of people. It’s for a good cause, too, so you can feel good about it even while reaping the benefits of having your name associated with a respected charitable organization.

It’s Just Plain Good

When all is said and done, the best reason for your business to be involved in charitable endeavors is because those charitable endeavors help people (or animals, or the environment, or whatever your chosen cause is). And at the end of the day, isn’t that what’s important?

So this holiday season, get with the spirit of the season and GIVE. Your business will be better for it.

6 Points Saying Why Your Business Should Go Paperless

The revolution is now. The digital age is upon us, but too many small businesses are lagging behind. They’re not lagging behind for financial reasons, either.

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The cost to go digital or partly digital is negligible. It all comes down to whether or not they recognize the benefits of eliminating the paper shuffle in their workplace.

Here are six reasons to have a paperless office that can’t be ignored:

Less Time and Space Spent on Storage

Storing documents takes up a lot of space. Even a single filing cabinet takes up space that can be better used for other purposes, and if you’re in a legal or medical office those filing cabinets will multiply like bunnies.

But consider this: you can fit the entire contents of that filing cabinet onto a single flash drive. In fact, you can probably fit the contents of several cabinets onto one flash drive.

No wonder why medical records scanning services are so in demand these days!

Less Time Spent Finding Documents

Directly related to the point above, it takes time and effort to sort through even the most well-organized filing system. Documents get misplaced, folders have to be shuffled through, and so on.

Those are man hours you’re paying for. With a digital filing system, you can find what you’re looking for in a few quick keystrokes. Which leads to our next reason…

A More Efficient Staff Saves Money

Every business owner knows one of the best money saving office tips is to have your staff work more efficiently, and there are few things more efficient than eliminating the paper hunt and allowing your staff to pull up the data and documents they need with a keystroke.

That allows them to get back to more important work, and in turn it saves you money.

Fewer Data Errors

Yes, errors can happen no matter what form your data takes, but by going digital you’re going to eliminate a slew of them. No misreading information due to poor handwriting, no mistakes due to lost documents, and so on. Fewer mistakes means happier clients and customers.

Protect Yourself From Disaster

Databases can be backed up. A filing cabinet filled with paperwork cannot. If god forbid you have a fire or flood and your documents are not backed up, you’re going to have a world of problems.

A digital database, on the other hand, can be easily backed up and stored wherever you like, even in the cloud. This should offer you huge peace of mind.

Better Customer Service

Engaging in some document scanning so that you can go digital does more than save you some money, it helps you make money by improving your customer service.

You’ll be able to respond to queries faster, solve problems faster, and access information faster – and improved customer service means your customers and clients walk away happier, which in turns means they’re more likely to come back and/or recommend you to others.

There are other reasons, too, such as the savings you’ll experience by not having to buy as many office supplies. By now it should be clear: going digital is the right choice for your business.

14 Facts You Need to Know About Identity Theft

Identity theft is no small problem. It impacts millions of people every year, costing them anything from some minor inconveniences to major money.

For both individuals and businesses, it’s vital to understand what identity theft means for you.

call to action

call to action

Most of you know the basics. Shred sensitive documents. Use a document scanning service to archive sensitive data and put important documents in a safe storage space. And so on.

What you might not realize is just how widespread this problem is. In order to wrap your head around the scope of the identity theft issue, consider these salient facts:

• Identity theft is the fastest growing crime in America, according to experts in the field.

• According to the Federal Trade Commission, there are now an astounding 99 million instances of identity theft every single year

• Identity theft has a real cost: the average victim loses about $500 and takes up nearly 30 hours of their life to resolve the issue

• Of all complaints received by the Federal Trade Commission’s Consumer Sentinel Network (CSN), some 14 percent of them are related to identity theft

• You might think most identity is related to financial and credit fraud, but in fact, utility, phone, and employment fraud make almost double the amount of cases (which means preventing such fraud is one of the essential money-saving office tips).

• About 85 percent of identity theft overall involves the fraudulent use of account information, usually credit card numbers, bank account numbers, and so on.

The scale of this problem can be a little shocking. Those in the medical field know it. It’s one of the reasons why they’ve increasingly turned to medical records scanning to protect their patients and to abide by HIPPA regulations.

The idea that this problem could happen to you is backed up by the U.S. Department of Justice. Consider these statistics:

• In some 32 percent of identity theft cases, the crimes are perpetrated by a family member, and another 18 percent of them are perpetrated by a friend or neighbor

• About 8.6 million households, or 7 percent of all households in the U.S., had at least one member who had experienced identity theft in 2010 alone.

So short of converting to a paperless office to better prevent these crimes, what do you do if you have become the victim of identity theft?

Here’s are some things to consider:

• In most cases, banks and creditors hold the victim responsible for only the first $50 of fraudulent charges.

• Catching the problem early is the best way to clean up problems resulting from identity theft.

• If you find you have become a victim, gather all the information possible, then immediately contact your creditors and financial institutions to start on a resolution.

• Consider the use of a credit monitoring service. They will help you keep tabs on your bank, credit cards, and so on.

• Among those who have been victimized by identity theft, fully half of them were able to resolve it in a single day.

• That said, another 30 percent of victims were forced to spend a month or more resolving their problems.

The bottom line is simple: identity theft is not something that happens to other people. It’s a widespread problem that can happen to you – but you can prevent it, or at least minimize the damage, if you’re informed.