Office Efficiency

Don't Make These 4 Common Small Business Mistakes

Owning and operating a small business is a lot of work.

Often headed by just one person or a small handful of people, there are a million and one things a small business owner has to keep in mind in order to keep their business running.

small business tips

small business tips

And that’s exactly why the mistakes listed below are so common. But they don’t have to be. Take a look, know what to expect, and be prepared so you don’t get caught in these common traps:

1) You Try To Do It All

It’s not uncommon in small business to tackle anything and everything yourself. In many ways, it’s an essential part of being a small business owner. However, you can take it too far and get in over your head, be overwhelmed with work, or try and do something beyond your capabilities – and all that can add up to trouble.

Solution: Don’t be afraid to outsource essential work that is beyond you or your team. If you’re not a good bookkeeper, for instance, hire someone to do it for you. It’s an expense that could actually SAVE you money in the long term.

2) No Written Goals, No Written Plan, No Clear Direction

This is an incredibly common mistake. Someone starts a business with good intentions – they have a particular skill that is marketable or they see a niche to be filled – and from there they just wing it.

Huge mistake. You can get by for a little while on luck or momentum, but in the long term it’s vital to have clear goals and a clear plan to get there.

Solution: Create a written mission statement, put a set of one-year, three-year, five-year, and ten-year goals in writing, and create a written plan to achieve those goals. You’ll be amazed at how that can refocus and improve your business.

3) You Don’t Have A Website

It’s all too common for small local businesses to think they don’t need to be online because they are a local business serving the local community.

They just assume the locals will find them. Big mistake! These days, nearly 97% of consumers search for goods and services online, and half those searches are for things local to them. Being online is essential to being found by new customers and clients.

Solution: This one is pretty obvious. Get a website! And while you’re at it, get yourself on social media, too. It’s essential to being seen.

4) You Haven’t Embraced Technology

Small business owners usually operate on pretty tight budgets.

We understand that. Because of this, small business owners are often reluctant to invest in technologies that could make them more efficient and profitable in the long run – and while saving money in the short term is nice, in the long term that is a mistake.

Cloud storage, document scanning, digital storage, mobile devices, and other tech can give you a major leg up on your competitors.

Solution: Don’t be scared to invest in your future! The businesses that do best recognize that they have to look further ahead than next week if they want to succeed. You should, too.

Running a small business can be tough, but by avoiding these common mistakes you can make life a lot easier for yourself, and as an added bonus get an advantage on your competition. Good luck!

10 Types of Documents You Should Be Archiving and Shredding

Smart business owners know their paperwork is more than just a stack of documents. All that paperwork contains the information that allows their business to function – and that means those documents need to be protected.

document protection

document protection

Think about it: you work with confidential information every single day, from credit card numbers to Social Security numbers, checks, pay stubs, private contact information, and more.

Paperwork containing this information needs to be disposed of properly. This is not just for the protection of you and your clients, but often because it’s the law, depending on your type of business.

Protecting this valuable information begins with two things: shredding sensitive documents and ensuring those documents are scanned and securely backed up.

So what documents should you be shredding and backing up? Here is a list of key paperwork you should be shredding and, in some circumstance, scanning:

1. Employee information and personnel files – Your employees will appreciate that you are looking after their privacy.

2. Social security numbers – Anything with a social security number on it can expose people to identity theft, so be wary of documents containing this information.

3. Medical Records – This one is huge, because HIPAA regulations are stringent when it comes to protecting medical information. Violations can result in fines and even the loss of a medical practice license.

4. Canceled Checks – Using cancelled checks to create “new” checks, and in turn bleed an account dry, is an old practice used by savvy thieves. A move towards paperless business operations can help prevent this.

5. Receipts & Invoices – They may seem like insignificant scraps of paper, but in fact they can be used to find out your internal spending, your overhead, data about your business partners, and more. This is sensitive information, so be sure to have this material backed up and shredded.

6. Client Lists – A list of information this sensitive is not something you want to get into the hands of competitors.

7. Credit card numbers – If you have documents with credit card numbers on them, they should be shredded. A common form of theft is to go through a business’s garbage and look for such numbers. Shred them!

8. Bank account numbers – Do yourself a favor and have all your banking documents stored in a secure, encrypted digital environment.

9. Memos & Internal letters – Memos may not seem like much, but they can provide your competitors with information on how you run your business. There may also be information in such documents that could cause privacy concerns or expose you to legal trouble. Have them shredded!

10. Pay stubs – Pay stubs contain sensitive information about your employees. Be sure to properly dispose of them so identity thieves cannot get their hands on them.

11. Tax records – No matter the type of tax documents, don’t let this data get into the wrong hands. This is especially true of W2 and 1099 forms.

No matter the kind of business you run, security is important. In today’s world, criminals have any number of ways of making life more difficult for you, your employees, and your business partners.

But if you’re smart, you can prevent it. It all begins with digital archiving and document shredding.

4 Common Mistakes Many Small Businesses Make

Owning and operating a small business is a lot of work.

Often headed by just one person or a small handful of people, there are a million and one things a small business owner has to keep in mind in order to keep their business running.

small business tips

small business tips

And that’s exactly why the mistakes listed below are so common. But they don’t have to be. Take a look, know what to expect, and be prepared so you don’t get caught in these common traps:

1) You Try To Do It All

It’s not uncommon in small business to tackle anything and everything yourself. In many ways, it’s an essential part of being a small business owner. However, you can take it too far and get in over your head, be overwhelmed with work, or try and do something beyond your capabilities – and all that can add up to trouble.

Solution: Don’t be afraid to outsource essential work that is beyond you or your team. If you’re not a good bookkeeper, for instance, hire someone to do it for you. It’s an expense that could actually SAVE you money in the long term.

2) No Written Goals, No Written Plan, No Clear Direction

This is an incredibly common mistake. Someone starts a business with good intentions – they have a particular skill that is marketable or they see a niche to be filled – and from there they just wing it.

Huge mistake. You can get by for a little while on luck or momentum, but in the long term it’s vital to have clear goals and a clear plan to get there.

Solution: Create a written mission statement, put a set of one-year, three-year, five-year, and ten-year goals in writing, and create a written plan to achieve those goals. You’ll be amazed at how that can refocus and improve your business.

3) You Don’t Have A Website

It’s all too common for small local businesses to think they don’t need to be online because they are a local business serving the local community.

They just assume the locals will find them. Big mistake! These days, nearly 97% of consumers search for goods and services online, and half those searches are for things local to them. Being online is essential to being found by new customers and clients.

Solution: This one is pretty obvious. Get a website! And while you’re at it, get yourself on social media, too. It’s essential to being seen.

4) You Haven’t Embraced Technology

Small business owners usually operate on pretty tight budgets.

We understand that. Because of this, small business owners are often reluctant to invest in technologies that could make them more efficient and profitable in the long run – and while saving money in the short term is nice, in the long term that is a mistake.

Cloud storage, document scanning, digital storage, mobile devices, and other tech can give you a major leg up on your competitors.

Solution: Don’t be scared to invest in your future! The businesses that do best recognize that they have to look further ahead than next week if they want to succeed. You should, too.

Running a small business can be tough, but by avoiding these common mistakes you can make life a lot easier for yourself, and as an added bonus get an advantage on your competition. Good luck!

10 Kinds of Documents You Should Be Archiving and Shredding

Smart business owners know their paperwork is more than just a stack of documents. All that paperwork contains the information that allows their business to function – and that means those documents need to be protected.

document protection
document protection

Think about it: you work with confidential information every single day, from credit card numbers to Social Security numbers, checks, pay stubs, private contact information, and more.

Paperwork containing this information needs to be disposed of properly. This is not just for the protection of you and your clients, but often because it’s the law, depending on your type of business.

Protecting this valuable information begins with two things: shredding sensitive documents and ensuring those documents are scanned and securely backed up.

So what documents should you be shredding and backing up? Here is a list of key paperwork you should be shredding and, in some circumstance, scanning:

1. Employee information and personnel files – Your employees will appreciate that you are looking after their privacy.

2. Social security numbers – Anything with a social security number on it can expose people to identity theft, so be wary of documents containing this information.

3. Medical Records – This one is huge, because HIPAA regulations are stringent when it comes to protecting medical information. Violations can result in fines and even the loss of a medical practice license.

4. Canceled Checks – Using cancelled checks to create “new” checks, and in turn bleed an account dry, is an old practice used by savvy thieves. A move towards paperless business operations can help prevent this.

5. Receipts & Invoices – They may seem like insignificant scraps of paper, but in fact they can be used to find out your internal spending, your overhead, data about your business partners, and more. This is sensitive information, so be sure to have this material backed up and shredded.

6. Client Lists – A list of information this sensitive is not something you want to get into the hands of competitors.

7. Credit card numbers – If you have documents with credit card numbers on them, they should be shredded. A common form of theft is to go through a business’s garbage and look for such numbers. Shred them!

8. Bank account numbers – Do yourself a favor and have all your banking documents stored in a secure, encrypted digital environment.

9. Memos & Internal letters – Memos may not seem like much, but they can provide your competitors with information on how you run your business. There may also be information in such documents that could cause privacy concerns or expose you to legal trouble. Have them shredded!

10. Pay stubs – Pay stubs contain sensitive information about your employees. Be sure to properly dispose of them so identity thieves cannot get their hands on them.

11. Tax records – No matter the type of tax documents, don’t let this data get into the wrong hands. This is especially true of W2 and 1099 forms.

No matter the kind of business you run, security is important. In today’s world, criminals have any number of ways of making life more difficult for you, your employees, and your business partners.

But if you’re smart, you can prevent it. It all begins with digital archiving and document shredding.