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How to create the perfect name for your business

Company names like Apple, Amazon and eBay evoke an image of success and cutting-edge technology. They make an emotional connection with consumers, resulting in the kind of brand recognition that many companies dream of.

It’s hard to overstate the importance of a business name. Not only is it the first thing that customers see, it also sums up the company and its unique take on an industry. “When a name is the face of the brand, getting it right is absolutely crucial,” Adam Fridman writes in Inc.

Getting your business’ name right could mean the difference between “Blue Ribbon Sports” and “Nike.” Here are some tips for how to come up with a business name.

When Naming a Business, Think Like a Consumer

Ideally, your business name should be short and easy to spell while covering key elements of your company.

Unique spellings such as “Chick-fil-A” can be acceptable, “but don’t make your company’s name so unconventional that it’s hard to remember,” cautions Inc. staff writer Graham Winfrey. An eccentric or long name can undermine your audience’s ability to search for it. “Not every company can have a short, simple, one-syllable name like Box, Dell, or Lyft, but if you come up with a great long name and a great short name, you should probably go with the short one,” he adds.

A business name that identifies what your company is about is crucial. The name will also set your company apart from the competition. Appeal to the kind of customers you are trying to attract. “Choose a comforting or familiar name that conjures up pleasant memories so customers respond to your business on an emotional level,” Entrepreneur says.

For example, a name like “Italiatour” for a company that promotes tours to Italy can instantly excite audiences about foreign travel. The name helps customers understand what the company offers.

You should also know what to avoid when choosing a business name.

Avoid made up words or acronyms with no apparent meaning. Anything too obscure will be a problem for your audience. Coined words can be powerful in certain situations, however. “Acura” has no definition but suggests precision engineering, according to Entrepreneur. The term is from “Acu,” a word that means “precise” in many languages.

Avoid overused metaphors. Names like “Summit,” “Apex,” Pinnacle” and “Peak” are overworked, says Phil Davis in Entrepreneur. Combinations of positive words and metaphors can work. Data storage company Iron Mountain conveys strength and security in its name.

Avoid words with negative connotations. Be careful with terms that have possible suggestive, embarrassing or otherwise negative meanings.

Avoid geographic words. You might encounter problems if your business expands beyond the region. This is why Minnesota Manufacturing and Mining became 3M in 2002 and why Kentucky Fried Chicken adopted KFC in 1991.

Research and Test Your Business Name Ideas Online Research

A large portion of your company’s audience will find your business on the internet, making online research a smart place to begin testing business names.

Perform keyword research. See if the ideas will have a strong online presence. If you target a common word, it might be difficult placing on the first or second page of search results for Google.

Search social media. Like your domain name, you’ll need to make sure your business name is available on Facebook, Twitter and more. You’ll be able to tell if competitors’ names will be too similar on these networks.

Trademark Research

“Not every business name needs to be trademarked, as long as your state government gives you the go-ahead and you aren’t infringing on anyone else’s trade name,” Entrepreneur says. “But you should consider hiring a trademark attorney or at least a trademark search firm before to make sure your new name doesn’t infringe on another business’s trademark.”

Consider performing trademark research once you’ve identified four or five names you like. This step could help your company avoid costly litigation in the future.

Audience Research

Focus groups can help you determine how people respond to your favorite business name options. “Survey as many people as you can,” Bridie Loverro, co-founder of QuadJobs, told Winfrey. “The name to choose may not necessarily be the one people like best, but the one they remember most.”

Make sure your naming extends beyond the local market. Anthony Goldbloom, an Australian-born data scientist, asked family and friends whether they liked “Sumble” or “Kaggle” better for the startup he co-founded, The Wall Street Journal explains. They chose “Kaggle,” but when Goldbloom moved the company to the United States from Australia, he noticed that people in the Midwest tended to pronounce “Kaggle” as “KAY-gel.”

This is the same pronunciation for “Kegel,” an exercise strengthening the pelvic floor to help with urinary stress incontinence. “In other words: It’s probably not the best name for an online data startup,” The Wall Street Journal says.

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2024’S Top 10 Business Process Management Software

Strong businesses are built from the inside out. They are successful because their corporate structure is committed to the cause. Business process management tools are an intermediate step to improving the performance of a business in terms via improving corporate performance.

Business Process Management or BPM tools are usually used by businesses to achieve this kind of corporate strength by managing and optimizing business processes. 

How BPM Tools Work

BPM tools generally help create and implement the process of creation of business workflows and rules. They are designed to help organizations refine and optimize processes that could generally be tainted by human interaction with the processes.

Also read: The Top 10 Digital Process Automation (DPA) Tools

Functions, Uses, and Benefits of BPM

Traditionally the IT function of a business is swamped. There is always a need for new software, old software that needs to be updated, and something else that has to be fixed.

BPM software hopes to relieve that workload, save time, and allow non-IT professionals to get involved in the building of business workflows. This whole setup aims to bring focus to connections of systems that are often disparate. It allows a non-technical process creates a very technically sound system with high functionality 

Some specific features BPM software have proven themselves specifically built for include workflow management, business rules engine creation, building form generators, facilitating collaboration within teams and between departments, and integrations of business processes and existing software. amongst many other functions. 

In terms of processes, this kind of a platform can support and breathe cost and time efficiency into include but are not limited to employee onboarding, expense reporting, time-off requests, and other basic HR functions, account management, complaint management, and project development. 

Pricing 

Creating and facilitating BPM software to organizations is complex and therefore prices to avail such services can vary greatly. Depending on the requirements, customizations, new backend coding, and cloud capabilities, the software can range anywhere from $30-$100 per month. 

Considering all these factors, and most importantly user reviews, we have come up with what we believe are the top 10 BPM software 2023 has to offer. 

Top 10 Business Process Management Software

1. Nintex

Promapp

Nintex Promapp is a cloud-based business process management software that is loved by companies across the world. With clients such as Toyota, McDonald’s, Johnson&Johnson, Coca-Cola, and Marketo they have proven themselves leaders in this space.

Nintex Promapp looks to replace obsolete systems and manuals with cloud-based repositories to help organizations save time and money.

With clients of all shapes and sizes, Nintex Promapp focuses on enabling teams to collaborate on process mapping, drive continuous improvement, respond to process breakdowns, take complete ownership of their processes and spur innovation to manage and optimize your organization’s processes. They look to become a foundation for any business to grow upon.  

With a 98% client retention rate Nintex Promapp has proven itself to be number one on this list. They provide customers with complete visibility of organizational processes and streamline the same across functions.

Additionally, their business process management software tools are robust and flexible adjusting to client needs. 

2. Quick Base

Quick Base is a no-code business process management application software. With over 6000 companies, 50+ Fortune 100 companies, and many many happy users, Quick Base allows quick creation of ideas into applications. These business process management solutions can be used by an organization, shared, and much more.  

Quick Base stands out from the rest in the fact that they are involved with many non-profit and fundraising programs alongside the for-profit endeavors they are involved in.

Quick Base’s process automation software also ensures that users have complete access to any kind of edits to their applications and visibility to their users. Furthermore Quick Base aspires to have an option to any business with any price budget and quick technical service.  

Quick Base offers personalized demos of their services here. Further in line with their association with greater causes, they set up a COVID 19 response, that you can see here. 

3. Pipefy

Pipefy is one step beyond the average BPM platform. It is a workflow management software that makes tasks such as purchasing, job opening, accounts payable, and employee onboarding hassle-free.

Their no-code BPM systems are aimed at ensuring efficiency while driving digital transformation. Pipefy works hard to bring its client’s speed, visibility, and much more without having to increase work-load for the IT department of an organization.

The BPM tools Pipefy offers aims to help organizations gain control of the growth they will come to see with the platform.  

Users have praised Pipefy’s BPM tools in their ability to bring into motion rapid business growth, butter digital solutions, and business process automation as they have never seen before. 

The combination of their automation, workflow management, and email integration has seemed to have become a game-changer for Pipefy and the services they offer.

While process improvement takes time on any BPM platform, the Pipefy team ensures that the client is walked through the process. The team also stands by the client in times of need once processes are established 

Pipefy offers a free trial of their world-class services here. They also have a library of process templates they believe are applicable in a variety of business units and processes that can be accessed here. 

4. Kissflow

Kissflow is the first of its kind in the no-code and business process management tools space and has maintained that by becoming the best in its class over the years. It is a Unified Digital workplace Platform, that allows management of all the work of a business in one location.

Kissflow is used across the world in over 160 countries by over 10,000 unique customers. Kissflow was built by individuals who used to be a part of the mess that was developing before this software was created and they believe that this gives them the upper hand in knowing how to stay ahead of the game.

They have ensured that their bpm tools are used in productivity-boosting methods that ensure business brand awareness and integration. Their platform allows users to discover, create, modify, and use business applications. From low code to no code, they have it all covered.  

Kissflow has been highly rated by its users for the various capabilities it holds in terms of diversity of types of applications that can be created but also in terms of the usage of these applications.

Other than the normal HR, procurement, and finance systems most low-code BPM platforms support. Kissflow has paved the way for integrating low-code BPM development into government-related bodies as well. 

Get a free trial to Kissflow here. Or, learn more about the functions of a system like Kissflow and the potential it provides to a business of any size through their webinars here. 

5. Quixy

Quixy is a leading cloud-based no-code business process management platform. Quixy is helping business users, with little to no coding experience, in 10+ industry verticals to automate workflows and business processes 10X faster.

The software also allows businesses to build enterprise-grade simple to complex custom business applications using WYSIWYG interfaces and helps reduce the time and money behind process automation and application development.

Quixy provides ready-to-use workflow solutions for most business functions that can be easily customized in minutes as per business needs.

These include CRM, Project Management, Travel and Expense Management, Purchase Order and Invoice Processes, Employee Onboarding and Off-boarding, Helpdesk Management, Audit Management, Meeting Management, Asset Management, and Procurement Management to name a few. 

Quixy has become a highly rated platform in recent times and is currently rated Leader-Asia Pacific for No-Code application development on G2. The platform is ISO 27001 and SOC 2 Type 2 certified so that the customers don’t need to worry about data security and privacy.  

Quixy offers a free trial and demo here. Additionally, Quixy has been very involved with helping other businesses with required applications through COVID-19 for free. You can check out their resources here. 

6. ProcessMaker

ProcessMaker is a low-code business process management and workflow automation platform. Process Maker is an organization that truly wants to ensure that workflows can be created and put in place in the short while of just a few hours.

They acknowledge the effort that used to go into the months required to set up workflows and have set up a great way to simplify them. The BPM tools and systems are flexible and even allow for the integration of third party systems. 

ProcessMaker’s low-code development abilities and BPM tools help maintain the essence of the businesses while boosting it to achieve digital agility. 

ProcessMaker has been highly successful in creating a BPM application to simplify business processes through their cleverly designed interfaces. The process modeling setup is easy to use and is fully integrated with LDAP.

It ensures that workflows work with one another and not against. The software also integrates across all user systems and remains organized across a variety of factors.  

ProcessMaker offers a demo and free trial to all businesses. All this alongside e-books which provide a lot of information into the processes they use and develop. 

7. Laserfiche

Laserfiche is a global provider of intelligent content management and business process automation. They have created powerful BPM tools that help businesses automize and straighten out workflows, electronic forms, document management and analytics, and more.

They believe that repetitive tasks are not worth the time for any employee in an organization and look to accelerate the work of each employee to, therefore, build better businesses. Laserfiche was a pioneer in the paperless workplace revolution that began 30 years ago which has gripped almost all private organizations today.  

They have taken their BPM tools and solutions to the next level with AI capabilities, which customers have been fans of. They love the easy to understand and use interface and the reduction in steps in the building of a workflow.

Laserfiche also aims to optimize their BPM tools to ensure users are directed to what they need next and has learning material for where they do not make that possible. Unfortunately they can be a little complicated at times but they are working that out by learning from user reviews and workshops across the world. 

8. Ninox

Ninox is the business process management tool that seamlessly integrates with your existing processes, adapts them to be smarter, faster, and better. They believe that an organization is like a body and work processes and tools should fit like a tailor-made shirt.

They should be comfortable, flexible, and seem seamless. Ninox is a BPM tool that allows integration of operations of all departments within themselves and amongst one another.  

Ninox has proven itself to be a step in the right direction for businesses looking to digitize their tools and processes without a heavily IT team backing them. This has made them accessible to businesses of all sizes and in turn save them lots of money.

Further, their team is very quick to help out in process development and offer growth in all directions. 

9. Process Street

Process Street is a business process management software that looks to create a streamlined, non-technical method to manage business processes and workflows.

They want to take boring words and feelings out of the workplace and ensure that work is fun, fast, easy, and accessible. Process Street wants to make sure it is the backbone of businesses working towards and attaining success.

Their BPM tools are focused on making scaling accessible and workflows work, during work from home periods. Process Street has created special functions to ensure alongside functionality is met with fun and has 1000+ tools for all business process management needs. 

Process Street has become a favorite amongst business users due to the ease of use of its BPM applications. Their templates for a good gateway into the world of building BPM systems. 

They also have many tools that help track progress and make it easier for collaborations within a business while removing the risk of doing one process twice.  

10. Kintone

It helps integrate departments with one another and enables cooperation and collaboration between different departments via the platform. Kintone ensures workflows are pieced together digitally such that they are online but feel just as they did to employees offline.

They try to reduce the learning curve a new tool can create. Business reporting is also made easy with an integrated dashboard. Kintone provides a mix of pre-built applications and templates to get users started on their journey. 

Kintone has been commended in its abilities to effectively transfer and track data, create applications, and offer business solutions. All processes that are integral to a business, only digitized. 

Additionally, it allows small nonprofits with opportunities to grow as well. Kintone offers a free trial which you can request here. To help users better understand their services through what they call ‘deminars’ which you can access here. 

Let us know what you are most excited about in terms of what a BPM tool can mean for the changes your business will see. Also, drop the names of your favorite business process management tools and how they have helped you and your business. 

Alekhya Talapatra

Mr. A. Talapatra has more than 19 years of managerial career in Maruti Suzuki, Hewlett Packard, IBM and Dell. He did his PGDBM from XLRI (Xavier Labour Research Institute) and Ph.D. from AMU (Aligarh Muslim University) in Retailing. He is a visiting faculty at Fore School of Management, IMI (International Management Institute) Delhi and IMT, Ghaziabad. He is currently the Vice President at Navayuga Infotech – South Africa based in Johannesburg.

Investors Dig Deeper Into Ai’s Potential And Pitfalls

To invest in AI know-how investors are digging deeper into AI’s potential and pitfalls

The market has been helped this year by the quick uptake of generative AI. Still, after the initial enthusiasm, investors increasingly realize the hazards, including the need to be picky when choosing stocks.

Portfolio managers are examining AI’s potential disruption in various industries, including IT services, consulting, education, media, and information.

The general effect on corporate benefit is viewed as colossally positive. However, past Nvidia and other clear victors in the chip area, examiners caution there could likewise be washouts across Europe and the US.

Between 2030 and 2060, half of the current work activities could be automated, according to McKinsey, which estimates that generative AI could add US$7.3 trillion to the global economy annually. However, businesses must face significant obstacles like redundancies and rethinking their business models to utilize Artificial Intelligence’s potential fully.

“The fact that AI will only have a positive effect is not a given. “There could be a deflationary effect,” stated Gilles Guibout, head of European equities at AXA Investment Managers in Paris, who manages over 820 billion euros.

Now and again, clients could arrange cost cuts, he said, while staff-light novices could disintegrate existing players’ portion of the overall industry while they are caught up with overhauling their cycles.

That could slow sales growth and cause share prices to underperform, particularly for businesses whose growth depends on headcount or are up against the tough competition.

“Take services in IT: assuming 100 individuals are not generally required for coding, however just half or 33% of that, clients will request lower costs,” said Guibout.

29% of worldwide investors, according to the most recent study by Bank of America conducted in June, do not believe AI will enhance profits or jobs. In contrast, 40% of respondents believe there will be a rise.

AI IS NOT ALWAYS “GOOD” Markets have already expressed concerns about AI.

Shares in firms that manage contact centers and other services that are thought to be defenseless against being replaced by bots, such as French-appropriating business Teleperformance and US-based Taskus, have fallen by almost 30% this year.

When American rival Chegg, which has lost 62% of its market share this year, claimed that strong student interest in the Microsoft-backed ChatGPT bot was impeding customer development, Pearson, a UK-based company in the education sector, lost 15% on that day in May.

A couple of days after the fact, Pearson held a call to make sense of its artificial intelligence technique, an indication of developing revenue among financial backers to go further into how corporates are managing the change.

The AI investor day for Teleperformance, which has 410,000 employees in 170 countries, took place on Wednesday. Some experts claim that price reductions have occasionally been extreme, exacerbating worries about earnings growth.

“The dangers that generative AI may pose are the subject of much discussion. The head of equities at RBC Wealth Management, Thomas McGarrity, stated, “This has become a little bit overdone.”

He seemed sure that some professional data and information providers, who own proprietary data, would be able to incorporate generative AI into their products.

Others, on the other hand, continue to be cautious, claiming that the rapid adoption of less expensive AI-powered offerings could stifle growth once order backlogs for more conventional services are fulfilled.

Lemanik portfolio manager Andrea Scauri stated that despite the attractive valuations, he has avoided investing in some IT services stocks.

Conversely, Scauri asserted that more prominent organizations like Accenture could better manage the change and undertake the required capital expenditures.

Three months after announcing 19,000 layoffs, or approximately 2.5% of its workforce, Accenture unveiled a US$3 billion investment plan to support its AI efforts.

This year, its stock has increased by 19%, while its French rival Capgemini has risen by 13%. Firms, for example, Relx, which handle managed data, are additionally viewed as less presented to potential simulated intelligence headwinds.

Windows 10 Upgrade Path And Process

In a pre-session presentation related to March 19, 2024 event on upgrading to Windows 10 from different operating systems, Microsoft’s Julius Ho has noted down few interesting points. These points form the base of this post on how to upgrade to Windows 10 from Windows 8, Windows 8.1 and even Windows 7, and the process involved.

It is clear by now that Windows 10 will be a free upgrade for all – even for some who are using counterfeit Windows 7, Windows 8.1 and Windows 8 and will be available somewhere this Summer – which could be anytime from June to September.

Windows 10 – Time to get excited

Windows 10 is indeed exciting. Microsoft is betting everything on the operating system, which will be the same across all types of devices – from PCs to notebooks to tablets to phones. The features may be more or less available depending upon the type of device being used. For example, a Windows 512 MB phone might have fewer features compared to a phone with 1GB memory.

To make it all legitimate, Microsoft is allowing everyone with Windows 7, Windows 8 and Windows 8.1 – even if they are using pirated copies – to upgrade to Windows 10, after which, it could well be subscription-based, as Microsoft had stated earlier that updates will be pushed to Windows 10 as and when required. There will, in all probability, be no Windows 11. Windows 10 is Windows as a Service and works just like that – pushing updates and keeping the operating system up to date to deal with malware and cyber criminals – not to mention the later availability of user interface changes and other features.

Windows 10: Upgrade vs Update

According to the PowerPoint slideshow, Windows 10 combines the best of Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 while improving on the fundamentals such as ease of navigation and security. For the first time in the history of deploying a higher version of the operating system at enterprise levels, Microsoft is urging enterprises to upgrade the desktops, instead of creating disk images. It says the process will make it easier to upgrade to Windows 10.

Microsoft defines the word Update in three different contexts:

Modifying an existing operating system by changing some files

For desktops, it could be KBs (Windows Updates), patches or hotfixes

For mobile devices, it could even mean moving from Windows 8 (Apollo) to Windows 8.1 (Blue)

After defining updates, Microsoft defines Upgrade as follows:

For desktops, upgrade (and not update as defined above) means changing the entire operating system, reinstalling device drivers and apps

For Mobile, Microsoft says the terms “upgrade” and “update” are used interchangeably and that from a technology perspective, everything on mobile devices is an “update”

Windows 10 Upgrade Path & Matrix

The term “upgrade” would mean moving to Windows 10, and the term “update” means making changes to Windows 10 after it is released and installed on machines.

If you check out the Windows 10 upgrade matrix, you will see how it will be possible to upgrade to Windows 10.

You can see that the direct upgrade path is not supported on Windows 7 RTM, Windows 8, and Windows Phone 8.0. Windows users can burn an ISO to directly upgrade to Windows 10 if they are already using Windows 7 RTM, Windows 7 SP1, Windows 8, Windows 8.1 RTM, Windows 8.1.

Similarly, people using Windows Phone 8.1 will be able to get the “upgrade” as an update to Windows Phone.

Windows RT is not supported.

Looking at the matrix below, the path of using “updates” to move to Windows 10 is limited to Windows Phone 8.1 and Windows 8.1 S14. All other except RT have to use an ISO file. They can directly upgrade over the existing operating system so that device drivers don’t need to be installed separately again. The other method is clean install where you remove the older operating system, upgrade to Windows 10, install device drivers and all the apps that you need and were using before the “UPGRADE”.

As shown in the above table, desktops and notebooks can upgrade to Windows 10 using ISO media and in case of Windows 8.1 S14 (Windows 8.1 Update), using Windows Update.

For mobile phones, though it would be “pushing” the new operating system in a phased manner over a period of time, it is still called “update”. In other words, Windows 8.1 Phone will be automatically updated to Windows 10 after the latter releases. Generally speaking, the mobile phones check for software updates at regular intervals and if they find Windows 10, they will install the operating system after asking you for permission – just the way they did for upgrading from Windows Phone 8 to Windows Phone 8.1.

Windows 10 Upgrade Process

Windows 10 will use partition switching according to the pre-session presentation by Microsoft on how to upgrade to Windows 10. If enough space is not available, Windows 10 may expand the system partition to make room for the new OS. Likewise, on mobile phones, the app files and customizable system files may be transferred to an SD card in case of low storage space. We had talked about how Windows 10 will reduce its footprint to save space using smart compression algorithms. Please take a look at the below image to see how Microsoft intends to update mobile phones with Windows 10.

Update: Windows 10 Editions have been announced. Reserve your Free Upgrade to Windows 10. See this Windows 10 editions comparison chart for details.

7 Steps To Digitizing Your Business

Wednesday morning. On your desk – a slew of unsigned contracts, invoices, and paid leave requests towering above you like some makeshift mount Everest. Letting a deep sigh, you take a big sip of coffee and begrudgingly begin your day, wishing there was a better way to do your work. If you recognize yourself in this description, then it’s time to ditch the paperwork and digitize your office environment. But where do you even start?

Join us as we take a look at what it means to go paperless, what are the benefits of moving your file cabinets to the cloud, as well as several actionable steps to help you get there before yet another paper skyscraper has a chance to make your desk home.

In today’s polluted world, businesses are pretty much required to go green if they ever hope to get along with governments and appease their eco-conscious customer base. In the last decade or so, this led to the push to “go green”, with companies racing one another on coming up with innovative ways to optimize their work process and reduce carbon emissions. This trend, however, often seems to fly right past the typical office environment, where literal tons of paper is still being used every single year, especially in places like law or accounting firms.

This is where the idea of a paperless office comes into play. In simple words, a paperless workplace is one that uses digital technology, such as scanners, electronic invoicing platforms, and document management software, to reduce or completely eliminate the need for paper. One way of achieving this goal, for instance, is by converting traditional paper documents into digital formats, such as PDF or Word files, and storing them electronically so that they can be instantly recalled and modified if needed.

That being said, there are many benefits to storing all of your documentation digitally that go way beyond the environmental concerns. Let’s take a look at some of them now.

Going paperless is one of the best ways to make your business run like a luxury Swiss watch. Just take a look at the list below and see if you can agree with us by the end:

Improved mobility: Digital documents can be accessed from just about any device and location, allowing employees to work remotely or even on the go.

Bigger office space: With the heavy file cabinets and printer systems out of the way, you now have more than enough room for the things that truly matter.

Huge cost savings: A paperless office can save money by reducing the need for paper, ink, and other office supplies. Additionally, it can also save on costs associated with storing and maintaining physical documents.

Improved security: Digital documents can be password-protected and encrypted, providing an extra level of security for sensitive business information. By phasing out printers from your office, you’re also relieving hackers of an easy backdoor into your internal file servers.

Increased collaboration: Digital documents can be easily shared and collaborated on in real-time, making it easier for team members to work together on projects.

Environmental benefits: Going paperless can reduce the environmental impact of a business by reducing the need for paper and other resources, which is also why a paperless office is more sustainable in the long term.

Better compliance: Digital documents can be easily tracked, audited, and archived, making it easier for businesses to comply with legal and regulatory requirements.

Better customer service: Digital documents can be easily accessed and shared with customers, which can improve the speed and quality of customer service. You also save your clients more time and money, which in turn results in more reviews, referrals, and ultimately more work for your business.

Better disaster recovery: Digital documents can be easily backed up and stored off-site, making it easier to recover from a disaster such as a fire, flood, or earthquake.

And that’s just scratching the surface of why we need more paperless offices in our lives. However, as rewarding as creating a paperless office environment is, it won’t come easily, especially if you have to convince other people in your organization who have been used to dealing with paperwork for decades on end.

Once you’re adamant that all that paper needs to go, the next crucial step is to identify which are the most important and frequently used documents for your business. Common examples include contracts, invoices, and other types of legal documents, but this will mostly depend on the type of sector you operate in.

Once you’ve identified these documents, consider converting them into fully searchable PDFs as soon as possible so that they can be easily accessed and shared electronically. Of course, it goes without saying that in addition to making it a priority to digitize documents as soon as they come in, you should also slowly work on your backlog to reduce the paper trail to a minimum. But in order to do that, you would also need to…

Step #3: Invest in Software & Scanning Equipment

Invest in a high-quality scanner that can convert paper documents into digital formats. This will allow you to digitize your important documents and store them electronically.

The next big thing on the list is to find a good document management software to help you organize and manage your digital documents, as well as a well-rounded PDF editor which would allow you to edit the scanned documents in almost any way you can imagine.

Most PDF editor software also includes handy built-in tools, such as the ability to fill & sign documents digitally, compress them so that they take up less space, and convert them to other popular file formats, such as Microsoft Word or Excel.

If budget permits, consider also splurging for an e-signature service, which will facilitate business transactions by allowing employees and clients to sign documents digitally, as well as for an expense-tracking app to put a lid on unnecessary business expenses.

However, before going full-on digital and shredding all that paper, double-check with local legislation whether some of the documents are required to be in paper format for regulatory compliance purposes or if a cloud-based copy is enough.

Encourage employees to communicate electronically, rather than through paper documents. This can be achieved by using email, instant messaging, video conferencing software, or even a digital business card service, which would enable them to share their cards with clients via QR codes, text messages, or email signatures.

Another thing you can do is move to paperless statements. This could mean limiting incoming postal office mail, ditching paper invoices in favor of downloadable copies, and insisting that banks issue digital statements only.

Educating employees on new digital tools and processes, such as scanning, electronic signatures, and document management software, can often be a tall order. This is why you will also have to review your current policies and procedures and come up with written guidelines in order to smoothen out the paperless transition.

Once you’re done, make sure that your employees are aware of the changes and understand the benefits of going paperless. Here are a few ideas to get you started:

Remove all printers and copiers from the premises. As long as these devices are easily accessed, people will continue to use them. However, replacing these with centralized network printers in dedicated spots around the office, putting strong passwords in place, and limiting the allowed ink and toner purchases only to these approved devices will greatly reduce the paper trail.

Set goals for each department in your company. Come up with actionable and measurable ways for departments to transition to various electronic platforms and set up rewards to make the goals more desirable. Also, set some deadlines and realistic targets, for instance reducing paper trails by 30% by the same time next year.

Start digitizing files as soon as you can (and catalog them appropriately). Instead of playing catchup with your backlog, start scanning documents as soon as they come in to save time later on and make them searchable from the get-go by using a PDF editor supporting OCR (optical character recognition). You should also think of a logical file naming system, instead of simply dumping all PDFs into a single folder and calling it a day.

Take time to clearly explain the benefits of going paperless. If you help your employees realize just how much time and effort they could save if they made the switch, they would be much more likely to comply – after all, who wants to get home drained from work if there is a much better alternative just within arm’s reach?

Not all paper needs to disappear. When going paperless, you need to be flexible and keep in mind the needs of your employees. For instance, if someone is used to periodically printing out a keyboard shortcut cheat sheet or something similar which helps improve their productivity at the office, make sure that they still have a way to do this freely without violating the new ground rules you’ve just set.

Turning a cabinet-filled office into a paperless space is a massive undertaking as you will not only have to invest funds to prepare for the transition but also convince your entire staff that this is the right move for your business. And let’s not even talk about the fact that you’ll have to migrate everything to the cloud, which is a feat in and of itself.

Yet the hard work can definitely pay off as a paperless office can bring significant benefits to your business, such as improved efficiency, cost savings, better organization, and increased security. Additionally, the adoption of a paperless office routine can also contribute to more sustainable and responsible business practices, which is a win for everyone – you, your customers, and the environment we all share.

And when disaster eventually strikes, be it a flood, a fire, or malicious software, you will be able to quickly recover and hit the ground running since all of your important files will be backed up in the cloud.

Of course, none of this would be possible without you making the first move and showing everyone just how better everything will be in the office once you switch to the new system.

How Craigslist Is Killing Your Business

Back in 1995 Craig Newmark had a revolutionary idea. Why not use this new thing called the internet to launch an email distribution list? Inspired by friendly social sites like WELL, MindVox and Usene, Newman used his email list to inform people in the San Francisco Bay area about upcoming local events. Word of mouth quickly spread and the number of subscribers grew unexpectedly. Eventually, people began using the list for non-event postings. By 1996, chúng tôi went live.

Within its first 5 years, Craigslist expanded to 14 cities in North America. As more categories and cities were added, Newmark left his job as a software engineer to work at the site full-time. Today, Craigslist is in over 700 “cities” in 70 countries with over 50 billion page views per month, putting it in 37th place overall among web sites worldwide and 10th overall among web sites in the United States.

Throughout the years, people have found ridiculous bargains, employment, and a great way to get rid of items taking up space in their homes.

But, for all of its potential and good, is the site actually killing your business? Here’s how that may be the case.

Scams

The internet is no stranger to scams. It happens on a daily basis. For most of us, internet scams have become so frequent that we’re usually cautious when something sounds to good to be true. Unfortunately, when you visit a well-known site, you expect it to be scam-free. That’s not the case with Craigslist.

This type of scam can really damage your brand’s reputation. Instead of focusing on actual sales and improving you business, you could be forced to do damage control for months to repair your brand.

Lawsuits

Despite its appearance of being a “do-gooder” Craigslist has a nasty history of suing or issuing cease-and-desist letters to a number of startups. As noted on the New York Times technology blog in 2012, Craigslist “has dug an effective moat by cultivating an exaggerated image of ‘doing good’ that keeps its customers loyal, while behind the scenes, it bullies any rivals that come near and it stifles innovation”.

This means that any company wanting to improve on the Craigslist concept probably won’t have the opportunity. It seems that Newmark and company don’t want any competition. This doesn’t just harm innovating start-ups, it could also prevent future sales for your business.

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Image Credit: Samantha Marx

It’s no big secret that Craigslist has harmed local chúng tôi is because local newspapers have lost about $5 billion dollars in potential revenue from classifieds, according to a study in August 2013. Since newspapers can’t compete with the free postings on Craigslist, there was a 20 percent drop in ad rates. There are two reasons why this could be detrimental to your business.

In many cities, Craigslist doesn’t allow you to customize an ad that uses third-party HTML tags in listings. This means your ad will no longer stand out because it won’t have have brand recognition (no logos, for example), instead showing only low resolution images.

Why Buy Something New?

Yes, there has always been a way for people to save money by purchasing a used product. However, the popularity of Craigslist has made it much easier. Users have been able to find  all sorts of items and services via Craigslist for years. They don’t have to go anywhere else to find an apartment, new kitchen table, working grill, or whatever else they may want or need. With an almost endless supply of listings, why purchase something new?

Obviously, Craigslist hasn’t closed the doors on every shop on ‘Main Street’, but it’s helped create a new type of economy: one where trades, barters, and selling used items to bargain hunters are the norm. This must have had an impact on local businesses who were profiting from good American throw-away mentality. It’s a brave new world of reselling, and that could weaken your sales.

Are there any other reasons that you can think of on how Craigslist is killing you business? If so, tell us how! Or, have you found Craigslist has helped your business?

Featured Image Credit: Wikipedia

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