Every year, offices in the United States use 12.1 trillion sheets of paper.
This means that whether you are a big corporation or a small business, effective document management is crucial to success.
Lack of document management can be the nail in the coffin for small businesses. It can result in the loss or leaking of sensitive information. It can also mean that you spend unnecessary hours every week searching for documents.
For any business, time is money. That’s why effective document management is so important.
Here are five tips for effectively managing document flow in your small business. Following these tips is sure to make your work easier and more secure.
1. Online or Offline?
Do most of your documents live online or offline? For most businesses, the answer is generally both. It’s normal to have some of each, but make sure there’s a method to the madness.
If most of your documents are in paper form, consider where you are storing them. Do you have space on-site or do you need to rent a separate unit? There are many companies that will securely store your documents for you.
But if you can move them online, it might save you space and money. Online storage has recently become much easier due to cloud software. As an added bonus, you can access your documents from anywhere and from any device.
Either way, you need to be regularly clearing out unneeded items. It’s good to do this every six months, but don’t let more than a year go by.
2. Standardize Naming and Formatting
All your files should follow standardized rules for naming and formatting.
For example, maybe all of your employee files follow the format “Name, Date of Hire, Department.” If all of your files follow the same formatting, you’ll know exactly what’s in a file before you open it.
Document automation can also streamline your way to success. It will help keep you from having to create the same type of document from scratch over and over again. Talk about a major timesaver!
3. Create Layers of Storage
Layers are a huge time saver and are easy on the eyes. This is true of both online and offline storage.
Each folder can have many subfolders. That way, when you’re looking for something, you know exactly where it is nested.
4. Protect the Castle
Proper security is necessary. For your documents that contain sensitive information, especially employee files, there is no other option. A leak of that information could spell the end of your business!
Either contract with a secure storage facility or make sure your online store is protected. This means effective firewalls and password protections.
Remember, access can be hierarchical. Not all of your employees need access to all of your documents.
5. Communicate with Your Staff About Document Management
Your new system won’t work if you are the only one implementing it.
Communicate the document management plan with your staff so that everyone is working with the same system. This will create less confusion and more synchronization in the long haul.
Document Management Is Key to Success
For small businesses, effective document management is crucial to success.
These five steps will help you develop a plan and start strategizing effective document management now!
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