If the pandemic and the recent alarming effects of global warming haven’t made it clear yet, human activities are the main cause of our environmental degradation. So a logical response is to limit our impact as much as we can. We are still taking things one step at a time, implementing simple changes that will have some positive impact on their overall footprint, and the business industry has a big role to play here, simply by reducing the usage of paper.
Did you know that…
- Producing 1 kilo (2.3 lbs.) of paper requires 2-3 times its weight in trees. If everyone used 200 kilos (441 lbs.) of paper per year there would be no trees left.
- It takes 10 liters (2.6 gallons) of water to produce a single A4 sheet of paper.
- The pulp and paper industry is the single largest industrial consumer of water in Western countries.
- 55% of the global paper supply comes from newly cut trees.
Appeal to Green Customers and Potential Customers
For small businesses nowadays, we are seeing a trend of companies making sustainability a priority for their business not just internally, but to also appeal to the increasing number of sustainable customers.
If more and more customers are demanding sustainable practices for themselves, they would also expect the businesses they support to adopt sustainable business practices as well. Yes, customers today are demanding sustainability as part of their overall expectations of their local businesses.
A study from Unilever has shown that a third of consumers actively choose to buy from brands that they believe have good social or environmental contributions. Another study revealed that 84% of consumers look for responsible products “whenever possible.”
In short, sustainability doesn’t just mean being kind to the planet - sustainability is priority for businesses whose customers hold these values. Consumers have increasingly higher expectations this time, while they also have more resources (the internet) at their disposal to check up your business and make a judgment as to whether you also uphold those standards.
Why are businesses going paperless?
Resource efficiency is considered top priority among small businesses with established sustainability measures. You’d be surprised to know that not only going paperless helps the environment, but it also will save you so much time, money and effort. It really is a win-win situation. No, make it triple wins for the customers you make happy for your green efforts.
Going paperless represents one way that your business can be more efficient with your resources. By “paperless,” we mean that all documentation, files and records go into a digital format. A cornerstone of paperless business environments is the use of cloud-based solutions.
Let’s take a look at more benefits of going paperless, and the sorts of cloud-based solutions that can help your business, shall we?
Better accessibility. When files are stored digitally on a cloud, you don’t have to be physically present in your shop to access them. This can help teams access data remotely and it also makes sharing and collaboration across distances possible and hassle-free as long as you are connected to the internet. Better security. Backed with good regulations and protocols in your workplace, you are assured that your documents are more secured in the cloud than physically in your office. Digital documents are encrypted so it’s much more difficult for unauthorized access. On another note, storage provided by the cloud ensures documents safety from the possibility of being ruined in uncalled for disasters like fire or flood.
Time savings. Say goodbye to the huge, bulky filing cabinets filled with loads of paper you have in your office. All of this takes time and not to mention that there are always cases of paperwork going missing! With digital files, you don’t lose pieces of paper, or require time consuming filing and retrieving. All it takes is a few clicks on a PC, and you have data from 5 years ago.
Cost savings. Going paperless significantly cuts the costs of paper, ink, toner, storage space and postage. Think about how many times paper and ink end up wasted when the wrong document is printed, the printer chews the paper, or documents go missing and are reprinted. Going paperless really saves you a lot of time and money.
Space savings. Back to those huge, bulky filing cabinets - how much space do they take up? Digital files take up no physical space at all.
How do cloud-based solutions work?
“The Cloud” refers to a network of servers which store data on the internet. Instead of relying on the hard drive of your computer or piles and piles of documents in your office drawers, you leave it up to the internet to keep them secure. This way, you never lose data. There are so many cases of important business data disappearing in thin air never to be retrieved, when a computer malfunctions or when a piece of document is misplaced, burned or soaked in water.
Cloud allows you to give access to anyone else who needs to be able to view and/or edit documentation too, meaning they can do so from anywhere.
Here are some cloud-based solutions you can use for your business:
First, a POS makes information transmission and retrieval easier. For example, if you’re looking for a particular receipt, you can look it up on your Back Office instead of digging through piles of paper files. You can also say goodbye to long spreadsheets, clipboards and paper clutter since everything is recorded on the cloud, ready to be accessed and assessed anytime, anywhere for your important decision makings.
Need to monitor your employee attendance? Digital solutions for clock-ins and clock-outs will make you and your staff accurately keep track of working hours.
Digitizing your business processes also has several benefits for your customers. Instead of filling their wallets and tiny purses with paper receipts, you can send them out via email, SMS, or Messenger chats, where customers can access and see them with just a click.
Learn more about the many ways a POS can help you go completely paperless: Going Paperless with A POS
Instead of buying software and installing it on your computer, you pay for a subscription to 365 which allows you to access all of the Office products thru the cloud. This includes their own storage solution, “OneDrive.” With this, you longer take up a huge amount of hard drive space, you can share with others quickly and easily, and you can safely store files in the cloud. You are also guaranteed to always have the most up-to-date version, because updates happen automatically.
Google Cloud Platforms
This is one of the best and most reliable cloud-based solutions for your business. You can use Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides with Google Drive, or other cloud storage providers, like Box, Dropbox, or Egnyte. This feature enables you and your team to work on a single file together and access it from anywhere as long as your device is connected to the internet.
Google documents, spreadsheets, and presentations are stored securely in their cloud storage providers. All you need is a google account to make and access all files stored using the google platform.
Cloud-based online accounting services work in any modern browser. Compared with local services, when all operations take place on your computer, cloud solutions store, and process data on a server on the Internet, they are also often called cloud-based services.
Online accounting services are widely used by private entrepreneurs, small and medium-sized businesses, as they save time and money because now you do not need to hire an accountant and pay him a salary.
Here are some accounting softwares you might want to check out for your business: Best Accounting Softwares for SME's
Calendars are important parts of our daily lives. Why not make it mobile? Digital Calendars can be accessed from just about any mobile device you carry such as phones and laptops, making it more convenient than the traditional day planners. Another advantage of online calendars is the ability to schedule meetings and appointments from anywhere. For example, if you are in a meeting, you can set up the next one using the online calendar right on your phone. You can also set up reminders on your phone or block time in your day to prevent you from missing important ones.
There is a large group of consumers who expect businesses to practice sustainable practices, so going green makes a lot of sense from a business perspective as well. More companies are prioritising sustainability, as concerns around responsible business practices and lessening environmental impact are increasingly becoming more normalized.
With cloud-based technologies, printing and paper use become unnecessary. With theuse of internet now relatively pervasive, it just makes sense to take advantage of the capacity to access data from anywhere.
Edited by Chooli