paperlessTechnology doesn’t always advance at the pace everyone thinks it should. It’s past the year 2000, so clearly everyone should all think that flying cars and spending a weekend relaxing on the moon are pedestrian, boring pastimes by now. That’s obviously not true, and part of why it isn’t true is due to lack of technological advancement and part of it is due to a culture that doesn’t change as quickly as it could. When you look at all the amazing things that have become a part everyone’s daily technological lives, like tablet computers that make mobile point of sale systems possible, you’d think that business should obviously be beyond the need for paper now. Nothing could be further from the truth. Contrary to popular belief, the paperless office isn’t really here and it won’t be until society makes a major shift in the future. That might be something to look for in the future, but for now, business owners should consider the reasons why there isn’t a totally paperless existence around the office.

Businesses Need a Paper Trail for Expenses

Before everyone can adopt a paperless way of life, everyone else has to adopt a truly paperless way of life. Some things make that harder than others. For example, a lot of businesses still demand a paper trail for business expenses and reimbursement requests. The party might have been funded through the company, but without a receipt that shows everything, the employee might not be able to get their money back. This is tough, and means that someone who might want to go paperless can’t. Rather than bemoan accountants, however, it’s better to just suck it up and get a small thermal printer, like those offered by Shopify, so you can get those documents and receipts out fast. Thermal printers are well known for their high printing speed and reliablity, according to Street Directory. This means that when you’re having to copy out official forms for a purchase that will be a business expense, you can get it in a few seconds, enabling this customer to be on their way so you can serve the people waiting behind them.

Older Customers Hang On

Businesses aren’t the only ones who have a hard time letting go. You can only teach an old dog so many new tricks, and many customers don’t want to let go of how they keep track of their money. Yes, there are tons of great online budgeting tools available, but that doesn’t really mean that anyone wants to use them. If they’ve always kept track of their money this way then that’s how they’re going to want to keep doing it, and the older demographic still carries a lot of spending power. You can’t afford to alienate customers because it would be easier if they’d just get a receipt emailed to them like everyone else, or trusted the bank to itemize their expenditures on their statements. Just give them their receipts and enjoy their repeat business instead.

Flexibility Is a Requirement of Customer Confidence

You have to always be looking ahead in your business practices to gauge and predict what consumers might want and need. An iPad stand that flips so that customers and employees can share it is now considered a business essential for a mobile point of sale system, according to Entrepreneur. Five years ago, that wasn’t even a concept. However, just because you’re adopting new methods doesn’t mean that you should completely pitch the old. Being able to do the same thing multiple ways is how to be flexible; the result you want is a happy customer with receipt in hand, and if that means you have to offer two ways of getting it done, then you simply have to. Keeping up with the Joneses of business sometimes means making that sacrifice.

Keep Better Track of Your Inventory

Inventory management is a major playing in how a company sinks or swims. Food Service Warehouse lists saving time as more important than saving money in a day to day situation, which is why they advocate for the use of a mobile point of sale system that allows customers to be served wherever they are in the store. Saving time and saving space are the two most important factors in staying organized, and a printer will help you do this by keeping track of what has really been sold. Anything that doesn’t have a record of being printed out as a receipt is a loss of inventory due to shrinkage, breakage, or simple in-house theft. You might think that you have the most perfect employees in the world, but unfortunately, that’s not something that you can take entirely on trust. There are days when you simply have to make sure that everything is as it should be. Besides, any opportunity you have to analyze your sales data is a good thing; you might find a new market you’ve been catering to without realizing it.

{ 0 comments }

Lordie, it’s 12:30 in the afternoon and I’ve not scribbled a word. Have I arrived at end-stage laziness?

Arose late this morning — quarter to six. Shot out the door to meet a colleague and fly across the city to this week’s bidness group meeting.

I’d thought I wouldn’t be there to chair the get-together this morning, because I imagined I was supposed to be surged yesterday, not last Monday. Today I’m not only still kickin’, I’m full of ginger.

Fortunately, I’d foisted the chair’s job on one of the other members, a person who should’ve been a teacher because of her born fluency with human relationships (if only she didn’t have designs on a living wage). We were out of a speaker today, and so she decided each of us would do a mini-presentation about our businesses.

She posed the following questions:

Everyone should be prepared to talk about their first year in business or the current job you are sporting. It would be interesting to hear

1.  What made you choose this business?
2.  What made you choose the business name?
3.  Were the start-up costs what you expected?
4.  What were the pitfalls that you could pass on to another who would be starting a business?
5.  What were some of the first marketing ideas that you tried?

Wow! It was a freaking stroke of genius!

Of the twelve breakfast-group members present, a half-dozen got through this assignment. And it was extremely interesting. As we all sat there listening to the various entrepreneurs’ stories, several of us thought, as by mental telepathy, Holee mackerel! We have GOT something here!

We think we could do an e-book — preferably with a print-on-demand analog — telling the start-up stories of these twelve businesses. And we think it would sell.

At the very least, it would be interesting locally. Some of these folks represent some very prominent Arizona companies. But I think such a book would interest anyone who was interested in starting a business or in launching into a commission-only (or mostly commission-based) entrepreneurial job with a larger company.

Next week, we have a bank manager as a guest speaker. But the following week, the rest of us will tell our stories.

So, whaddaya think?

Would you be interested in reading a short book relating the start-up stories of successful small-business entrepreneurs, complete with advice on what to do and what not to do?

{ 2 comments }

w00t! Medicare to the Rescue!

October 29, 2014

Damn, but getting old has its perks! Check out this statement from the august Mayo Clinic’s billing department: Previous Balance: $12,192.40 New Charges: $10,198.49 Payments/Adjustments: $21,645.40 Current Account Balance: $745.49 Insurance Claims Pending: $347.17 Personal Amount Due: $398.32 Medicare has covered the bulk of that, with Medigap coverage from Government Personnel Management picking up the […]

Read the full article →

House Paint: Is Eye-Searing White the New HOA Beige?

October 28, 2014

We’re told, by a publicity-seeking local developer, that the new style in renovations and infill is bright colors. Have you seen that in your part of the country? In fact, the latest fad among that set seems to be blinding white paint, so brilliant white it almost hurts your eyes to look at it. Three […]

Read the full article →

Surprise Surgery!

October 27, 2014

Heh. I’ve been going along all this time — the past several weeks — thinking the next installment in the interminable series of surgeries was slated for the 29th: next Wednesday. Come Saturday, my son informed me that no, that was wrong: the actual day was the 27th. Called over to the Mayo and found […]

Read the full article →

Wine: In Search of Lower Alcohol Content

October 24, 2014

Did you realize that wine makers, especially in the US, have been quietly upping the alcohol content in some of our favorite potables?  According to the Canadians, who screen incoming alcoholic products, the worst offenders are Chile, Argentina, and the United States, but vintners in all countries do it to some degree. The theory is […]

Read the full article →