Maybe it came to you in the middle of the night, or while you were waiting in line at the DMV, or the moment you looked into your new baby’s eyes for the first time. You never know when, or where, that fantastic new business idea will just pop into your imagination. But pop it did and you grabbed it, studied it, nurtured it, sweated blood for it and, finally, launched it.
But you soon learn, like all new business entrepreneurs, that the key to staying in business long enough to establish a client base and, thus, enduring long enough to thrive, is cutting costs. You have to be brutal in weighing every single expenditure of that all-important start up capital and stretch it to the outer limits of expediency.
One of the most basic ways to do that, these days, is to cut back on paper as a data storage mechanism as much as you possibly can. Words, graphs, tables and figures on pieces of paper are information that is not part of your new company’s information database – and they definitely should be.
The Paperless Office
Why is it so important for every business owner to get important data off paper and into a computer database as quickly and efficiently as possible? Because that’s the only way you can be sure that the data is safe and instantly available for all facets of your business network.
You can start your paperless office journey by gathering together every piece of paper floating around headquarters and consulting with a data-capture and imaging professional, like ILM Corporation, to determine the best methods and formats for scanning and storing the data contained on that paper digitally.
This might seem like a big expense, especially for a new business that’s trying so hard to be frugal in the nascent stages of its existence. But there are good solid reasons why you need to countenance this expense.
1. Lowering Document Storage Costs
Let’s do a little math: a ream of paper, i.e. 500 individual sheets, weighs 5 pounds. Each one of those sheets can contain about 3,000 characters. A single-byte character set (SBCS) in a line of typical computer code contains 256 characters. So a sheet of paper could hold just about 12 lines of code, if you used both sides, 24 lines.
A typical app, like, say, on your smartphone has about 50-to-100, 000 lines of code. So if you wanted to store that code, for that one app, on paper, it would require 3,125 pieces of paper, or a little over 6 reams, which would weigh about 30 pounds and would probably fill two or three drawers in a typical filing cabinet. And remember, this is for only one app. The average smartphone contains about 75 apps and it would take 2,225 pounds of paper, over a ton, to hold all of the lines of code used to implement those apps on your smartphone.
The bottom-line here, obviously, is that paper is no longer anywhere near efficient enough to be an active storage medium for a growing, new business. If you are storing tons of paper in file drawers, you’re not going to be able to compete in today’s free markets.
2. Improving Office Work Flows
Data is useless unless everyone in your company can easily and efficiently access it, 24-hours per day, and then share that data across all platforms just as easily and efficiently. That’s the way the sales staff can inform the research and development team about which new products are selling the most and where people are using them.
From that sort of shared information comes the kind of innovation to which we’ve all become accustomed. And that sort of innovation can only happen if there is digital access to every bit of information your company has, shared by every employee in all departments.
3. Disaster Recovery
It is currently the hurricane season for the Southeast United States and Hurricane Florence is threatening the coastal areas of the Carolinas. The storm surge predictions are as high as 13-feet and rainfall should hit about 40-inches.
If your company’s headquarters are located anywhere along the potential path of this hurricane, there is a high likelihood that your offices could be disastrously flooded. If any of your crucial records, particularly tax and SEC statements (if you are a publicly-traded company) are not protected by digital storage, in separated, remote locations, your company’s very existence could be in jeopardy.
Just the physical recovery of your office space and furniture will be more than enough to deal with after Florence, but the comfort of knowing that your crucial data is safe will make recovery so much easier and less stressful.