Shred the Paper and Set Up An Efficient File Management System

As the year begins, it brings the task of setting up and organizing your paperwork and filing-boxing up last year’s records and creating the space for your new files and finding room for storage of the old records. With advances in technologies, we hear more and more about electronic records management and the cloud. Even though many feel much more comfortable with paper files and being able to physically retrieve the information they are looking for, this task is time-consuming and uses a lot of resources. As electronic technologies become more sophisticated, intuitive and user-friendly, many companies are realizing there can be real cost savings in office supplies and productivity by transitioning to an electronic file management system. As baby boomers prepare to retire and a more tech-savvy generation enters the workforce, the timing would seem right to shift from paper to electronic records. This generation having grown up with computers may make developing records uniformity and staff training easier than it has ever been.

So what can you do to prepare for the transition? Use your paper filing system as a model for setting up your electronic records management. For example, if you have a hanging file named “Finances” and folders labeled “ABC Checking”, “ECU Savings”, etc. then set up folders under “My Documents” with those same labels. For easier retrieval, you may label the folder with the date for example “2013-01 ABC Statement”. Follow this procedure until you have set up your system. Remember to keep it simple and follow a pattern with which you are familiar.

The next step should be to set up your vendor accounts so that you can receive your statements, bills and invoices electronically. Then sign up to use the bill pay feature on your bank’s website and use it to pay your vendors or pay them electronically on their websites and save an electronic copy of your receipt. Ask your bank about setting up your account to receive electronic payments also. Whatever you can do to reduce the amount of paper you receive the better.

Yes, your email box may be full; however, this problem is easy to solve. First, ensure your email is set up to trash all junk emails, set up a folder system to aid you in your records management and then establish a consistent schedule for processing your email. Process your email the same way you do the paper mail: is it ready to file as is? Does it need to be added to your to do list? Save copies of invoices, statements or documents to the designated folder in your system. Once you have saved a copy, you can discard that email.

One of the most important obligations you have in transitioning to an electronic file system is ensuring that you have a consistent and reliable back up protocol in place. You can imagine the stress that losing all of your data would cause so be proactive. Copy your files to an external hard drive or flash drive and keep it at a different location than your computer systems.

Once you learn how to effectively use your electronic filing system, you will be pleased with the prospect of smaller paper stacks and fewer file cabinets using your valuable real estate. Happy filing!

3 Steps to Achieve the Best Credit Card Processing Sales Calls

Do you want to be the credit card processor for more merchants? These three steps will help you close more deals and have the best credit card processing sales calls of your career.

Know Your Prospect
The first step to any successful sales call is preparation. To be able to sell your prospect, you have to understand what they want, what they need and what buttons to push.

Take a look at your competitors. In what ways are other credit card processors failing various merchant segments in your area? Maybe there’s an underwriting requirement that’s specific to one merchant type and is rather restrictive. What’s the outlook for that specific type of business and what kind of POS system will best meet their needs? Discover the wants and needs of your prospect in advance, and you’ll set yourself up for success.

Speak Their Language
There are general terms you’ll need to use with all merchants, but you still need to tailor your pitch to each specific client. Think about it: you wouldn’t want to use the same communication style in a high-end jewelry store that you would use in a convenience store.

Also, now is the time to apply the research you did about your prospect. What parts of your standard pitch fit your audience? If you find any gaps, you’ll need to customize the pitch a bit more.

Different industries face different challenges, and great solutions in one context can be useless in others. A touchscreen POS may be perfect for a restaurant, but would be cumbersome and inappropriate for a landscaping company.

Make sure you present solutions that best fit the needs of your prospects and pitch your services in a way that best fits their industry. That’s the essence of good salesmanship.

Dress the Part
Lastly, make sure you’re dressed appropriately. This means more than just looking professional; it means adjusting your attire to fit your prospect.

If you’re heading to a doctor’s office, wear a suit. If you’re pitching a casual restaurant, turn it down a notch and just wear a nice shirt and slacks. In some instances, a polo shirt might be appropriate.

These steps may sound difficult, but they’re really not. Pick your target, do some research (and with the Internet, you can knock this out quickly), and then dress for success. It’s not hard; it just takes a little time.

If you need some motivation, remember that your preparation is as important as the call itself. If you go into a call unprepared, your prospect will recognize it. And who wants to do business with someone who hasn’t done his or her homework?

Copyright @2012 Small Business Ideas.