Creating a Paperless Office

When working from home, it is usual to find that you have your office in an area that is not very big, such as a box room or even in the corner of the kitchen. When your business really takes off, you will begin to discover that your work area starts to get swamped by paperwork and that you are running out of storage space.

An excellent solution to this is to aim towards having a paperless office. Obviously, certain documents must be kept for legal and tax purposes, but take a look around you and ask yourself, "Just how much of this paper do I need to keep?"

The first task is to go through your paperwork and decide what is for the bin. Base your decision on whether you are ever going to need that document again. This is slightly different to documents you know you will never READ again, because most businesses are required by law to retain certain paperwork for official purposes, for example, certain receipts and leasing agreements.

Secondly, decide what you want to be able to access in future but don't require the information to be on paper. This is the main group of documents that are heading towards your scanner. Items in this category would include letters between you and your customers, brochures, price lists, business cards, etc.

Your third task is to seperate all official, legal, tax, etc documents you must keep. Basically, you should consider if these documents are possibly going to be required by a lawyer, tax inspector, customs officer or the police. If you are not sure then it is better to err on the side of caution and keep it.

EQUIPMENT NEEDED

On the assumption that you already own a computer, what other equipment are you going to need?

Proper filing boxes for the "keeps". Office supply stores stock a wide variety of storage options. Label your boxes and files properly so that you can access information held in them easily. You could also consider asking your lawyer, accountant or bank to store the more important items for you. This is a good option for the very important documents, but you may be charged for the service.

A scanner. Scanners are relatively cheap and are much cheaper and smaller than a filing cabinet. Systematically work your way through your files and scan the items in the second category. REMEMBER TO BACKUP ALL YOUR SCANS! Most recent computers will have a CD-Writer. They are a cheap and quick way to make a permanent, digital record of your files. As with your filing boxes, clearly mark your CD with a guide to the information it contains.

A paper shredder. AFTER YOU HAVE MADE BACKUP COPIES of the redundant paperwork, shred all your unwanted paperwork to keep it away from prying eyes. You can use the shreddings on a compost heap, if you have one. They are excellent to mix in with grass cuttings!

Allan Cowley is a Life Coach working with clients throughout the world. He provides online coaching in self improvement, goal setting, time management and small business development. For a free online life assessment with no obligations, you can contact Allan on his website at:- http://www.uk-success-coach.co m/contact-online-life-coach.html

In The News:

Small Business Struggles  NBC4 Washington

Setting Prices - Pricing Your Consulting Services

THE PSYCHOLOGY OF PRICINGIn case you hadn't noticed, people can... Read More

The Business Failed, But Did You?

Q: After years of dreaming about starting my own business,... Read More

Cashing In Your Chips & Pastures New

No, I'm not talking about gambling or dairy cows ?... Read More

Franchising 101- What You Absolutely Need to Know

Franchising has made the world look really small. The well... Read More

Environmental Boat Washing and Detailing

Some marine biologists feel that the concentration of dead marine... Read More

Family Business and Conflicts

What is a Family Business? A family business is basically... Read More

11 Things Small Business Owners Can Learn From Tiger

1. There Are No "gimmes" ? They count two-foot putts... Read More

More Business Card Uses

Why would you use an event pass?Event passes are often... Read More

Why Does a Business Fail and What Can You Do to Stop It?

I believe the number one reason why a business will... Read More

Franchising Pros and Cons

Last week's question from Anthony R. on how to choose... Read More

Share Ad Expenses to Boost Profits

The challenges of the small business owner are well documented.... Read More

Batting Cages Business - Making Profits With The Swing Of A Bat

There is a Batting Cages Business for those people who... Read More

The Key to a Successful Business

Where would a business be without a business plan? A... Read More

When to Say NO!

When is it a good thing to say no to... Read More

Creative Metrification - A Technique to Improve

Some things in business are relatively easy to measure ?... Read More

Beating the Small Business Cash Flow Blues

Small business owners can relieve a lot of their own... Read More

Obtain Maximum Results For Your Small Business Through Better Time Management

Most small business owners are faced with so many responsibilities... Read More

Franchises: How to Find the Best Franchise Opportunity for You

If you are looking for a franchise opportunity, the choice... Read More

Outsourcing and Virtual Assistants: Small Business Saviors

Work smarter, not harderWhat is one of the best ways... Read More

Expanding A Mobile Car Wash Business

What is the best time to expand a mobile car... Read More

Drivng Home the Point - An Outsourcing Story in China

A few years ago, I visited Beijing for the first... Read More

Franchise Rule to be Revised; Why?

The FTC, Federal Trade Commission, is considering modifying the franchise... Read More

Pressure Washing Aircraft Hangers at the Airport

If you are looking for a way to own your... Read More

Dont Let Your Small Business Fall in the FDCPA Trap

When someone owes your small business money, you certainly feel... Read More

Top 10 Lessons for Small Business Success - As learned From My Twin 3 Year Olds

Small business success is very similar to learning to walk,... Read More