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How To Create A Document Management System For Your Small Business

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The year has just started. But how many times this year have you looked for a file only to realize that it’s nowhere to be found? If paper-based document management is still a thing in your company, chances are, you’ve probably lost a few files this year.

Numbers show that 7.5% of all company documents are permanently lost. So instead of wasting time looking for a file that’s nowhere to be found, or worse – paying someone to manually create the same document over and over again because it no longer exists – consider creating a doc management system for your small business.

What is a Document Management System?

A document management system is an automated process that allows you to create, share, organize and store all your company documents.

How do you define a document? Documents are anything created by an application in electronic format, including text documents, spreadsheets, presentations, video files, and photos. Basically, if it’s stored on your hard drive, it’s a document.

How do you define ‘document management system?’ It’s the process in which information is created, shared, organized, and stored in an efficient and appropriate manner. Simply put, document management systems are the software that helps us organize our files properly.

Why is Managing Documents So Important

All of that brings us to the central question – why is having a system in place so important? For starters, to stay afloat, your business needs money, especially if you’re just starting. Lack of proper document management could cost you. A lot, actually.

An unbelievable amount of time is wasted on sending, receiving, handling, and signing documents. Even more time is spent looking for documents. An average employee spends at least 25% of their work time searching different documents.

Some stats suggest that the number is even higher.

All of that wasted time translates to lost money. Research indicates that poor document management costs companies over $20,000 per employee, every year.

But there are even bigger problems. We all know how important it is to keep customers happy. No one likes waiting, especially if it’s for a lengthy amount of time.

Let’s say you just developed a brand new pricing plan and you sent it out to your clients for their approval. Every day that goes by, and they don’t sign it means lost money.

What if the file gets lost in the process? What if a mistake in a word document you sent them throws off their entire business and they miss out on a lucrative deal because of it? That’s how much poor document management can cost your small business.

How to Establish a Document Management System

Your work is going to be easier with the right organization system for your small business, but where do you start? Let’s take a look at some effective systems that you can put together today:

1) Make Your Own Quality Checklist

First thing first – make sure there is someone making final checks on all documents before sending them out to customers or clients. The person who creates these documents will know exactly how important it is not to lose these documents.

2) Have a Right Set of Tools to Help You

You need to make a checklist of tools you can’t do without. For instance, Evernote, GoogleDocs, Dropbox are some of the best tools to get the job done. But make sure you have proper document management software in place too. Moreover, if you deal with legal issues, you need to have a tool like Draftable, that allows you to compare contracts and policies. With great power comes great responsibility. So it’s important not to miss out on any of these free tools that are available online for your convenience.

3) Share Documents You Need to Collaborate On

There are times when many people need to work on the same document together. The ideal situation is having everyone working on one document at the very same time rather than sending out copies that have to be manually entered into once they are returned by your partner or client. For example, consider setting up Google Docs or Microsoft Office Live Workspace if you are using either of these two programs.

4) Use a Digital Document Management System

The last step you can consider is installing a digital document management system as the ultimate solution to all your problems. Having a professional DMS for your small business will allow you to organize, store and retrieve all those important files from anywhere around the world, at any time you want it. Plus, your backup process will be easier since everything important is saved in one place! This way you take care of all those valuable documents that are essential to the success of your company – without spending valuable hours looking for them or losing anything valuable in the process!

5) Don’t Forget About Good Security

Organizing and managing your documents is a great start. The next step is protecting them from loss, damage, or theft. It is important to create strong passwords for various logins that you have set up under different user profiles. Also, make sure that the data you save on your computer has been backed up in case of a crash so it’s not lost forever with one wrong click. What are some of the safety systems you can have in place?

In Conclusion

Document management is one of those aspects of a company organization that may not be exciting but its importance cannot be overstated. Here’s what you need to keep in mind about a document management system:

● It should be easy to use It should make the task of finding documents easier
● Your team should be able to collaborate flawlessly on document files
● The process should be backed up by reliable security measures

Make sure there’s someone checking documents before distributing them out; save files where you can easily find them; collaborate on shared documents; use software

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