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When it comes to the environment we all want to do our part as entrepreneurs and startups to reduce waste, one aspect is to go paperless. Here are some of the issues:

  • Hardware: Scanner
  • Hardware: Storage
  • Hardware: Shredder
  • Software: Paperless Office Software
  • Software: Productivity Tools
  • Analog tools: Paper Organizers for when you HAVE to have real paper.

So here are the sequential steps to go paperless:

  1. Analog and Digital Analysis. Here is where you need to look at your business processes and see what analog processes can be digitized. See page 201 of my book How to Start a Business: Mac Version for a more detailed analysis.
  2. Digital Workflow. Here is where you purposely use software that will do things digitally, such as signing contracts online, see the next section to understand some of these solutions.
  3. Never Print, Print to PDF. The first part of going paperless is never print anything out, unless you have to. In this case, send a Print > Print to PDF (lower left hand corner button) and send the document as a PDF to someone if all they need is a copy of a document, not something which needs to be edited and collaborated on.
  4. Save Online Web Receipts as PDFs. Under the Print to PDF menu button you choose to send a PDF to a previously set up folder, such as a default one called “Web Receipts” (Or, make a new PDF folder somewhere and then Print > Print to PDF > Edit Menu to edit the menu and add your new folder to the list).
  5. Request Digital Copies/Bills. Nowadays, most companies want to be green so they’re asking us if they can send us bills and other documents as digital version of the paper ones.
  6. Scan to Mac. If you do get paper documents, have a scanner scan them as PDFs onto your Mac.
  7. Outsource. You can outsource some of your paper documents, such as tax information and receipts to CPA firms, that will create digital files of your papers for you.
  8. Go to the Cloud. Having digital files off site, upload to a backup directory on your web site, or sent to Google Mail as a “backup” in case of the need to access them.
  9. Archive your digital files. This is a huge aspect of going paperless, since you may NOT have the paper versions of your documents, and I would recommend you DO have critical documents in paper form, preferably wrapped in plastic (to prevent water damage), and in a fireproof container.

Here is a list of potential products and processes that will help you clean out your wastepaper basket.

  • Mariner Paperless software ($50) – digital document filing system.
  • iDocument ($50) – for going paperless.
  • Evernote (Free + Premium) – captures just about anything digitally.
  • DEVONthink ($150) – captures more than just papers and can be used with ScanSnap scanners below.
  • PDFpen ($60) – is Mac software that allows for annotating PDFs.
  • Yojimbo ($100) – a digital organizer.
  • FormulatePro software – allows you to annotate PDFs by being able to sign contracts, etc.
  • Docusign – can be used by an iPhone or iPad
  • Scanners – see any number of Mac hardware scanners (preferably ADF, Automatic Document Feeder capable) that scan documents into PDF.
  • Fijitsu ScanSnap scanners – check out these small business scanners for offices that require more digital document volume.

Here’s some reviews or links of others ways of going paperless using a Mac:

There you have it, what are your thoughts about going paperless? Do you have any solutions that you like?

 

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