Ultracutebot’s Tips to Modernize a Small Business
Hi. I’ve been a legal secretary/paralegal for over four years and have had so many ideas to help streamline the day to day operation of small offices some of which have been implemented and others which have been completely ignored. So I figured I’d share my ideas with you, my awesome readers!
There are two really great tools for printing postage that are affordable and make your office mail look more professional without having to get an expensive postage meter: Stamps.com and Dymo postage.
Stamps.com is a fantastic service that enables you to print postage with any laser or inkjet printer. They offer a promotion available to new customers that includes a free trial of the service, $5.00 of free postage, free shipping labels and a free digital 5 lbs scale. After the trial period, the default rate per month is $15.99, but what they don’t list on the website is that there is a basic plan that is less than $10 per month (I don’t remember the exact rate, but it’s somewhere between $7.99 and $9.99 per month) that is still rather useful if your postage needs aren’t complex. You can print directly to various commonly used sizes of envelopes like #10 etc. You can also print postage on regular printer paper. Also, this service is great because if you send a lot of stuff via USPS Priority Mail or USPS Express Mail, delivery confirmation is included with your purchase of postage which is normally an extra fee of $0.70-0.80 at the post office and $0.19 electronic via USPS.com.
Dymo Postage seems like another great postage solution. To be truthful, I have not personally tried this service but from what I have read it seems like a great, versatile office tool. If you purchase a Dymo Labelwriter 450 Turbo, Twin Turbo or Duo printer (retail prices $139.99, $209.99 and $219.99 respectively) you can sign up for Dymo Postage for free without monthly fees. The great thing about these label printers is that you can use them not only for printing professional looking postage but also various types of labels to keep your office organized.
Paperless File Management & Printing to PDF
You don’t need to spend $400 on Adobe Acrobat to print documents to .PDF. Two of my favorite PDF programs are absolutely free and full featured: Nitro PDF Reader and PDFreDirect. Why do you need to have PDF software in the first place? There are of course several reasons: so many documents are available on the internet in .pdf format---it's one of the most popular types of files that is e-mailed as well. Also, having a .pdf program allows you to print various document types to .pdf including Microsoft Word documents, html documents etc. For example, instead of printing out a receipt for an order you placed online, you can print it to .pdf which saves paper and money. Also, with Nitro PDF Reader you can use the typewriter function to type text directly on to a .pdf document instead of having to print out a hard copy and dust off the old typewriter. See my past hub about using Nitro PDF Reader for filling out job applications.
Websites and Personalized E-mail
Blogger enables you to start a blog for free and is easy to set up if you have a Gmail account. You don't need to necessarily use it as a blog, since Blogger has many different designs to choose from and a ton of ways to personalize your website. And for $10.00 per year, you can upgrade and get your own personalized domain, complete with e-mail. So say your business is Chococat Bakery. You would be able to get a domain like www.chococatbakery.com and an e-mail address like firstname.lastname@example.org. Having a website and a more professional e-mail that contains your company's name is essential in the business world today. A website is pretty cheap advertising and can reach a wide range of people. A personalized e-mail address is memorable and gives e-mail correspondence an added touch of elegance.
Anyway, these were just a few tips I thought I would share with you to make your small business a little more modern without spending a ridiculous amount of money. :)