Team eCommerce Next interviewed Andrei Faji from PandaDoc to get more insights on How SMBs can streamline document processes to save time and money. Following is our interview with him:
Based on your findings, what are the biggest challenges small businesses are facing when it comes to document management?
Digital has been transforming all aspects of commerce for decades. But in the past two years, small businesses have been tested to their limits by navigating through a pandemic and all facets of upheaval that came with it.
When conducting our research, we found out one of the biggest challenges for owners was the chronic lack of time they had in the day. With lockdowns came the greatest blurring of lines we’ve ever experienced between family, work, and home.
As a result, it’s no surprise that 83% of SMB owners are responsible for generating all of their company’s important documents – from sales proposals to contracts and all the “keeps the lights on” paperwork for small businesses. With less budget for outsourcing or hiring the brunt of this falls back onto owners.
Keep in mind: a lot of this paperwork is “digital” (PDFs, Word docs, etc.) but not really managed by any type of simple or duplicatable system.
What’s not surprising is that 68% of SMBs are moving paperless.
What is surprising is that about 60% of them believe creating digital documents requires a special skill and 44% are intimidated by moving over to a fully digital system to manage their documents.
What does the data reveal in reference to the time/work small businesses owners are putting solely into document creation and management, why?
Think about how much back-and-forth happens between people both inside and outside of an agency, firm, or shop when it comes to executing and finalizing a single contract. All the drafting, branding, redlines, edits, etc. SMB owners are doing this every day.
One out of three tell us they spend upwards of 10 hours a week just working on all their business paperwork.
Since it’s mostly impossible to find a few spare hours free during the day, it’s usually outside of their business hours when they’re doing this type of important (but busy) work. Not unsurprisingly, 23% of owners said they’d rather use that time to focus on their personal lives more.
What are the greatest pain points experienced by small businesses when it comes to business documents?
On top of all the extra hours generating all that paperwork, over a quarter of small businesses said they’re having trouble just staying on top of all their documents.
Some scenarios we can all relate to – Was it version 5 or version 8 of that document (yes, the PDF uploaded in that email thread with 37 replies)? What about all those times the formatting breaks in Word when adding another row to the embedded form? Which filing cabinet is that contract created three years ago stored in?
These are some of the regular frustrations SMB owners deal with every day when it comes to their business documents.
What are the advantages to digital documents for small businesses? How does this mitigate the burdens mentioned above?
It’s abundantly clear: small businesses deserve a break. And one of the easiest (and most cost effective) places to start is how they manage their documents and the processes around them.
64% of owners said they could save up to $5000 per year by going paperless.
As for better managing their digital document processes – also known as “workflows” in business jargon – 31% said the main benefit was saving time.
With an app or software that manages all document workflows for SMBs, the whole experience around creating, editing, and sending things becomes significantly easier.
For example, digital documents can be stored in a library of standardized and approved templates which makes creating a contract or invoice a breeze. Digital documents can also be integrated with CRM systems where customer information is already stored, which can input specific fields and information automatically. And team members and customers can collaborate on a single document with an audit trail for changes, making proofreading and finalizing simple and easy.
Are small businesses heading towards a paperless future?
Yes – small businesses are already going paperless (as is most of the world). I think the world is ready to say goodbye to fax machines and scanners for good.
For the nearly 32% of SMBs that haven’t made the evolution to paperless, I can’t blame them. Document management tools haven’t always been the easiest to learn or the most economical to afford.
However, today there’s tons of amazing tools for solopreneurs, mom and pop shops, as well as small and medium sized organizations that make going paperless so simple.
Tools that are specifically built for small business use cases (offering users affordability, ease-of-use, and flexibility) will continue to erase the pains around document management.
About Andrei Faji
Andrei Faji helps businesses build brands and tell remarkable stories. He’s the Director of Engagement Marketing at PandaDoc, the tool that makes it ridiculously easy to create, sign, and edit documents digitally. Over the past decade, he’s helped companies such as Dosh (acquired by Cardlytics) and Bloomspot (acquired by Chase) find their company narrative and bring it to market. A guest speaker at SXSW and IBM’s Builder Fair, Andrei has helped emerging businesses connect with their customers by creating authentic interactions. He lives with his family in Austin, TX.
Since its founding in 2013, PandaDoc has been on a mission to empower growing businesses to thrive by taking the work out of document workflows. PandaDoc provides an all-in-one document workflow automation platform with eSignature capabilities. PandaDoc helps fast-scaling teams accelerate the ability to create, manage and sign digital documents, including proposals, quotes and contracts and more. More than 30,000 customers are using PandaDoc to improve document workflow, insights and speed while providing an amazing experience for the end users. PandaDoc is backed by leading venture firms and corporate investors, including Altos Ventures, Rembrandt Venture Partners, One Peak Partners, M12 (Microsoft), and HubSpot. PandaDoc is proudly a remote-first global company.