I’m a big fat cheater.
There, I said it.
I’m entering a contest for creating a business plan to go paperless and (*looks around nervously*)… I’m totally cheating.
You see, I’m already paperless.
However, I put a lot of time and effort into creating this plan and am pretty excited to have the opportunity to share it. Without further ado, here is my dastardly scheme to thwart the Real Estate tree-gobbling gremlins:
1) Paper copies are allowed only for marketing pieces (color brochures, etc) and created either as needed or with a minimum inventory.
2) Incoming paper scanned or trashed immediately.
3) All outgoing documents are emailed or efaxed direct from my computer.
1) Adobe Acrobat. With the adobe system I can modify PDF documents to my hearts content, add my signature (digitally encrypted scanned signature made into a GIF image) and save all revisions.
2) CutePDF. When I print, I print to PDF. There is almost never a reason to have a paper copy and CutePDF is a free and lightweight option for printing everything digitally for archiving or emailing.
3) Docusign. Clients review and sign documents digitally. This allows the document to be created, ratified, processed and archived without leaving its digital state.
4) Google Docs, Dropbox and Syncplicity. These three robust tools allow me to automatically backup all of my documents ‘to the cloud’ (and to my home computer for that matter). Now that I have everything in digital format it’s important to protect the integrity of those documents.
5) PlanetRE. We process all of our transactions online and it makes life so much simpler. Simply upload everything on your ‘checklist’, add any final notes or additional files and finalize the file. Its easy to archive and safer than the old rusty filing cabinet could ever be!
6) BC Reader (or other BizCard app). Scans any business cards and throws them into my database. Quick, easy and effortless!
Making the Change
Now to deal with the baggage of deals past. I set aside chunks of time to tackle ‘chunks’ of my filing cabinet until it was done. As it was scanning, I sorted the ‘trash’ pile into a shred or recycle pile.
It took some time and the creation of a well-organized file system but the results have been outstanding. Less clutter in my world means less clutter in my brain and it’s very handy to have everything at hand no matter where I am in the world.
Best wishes to all of your paper-less endeavors. You can do it!
"This post is written as a submission to the ActiveRain & Kodak Paper-less Challenge contest. I have the chance to win the high speed KODAK SCANMATE i1120 Scanner, great for helping real estate professionals reduce their stacks of paper by scanning contracts, photos and business cards in seconds."