Promotional Mugs Are a Delightful Way to Share Business Information

With custom promotional mugs, you have a low cost but highly effective way to be able to reach out to people. Getting information out there about what you offer, how people can contact you, and building your brand are all key to longevity. You want your business to continue to grow and to be profitable. Not only right now, but may decades into the future.

Not all of your advertising dollars need to be focused on pushing products or services you offer. Some of them, such as custom promotional mugs, offer a wonderful way to thank customers and even business contacts for their relationship with you. This is a product most will use so it doesn’t get thrown in a drawer and forgotten.

Make sure you pay for very well made custom promotional mugs though. They should be durable with a lid that fits very good. If the product isn’t quality made, people aren’t going to be happy to use it. The goal is to make it something that is convenient for them and they will reach for it time and time again. Each time they do, they see your business information.

Grab them with Information

The lettering should be large enough they don’t have to get squinty trying to read it. The colors should be reflective of your company logo and other details. This is important so the person using it makes that visual connections to your business when they see it. Keep in mind, the product should be able to hold up well with the lettering too.

If it washes off when you clean the custom promotional mugs or when you put them in the dishwasher, it defeats the purpose. When the flaking starts, the quality of appearance starts to be compromised. This can cause some users to toss it out rather than to continue using it. Even if they do continue using it, the message you share is hindered.

Maximize the Space

You have plenty of space to complete your layout on custom promotional mugs. With that in mind, add a logo and your quotes for the business. Add your phone number, address, and website. To help build trust, add when your business started too if it has been a few years. This will show them you aren’t a flash in the pan business, but rather one that is here to stay!

Pick your Provider

You want custom promotional mugs that look great, hold up over time, and serve your marketing message with information. Share all of this with the provider you plan to work with and see what they can come up with for you. Find a provider who doesn’t charge anything to consult with them and share what they can offer to you. Find out what the price will be per unit.

Often, they will offer you tremendous savings if you buy a larger amount. This reduces the per unit cost so you save money. This is the type of promo item you can give away any time of the year and for any reason. They aren’t going to be out of style any time soon either so there is no reason not to buy in bulk and save. You don’t need tons of space to store them either!

Find out about the quality of the work the provider does before you talk to them about doing work for you. The last thing you need is to be embarrassed by the quality of what they deliver. It is an extension of your business, and it needs to show you care about quality on every level.

The Advances in Business Information Management

In today’s busy office environment, it is essential to have in place efficient document management procedures to make sure departments run smoothly. All data capture processes need to run efficiently so that a business can keep its staff, clients and stakeholders happy.

For example, invoice processing and mailroom automation are two operations integral to the smooth running of an office and so therefore need to work precisely. With huge advances in technology over the last decade or so, automated systems have now been developed to ensure that these tasks can now be effortlessly accomplished.

These clever business process automation tools have been invented so that enterprise can now be run digitally. The developments in information management software mean that efficiency is improved and therefore both time and money is saved in the long-term.

A huge range and volume of information including invoices, mail, financial reports, plans and drawings can now be centrally controlled, managed and distributed across internal departments and external global frameworks with ease using this innovative software.

Digital automation of business documents helps to further develop a paperless office environment and keep business as efficient and accessible as possible. No longer do invoices sit in a pile waiting to be paid. When they are managed via data capture software they can be organised and paid more quickly and efficiently.

A company that offers these innovative data capture tools is UK-based DCS. They provide a range of software suitable for most business sectors that can deal efficiently with a wide range of processes. They offer high volume data and form capture that can convert a huge range of information to electronic data file format. The FileStore EDM software automatically structures information into an easy to access database.

DCS’s systems give specific functionality for business compliance, records management, reducing document processing costs, archival and audit control of emails and files, remote scanning, automated invoice and forms capture.

DCS also provide outsource document scanning and data capture service for high volume scanning of documents, drawings, micro films and photographs. This enables archived material to be rapidly captured into the digital domain to be efficiently controlled and stored. Their scanners can cope with 1 million images per day, making them one of the largest capacity outsource services in the UK.

DCS provide their information management solutions and associated services to over 400 leading businesses worldwide. When using DCS software, their clients regularly comment that they have enhanced supply chain efficiency, increased customer satisfaction and reduced operating costs.

So in a modern business environment it is clearly essential to have data capture solutions in place. The increased efficiency and streamlined processes resulting from the use of document management software regularly results in long-term improved corporate performance.

Protect Your Business Information – Prevent Document Deterioration, Misuse and Loss With EDM

Security concerns are in the news a lot lately. The government has issued public alerts against terrorist activity. Military experts are debating how to maximize armed forces’ safety amid intensified conflict in Afghanistan. Medical experts are producing vaccine to combat Swine Flu. Each issue focuses on the need to ensure public safety. Yet most businesses – including agencies that rely on timely, accurate information to make decisions about public safety – overlook a serious risk that jeopardizes their effectiveness and ability to survive. The threat? Inadequate document security.

Businesses need secure access to accurate information to make smart decisions. Usually information is scattered: on paper (subject to deterioration, misfiling, security breaches, and loss); trapped in the minds of executives, managers and workers (subject to unintentional alteration and selective memory); and stored in electronic documents and software applications (subject to inconsistent rules, conflicting policies, and difficult to lock down). A recent 2009 AIIM report entitled Electronic Records Management – Still Playing Catch-up with Paper shows 60% of managers surveyed couldn’t be confident their records hadn’t been altered, deleted, or inappropriately accessed if they were challenged. More than 70% had no provisions for long-term electronic record archival; 31% had twenty or more content repositories that could be usefully linked (and presumably weren’t, complicating access and security). Many respondents described their electronic records as unmanaged; most lacked email management policies. It doesn’t take an expert to uncover a foul brew of document security concerns. Ignoring document security invites trouble.

Set clear policies Document security has two sides: human and technological. Management has the onerous job of weighing rules and regulations against operational needs and determining acceptable risks versus those that jeopardize their business objectives. Identifying unacceptable risk is a precursor to creating governance policy.

Communicate policies frequently – in writing Rules are futile unless they’re communicated – frequently, understandably, and in writing. Understanding what constitutes risk, acceptable behavior, and the penalties for disobedience dramatically reduces employee blunders. Convey your rules and reasoning clearly. Document your communications. You’ll reduce company risk by demonstrating intent to comply.

Well-laid plans, smart hiring decisions, and regular communications minimize risk, but they don’t guarantee document security. Where 100% document control is hindered by human limitations, web-based electronic document management (EDM) excels – governing, observing, and tracking file use, 24/7.

Emulate policies electronically Everyone hears about planned security breaches. Yet typically, compromised document security is unintentional:

People view sensitive information while searching for unrelated information. Employees inadvertently destroy original files without noticing copies or imported documents are faulty or illegible. New employees don’t know the rules and handle documents improperly. Temporarily removed or inappropriately stored documents can’t be located on demand for audits, subpoenas, or processing. Workers delete documents deemed worthless, learning afterward that retention rules changed or they were mistaken. EDM ensures security from the moment of capture, preserving file integrity throughout the business lifecycle and providing a central repository for stored information. Readability and integrity are verified upon capture. Digital storage eliminates deterioration, misfiling, or loss. Files are readable, properly stored, and secure. Customizable security determines who can retrieve, view, edit, annotate, manage, move, or delete files. Administrators can set rules for data use and walk away, knowing employees can access whatever they need.

Remove temptation and filing mistakes Companies are increasingly subject to strict regulations governing information use. EDM enforces your governance policies, letting you:

Restrict file access by creating pre-defined searches to retrieve files staff need. Restrict document viewing to specific personnel by job role and document type. Associate individual editing and annotation rights to pre-specified users and file types. Ensure only authorized persons can delete batches, files, and/or pages of documents. Assure consistent indexing Employee logic varies for document classification and search. EDM enables standardization, making filing consistent and search 100% successful.

Assign documents to batches during scanning or importing. Index documents by document type, customer ID number, and other unique identifiers. Associate related documents for a comprehensive view of information. Validate the integrity and accuracy of scanned and imported files through automated validation; request alerts when documents require intervention. Digital capture gives you control over your content.

Prevent document alteration Document alteration poses huge security risks, especially in the face of litigation and audits. ECM allays fears of inappropriately altered documents. You can:

Restrict document annotation and alteration rights to pre-designated persons. Ensure file alteration and editing rights reflect current policies. Store business-critical emails as unalterable documents. Avert inappropriate file deletion Missing and lost documents typically comprise 7.5% to 11% of all document requests, with workers spending anywhere from 20-50% of their time looking for information. MIA documents cost time and money to recreate; if they’re needed for an audit, subpoena, or industry mandate and not found, penalties can accrue.

EDM ensures documents aren’t deleted until they’re scheduled to be migrated or destroyed. By limiting user rights, you ensure against accidental and intentional purging. Automated retention assures document migration, purging, and deletion follow your rules. Regulatory changes? No problem: EDM grasps new instructions immediately, adhering to governance directives.

Adjust rules as hierarchies change Between a quarter and a third of employees change jobs or positions annually. Promoted employees suddenly need access to additional information. Demoted workers lose rights to access particular documents. Some are fired or leave, creating concerns they may take information with them, and new problems arise as knowledge must be transferred to new hires.

EDM tackles these issues with ease:

Users and feature rights are pre-designated electronically, making appropriate files accessible immediately to new employees. Administrators make documents instantly inaccessible to departing employees by deleting user rights and features, eliminating the risk of inappropriate file use. Rules and rights are easily reconfigured, ensuring new employees can access repositories and files they need without the risk of stumbling on sensitive information or overlooking policies for document access and use. Lock down email Email management eludes many managers. Critical communications about customers, partners, third-party vendors, staff, products plans, licensing information and more often are trapped in email Inboxes, inadequately archived and difficult to find.

By managing business email within EDM, you can:

Index and archive critical emails as documents of record. Restrict access to email content, while disclosing contents to authorized persons. Regulate printing, migration, and deletion of stored emails to specific users. Avoid disaster The topic of avoiding business disasters drew attention this year when the Association of Corporate Travel Executives (ACTE) recommended that companies limit how many executives can travel simultaneously on the same corporate or commercial plane. Experts recognized that a single calamity involving the loss of multiple top-tier executives constituted unacceptable risk, as it could destroy a company and result in considerable job loss. The same is true with the loss of your business-critical documents.

Document preservation is the left hand to the right hand of document security. Careful planning, quality EDM, and appropriate professional services ensure you have:

Effective backups and fault-tolerant, redundant systems that ensure you stay connected to your information. A disaster recovery plan that outlines the hierarchy of document importance to ensure business continuity and accelerate document recovery. Uninterrupted access to your business-critical information if a disaster prevents staff from working onsite. Physical data recovery in case a real disaster strikes or your system is shut down. Forge ahead If your company makes the headlines, don’t let it be because of a security breach or shutdown. Creating a document management strategy and investing in EDM means your past, present, and future documents will be in the right hands, whenever and wherever they’re needed. By leaving the arduous task of document management to EDM, you’ll have more time to focus on taking your business to the next level. Good luck!

Selling Your Business – Informing the Employees

When is the best time to inform employees that you are selling your business? Business brokers and merger and acquisition professionals are asked this question all the time.  The short answer is, “Wait until the transaction is completed,” and with good reason.

Most owners understand that much of the value of their business is embodied in their employees. Employees make the company possible, and many owners develop a close relationship with some of their employees.  Those relationships sometimes lead business owners to want to disclose the potential sale of their business to one or more of their employees.  “They deserve to know” is a common refrain.

There is an enormous risk in sharing this ‘inside information’ with employees.  Confidentiality needs to be maintained.  Once it is common knowledge that your company is for sale (and it will become common knowledge once employees know), it loses value: vendors are less like to sell to you or increase credit limits; customers are less likely to buy for fear of a lack of continuity of the relationship; and employees are less likely to stay.  Once the cat is out of the bag, if you are able to get it back in at all, the damage is already done, and it can take years to redevelop those relationships that made your company valuable in the first place.

While change is scary to some people, nothing is scarier than the unknown.  For example, with one or more employees knowing what is ‘in process’ or being considered, at a minimum the information will be shared with a spouse or close friends.  Invariably, their reactions are to share stories of mass layoffs, companies being relocated, wage and bonus reductions, etc.  It is human nature to fear the unknown and to expect (and perhaps plan) for the worst.  Planning for the worst often involves looking for alternative employment, sharing the news with other employees and, perhaps, outright resignations.  Also understand that when a concerned employee interviews within your industry, the first question they are asked is, “Why are you planning on leaving your current employer?” The answer will put an afterburner on the wildfire of rumors within your industry.  Remember, most buyers expect to have key employees on board when they acquire a business: If one or more of them have departed or indicated that they intent to depart, the value and marketability of your business has clearly been damaged.

Therefore, the best time to make announcements concerning the sale is on the afternoon of the day on which the transaction closes, after the closing is complete.  An employee meeting should be pre-planned to ensure 100% employees attendance.   Once everyone is gathered, you explain your reasons for considering a ‘transition of ownership’ (don’t use the word ‘sale’ or ‘sold’), and that, after a diligent search, you have found the perfect new owner(s).  You can also talk about how there will be a transition period where you will be involved in the operation of the business working with the new owners. The new owners should then be introduced to discuss their backgrounds, share their reasons for wanting to own the company and demonstrate their enthusiasm to do whatever is necessary to grow the business and create more opportunities for everyone. Last but not least, the new owners should honestly indicate that they plan no dramatic changes, that they value the current workforce, and that they want to meet individually with each employee (unless the number is just too large) to get their ideas and suggestions on the best way to grow the business.

In general, anyone who buys your company will want to keep your employees since they represent a significant portion of the value (and continuity) of your business. Massive job losses only occur in extremely rare cases where a new owner relocates the company a great distance, and then usually only after a period of transition.  Experience has taught that when the transition is handled well, virtually all employees perform better under the new management, for the simple reason they want to impress and be on good terms with the new owner.  New owners typically arrive with additional capital, new ideas, perhaps a synergy with an existing business and, almost invariably, a desire to grow the business.   Growth spells new opportunities for employees who want to develop their careers and, in almost all cases, they look forward to working with a new owner.

By keeping the sale of the business totally confidential until the transaction is closed, you are able to both preserve the value of your business and greatly reduce the fear of the unknown from your employees, thus making the transition of ownership a more seamless operation.