According to Slack CEO Stewart Butterworth, COVID-19 may have provided us with a once-in-a-generation chance to reimagine work and how we run our companies. A quarter of the workforce could work three to five days from home: five times more remote work than before the pandemic.
This is an opportunity for SMBs to outmaneuver the big players, which have larger workforces to manage remotely, a bigger IT network to service, and have to consider what to do with all that unused office space.
SMBs are nimble and agile, and small investments in tech that streamline work processes—making them remote-work friendly at the same time—will help SMBs maximize the benefits of a more even playing field. Along those lines, one quick win is electronic signature (eSignatures) for small business, which is affordable, quick to set up, and can scale as your business grows.
As an SMB, every dollar invested in technology has to work that bit harder. Here’s how to sweat your eSignature investment across every business function.
Secure more sales faster
When you’re selling houses, cars, or service contracts, signing on the dotted line shouldn’t be a barrier to closing the sale. But too often it is, especially when around 38% of Americans don’t have access to a printer at home.
However, 97% of Americans do have a mobile phone—which makes the signing process perfectly set up for eSignatures.
The best electronic signatures for small businesses can be embedded directly into your website or app, so no matter what device your customers use, they can sign a document.
And the research proves it’s effective, with completion rates for digital contracts 26% higher than paper-based contracts, and signed up to 80% faster.
Take property tech business Amenify, for example. It found using eSignatures reduced the time it took to get contracts back from their clients by 33%. As Amenify CEO, Everett Lynn says:
“We’re processing accounts receivable 25% faster than before because we can quickly pull up a contract and follow up with clients immediately.”
Lock down top talent
The best eSignature services for small businesses can also help in the fierce war for talent. Post-pandemic, 68% of workers say a hybrid work model (some remote work and some in-office) is ideal, and 42% would consider changing jobs to continue to work remotely.
This preference suggests the hiring process also needs to change if you want to attract top-tier candidates who have increasingly digital-first expectations.
While you may still want to back up your Zoom interviews with an in-person meet-and-greet, the paperwork—from offer letters to NDA and W9s—should all go online.
With eSignatures, you can strike while the iron is hot and lock down top talent fast. With a couple of clicks, you can send a digital offer letter, and candidates can sign and submit it immediately.
Plus, if there’s some back and forth on salary and perks, it’s easy to update digital contracts and share with the candidate before they get frustrated or fatigued with the process.
Keep covered with compliance
New employee onboarding and staff training require special management and organization when dealing with remote teams.
Perhaps you need to update your work-from-home agreements to reflect your new hybrid work model, or you need to sign off on staff training requests.
Putting training, work safety protocols, and compliance information into digital documentation makes it easy to distribute to employees and get signatures as confirmation that they’ve read and received the new information.
Protect yourself and your IP
NDAs, confidentiality agreements, a memorandum of understanding, non-compete agreements, shareholder and partnership agreements, and supplier contracts are all critical to protecting your information.
However, creating, sending, getting signed, receiving back, and storing these agreements can be a real time-suck, and should anything go wrong, it can leave a bad taste in the mouths of everyone involved.
Then there’s the risk of losing documents or having them fall into the wrong hands. Today, information and ideas are more often than not shared digitally, so there’s only so much protection a watermark can provide against sensitive information.
Luckily, all these forms—and the process of getting legally binding signatures—can be fully digitized, providing a trackable audit trail and an efficient workflow.
What’s more, with eSignatures, you can also get multiple stakeholders to sign, and you can stipulate the order in which you want them signed. That cuts down on time wasted reviewing document drafts.
And should you need to refer to an agreement, it’s securely stored in the cloud—in its original condition—not filed and fading in a box in your garage.
Find out how SMBs can thrive in a hybrid environment
While eSignature technology is a key building block of your SMB’s tech stack, it’s not the only way small businesses are weathering uncertain times and coming out better than before.
To find out more about some of the tools and processes that can help your business benefit from the “new normal,” take a look at our latest e-guide, How small businesses can navigate hybrid work to their advantage.