FORMS WORKING AS HARD AS YOU DO
by W. Tom Kowalczuk
November 22, 2010
Cutting costs is a part of business, but knowing what to cut and what to keep is paramount in today's financial times. Don't make the fatal mistake of looking at all the business forms in your office and thinking they are expendable. Business forms are an integral component in a busy office, but they need to be properly designed to work for you and your company.
The first question you must ask yourself is whether or not the form is worth the cost of the paper its printed on! If you are unsure about this, you need to redesign the form so that it becomes an efficient, succinct document that makes your job easier; not one that just clutters your office and desk. Every business document needs to be designed with a purpose in mind. The document should increase productivity; not add to the daily workload. In other words, it should work as hard as you do in growing and sustaining your company. When designed and used properly, forms can be worth far more than their weight in gold. They can be an invaluable asset to your company, and they don't cost you extra expenses such as healthcare, vacations, lunch or coffee breaks. Forms can be your best employee; it's up to you.
You can increase sales, manage time and productivity, control inventory and reduce business losses with a properly designed and implemented form. Our society is dictating that we eliminate paper by increasing the use of computers. For some forms of communication, computers are a great option, but for vital information, sometimes a "paper trail" is the most cost efficient. For instance, what happens when the computer system goes down? Does the office come to an abrupt stop? It may, if you rely solely on computers. How efficient will you look to potential clients, when you must inform them that you can't provide the cost analysis to them or provide the specs on a project because your computer is down? Well-designed business forms will make your company run more smoothly and project a professional image to your clients.
The business image and degree of professionalism you project is extremely important. Your businss card, letterhead, proposal, invoice form, etc all represent your company to a client. Every detail counts when dealing with a client. The first impression a client may have of your business is through a written document. Will your client be impressed with the accuracy and efficiency of your document or will they be confused by its lack of organization and thoroughness? The choice is yours. Your forms represent your company; they must be consistent, accurate, and well-organized.
One area where companies lack one or more of these characteristics is in their business cards. I am always horrified when a sales organization allows the office manager to select and purchase business cards for the company and its sales force. Personally, when I present my card for Witko Business and Office Supplies, my objective is to increase sales. Verbally, I am telling the prospective client that we are different, unique, and very professional in our appearance and actions. I want our business card to project that same message. The business card should also be consistent with the company logo displayed boldly. Remember that in a growing business, you're creating a 'brand' that you want people to instantly recognize and feel comfortable with. To accomplish this, a simple logo placed on everything the client is exposed to can have its rewards.
Forms and their design are an important part of a well-run business. The forms you use in your business should do one or more of the following:
- Project a professional business image
- Promote your company as a brand
- Provide operational control
- Direct sales/service operations
To help you create an efficient form, you can choose from many cost effective options: custom solutions, full color solutions, design your own, or standard forms personalized for your company. A custom form is not always the answer. The use of stock standard forms personalized to meet your business needs is an excellent way to achieve that very important, professional looking, cost effective form. Be careful when dealing with printing companies. Some companies, eager to get your business, will suggest ways to reduce your business expenses such as using a thinner paper, using only one color, or reducing size. Keep in mind the image you want to project to your clients when you are deciding on form design.
It's your company. Enlisting your business forms to help promote, control and manage your business makes a more productive, efficient office. The overall savings a well-designed form will produce can convert into company growth dollars.
Copyright © 2010 W. Tom Kowalczuk. All rights reserved.