It can seem counter intuitive, but often technology will pave the path toward increased sustainability. Such is the case for IzzitGreen service partner and small business loan provider, IOU Central. VP of Sales and Business Development, Jackie Nickell, explains that IOU Central has differentiated itself through its dedication to operating sans paper from the beginning, “We’re doing a loan product which most people would associate with a lot of paperwork. But, our application is completely online, the upload of documentation is done like you would upload a file on your email and then, when we go to close the loan. . .that’s all completely paperless as well.” While more environmentally friendly, IOU Central’s automated application and approval system eliminates both time and waste. Their approach has allowed them to make loans to qualified applicants in just a few business days instead of a few weeks and applications take as little as seven minutes.
IOU Central recently decided to take their green commitment a step further and connect with another IzzitGreen partner and top provider of green business certification, the Green Business Bureau. Jackie explains, “We felt like it aligned with IzzitGreen and our company. IOU is a paperless company and we lean on our technology to be efficient so that we have less people and therefore less waste. We’ve always been completely paperless, we’re technology based and we’re always pushing to be a better partner.”
As a better partner, IOU Central understands that their clients have a great business and want to grow it now. Bank loans have become increasingly difficult to get and no one wants to pay the outrageous fees that Merchant Cash Advance companies can get away with. IOU Central offers an alternative – no hidden fees or arbitrary rate hikes, and automatic daily payments for easy cash flow management. Tip- IzzitGreen Business Rewards members also enjoy a discount on any loan they do with IOU Central which can lead up to a $1000 savings.
IOU Central’s sustainable approach to efficiency has allowed them to excel in a very specific space. The company focuses less on keeping a client forever and more on helping them grow to a point where they can go to the bank for their cash flow needs. Jackie elaborates, “We’re not in competition with a bank. We’re an alternative if a business can’t get approved at a bank. We strive to be a lower-cost lender in that space or one of the very lowest, which is where we are, which is a testament to the technology and being green, I think. Being green saves green. We’ve had a number of nice testimonials and good companies that have grown and moved on and have become bigger companies and that feels good.”
In the past, businesses have spent precious money, time and space managing paper records, applications and forms. Thanks to newer technologies and increased security surrounding electronic documents, businesses everywhere are reducing costs and increasing operational efficiency at the same time by going paperless. Think of how much time is saved for example if a client were to request a certain document, pulling up a digital copy and emailing it is much more efficient than searching for a hard copy and mailing it to them.
The U.S. Small Business Administration has some great tips for getting started:
- Scan and save all paper documents in PDF format to your chosen virtual
- Use an electronic program to maintain billable time records.
- Use instant messaging programs to leave messages or communicate electronically with colleagues.
- Maintain hard copies of only what is absolutely necessary – going paperless doesn’t mean that you’ll no longer need to have certain documents in paper form.
- Send electronic faxes instead of paper faxes.
- Give employees or clients CDs or electronic attachments instead of bound folders or cumbersome documents.
And if you’re already paperless SBA points out some downfalls to avoid:
- Nothing less than 100%: going paperless with only some of your document is just confusing and creates more work for staff instead of the time savings associated with an electronic system
- Invest First: your business may need to invest some time and money into making the new system work. Getting quality software and taking the time to scan your hard documents may seem like a lot of work at first, but the pay-offs are worth it.
- Set up practices and stick too them: old habits die hard, but making clear procedures for each step of the process and staying true to those procedures will reduce mistakes and ensure a successful transition.
How has going paperless improved your business?