Why You Should Outline Before Writing Important Business Documents

While it may not seem like the key to your business, much of what you do revolves around written documents. From your business plan to your website, from press releases to company memos or emails, you write documents to share information and to convince people to buy your products or invest in your company.

Writing these documents is important, and there’s a skill that is essential to crafting efficient documents: outlining. Instead of just starting with a blank page – or window – and writing, it’s extremely useful to take the time to create an outline for your important documents.

Here’s why you should outline before writing business documents.

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Why Your Business Should Go Paperless

Businesses are built on documents, and even before you start up your business, you discover how many documents you need to function. From business plans to bank statements, from employment contracts to NDAs, your business is awash in documents. As these documents pile up, they take up space, and you spend a lot of time looking for the right one when you need to check some terms or conditions.

We recently explained why you should use SaaS accounting software for your startup, and another way to make your business more efficient is to go paperless. As much as possible, store digital versions of documents and shred the paper.

Here’s why your business should go paperless.

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Cloud Storage Comparison: 5 Best Options for Business

Your business has lots of files to store, and to share with your team, your investors, and your customers. The most practical way to store and share files is to use a cloud storage provider. You can store files, sync them to multiple devices, share them with others, and provide download links when you need to send a potential investor your business plan or share a press release with a journalist.

Not all cloud storage services are equal, and depending on which computing platforms your business uses, some may be more compatible than others. In this article, we’ll compare the 5 most popular cloud storage providers and explain how to choose the best option for your business.

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10 Ways to Create a Human-Friendly Office

Some startups may get off the ground in a basement or garage, but once your business is big enough to have an office, it’s important to not just toss together a bunch of desks, chairs, and computers. Your office is where your company makes its money, and the office should be a comfortable, welcoming environment.

Want to make your office a happier place for your employees? Whether you have cubicles or an open-plan office space — both of which have their drawbacks — or private offices for each employee, there are ways you can make your office more comfortable. After all, happier employees are more productive, take less sick leave, and are more committed to their jobs.

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Book Review – When: The Scientific Secrets to Perfect Timing, by Daniel Pink

We are all familiar with the expression “timing is everything.“ From ice hockey to investing, success often depends on doing things at the right time. But how do we know when it is the right time? Sometimes we can play where the puck is going, or figure out the right moment to act by a careful read of the market, but in other cases the right time depends on us; it depends on us knowing when to do things.

Daniel Pink’s new book, When: The Scientific Secrets to Perfect Timing, looks at when we should do things to be the most efficient, the most productive, and the most inspired. The “when” he discusses is the time of day, the time of the year, or even the point in a project where we should or shouldn’t do certain things.

He poses a certain number of questions early in the book:

Why do beginnings—whether we get off to a fast start or a false start—matter so much? And how can we make a fresh start if we stumble out of the starting blocks? Why does reaching the midpoint—of a project, a game, even a life—sometimes bring us down and other times fire us up? Why do endings energize us to kick harder to reach the finish line yet also inspire us to slow down and seek meaning?

We’ve all experienced flagging interest in projects, or difficulty trying to make it through the day, the week, or the month, but we generally don’t think that we might have started — or continued our projects — at the wrong time.

Read the rest of the review on The Startup Finance Blog.

Why You Need SaaS Accounting Software for Your Startup

When you start making your first purchases for your startup, it’s easy to record them in an Excel or a Google Docs spreadsheet. You may be a spreadsheet whiz, or you you may have downloaded some free accounting templates on a website that helps people launch businesses.

Excel spreadsheets may pass muster for the first weeks, or even months, as you’re getting your business off the ground, but continuing to manage your books that way — and not using real SaaS accounting software for your startup — is simply the wrong thing to do. This is true especially when you seek investments or venture capital to grow your business; when you show potential backers your financials in a handful of spreadsheets, chances of errors are higher and it looks unprofessional.

There are certainly people who could maintain their financials for their SaaS startup in this manner. In these cases, they’d have to create very detailed spreadsheets with all the accounts and reporting elements of standard accounting. Spreadsheets like this would look a lot like accounting software, and the amount of time they’d take to set up — and verify — would be better spent on growing their business.

The disadvantages of using Excel for accounting for your SaaS startup is about a lot more than just the way figures look in a spreadsheet. There is so much that can be wrong in a spreadsheet that investors can’t take that sort of financial data seriously.

Read the rest of the article on The Startup Finance Blog.