When you're looking for business tips, the Fortune 500 companies are never a bad place to start. By definition, these guys are achieving a level of excellence that puts them ahead of some 30 million or so other companies in the US – in other words, among the top 0.0016% of American businesses!
With so much variety among this elite list, it's difficult to nail down exactly ‘what makes' a Fortune 500 company – although many have tried. Unsurprisingly, certain words pop up regularly: vision, communication, branding, performance and culture, among others. But what do they really mean? What quick, takeaway lessons can you take away from these uber-successful businesses and roll out in your own company?
Well, there is one thing that as many as 60% of these companies do to help boost productivity, and you can do it, too.
“SignNow's eSignings helped us make the halftime show happen.”
Andrea Harrison, Digital Brand Director, Pepsi
The importance of signatures
In the ever-changing world of business and technology, one thing is constant: the mission-critical importance of a simple signature. For most businesses, getting a signature on a document means putting a horribly tedious, antiquated process into action – totally at odds with today's technology-centred world of work.
You'll generally print and sign the document yourself. Then you'll fax or mail it off to the recipient. Once they've got the document, they need to sign it, and send it back to you – once again via mail or fax. The whole process takes days, costs money and gives you pretty much no control.
In an age when so many businesses are focussed on going paperless, this is one process that continues to hold many of them back.
The alternative – eSignatures!
If this problem all sounds a little too familiar, the solution is at hand. That secret trick we mentioned that 60% of the Fortune500 are using? It's the utilization of electronic signatures by SignNow on their important documents to save time, money and boost productivity!
Essentially, eSignatures are digital representations of their real-life counterparts and they do exactly the same job, with exactly the same legal consequences. The difference is, rather than the manual and labored approach you're currently using, it takes a matter of seconds to collect legally binding electronic signatures from customers, partners and employees – cutting document turnaround time by as much as 90%.
And, although eSignatures are spreading like wildfire among the bigger corporations, that doesn't mean it's something you can't use in your own business too, however big or small. In fact, we actually work with over 100,000 small businesses. It's free to get started using SignNow by Barracuda and you can scale up to add extra users whenever necessary.
Of course, the primary benefit of eSignatures is that they're quick and convenient. By condensing a process that previously would have taken days, if not weeks, into a matter of seconds, they dramatically increase efficiency and give your business the power to do more instead of waiting around on a fax or physical envelope to arrive. Studies show that an office of 100 can save as much as 40 hours per month avoiding paper. You can close deals faster, reduce errors and cut costs – all compelling factors that can help improve your bottom line.
But eSignature solutions are also significantly more secure. The second you fax or mail your sensitive documents, you lose an element of control over them. Using SignNow, your documents are secured by Barracuda technology, one of the world's leading security companies. Documents are securely archived, with a full audit-trail, in an easy-to-read format. So, remember the last time you turned the office upside down looking for a signed paper agreement? Yeah, that won't be happening again any time soon!
There's also the huge benefit of being able to track and monitor where your documents are up to at a glance, which is extremely helpful to your workflow management.
And, sure, you might not single-handedly save the planet, but going paperless is great for the environment, too. Printing, scanning, mailing and faxing all use up valuable resources that we really don't need to be using for this stuff anymore!
So…are eSignatures really legal?
Yes! The U.S. government actually took the biggest step of resolving the legal issues of eSignatures back in 2000 with the ESIGN Act, which gave electronic signatures the same legal weight as handwritten ones. State law, for the most part, has followed suit in recognizing their validity.
OK, where do I start?
So, this seems like a fairly profound change in the way your business ‘does' signatures, right? Well, you might be surprised to hear that it's a pretty easy transition and you can get started more or less straight away.
Head over to our website and check out the packages we have on offer. You can actually get started for free if you want to sign 5 documents or less per year. Once you're signed up, it's incredibly simple to start getting documents signed. SignNow is even set up so it can fully integrate with your existing CRM, CMS and workflow management systems.
How does it work?
The actual process for collecting signatures is really easy. To get started, simply upload the document, whether it's a PDF, Word Document or another file type. Using our intuitive wizard you can then sign, date and add any relevant text to the document yourself, before creating fields for the recipient to complete. You can add Signature Fields, Text Fields, Initials Feeds, as well as Checkboxes and Dropdown menus.
You then send the document off to be signed by the other party. It's super-easy for them, too – we use a guided field process that shows them very clearly what they need to do next. Documents can be signed easily on pretty much any device, so it's really quick and convenient.
If you're regularly using a particular document, you can even set this up as a template to avoid having to set it up every time you need to get it signed.
Check out our video demo to see how SignNow works, step-by-step!
The business world is experiencing constant change, fueled by technology and innovation, and yet all too often, we see businesses waiting days or weeks at a time to get a simple document signed. It's crazy!
An eSignature solution is the obvious way to fix this problem, bringing signature collection up to date with the rest of your business processes. This helps you close deals faster, reduce errors, cut costs and secure your documents.
Here at SignNow, we're really proud to call ourselves the most secure and top-rated eSignature solution. We're trusted by 60% of the Fortune500 – they recognize that eSignatures are the future! – but we're also affordable enough to meet the needs of smaller businesses too. If you'd like to understand more about how eSignatures can help boost your productivity, please get in touch with us or request a callback.