4 Powerful Solutions to Common Small Business Problems

common small business problems

Running a Small Business Office Isn’t Easy!

When you’re small business, there’s little room for error; every lost second has the potential to negatively impact your bottom line. It’s a lot of pressure and printing issues definitely don’t make things any easier.

As a small local business ourselves, we appreciate the unique challenges that these organizations face. In fact, we’ve used our experience to develop an approach to office technology specifically designed to meet the needs of smaller organizations.

After forty years of selling copiers, printers and managed print services, we noticed that many of our small business customers were experiencing some common issues. It’s this realization that prompted us to compile the following list of four common small business obstacles and their innovative office technology solutions.

Problem: Overwhelmed by Paper Files

If you’re in a small office, then you know that storage space is at a premium. Thus, as your business expands, and you accumulate more files/documents, you’ll quickly realize how restrictive cabinets full of records can become.

Furthermore, what happens if you lose an important client file or record? In an instant your stress level could skyrocket through the roof. Whether it’s a lack of space for new files, the cost of filing cabinets or the difficulties of working collaboratively, we can all agree that paper filing systems are a mess.

The Solution: Document Scanning

There is, however, a solution to your filing cabinet woes. A document scanning service makes your life easier by converting your old paper files into responsive digital documents through OCR technology. By using metadata to make these newly editable electronic files easy to search, this quickly turns into a competitive advantage.

But what happens if you need to continue to create new paper documents? Won’t your files just pile up again? Well, there’s a solution to this problem as well!

Many local document scanning companies also offer day-forward scanning. Basically, this is a long-term partnership between you and your document scanning service provider. Together you’ll specify periods of time after which the scanning partner will digitize your newly created physical records. Thus, you can keep creating your physical document and just add them to your electronic archive as you go. To learn more, visit our document scanning page.

Problem: Prying Eyes

Using a networked office printer can be a real hassle if you work in an organization that requires you print confidential or sensitive information. In healthcare and government, for example, keeping information secure isn’t merely optional, it’s usually the law.

Furthermore, company HR specialists worry about printing employee information to shared network devices. So what do you do if you want to secure your sensitive print jobs?

The Solution: Secure Print Solutions

These concerns can be mitigated through a variety of secure printing options. For example, software solutions, such as Streamline, can be outfitted to include keycard or pin authorization.

Your office technology dealer can also augment your print fleet with a number of small local office printers. Strategically placing these devices near employees with secure printing needs is an easy way to keep that important information safe.

Problem: Equipment Downtime

Eliminating equipment downtime is of tremendous importance for small businesses. Often these organizations rely on one copier/printer and if it goes down, they lose all of their print capabilities.

Unfortunately, some of the larger equipment service companies don’t understand the dire consequences of this occurrence. As a result, they take their time servicing this equipment or don’t perform adequate preventative maintenance. This results in small business customers finding themselves stuck without their devices at the most inopportune moments.

The Solution: Single-line Service Provider

The good news, however, is that you can avoid this problem by carefully choosing your service company. The key is to really emphasize quality equipment service when choosing to lease a new copier or printer.

Your first point of comparison should be the guaranteed response time. The industry standard service call response time is four hours, but companies with excellent service keep that time down to three business hours.

Also take the time to research what sort of preventative service your company provides. Many companies will service your machine when it breaks, but fail to perform any preventative maintenance. While this solves the immediate problem, it does doesn’t prevent future problems from occurring.

When comparing service departments, ask about the company’s commitment to preventative maintenance. At Metro Sales, for example, our technicians clean our customer’s machines and perform a thorough device audit with every major service call. We call this our Total Call Guarantee. If the company selling you a copier maintenance contract is worth their salt, they’ll have something similar.

Problem: Printing Costs are too High

This issue is especially problematic because most companies don’t even realize that they’re spending too much on printing. Whether it’s unnecessary project outsourcing, the wrong fleet size or just wasteful practices, there’s probably something eating away at your bottom line.

The Solution: Free Cost Analysis

So how do you discover where you’re losing money? After all, you’re already strapped for time and monitoring who’s printing what takes more time away from your core business.

The solution is a free office assessment from an experienced technology expert. These comprehensive evaluations look at your entire print strategy from top to bottom. The expert will monitor your current device usage, workflows and current outsourcing costs.

With this data in hand, they’ll be able to develop a customized proposal to meet your printing needs and minimize excess expenses. Often this includes upgrading your devices, adding additional machines or reducing your need to outsource to commercial printers.

You can even install managed print software to track your long-term costs and device usage, making budgeting your future expenses even easier.

Are you a small business looking to increase your office productivity and profitability? We’d love to hear from you! Contact our team and let us know about your unique printing needs. You can reach our technology consultants at 612-861-4000 or by filling out our information form. We look forward to hearing from you!

Why Buy from a Dedicated Copier Dealer?

copier dealer

When choosing a new copier or printer, where you buy is just as important as any productivity metric. And while there are plenty of companies out there that sell copiers and printers, there are very few that actually choose to make office equipment their core business.

In most cases, retailers sell managed IT, network services and cloud services with a copier division tacked on as an afterthought. Imaging equipment isn’t their main focus, but rather another way of adding to their revenue stream. As a result, their imaging equipment division, and its customers, often become neglected as the company attempts to maximize profit. For customers, this means subpar equipment, service and support.

Enter the dedicated copier dealer. A copier dealer has chosen to focus on office copiers, printers and managed print software. They operate under the belief that the best way to serve customers is to do one thing and to do it well. It’s an approach that has served both businesses and customers well for decades.

So what exactly are these customer benefits? Below we’ve listed four of the ways you’ll profit from working with a copier dealer.

More Resources to Address Concerns

When a company tries to branch out too much, it often ends up spreading itself too thin. Consequently, customers are left with inadequate resources to address their concerns. In office imaging — often the first division neglected — this means little support for equipment malfunctions, technology questions or service requests. Sharing a communication center, service staff and occasionally sales representatives all lead to inefficiencies that end up hurting you in the end.

A dedicated copier vendor, however, resolves this problem by focusing solely on office imaging equipment. Metro Sales, for example, has an exclusive copier hotline, an enormous service fleet dedicated solely to office equipment service calls and even our own toner warehouse. Honing in on imaging equipment and service allows us to better provide you with responsive service and supply deliveries.

Knowledgeable Staff

Dealing exclusively in copiers and printers also contributes to building a more knowledgeable sales force. Due to our dedication to imaging technology, everyone within our organization, from the executive team to accounting, has an in-depth knowledge of the office imaging industry.

Importantly, this serves customers in two different ways. First, it creates a better learning culture for new staff members. Our management team knows exactly what our new consultants need to know to provide you with the best experience. In addition, staff members are also surrounded by well-informed peers who are ready to help them with any questions they may have along the way. The result? You receive service from a knowledgeable consultant whose training has put them in a position to understand your needs and all the options available to fulfill them.

Second, this in-depth knowledge means that our company leadership has first-hand knowledge that has better equipped them to make strategic decisions. At a larger multi-service company, the executive team often doesn’t have direct experience in the office equipment sector. Thus, they don’t have an adequate knowledge base from which to make decisions that are best for copy/print customer. Management at these companies make decisions based on numbers without understanding the what customers in the industry really need. In the end, this leads to undertrained staff, unwanted services or inadequate support.

Personalized Solutions

A dedicated dealer’s knowledgeable staff also leads to more personalized solutions for you. Every one of our clients works one-on-one with a dedicated office technology consultant. Due to their unique blend of extensive experience, knowledge and commitment to personalized service, these consultants are able to make customized suggestions based on your distinct circumstances.

However, our personal touch doesn’t stop there. When you work with an office technology consultant, buying a copier or printer becomes more than a transaction, it becomes a partnership. At Metro Sales our individual reps make quarterly calls to their customers to make sure the equipment is still living up to expectations, check on device usage and make recommendations for further cost reduction. This personal attention is something overstretched or undertrained copier divisions simply can’t offer.

While our consultants work personally with their clients to design a plan that works well for them, this doesn’t happen in a multi-faceted organization. Often, due to the fact that their staff lacks in-depth knowledge needed to offer these individualized suggestions, these companies rely on pre-designed plans and have a take it or leave it mentality. This disposition forces you to choose between a few rigid plans that ultimately don’t match your needs.

Authorized Service

The final benefit of working with a copier dealer is the level of service you’ll come to expect. At Metro Sales, we’ve chosen to partner exclusively with Ricoh to become an authorized Ricoh dealer. This commitment has had a significant positive impact on our service department. Our partnership with Ricoh has ensured that our technicians have intricate knowledge of and practical experience with Ricoh equipment. Due to this knowledge — as well as our our success in meeting Ricoh’s rigorous standards — Metro Sales has been certified as an authorized Ricoh service center. This recognition signifies that Ricoh believes that our service staff provides exceptional service to Ricoh machines and will continue to do so in the future.

It’s this level of service that has really benefited customers. Our exclusive partnership has created a more consistent service culture whereby all of our technicians have advanced Ricoh proficiency. Thus, no matter who responds to your service call, you’ll receive the same exceptional service each and every time. It’s this consistency that gives a dedicated copier dealer a distinct advantage when it comes to serving customers.

Purchasing a new copier doesn’t have to be difficult. Our office technology consultants make the process easy by performing a comprehensive needs assessment and providing a customized print strategy — all free of charge. Contact us today to get started!