Top 5 Uses of Electronic Signatures for Small Business

James Lintzer |

Running a small business is a logistical juggling act. eSignatures can help ease the burden. 

With small businesses, you have all the administrative and practical concerns of running a company but lack the extended team and dedicated in-house staff of larger corporate entities. This often means highly skilled team members — including the founder or director of the company — spend too much time on admin when they should be focusing on business development and growth. 

Implementing electronic signatures for your business can help alleviate some of this pressure, which can hinder a company’s success right out of the gate, and is often frustrating for the business owner.

The trick to efficiently running a small business is having the right tools in place to complete tasks in a way that is fast, effective and as automated as possible. Switching to using electronic signatures over the traditional pen and ink variety is a great way to improve operational efficiency and eliminate a lot of time spent on administrative duties. 

With so many hats to wear and so much to think about on a daily basis, making the switch to eSignatures for small businesses can alleviate a good chunk of the burden, freeing you up to focus on more creative and exclusive aspects of the business.

Your time and efforts are far too valuable to spend on tasks that can be easily switched over to an automated system. It’s time you took advantage of the eSignature benefits on offer.

eSignatures For Small Business 

If you’re wondering what possible benefit you can get from eSignatures, you’re not alone; many entrepreneurs and SMEs underestimate the potential of this seemingly simple electronic asset. But an asset is exactly what eSignatures are. When you switch your documents from paper copies to electronic, you free up a huge amount of time, energy and paper across multiple departments, from sales, marketing and HR, to legal, finance and procurement. 

As an SME, each of these departments will regularly handle documents requiring signatures. They may take the form of sales contracts, supplier agreements, NDAs and more. Being able to digitally sign and receive signatures comes with several powerful benefits for your business.

6 Uses of Electronic Signatures for Small Business 

Let’s get practical: Exactly how will eSignatures help your business? There are many ways they can be used, depending on your industry, but here are the top six that are applicable to most businesses.

Sales Contracts

Arguably the most important documents to your business, sales contracts literally have the ability to make or break a deal. Delays in delivering contracts can lead to cold feet on the part of the client, while customers delaying signing and returning their paperwork can leave you in limbo at the start of a project. 

jSign users rely on our eSignature to efficiently execute their sales agreements online. This enables them to close deals faster, with paperwork signed within hours or even minutes instead of taking weeks or even days. This is true whether the documents require one or multiple signatures. 

eSignatures give you complete visibility into sales agreements, allowing you to swiftly see precisely where you’re at in the signing process. They also allow you to automate many of your sales processes for a seamless workflow and client journey. 

Purchase Orders

Purchase orders may be brief and simple agreements. Or they can be more complex, longer documents, including pricing agreements, the scope of work, intellectual property clauses, shipping arrangements and other binding elements of an agreement. 

While it’s vital that you get all these practical matters ironed out, finessing the details can be an arduous process. Having the ability to view a live document that all parties can directly comment on makes the whole process considerably smoother. Questions can be asked and answered in real-time, details tweaked until everyone is happy, and because there is only one version of the document that everyone can see, there’s no risk of different versions getting mixed up as they’re passed back and forth. 

Supplier And Vendor Agreements

As you grow your business, you will forge and build relationships with vendors and suppliers. Often that relationship-building is a time-consuming process that needs a considerable investment of time and energy. Managing and coordinating these relationships and the procurement activities that go with them is not for the faint-hearted. 

Switching from paper-driven workflows to a digital system accelerates the entire procure-to-pay process. At the same time, it reduces the potential risk of human error and the costs that come with processing paper documents. Best of all, it makes ensuring you’re compliant with all company policies a cinch. 

Customer Onboarding Forms

Getting customers signed up is always a hurdle, but often the onboarding process is more complex. If you have paperwork you need new clients to fill in, then having a means of sending and gaining electronic signatures ensures you have all the proper consent in place. 

Paper-based liability waivers, NDAs, consent forms or policy updates often result in the generation of multiple iterations of the same documents. This racks up a material cost in paper and printing rapidly and can also be confusing and inconvenient for customers to keep track of, particularly with multi-page documents. 

Using an electronic signature provider allows you to incorporate signature boxes into any and all your onboarding forms. There’s always space for consent boxes, and all information sent to you always has the option to come with a signature affirming it’s correct and truthful when needed.

Even if signatures aren’t required on all these documents, having the ability to share documents electronically in a single, contained system will lead to a more streamlined customer experience. By switching all your forms to digital, you ensure client journeys are as positive as possible.

Change Of Order Forms

Project-based businesses like web design agencies, architecture firms or construction companies face an ever-evolving brief when it comes to client needs. Clients may need to make regular minor changes as the project progresses, or they may suddenly take a 180-degree turn and completely change the direction of the project as it evolves. While the initial agreement is written down in black and white before a project starts, ensuring proper documentation of any updates to a client’s order is essential — particularly when those changes are large or high in volume.

Failing to update the record of what’s needed easily results in things being missed, in details being incorrect, and can potentially lead to huge problems that take a lot of time and money to fix when they’re eventually noticed. Add to this the fact that most projects of this nature are quoted based on the initial brief, and you may also need a record of the additional work completed beyond the original scope, so you can bill for it.

Having a signed change order for any amendments is essential, particularly when it comes to avoiding clients quibbling over extra invoices. At the same time, you avoid holdups and ensure you have a complete ‘paper trail’ that can be reviewed when needed. 

Real Estate Contracts 

The digital age has brought many advancements and advantages, but it’s shortened our attention spans and accustomed us to instant gratification. The modern world comes with expectations of quick and easy transactions. This is even true of more complex purchases like houses and cars. These days the real estate process is expected to be swift and painless.

Since electronic signatures are now as legal as paper versions, real estate contracts can be created, sent and managed digitally.

eSignatures Vs Paper Signatures 

Overall there are a lot of uses for eSignatures when you run a small business, but there are also a lot of benefits to eSignatures over paper signatures. For the eco-minded company, the ability to ditch the paper and switch to digital makes a huge difference to your carbon footprint. An eSignature is also far more difficult to tamper with than one created with pen and ink. Electronic signatures can also be sent and received instantly, ensuring an easier and more efficient experience for everyone. 

Other eSignature benefits include 

  • A trackable workflow
  • The ability to easily use your eSignature platform across multiple countries and industries 
  • Centralized document storage which is more secure 

How Do I Get Started With An eSignature Provider?

Getting started with eSignatures couldn’t be simpler. When using a provider like jSign, you’ll find everything you need is integrated into a system. Set up templates for all your regularly used documents so that each can be created when required in a couple of clicks. If you’re unsure about the whole process, scout for a provider who is confident enough in the excellency of their service that they will offer you a free trial.

You can take advantage of jSign’s free 14-day trial immediately. This will give you access to all the features and benefits of our system, and time to decide if it’s right for you before signing up.

James Lintzer
Senior Marketing Manager

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