Getting the Most Out of Your MFP

If you’re only using your multifunction printer (MFP) to print or copy reports and occasionally scan a document, you’re not getting the most out of your office equipment. MFPs are often underutilized in offices that primarily use them for printing and copying. But these multi-tasking devices are highly versatile and offer many benefits outside of printing, copying, scanning, and faxing.

Here are some ways you should consider incorporating your MFP into your business processes:

• Automate Paper Workflows – By simply connecting your MFP to a business application, you can scan paper documents on your MFP and quickly move them to a business process. You may route the scan directly to a document management system, or email it directly to a client. This allows you to automate your business processes that currently exist on paper by converting the paper documents to electronic workflows. Some manufacturers are integrating retractable QWERTY keyboards into their MFPs to simplify adding notations and indexing the documents that are scanned. Not only is this convenient, it also saves time by not having to go back to your desk to locate and open the file a second time in order to add notes and index.

• Maximize Faxing – Fax files directly to desktops on your network to improve productivity and enhance your ability to collaborate with colleagues on office projects. Desktop faxing also eliminates the need to produce a paper copy of a file or document just to run it through the fax machine to send it to someone outside your office. This saves valuable time and reduces paper waste.

• App it Up – Some MFPs now come equipped with cloud connectivity and app capabilities, allowing you to do a variety of things. Connect to your Google account or upload a file to your customer relationship management system by using simple, user-friendly apps at the MFP.

• Incorporate Vertical-specific Solutions – Many MFPs allow users to customize and enhance their devices for their specific industry. Solutions for education, healthcare, legal, government offices, and many more are available, helping to enhance security safeguards while controlling costs. For example, advanced education software allows teachers to print bubble sheet tests on demand and grade the exams in minutes. And highly secure healthcare software allows doctors to print prescriptions with anti-copy and anti-counterfeit features.

Few businesses have taken the necessary steps to ensure that their multifunction devices are optimized to work within their specific print and document environment. But, your MFP is more than a copier and printer. Learning more about how to maximize your MFPs functions and streamline your business processes will pay considerable dividends.

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Why Are The UK’s Indie Businesses Closing Down? It’s Probably Their Own Fault

OK, OK, the title here might sound a little bit harsh without any context, so I’ll take it easy on business owners – it IS really tough out there!

According to the Office of National Statistics, 1 in 10 UK businesses are closing down, and with town centre rates of £17,000+ per year, it’s hard to make up those kinds of numbers.

Just walking down my local High Street today, I saw 7 premises closed down just in the top quarter of the street! (Not even as far as the top half!)

But when your best coffee is bought wholesale from Illy (you know, the same brand you mull over at the concession stand when you’re stuck in some obscure train station at 8pm) or your ‘cool stylish watches’ are sourced from wholesalers in China and also sold to your neighbouring store AND about 7 other stalls on the market (have you seen how many of these places are popping up all over Camden?) then what reason do any of us have to shop with you – other than to compare on price?

When you compete on price, you’ll never win. The only winners in this situation are Illy and the rest of China.

So what else can you do?

It’s difficult to realise this when you’re busy working “in” your business everyday, but you have assets that you can market all over the place. These assets are the key to giving the people of your town a reason why they should walk through your doors.

Every business in every town has a selection of customers that they see everyday or every week. Those faces you recognise, who say “hello” to you first, before you get to say it to them.

These people know exactly why they step through your doors and you can ask them targeted questions to find out what it is.

If you just ask them “what brings you into our store everyday?” then you’ll be ahead of most of your competition.

Of course they’ll reply with “We want to see what you have in stock today”, or “Your staff are so friendly”, “The service is great”, or “The atmosphere is calming”, which will provide you with some extraordinary input already.

But why settle for this mediocre research when you can create a targeted questionnaire to find out where your store excels, where you fall short, and what customers would like to see more of in the future.

It takes 2 minutes to ask 5 questions. You needn’t take up all of their time, and if you have a database then you can really save time by calling them at home for this.

Uniqueness is the most important step to leveraging yourself above your competition.

Most business owners I encounter have never even considered this – opting for “our price is the lowest” or “our service is the best”. But if you’ve researched your competition fully, and you’ve found out that they’re cheaper or their service is more adept, then promoting these general, everyday remarks has very little standing in the buyers’ economy.

If you really are the low price leader, and you can still turn a sizeable net profit, then TELL THE WORLD! Sing it proud!

… But if you’re not, what is the real reason why your customers visit you? And what do they want you to do to keep them?

The reason people aren’t flooding through your doors isn’t an insult to your establishment. Most people know you exist, but that isn’t enough for them.

In all likelihood, you probably aren’t promoting the all-important reason why people patronise your store in the first place. Most of the time it’s not for the reasons you think it is, and because of that, I bet you aren’t promoting it through your advertising, media, direct response or online.

So, to spend just one day communicating with your customers and clients, you would develop the real message that convinces people to open your doors. When leveraged through your advertising, that powerful message will separate your store, restaurant, bar, cafe, or whatever establishment you run, against the competition. And it costs almost nothing.

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