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Tips on Staying Organized for Small Business Owners

July 11th, 2014 No comments

blog602Do you know where your important documents are? As a small business owner, you have to deal with many important documents like your tax forms, lease agreements, mortgage papers, receipts, invoices, purchase orders and more! Are they all together in one safe, organized place? Probably not. You most likely have some of your documents stored in a filing cabinet at home, some others in your desk at the office, and your digital files floating around various email accounts, hard drives, and cloud storage services. The more advanced the world gets, the harder it seems to be to keep everything together.

How to Stay Organized?

Tip 1: Invest in an advanced digital filing system, like Neat. It gives you one place to store all your important information, and helps make that information easier to find, use, and share with others.

Tip 2:  Set up your scanner near where you open your mail. Anything that’s worth keeping goes into the scanner, where it’s digitized. The information is safe, and the physical mail can go straight to the recycling bin.

Tip 3: Integrate organization into your routine. Make it a habit to find 30 minutes every week to file away your important documents. Don’t let the pile grow!

Benefits of Using A Digitized Scanning Solution

  • When it’s time to find that important piece of mail, just sign into your computer, phone or cloud and it’s there. No more rifling through piles of paper or trying to remember where you stashed something “so you wouldn’t lose it.”
  • It’s easy to use and include in your routine!
  • The time savings are immense. Once you begin using a digitized scanning solution, you will free up additional time almost immediately.

The Neat Solution: Smarter than the Average Scannerneat_logo

Neat does more than just store and organize your documents. It actively parses the information you send it, pulling key information like contact info from business cards or tax amount, total, and vendor name from receipts. This information becomes easy to use – export it to other programs, instantly generate expense reports, and more. Just try doing that with paper.

It doesn’t matter if your information comes from paper or from a digital source; everything has a home in Neat. Between their smart scanners and their easy-to-use cloud service, Neat gives you a way to get everything into the same database. That means whether you need to find a digital receipt, a scanned copy of an invoice, or whatever else – if it’s important, you’ll know it’s in Neat.

 

Categories: Small Business Marketing Tags:

USPS Submits Proposal for Priority Mail Price Cut

July 2nd, 2014 No comments

blog_usps-logoOn July 1, the U.S. Postal Service submitted a proposal to the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC) to reduce prices for Priority Mail. If approved, the reduced rates would go into effect on September 7, 2014.

The pricing reductions would only apply to Commercial Base rates (online postage) and Commercial Plus rates. The price reductions focus on packages weighing between 5 lbs. and 26 lbs. for Commercial Base rates with some of the cost savings being as high as $14.89 per package  (20 lb. package, Zone 5). For Commercial Plus rates, the reductions will focus on packages weighing between 3 lbs. and 40 lbs. with cost savings being as high as $10.92 per package (30 lb. package, Zone 4).  Regional Rate Box C is also seeing prices lowered for packages traveling from Zone 1 & 2 through Zone 5.

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The PRC must review and approve the prices before they become effective on September 7, 2014. More information is available at www.prc.gov.

Categories: USPS News Tags:

Customer Spotlight: Loose Petals

June 24th, 2014 No comments

headerKaren Young, owner of Loose Petals shares her story – How she started her small business, what challenges she faced, how she overcame them and how Stamps.com helped her streamline her shipping process.

Stamps.com: Tell us about your business?  How did you start?
Loose Petals is an independent publishing company.  As the owner and artist, I published my first line of cards 22 years ago.  Growing up in San Francisco, I was part of a group that found a niche selling art to retailers around the world.   My medium was 3-D art cards  and the  business model was wholesaling to boutiques and specialty stores such as Barneys, Nordstrom, and Anthropologie.  With the advancement of technology, Loose Petals is now selling cards, canvas prints,  posters  to customers all over the world.

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Stamps.com: What challenges did you face as a small business owner?  How did you overcome these?
It’s hard being a one woman business, but I have a lot of help from good workers.  I am probably understaffed right now because my company has been growing, but I hope to bring more employees on board soon.  Also, as a small business owner adapting to economic trends is critical.  For example, after 2007 we saw the economic crisis coming and instead of folding, we increased more outside sales and began selling artwork on Etsy and creating new artworks including a collection of skyline posters of cities from around the world.  That effort certainly seems to have paid off today!

Stamps.com: How did you find out about Stamps.com?
When my online business was growing, my staff did a lot of research.  We compared many online shipping services like Stamps.com, USPS Click N Ship and Endicia.  In the end, I went with Stamps.com because I liked the terms best.

Stamps.com: What did use prior to using Stamps.com?  190568_Loose-Petals-Logo
Before using Stamps.com, I was using USPS Click N Ship.  To be honest, the interface wasn’t very user friendly.  I didn’t find the Support Team to be that great and moreover, we were always on hold for such a long time before we got a chance to speak to someone.  Stamps.com took away all those problems!

Stamps.com: Did you have any challenges with Stamps.com, when you first started to use the software?
Not really!  I think Stamps.com works great.  We haven’t had any issues and if a question comes up or if I need help with a feature, I just call Stamps.com Support, which is excellent!

Stamps.com: What types of packages do you mail out with Stamps.com?
Loose Petals sends out packages of all shapes and sizes!  The most common types of packages are flats and poster tubes.

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Stamps.com: Besides printing postage, are there other Stamps.com features that have helped your business?
Being able to ship internationally without having to go to the Post Office is a huge benefit for us.  As we are expanding internationally, this is a really useful feature for us.  We can fill out customs forms and schedule pick ups from the office!

Stamps.com: What features of Stamps.com do you use the most and how have these helped streamline your shipping process?
The Stamps.com-Etsy integration is a feature that we rely on everyday!  We ship orders from our Etsy store everyday and the integration makes importing orders, printing labels and posting back confirmation numbers so easy.

Stamps.com: What’s next for Loose Petals?
Loose Petals will continue to grow and expand into new markets!  We are partnering with other companies and exploring new business models.  Not only are we still wholesaling, but we are also continually drop shipping our posters for other e-commerce stores that specialize in unique gift products.  This year, we are introducing canvas prints of all our cities.  By adding our images to other Print On Demand sites, such as RedBubble, our customers will be able to purchase Loose Petals art on products for their homes.  I am also excited about the expansion of the skyline collection, as we add more cities to complete the entire collection.

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Categories: Customer Profiles Tags:

USPS Temporarily Suspends Electronic Delivery Confirmation to Brazil, France & More

June 13th, 2014 No comments

blog_edc-intl_suspension-bOn Thursday, June 12, 2014, the USPS temporarily suspended Electronic USPS Delivery Confirmation International™ service to 7 countries — Brazil, Denmark, France, Gibraltar, Italy, Luxembourg, and Portugal. The suspension is due to a recent performance evaluation of each country’s ability to scan packages on delivery at the international delivery address. The USPS determined these country’s local postal organizations did not reach a “satisfactory level” for package scans.

Electronic USPS Delivery Confirmation International tracking was added to these countries in July 2013 and January 2014 for First Class Package International Service, Priority Mail International Flat Rate Envelopes and Small Flat Rate Priced Boxes.

With Electronic USPS Delivery Confirmation International, shippers could see when a package was delivered to its destination using the package tracking number on the Customs Form.

Starting June 12, 2014 , customers who need tracking information for packages being delivered to these 7 countries should purchase Global Express Guaranteed service, Priority Mail Express International service, or Priority Mail International service.

Important: Packages will continue to include “E-DELCON SERVICE” markings on the shipping label/customs form during the suspension period!  But NO TRACKING will be provided.

For more info, please see the USPS Postal Bulletin (page 46).

Shopify Shipping Integration Now Available

May 28th, 2014 No comments

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Stamps.com is excited to introduce a new shipping integration with popular commerce platform Shopify.

The integration gives Shopify customers new methods to simplify their order fulfillment process. Using Stamps.com, retailers can automatically import Shopify orders and print shipping labels for all USPS mail classes, both domestic and international. They also have access to the new BestRate shopping engine, which helps customers identify the most cost-effective mail class using box size, delivery time guarantee and shipping zone.

Stamps.com also posts order status details such as the USPS tracking number, shipping date and mail class directly to the Shopify customer’s account. Additional Stamps.com features now available include hidden postage, thermal printer support, automated customs forms, return shipping labels and more.

Use Shopify to Create Your Online Store
Shopify supports more than 100,000 online stores selling over $4 billion in products. Retailers can choose from more than 100 design templates for their website or can create a custom design for their online store. Shopify also allows retailers to instantly accept credit cards, without requiring a payment gateway, with one low rate for all major credit cards when using Shopify Payments. For retail locations, Shopify offers a Point of Sale system, which seamlessly integrates product, order and customer information between an ecommerce site and physical store. The company also provides Shopify Mobile, which allows retailers to accept payments from a mobile phone.

This integration is available for FREE to all customers of Stamps.com. Get instructions on how to connect your Shopify account to Stamps.com.

Categories: Integrations Tags: ,