Using Technology To Streamline Your Business [Q&A with Joseph Walla]

These days if you want to survive and thrive as a business owner, you have to invest in technology that can help you build a more efficient team, connect with more prospects, and achieve the goals you set for yourself and for your company.

We recently talked with Joseph Walla, CEO and co-founder at HelloSign, and asked him to answer a few of our questions in order to help small business owners understand how to use technology to streamline and grow their businesses. Read through our questions and his answers to find out how to get started:

Why do you think technology has become such an important part of the ultimate success of most businesses today?

I think of technology as a force multiplier. Things that previously would take say, five employees to do, now take much less. That means that your current team size can have a significantly higher impact. We’re getting to the point where technology is going from an important but small improvement in efficiency, to something very significant that can’t be ignored.

There is a lot of incredible software out there that’s automating your back office, marketing, lead tracking, paperwork and more. The people that embrace technology are not just getting more effective, they’re also able to specialize in what they do best. For example, if you sell insurance, you shouldn’t be spending hours on setting up payroll or pushing paperwork. That should all be automated. So, the insurance broker that uses technology can instead focus on becoming the best possible insurance provider. Because of benefits like this, we’re seeing businesses that embrace technology now winning over the companies that don’t.”

What would you tell a business owner who is reluctant or wary about adopting new technology or tools for their business?

I’d tell her that she’s making a big mistake. Long term, the companies that don’t invest in effectiveness and efficiency will get displaced by the companies that make that investment. If she uses a hand held plow to farm, she’ll have a really hard time competing with farms that use tractors connected to a GPS. The reason is that one of her employees will be able to do a lot less than one of her competitor’s employees.

I know that it’s uncomfortable to change behavior. It takes a moment to try out new software and train the team. But, the downside is that long term, her company may not be viable. The upside, is that she can get more done every day. She can either use that saved time to grow her business or take a vacation!

Right now, today, I’d recommend she sit down and make a list of the top five things that are taking a lot of her time, whether it’s paper document signing or employee payroll process. Then, I’d go online and find the best software that solves each one of those problems. I’d tell her not to get deterred by the costs. We looked at the cost of software internally and realize it’s completely dwarfed by salaries. The difference in cost is incredible. So, I think of all of this software as saving us money. The old adage always comes to mind – penny wise, pound foolish.

What are some favorite apps or tools you personally use to help streamline your business?

We use tons of software. Anything that can make us more effective, we use.

  • ZenPayroll: Incredible payroll software
  • Zenefits: Completely streamlined our team’s insurance.
  • Google Apps: Google provides Gmail for business, Google Drive, Spreadsheets, Docs and Calendar. They have incredible collaboration tools built in.
  • Evernote: I use this for my to do lists and action items.
  • Hipchat: Helps everyone the team coordinate.
  • Uservoice Help Desk: I’m not sure how we did customer support before we had this. It’s incredibly helpful. I think more businesses should use help desk software.
  • ZeroCater: We have tasty lunches at the office. It great for the team to hang out – plus, it makes us more effective by not having to go out and get lunch.
  • Fogbugz: If you’re in the business of building software, this helps us track all of our features and bugs.
  • Much, much more.

We pay a lot of money for software at HelloSign and we’ll continue to buy software that makes us more effective as a team.

How can HelloSign help business owners?

We save companies a huge amount of time — instead of chasing paper signatures, they can close more deals. That means that each employee is significantly more effective.

With HelloSign, business owners can:

  • Reduce costs: HelloSign eliminates the need for outdated and expensive devices like printers, fax machines and scanners. This also reduces paper, ink and courier costs

  • Increase productivity: Instead of wasting time on printing, scanning, faxing and mailing HelloSign streamlines every aspect of the signing process. Users can receive a document, sign and send in a fraction of the time and with minimal effort.

  • Reduce cycle time: Business owners can speed up the sales cycle, onboarding negotiations, partnership agreements and more by signing and receiving contracts faster through HelloSign.

  • Lower signing errors: Instead of scrolling through long wordy documents searching for where to sign, HelloSign enables anyone requesting a signature to determine exactly where the signatures need to be with specific directions on who needs to sign and any other information required. This cuts down on signing errors such as missing signatures and misinformation.

  • Increased flexibility: Because HelloSign is accessible from anywhere, users can sign and send documents even if they’re out of the office. This enables remote workers like contractors, sales teams, home business owners and more to receive, sign and send documents while on-the-go. With the HelloSign mobile app, users can even sign and send documents from their phone.

  • Support the green initiative: Anytime someone uses an eSignature instead of a traditional pen and paper signature, they’re cutting down on paper waste. By using HelloSign to sign electronically, businesses can simultaneously increase efficiency and do their part to help out our environment.

Joseph Walla is the CEO and co-founder of San Francisco based startup HelloSign which launched in 2012 and provides the easiest way for businesses to sign legally binding documents online. The idea behind HelloSign was sparked by Joseph’s first successful product, HelloFax, which launched in 2010 after attending the prestigious startup accelerator Y Combinator (W11). Prior to moving to San Francisco, Joseph attended the University of Minnesota in his home state where he was awarded both the Truman and Luce scholarships and received a BA in Political Science.

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