Effective Contract Management for Small Business

Susie Morrow

Anything that can help us to make our small business lives more efficient is a welcome addition.  In my job, I often find that email discussions and instructions can result in lost information and misunderstandings.

Collaboration tools like contract management systems are one of those software solutions that were invented by people who had come to the end of their tether with other methods of trying to manage information. And, as our small businesses become ever more digitized, so our everyday business processes, like creating e contracts, also become digital. This is where contract management steps up to the plate, giving us the tools to take normal offline processes and makes them digital, efficient and cost-effective.

ApproveMe’s digital signing platform is part of a fully-fledged contract management system. It was designed to ensure the small business has the most cost effective and capable tools for taking offline contracts and making them into e contracts.

What is Contract Management?

Contract management is a way of automating the creation, handling, and signing of a contract. It’s kind of why software and computers were invented – to make your life easier.  It also comes with some extras that manual contract management doesn’t have, such as stronger signing capability, alerts for signatories and audit trails. But we’ll discuss these more as we look at the different aspects of contract management and what the ApproveMe contract management system offers.

How to Use Contract Management Software Effectively

Like everything else in life, the devil is always in the detail and using any system, including contract management, needs to be done optimally. Choosing a suitable contract management system should be based on how easy it is to use, as well as the depth of features it offers. The guide to using contract management software, shown below, have within them the requirements needed to choose a good solution, these include:

  1. Get your stakeholders on-board – who is needed to get the contract signed, sealed and delivered. Make sure that all of the people involved in the contract approval and signing process are on-board with the use of a contract management system.
  2. Use the power of a contract management e contract system through alerts and reminders  Set up your contract process so that your stakeholders get automated alerts during the lifecycle of the contract. This keeps everyone engaged in the process without you having to micro-manage them.
  3. Labelling is your friend. Contract management is also about using administrative processes to create good working relationships with clients. Poorly labeled or mislabeled contracts can be easily lost or misused, resulting in a lot of headaches for you. This includes loss of revenue, contract delays, the breakdown in client trust, and ultimately penalties. Contract management should help prevent mislabeling and its consequences.
  4. Automation makes our digital lives complete. Well designed systems, like ApproveMe, will be intuitive to use. They build in steps, such as the automation of contract sending to all parties. The signing of a contract should similarly be simple. No need for a separate signing device, or complex signature steps.
  5. Make it legal. The e contract management system should allow the signing to be done in a legal manner. This means the digital signature & online signature tools used by the contract management platform should abide by signature laws such as ESIGN & UETA.
  6. Archive and audit. Keeping an audit trail of the events of an e contract throughout its lifecycle may stand you in good stead if you end up with a disputed contract.

The Pros of Using e Contract Management

So now you’ve found your perfect contract management system, which is hopefully ApproveMe you can reap the benefits, which include:

  1. No more paper: Digital contract management means you aren’t held back by paper problems, like having to file documents or losing them
  2. Speed: e contract processes are much faster than the old ways of emailing, printing, scanning and so on
  3. No more email hold-up: Not being dependent on email to communicate contracts means you know they have been seen (audit trail) and you don’t end up losing them in multi-user email trails.
  4. Everything in its place: e contract management is about keeping everything in one place. A central repository for your contracts, during and after signing, means you can easily locate contracts
  5. Easy and simple signing: Having integrated signing facility in your document management process and WordPress site, means it is part of your normal day to day operations. Signing becomes simple and a part of the overall contract lifecycle process. No more printing out and scanning.

As small business owners, we need to ensure that our working lives are organized so we can get on with our core work.

Contract management systems are one of those god-sent methods of taking complex, time greedy, multi-party, business processes, and making them easier.

Just make sure that when you go to source your contract management system that it has been designed with the small business in mind, and has the type of features that you need to make signing e contracts a breeze.

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