In the past, most businesses owned their printing equipment or depended on the services of a professional printer. As the Internet gained in popularity, business owners began to discover that they could expand their outreach and save money by shifting a significant portion of their business to online venues. The combination of websites, banner ads and apps offered a low-cost alternative for reaching the masses at bargain-basement prices.
With the proliferation of smartphones and tablets, it is easy to see why so many people believe that we are headed into an era completely devoid of printers. Proponents of a paperless world claim that you can save time and gain better access to documents if you ditch your printer and convert your documents to digital form. Is that always the best scenario, though, or does it make more sense to have a printer on hand? To help you make that decision, here are five reasons why you still need a printer:
Your Clients Want Paper Copies
Some of your clients may not be as progressive as you are. Perhaps they are afraid that their computer system will crash, and their electronic documents will vanish. They sleep better at night knowing that they have paper copies as backup. Some members of the older generation are resistant to change and simply want to continue doing business in the same manner that they are accustomed to. The only way that you will be able to accommodate their wishes is to print their documents for them. If you cannot provide paper copies to those individuals, there is a chance that they will leave you for a competitor who will provide the hard copies they desire.
Hard Copy Marketing Materials May Be More Effective
Remember when businesses printed their own brochures, business cards, and other marketing materials? Monthly newsletters that kept customers informed of new developments were commonplace. While a printer may not be required for online marketing, you may still find a need to print promotional material that you can distribute by hand or through the mail. If you need brochures, for instance, you will need to print them yourself or find a source that can provide that service for you. This is especially true for businesses that rely on the support of local clientele. Printed material also will be required if you attend trade shows, workshops or local marketing events. Another reason that marketing materials work well in printed form is that they provide a personal touch—like receiving a birthday card in the mail rather than a digital version.
Some Regulatory Agencies Require Paper
Government agencies tend to lag behind the rest of the world when it comes to change. One reason for this is that when a law is passed or revised, the rules must be rewritten—a cumbersome, bureaucratic process. If your business is regulated, there is a reasonable probability that you will need to continue filing reports in the future. Although some of these reports can be submitted electronically, many agencies continue to demand hard copies. For instance, the Drug Enforcement Administration (FDA) requires pharmacies to maintain paper prescriptions for certain controlled substances.
Paper Invoices Are Harder to Ignore
Although invoicing your clients digitally may have many advantages, paper invoices are harder to ignore. Some small organizations find it difficult to sift their way through the daily deluge of emails they receive, so they simply may not see your invoice. Some of your paperless invoices may go into a spam folder, never to be seen again. Others are accidentally deleted. Conversely, most people still go to their mailbox every day, sort through their mail and throw their junk mail in the trash can. However, they place their important papers, such as your invoices, in a spot where they are more likely to be seen.
Paper Makes a Good Working Copy
Have you ever been in a meeting where everyone in the room was working off the copy on their laptop or other smart device? Obviously, some people are comfortable editing a document in this way. However, others would prefer to have a hard copy in front of them so that they can mark it up and highlight certain portions. Also, staring at a computer screen for long periods can be very tiring. Tests have even shown that better concentration can be achieved by reading from a hard copy, and that information in longhand form is easier to understand and comprehend.