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Easy does it: how simple digital tools are making life better for small business owners | Adobe: Acrobat’s got it

Small businesses can’t afford to take things slowly. Without the unlimited funds and staff of large enterprises, every little action can be the difference between growth and stagnation. This means choosing where to invest in digital technology is critical – something Sarah Bolitho, the founder and CEO of HR recruitment firm Levyl, has learned first-hand.

Levyl’s remit is to strike the balance between commercial goals and ethical responsibilities, recruiting for multinationals, small businesses and startups, and tech plays a key role.

“Technology gives us a competitive edge in the market,” Bolitho says. “As a startup business heading towards the scaleup stage, we know we can’t risk bad experiences; we can’t risk coming across like we don’t know what we’re doing or we’re not sophisticated.”

It’s a similar story for Julia Kay, a co-founder of the compostable food and pallet wrap brand Great Wrap. Kay has big goals but a staff of only 25 to achieve them, making her digital choices all the more important.

“We’re a lean team operating across different regions,” Kay says. “A lot of our partners are based in the US and Europe, so obviously being able to be online wherever we are in the world is supercritical. There are a lot of efficiencies that we get from using digital tech as well.”

As early-stage business leaders with growth in mind, both Bolitho and Kay have put plenty of time into choosing their technology solutions. Both have chosen Adobe Acrobat to provide the efficiency, functionality and flexibility they need to save time and forge ahead with their business goals.

Bolitho says: “It’s saved us time, made us work more cohesively as a team, and the experience has been good for customers. We haven’t looked back.”

Streamlining contracts

For both Levyl and Great Wrap, getting contracts signed is an everyday activity. By using e-signatures through Acrobat, they can avoid the slow back-and-forth of downloading, signing and resending.

Kay says: “We’ve got suppliers all over the world and that makes that process really seamless. All of our contracts come to us as a PDF and it’s easy to quickly mark up the contract and sign it and get it back.”

Julia Kay, a co-founder of the compostable food and pallet wrap brand Great Wrap

For Bolitho, getting contracts signed digitally is the default, with paper contracts quickly becoming a thing of the past. One reason is environmental, but the other is more about oversight. When a contract is sent out, Acrobat lets Bolitho prompt recipients for signatures through the app if they’re slow to sign.

“Whenever we sign up a new customer we issue terms and conditions and we don’t tend to issue a [candidate] search before we have that bedded down,” Bolitho says. “The reminder and the push features are really helpful for us to be able to say, ‘hey guys, we need you to agree on this before we get going’.”

Easy collaboration

Collaborating on live documents is essential for businesses like Levyl and Great Wrap. It might be feedback on a proposal, a last-minute presentation or, for Kay at Great Wrap, fine-tuning contract terms with a supplier in Belgium.

“Often they’ll send us a PDF and we’ll leave our comments on the legal side of things and then, once that’s all agreed, it just makes it so much faster to be able to send that back and forth,” Kay says.

For a recruitment professional like Bolitho, collaboration through Acrobat makes polishing candidate résumés seamless. “If we have a candidate that says, ‘Hey, I’m looking at embarking on my job search but I don’t know if I’m pitching myself in the right way. Have I put my responsibilities in the right order? Is my executive bio strong?’, it’s a much easier way to do feedback rather than long emails and jumping on phone calls where things can be misconstrued,” Bolitho says.

Take control from anywhere

Even with a tiny team, small businesses and startups aren’t always under the one roof. Whether Bolitho, Kay and their teams are doing hybrid work between the office and home or working with suppliers overseas, Acrobat’s cloud storage allows them to connect to their documents from anywhere, using any device.

Young man using laptop in cafe and listening to musicMale customer sitting at table wearing headphones, waitress serving people in the background

Bolitho says: “When we’re not all in the office together or we’re travelling or moving around and we don’t have the benefit of just being able to shout out over the desk where something’s at, you can see where things are at and things get updated in real time and stored in the same place.”

For Kay, it’s the ability to view, edit or give feedback on in-progress designs from anywhere in the world that makes Acrobat so useful.

“I was in Europe two weeks ago and the team was working on a catalogue, and rather than printing it out or sending a really long email full of notes, I was able to mark up each page and put suggestions in the text,” she says. “That really improved that design process.”

Find out how you can make everyday business simpler with Adobe Acrobat Pro.