For print distributors looking to expand their operations and client base, it is imperative to seek out any and all potential opportunities. Numerous such opportunities undoubtedly exist, but it's also true that they can be difficult to identify at first glance. Firms may be significantly reducing their reliance on paper business forms, but there are still many areas where these assets remain essential. By zeroing in on those arenas, print distributors can find and cultivate steady business.

The back office features a number of the most significant opportunities in this capacity. Here are just a few of the most noteworthy examples of back office forms, and why they should be seen as so invaluable for print distributors.

Sales support
Perhaps the single most important aspect of the back office when it comes to forms is sales support.

In general, the back office is all about support. The front office is where customer-facing business occurs, while the back office tackles administration and a variety of operational tasks. In the past, these back office responsibilities inevitably relied heavily on business forms for account management, order placement and so on. And, to a significant degree, that remains the case today.

Consider a retail business whose sales team is compensated via commissions. Whenever a sales occur, numerous administrative tasks are instantly created: The order needs to be recorded and filed in order to ensure it will be fulfilled, the revenue needs to be reflected on corporate accounts, the salesperson needs to fill out some sort of form verifying the size of the commission and so on. 

Large enterprises will quite often have digital and automated systems in place for all of these areas. That is not the case, however, for many smaller and family-owned businesses. As this blog has covered previously, such firms tend to stick with paper-based strategies and systems for significantly longer than their larger industry counterparts. Many see upgrading as more trouble and cost than it's worth, and if they have been doing just fine for years with their existing strategies, why change? 

This means that print distributors should consider looking for opportunities to sell business forms to these types of retailers. Their back offices are likely to need forms for sales orders, commission requests, shipping labels, sales receipts and more. 

Accounting issues
On a related note, another key aspect of the back office is accounting. Once again, a lot of smaller and family-owned companies still turn to business forms, rather than software, for a significant portion of their accounting needs. Print distributors can therefore expect to find demand for:

  • Expense forms
  • Cash advance forms 
  • Authorization of professional services payments forms
  • Inventory forms

And many others. Unlike the previous section, all of these back office forms are applicable to a wide range of company types, rather than exclusive to retailers and sales-focused firms. 

Finding business
The benefits of finding businesses in need of printed forms for their back offices are tremendous for print distributors. Most notably, this represents consistent, repeatable revenue with little effort required on the print distributor's end. There's no need to design new, unique forms each time a new order comes in, as is the case with marketing materials and the like. Instead, it's simply a question of keeping up-to-date with the client's needs and fulfilling those orders, which should be more or less ready to go when needed. That makes these clients less hands-on for print distributors, allowing service providers to focus more of their time and effort toward seeking out new business opportunities.

Of course, as the previous sections should have made clear, it does require some degree of dedication to discover and take advantage of these business opportunities. While there are countless companies that require such offerings, print distributors do need to seek them out – they won't necessarily be the most obvious or easy-to-reach firms. You need to look for not just smaller and family-owned companies but also businesses that may have been underserved by print distributors in the past as a result of their locations, industries or any other factors. If you can find these companies and demonstrate the value you have to offer, they are likely to remain loyal customers for years to come.