digital signature
E-signature offer great flexibility for home-based business owners in web-based contract signing
By Jason Lemkin, vice president of Web services business at Adobe

Moms have created small businesses in dozens of industries, building their professional lives to better suit working from home, often around the schedules of their families. Whether mompreneurs are working as virtual assistants, consultants, freelance writers, affiliate marketers or in some other field, they know the pros and cons of the work-from-home deal. Despite the flexibility, low overhead and can’t-beat-it commute of working from home, there are challenges. Chasing signatures and closing contracts is one of them.

Each year, businesses of all sizes spend millions of dollars securing pen-on-paper signatures. It’s a waste of money and time, neither of which small businesses can afford to lose.

MomTrends Founder and Editor Nicole Feliciano recognized this reality and sought a better way to close more deals, faster. When Feliciano wanted to launch a blogger outreach program for her website, which caters to hip moms, she turned to a Web-based e-signature service. Feliciano now delivers contracts electronically, automates signature requests and reminders, and stores virtual documents online for easy access. Essentially, Nicole moved her entire contracting process to the web.

“Moms run their businesses at all hours of the day,” said Feliciano. “With Web-based contracts, they can log on 24/7 and participate with ease.”

An e-signature FAQ for momprenuers:

Q: Are Web-based contracts feasible for a home-based business owner?

A: Definitely. Look for a solution that doesn’t require any hardware or software investment. E-signatures should enable end-to-end contract processes completely on the Web, creating an easy-to-use process with a viable price point for businesses of all sizes.

Q: Are Web-based contracts legally binding?

A: Thanks to federal legislation signed in 2000, electronic signatures are as legally binding as those put on paper. They also help prevent fraud, since it is far easier to authenticate people’s identities based on their digital profiles, especially when you use an e-signature offering that can confirm data via social media platforms, such as LinkedIn and Facebook.

Q: What’s the return on the investment in an e-signature service?

A: e-Signatures can shrink the sales cycle by as much as 400 percent. That’s a lot more time during which you can sell your products and services, rather than chase signatures.

Q: Will my partners and customers balk at electronic contract completion?

A: It’s certainly worth discussing e-signing with your partners and customers before you move contracts to the Web, but once they expect to see your documents online, don’t expect much push back. Whether they have purchased a Groupon, downloaded an MP3 or bought a game from an app store, nearly everyone you’re likely to encounter has some experience completing a sale or agreement online. They should recognize it as a tool that makes doing business with you easier.

About the Author: Jason Lemkin is vice president of Web business services at Adobe and former CEO of EchoSign. His operational experience spans the business development, sales, legal, human resource and finance fields, and he is an acknowledged expert in the field of electronic signature and electronic contracting.