be intuitive. organize your digital file cabinet so you’ll have quick and accurate access to your information, says lew small, a small-business consultant who teaches at york college of pennsylvania. that could be as simple as a sales folder divided into months and years. “put some time into planning out the hierarchy of your file names,” he says. “if you don’t plan the organization from the start, you’re likely to end up with a haphazard system loaded with so many main files of minor information that it becomes difficult to find anything.”

use your suppliers and vendors. you can get help, including and especially from banks, insurance, and credit card companies. many offer paperless services — such as electronic billing, ordering, or invoicing — and they’re as glad to do it as you are, says gene roman, a chicago consultant.

back it up. make sure you keep another digital copy — whether on a hard drive, zip drive, or cd — in a safe place. the legal standard, incidentally, is called “commercially reasonable.” you don’t have to keep everything, but there has to be a reason for what you do keep, and it has to be stored so others can find it.