Being organized, especially as a small business owner with a long to-do list, keeps your business productive, focused, and profitable—and keeps you sane. Spring is the perfect time of year to re-focus your energies and get your space and task list in order. Here are 6 great organization tips for your small business.
1. Use the Cloud
Storing documents in the cloud is a great way to protect them from computer crashes or viruses. Additionally, it’s a much cleaner, faster way to share files and information if you work with a virtual team. Applications to consider include Google Drive and Dropbox.
2. Stay On Top of Your Inbox
…and voicemail, desk drawers, and work surfaces. It’s important to regularly go through your inbox to delete emails you don’t need and appropriately file ones you do need. If your email is connected to your online calendar, spend time running through that, too, to make sure there aren’t any outdated or cancelled meetings cluttering it. You should also delete old, unneeded voicemails and throw out paper notes whose information is no longer relevant. Finally, keeping the inside of your desk drawers and your work station surfaces (desk top, printer area, tops of file cabinets, etc.) tidy will help you stay focused and prevent you from wasting time searching for items or notes that don’t have a designated place. As you clean up, throw out or donate old equipment and knick-knacks that you no longer use.
3. Keep Paper Files Organized
If you find yourself wasting time every week searching for papers, it’s time to clean up your filing system and designate a day and time to file each week. An easy-to-use, organized system is essential—if your system is confusing or messy you won’t use it. If you hate filing, hire a local freelance administrative assistant to come in once a week and spend a couple of hours filing for you.
4. Save Digital Instead of Paper Files
Speaking of filing, take any chance you get to save files and documents on your computer or online instead of printing and filing them. The IRS accepts digital receipts, so there’s no need to print or save paper ones when given the option of a PDF. If you have a scanner, scan paper restaurant receipts and save them in a folder on your computer or in an application like Dropbox or Evernote, and shred or recycle the paper copy. You’ll have less filing to do and it’s much quicker to organize documents in online folders than paper ones.
5. Clean Up Your Books
Keeping your books in order is important; you need correct systems in place for tracking things like time, expenses, and estimated taxes so that you’re legally compliant. Additionally, as the business owner you should understand why and how your books are set up. If yours are a mess or you didn’t get professional help when you originally set them up, get help now. Call in a CPA or virtual bookkeeper to straighten things out and give you a tutorial and make sure you are comfortable with whatever bookkeeping software you’ve chosen.
6. Check Off Loose Tasks
We all have that little cluster of tasks on our to-do list that we’ll “get to later”. They’re the tasks that need to get done eventually, but not urgently, and sound just unpleasant enough to put off—again. You know the ones! You’ve likely been re-writing them on your weekly to-do list for the past month or two. Letting “little” things like this pile up or go undone seems harmless, but it can secretly suck your energy and productivity, not to mention they’re on your task list for a reason. If you can relate, stop putting them off! Partner with a virtual assistant and hand over your list of unwanted tasks. The cost will likely be minimal but you’ll feel a great sense of relief and may find that there are regular tasks you’d love to delegate to someone else.
Now that you’re on your way to running a well-oiled, organized operation, read up on how to make working from a home office work for your business!
Need additional help with the clutter in your business? Take a look at my free Work Space Spring Cleaning workbook to get more inspiration with organization.