It could take a while for a startup business to become productive. The road to business success is often a long one, with plenty of bumps and detours along the way. You can sidestep some of those rough patches, however, if you organize your business optimally from the start. Eliminating clutter and chaos will hasten the road to productivity.
The following are steps to organize your small business:
- Purge your office – You may be certain that every last memo or letter in your office is so important that you loathe the idea of throwing anything away. At times, you may even keep duplicates of certain items just in case the original gets lost. It’s imperative to ditch this mentality and eliminate clutter. Toss out things that are outdated and irrelevant. Recycle items such as broken electronics. Slightly used items should be donated. Keep the basics, discard the rest.
- Organize your paper files – You can waste a lot of time searching for documents. Vet your files, tossing anything that is obsolete or useless. If you feel that an old document might be needed in the future, scan it and keep a digital copy.
- Ditch paper receipts – If you have digital receipts, get rid of the paper ones. Like the previous tip, receipts that do not have electronic copies may be scanned and filed electronically.
- Use the cloud for storage and sharing – Keeping your files in the cloud will free up personal storage. Instead of emailing people back and forth, give them access to your documents through cloud-based sharing tools such as Dropbox or Google Drive.
- Tame your inbox – Clean your inbox by moving files to the archive that you don’t need at the moment but that may be important in the future. Then limit the number of emails you receive each day by unsubscribing to unnecessary email publications. Create folders where you can send non-urgent emails. Personally, I take it a step further by disabling automatic email downloads and notifications. I no longer see the count of emails waiting for me in my dashboard, nor get a “ding” every other minute when an email comes in. Instead, I manually trigger email downloads just once, maybe twice, a day. This allows me to get in and out to send an email without any distractions of other emails waiting for my attention.
- Get the right note-taking tool – Have a tool or app ready for taking down ideas that come to your mind. I like to use “Things,” a note/task management tool that syncs between my Mac and iPhone. You can even use voice recording apps such as Evernote.
- Tidy up your social media profiles – Are your social media profiles cluttered and out of date? Clean up and delete obsolete or unnecessary information. You can also drop social media accounts that you no longer need or use.
- Take charge of your books – When you opened your business, you probably set in motion different processes for invoicing, payment processing, project tracking, etc. As your business progresses, review these processes to see if you need to improve or streamline them in any way. Better yet, outsource them to an accountant.
- Meet with a tax advisor – Keep your finances in order and do not cram when it comes to tax deadlines. Meet your tax advisor during the early part of the year when you have enough time to look for important documents.
- Tie up loose legal ends – Make sure you are compliant with all legal requirements. Consult a lawyer if you have questions or need help navigating legal jargon.
Organization can create a sound framework for your business growth and help you steer clear of a number of pitfalls.