We won’t lie to you– starting a business is hard. New competitors seem to be emerging every time you blink, you’re responsible for more money than just your family’s and you can’t seem to remember your login and password information to save your life. With businesses, just like with most things in life, it’s important to take baby steps to improve. Step one? Get serious about organization. Here’s how.
Be Like Santa
Just like St. Nick himself, make a list and check it twice. Before you wrap up work, write down each and every goal that needs to be met the next day. This way, you get the satisfaction of checking items off your “to do” list, and you can get a good night’s sleep knowing that important tasks won’t slip through the cracks.
Plan for Interruptions
Similar to a box of chocolates, “you never know what you’re ‘gonna get” on a given workday. The only thing that you can plan for with complete certainty is that your day won’t go as planned. That’s why you should account for that. Be realistic when making your daily goal list, and account for interruptions and time needed to address them.
A recent study found that the average person spends over 4 hours each week searching for papers. Avoid being a part of that statistic by practicing FAR. Any paperwork that lands on your desk has three ways it can be handled– it can be filed (F), acted upon (A) or recycled (R). Do one of these three actions on the front end, as soon as you receive documents, to avoid clutter and those mile-high stacks of papers that seem too intimidating to address.
Don’t Forget Your Computer
This tip rings especially true for small business owners whose bulk of work relies upon a computer. As we all know, it doesn’t take long for your, once squeaky clean, desktop to become littered with files ranging in names from “Very Important” to “Don’t Delete!” To help with this productivity roadblock, practice the above rule with some digital modifications. Once you’ve used your file, file it away somewhere on your computer, work on it until it can be filed away, or simply drag it to the trash bin.
We’ll save you some time by telling you this– no matter how hard you try, you probably aren’t going to remember that you hurriedly shoved half of your business receipts in your utensil drawer at home and the other half on your office’s bookshelf. Go ahead and plan for next tax year by creating a “next year’s taxes” box. This box will be home for all bank statements, business expense invoices, online statements, charity receipts, etc. Your future self, and your accountant, will thank you.
It may seem small, but staying organized can dramatically impact the productivity, and therefore survival, of your small business. With these tips combined with our 60 years of lending expertise, we’re confident that your new or growing business can be a success story.