By Jeremy Clarke, freelance writer.
Often small business owners wear a lot of different hats. They have a lot of things that they need to get done every single day and so organisation is deeply important. It is easy to find that tasks are not allocated enough time or information is lost, and sometimes things are forgotten altogether. Better organisation leads to increased productivity and more efficient work processes.
Read on for all the tips you need to help you be more organised as a small business owner.
Your Office Space
This is where most of your work will take place, and so it makes sense that you should first start by organizing this. A tidy workspace leads to a tidy mind. Assign everything in your office a place and try to make sure that everything stays in its place, or it is returned to it after you have used it. While you are at it, you may want to consider having a clear-out and getting rid of anything you don’t use or need anymore. When you have your workplace clean, tidy and free of clutter, you will find that you are better able to concentrate on the tasks at hand.
Part of your office space may be dedicated to paperwork or documentation, and if this is the case, you should try to implement a system to make sure that it is in order. Organizing your paperwork doesn’t necessarily simply mean filing it away; it can mean shredding and disposing of old paperwork too. That being said, many small business owners are choosing to go paperless, which can save a lot of time and may be something that you want to consider.
Digital organization follows similar principles. Start with your files; what do you need or use often? You should make these the most accessible other files can be deleted, stored, or archived as needed. To maximize your productivity, you should try to ensure that your computer desktop is as organized as your physical workspace. You may also wish to adopt the use of cloud-based apps or systems which can make collaboration easier, and it also frees up storage on your personal computer.
As a small business owner, your dossier of contacts, be they customers, suppliers or other business contacts, is vital to the future of your business. Many small business owners often find that they begin to build their contacts database fairly quickly. Organizing your contacts is a must; make sure to have a system in place to sort your contacts appropriately.
Whatever form of communication you prefer, make sure that you are checking it regularly. It wouldn’t do to let a prospective customer or business deal languish in your inbox. Clear out the clutter start by deleting or archiving the messages that aren’t important or that you don’t need to hand anymore. Once that is done, you’ll likely need to create a new system to help you manage the incoming messages. Create filters so that emails are immediately sorted into the right folders.
Finally, consider whether or not you are using your computer to your advantage. There are many different apps and tools that you can use to improve your productivity day-to-day and streamline your working processes. For example, Setapp has a whole host of apps designed to make the life of a small business owner easier, and you can get access to these apps for a single cost. They also have a blog and a how-to section with many helpful articles such as how to gain remote access to your mac or recover lost files. Find out more on how you can use this within your own business practices at https://setapp.com/.
Once your workspace and your desktop are organized, you can begin to look at organizing your day. Start by constructing a schedule for yourself and stick to it as much as possible. Getting into a routine is one of the best things that you can do to make the most out of your time. Plan when you are starting work, how much time you are going to spend on each task and don’t forget to schedule in breaks too. If you are concerned that you will find yourself bored by the rigidity of your schedule, then you could create a weekly schedule to vary the days more. You can be as general or as specific as you like.
It may sound obvious but try to plan things far enough in advance. What are your long-term goals for the business? As your operation grows, things will change, and if you have planned for these changes, they won’t be as much of a disruption. Also, when you’ve planned ahead and know where your business is headed, you can begin to implement strategies to help you reach your goals. Planning ahead extends further than just your business goals. You should be planning your website and social media content as well as any other updates to your products or services.
Lastly, end your day by writing a to-do list for the following day. Some people struggle to relax after their workday, knowing that they have left tasks incomplete or trying to remember everything they need to do for the next day. Creating a to-do list can help you to get the information out of your brain, allowing for a more rejuvenative downtime. It also helps to give you a clear, concise outline of your priorities for the following day.
Organization is perhaps one of the best tools that any small business owner can have in their arsenal. However, it can be difficult for some people as it is not in everyone’s nature to be organized. However, good organization has been known to lower stress levels which are not only good for your business but good for your health too. The lower levels of stress often lead to increased productivity and better creativity as fewer things take up space mentally and distract you. There are many benefits to being organized, and if you take on board the above advice, you will soon find that you are reaping the rewards.