Published On September 12, 2022Keeping your small business organized is paramount. It ensures that things are done quickly, well, and cost-effectively. Whether it comes to storing documents, following timelines, or just managing the overall flow of your space, some strategies work better than others.
You may have heard it said, “For every minute spent organizing, an hour is gained.” While this certainly rings true for any business, it’s particularly significant when it comes to running a small business.
Keeping your small business organized is paramount. It ensures that things are done quickly, well, and cost-effectively. Whether it comes to storing documents, following timelines, or just managing the overall flow of your space, some strategies work better than others.
Here are ten tips to help you overcome some of the organizational hurdles that small business owners commonly face.
1. Go paperless
Save time, headaches, and the environment by reducing your paper usage. Loose papers, files, and folders lead to cluttered desks and lost data. Keep your office clean by scanning documents and transferring what you can to online storage solutions. In addition, files stored on the cloud are harder to lose and easier to organize.
Need to scan in bulk? Fear not, there are loads of services to help scan large amounts of documents.
2. Your computer may need organizing too
Just because you’ve transferred everything to your computer doesn’t mean your organizational woes are solved.
Do you find yourself searching through dozens of open tabs? Does your desktop screen look like a collage of mystery icons? Not only is this inefficient, it’s wholly unnecessary. So every few days, go through your computer and get rid of any icons, tabs, or windows you’re not using.
Once a month or so, sort through your computer files to see what you don’t need anymore. Clear these out regularly. It will free up your hard drive and save a lot of headaches in the long run.
3. De-clutter your physical environment
Now that you’ve removed the clutter from your desk and sorted through your computer, take a look at your physical surroundings.
Are you inundated with file boxes? If so, it may be time to think about investing in an off site storage solution. Storing files and documents off-site frees up your working space, ensures data security, and reduces the chance of important documents being damaged or destroyed.
Once your working space is free of boxes, you can now focus on adding your own personal touch. Studies have shown that adding things like plants and art can boost productivity. When you add comforting elements and put everything in its proper place, you create a calm working environment with less room for things to get lost.
Also, a clean workspace is essential for making a good impression. Colleagues and prospective customers alike will appreciate a tidy environment that shows your business is being run in an organized fashion.
4. Plan for taxes early
Tax season is like a boomerang; it comes right back around every time you get rid of it. Most small business owners don’t want to spend much time thinking about upcoming taxes, but getting your tax preparation in order will help avoid audits, fines, or in some extreme cases, closure.
Don’t let the IRS catch you on a bad month when paying overdue fines will hurt a bit more than usual. Instead, plan ahead so that it will be a less painful process. If you’d like to take the workload off your hands, there are plenty of services or apps that will help you with your taxes.
5. Budget your time carefully
Planning for the big stuff like taxes is important, but planning how you spend your time on a day-to-day basis is also crucial. Track how long it takes you or your team to accomplish specific tasks. Once you figure out how much time different tasks take, you can set realistic goals for the day, week, or month.
Time management doesn’t refer to how many extra hours you can cram with work. It’s about being efficient with the hours you have. Plan to include breaks throughout the day to make sure you’re avoiding burnout and doing your best possible work.
6. Make sure every team member is on the same page
Unless you’re working alone, your small business is a team. And as a team, it can’t function without cooperation.
Communication between employees is crucial for preventing costly mistakes. Take advantage of collaborative platforms like Google Workspace, where the whole crew can stay on the same page. This will go a long way towards making sure that mishaps aren’t taking away from productivity.
7. Set high standards
Disorganization is the absence of structure. Establish your small business’s standard operating procedures to take out the guesswork and keep things in line.
However, beware of falling into the trap of setting operating procedures that aren’t subject to scrutiny. Instead, make sure to keep an open mind about regularly improving or optimizing those processes when the opportunity arises.
Remember, the goal is not to make rules for the sake of making rules. Instead, your goal is to improve efficiency on a practical, achievable level.
8. Read an email, reply to an email
One of the biggest enemies to organization is procrastination. So get into the practice of doing things right away. Start by responding to emails as soon as you read them.
Emails tend to pile up. And what happens in pileups? Things get lost. Keep your inbox free of clutter, and it will have knock-on effects that contribute to better organization overall.
9. Stop being a part-time accountant
Do you have an accountant at your small business? That’s fantastic! This point is not for you.
Suppose you’re one of many small business owners who don’t have the luxury of handing off your accounting duties. In that case, you probably spend hours sorting through bank statements and submitting invoices.
It doesn’t have to be this way. There are plenty of cloud-based bookkeeping platforms that do all the busy work for you. They keep track of in-person and online transactions, issue invoices, double-check finances, and much more.
10. If you’re overwhelmed, consider a virtual assistant
Don’t worry if you have too much on your plate and you can’t seem to keep up. It happens.
You might be understaffed or are in a field that requires more hands-on attention. Perhaps there just aren’t enough hours in the day to do all the monotonous tasks on your schedule. If that’s the case, check out virtual assistant services.
Affordable virtual assistants can be found on many freelance sites. So whether you need help for the day or as a long-term gig, there is a virtual assistant out there for you.
For more ways we can help support your small business, visit Iron Mountain small business solutions.