Running your own business is both challenging and rewarding, full of adventure and opportunity. Yet, getting behind in your organization can quickly become overwhelming. With so many tools to modernize your business, it’s easy to avoid getting buried under the everyday clutter – whether it’s in the office, or in the cloud.
Here are some helpful tips to help you get things in order this year.
Go back to the basics and reorganize your office for maximum productivity. When you declutter, remove everything that isn’t absolutely essential to your operations. Get rid of any broken or worn out furniture, appliances, or materials, and recycle what you can. Keep things moving efficiently by contracting a hauling service to take everything away. If you’re swapping out the old for the new and you do have some time in between, attempt to sell the lightly used items and use the cash to put towards the new bill.
While you’re at it, declutter your inbox and email system. Go through and delete all inessential communications, or emails that are over a year old. Moving forward, stay on top of it! Answer emails as soon as you get them so that they don’t pile up and get lost in the shuffle. Slack is another great resource for internal communications and allows for more streamlined conversations while cutting down on emails.
Lastly, set aside time every week to clean up your space. Taking the time to clean up, even if it’s just a few minutes a day, saves you time and stress down the road.
Staying on top of your busy schedule is a lot easier said than done, especially when you also need to keep up with those of your employees. Set up regular check-ins to ensure that day-to-day operations are taken care of, that timesheets are completed, and that other essential functions are kept up to date. The Homebase app is a great tool for small businesses, helping them to track employee schedules so that you can stay up to date.
You should also make to-do lists! Once you have made a generalized list, breakdown each larger item into more manageable tasks, and prioritize them by deadline. If you need some help with organizing your to-do lists, you can use Evernote. Evernote is also an excellent alternative to Post-it notes and scratch paper and won’t get lost in the garbage!
Travel frequently? Use apps like TripIt to help you schedule frequent travel plans and booking arrangements. And, if things start to feel just a little bit too overwhelming, you can hire a virtual assistant. There are plenty of remote freelancers out there to keep you on task, and you can find them by using sites like Fancy Hands.
Modernize Your Customer Interactions
Your customers not only need to be able to reach you, you also need to be able to reach them! Up your social media game by keeping up with your pages and interacting with customers. A great way to do this is by posting regular content, content that is both relevant and memorable. Plan your campaigns in advance and craft a great brand through the careful creation cohesive messaging, including copy, color schemes, and design.
You can also virtualize your customer service experience to streamline frequently asked questions and troubleshoot common problems. Apps like Chatfuel and Sequel make creating a virtual customer service platform fast and easy, and frees up space for you to focus your energy tackling those harder to solve customer challenges.
Get on Cloud Nine
If you haven’t already, go paperless! Not only is this better for the environment, but it also saves money on printing supplies and paper, frees up some storage space, and keeps documents from getting lost. Digitize your files and shred old paper documents and save them to the cloud. There, your documents will be highly secure and accessible from anywhere, at any time. That way, you do not have to worry about misplacing important files or leaving them at home or at the office. Services like Dropbox and Google Drive also make it easier to share, edit, and compile files as a collaborative team.
Make it Less Taxing
Take the stress out of managing your money by staying on top of the books. Keeping up to date with your accounts can save you major headaches down the road. Make time every week to go over the books and switch over to a cloud-based system. Apps like Zoho Books and Xero make it super easy to keep up, streamlining services to save you precious time.
Additionally, take time to meet with a tax advisor. Navigating the tax system can be really tricky, and if you miss deadlines or forms, you could be subject to steep fines and other penalties. Meeting with a tax advisor will clear up any questions you may have and set you up for a successful tax season.
Plan for the Future
The most important aspect of staying organized in your small business is planning for the things that go wrong. It’s never a matter of if, but when something won’t go your way. Take the time to design processes for when customers complain, you receive a bad review, orders are shipped incorrectly, etc. This way when things go south, everything is in order and on track to keep moving forward. Running a small business is all about being adaptable. Additionally, find proper business insurance that fits your needs and a spreadsheet of individuals you can call in case of an emergency. From lawyers to plumbers, make sure you establish a relationship ahead of time so that way you are taken care of in a time of need.