Some people feel that the first step to any successful business is to get organized. While it may not always be the first step, organization is definitely essential for the continuing success of any business. Customers will not be happy if things are forgotten. Money will be mismanaged if it is not monitored carefully. The best product or service in the world won’t benefit the business owner at all if the client is not invoiced!
Getting organized can be quite challenging for a business owner. It may be difficult to figure out even where to start! Moreover, since it is essential to keep the flow of money coming in, the business organizational process cannot be allowed to cause the actual work to grind to a halt.
Small Business Organization
It is vital to relieve the confusion brought on by disorganization. If you are just beginning a business or if you are languishing in an utter muddle, here are some steps to take.
- Know your products/services. If you don’t know what you are offering, no one will.
- Organize your personal life. Personal problems/issues can easily be allowed to interfere with work, especially if you work at/from home. There must be boundaries set between home life and work.
- Clean up your physical workspace. If your workspace is a disaster area, you won’t be able to find anything or work efficiently. A cluttered work area can also lead to feelings of frustration and discouragement. You may need to get professional help! If you have enough money, it may be a good idea to hire someone to help you with the cleaning.
- Get a system of keeping track of important dates and times. You may choose to use a paper calendar or a virtual system such as Google Calendar. The advantage of using Google Calendar is that it is assessable anywhere the Internet is available, including on your smart phone. A paper wall calendar stays at work, leaving you uniformed if you are not sitting at your desk. On the other hand, when you use a portable calendar, you run the risk of losing it.
- Find out the legalities surrounding your business. You need to be realistic about this. It will take time. Set aside certain days to dedicate to looking into these things. As for government forms that need to be submitted, it is ultimately less time-consuming to go in person. If you fill it out and mail a form in, it will invariably be returned to you with something highlighted and no explanation. If you go in yourself, you will get assistance to ensure that everything is done correctly the first time. Don’t worry, the government workers there will likely have time to see you and you usually won’t have to wait too long.
- Keep track of the money you make and spend with your business. For entrepreneurs and small businesses, a good iPhone app for keeping track of money earned is Income Tracks. To keep track of expenditures, retain all business-related invoices and receipts. Have a system for organizing these, such as different file folders for the different categories. Many small businesses find that keeping track of expenses on a spreadsheet, such as Excel, is helpful. Expenses can be entered monthly or at years-end. Tallying receipts month-by-month will help you have a more up-to-date picture on your business expenses.
- Invoice customers. It is important to have a system for invoicing customers. Many entrepreneurs find using a spreadsheet for invoicing works well. Store all of a given year’s invoices in the same folder on your computer. Label files with the name of the company and the invoice #. Begin with invoice #1 for each new customer. Invoices should begin again at #1 each year. After completing each project, invoice the customer right away so you don’t forget. If a certain client gets work from you on a regularly repeating basis, mark on your calendar when to send out the next invoice.
Organization is a key to success in business. The longer you wait to get organized, the worse things will become and the longer it will take when you do finally get to it. Invest your time now in becoming more organized and reap the rewards of satisfied customers and increased profit.
©2010 Celesta Thiessen