Organization is the necessary foundation for business success.
According to the recent Office Depot Small Business Index, 83% of small businesses believe that having an organized office is a critical part of their business. 63% believe that organization is linked with their profitability.
When business are disorganized, important details slip through the cracks. Time is spent inefficiently.
Efficiency, productivity and your profits begin to slide.
Organization can be a particular problem for small businesses. There’s a couple of reasons for this.
First, they don’t have the resources that a bigger business would. Small businesses also only have a few key people working for them, meaning that those few employees are tasked with handling several facets of the business – this can lead to a lot of miscommunication.
Add in the fact that small businesses rely on a lot of outsourcing and it’s the perfect recipe for disorganization if the business fails to prioritize organization.
This blog post will take you through the best ways to keep your business organized for success – everything from your work space to your accounting system and everything in between.
1) Establish Procedures
If you want to keep your business organized for success, the first thing you must do before anything else is to establish procedures for just about as much as you can. You must also write these procedures down in writing.
That way, your entire team is on the same page.
Without these procedures in place, organization is difficult to achieve.
Having procedures in place for basic office procedures like how to handle paper and office systems is a good start place to start. The same sort of procedures need to be laid out for how you approach email, projects and so on.
If you’re baking the cake, these procedures are like the flour and the eggs – they essentially keep the cake together.
2) Condense and Consolidate Everything
Organization is about a lot more than minimizing visible clutter; it’s also about having procedures and tools in place so that your business runs as effectively as possible – almost like a well-oiled machine.
You will find quite a few different tools on this list to help you with organization, but it’s important to note that above all, less is more.
The more systems, procedures and tools that you add into the mix, especially if you have multiple tools that do the same things, the more you’re complicating things.
You’re making your business less efficient and, yes, more disorganized.
Above all, it’s important to condense everything regarding your business. Procedures and tools are imperative to organization, but it’s important that you streamline those tools at the same time.
Organization is best achieved when the systems and tools you have in place are simple.
The best way to get organized is to pair down your systems, tools and software to the absolute essentials.
3) Streamline/Consolidate Customer Support Tickets
If you’re struggling with a disorganized business, it’s also a good idea to focus your efforts on a few key tasks that will deliver the highest return on investment.
For businesses, customer support is definitely among those tasks.
Needless to say, ensuring that you have an efficient system in place for managing customer support will deliver a lot of positive results for your business.
When it comes to customer support tickets, you may be finding that you’re trying to manage a lot of incoming requests from various locations, whether through email, social media and so on.
Maybe you’re finding that some questions are not being responded to in a timely manner – or, worse, some of those tickets are going entirely unanswered.
Whatever the case may be, a system like Zendesk, which is a customer service support and support ticket software, can help you out.
Zendesk is basically a customer relationships management system (CRM) and every business needs a powerful one.
One of their primary features is their ticketing system, which compiles all customer support questions in one single channel.
This way, you can easily manage your tickets from one location, ensuring that no requests go unanswered. You will also be able to clearly see the entire history with the particular client as well.
4) Streamline Your Email
Much like the average office worker, businesses spend a large portion of their day on email when, truth be told, a lot of that time could be better spent elsewhere.
The most recent survey, coming out of Carleton University, found that people spend ⅓ of their time at the office on email alone – the equivalent of 11.7 hours a week. What’s more, 30% of those emails were not even urgent or all that important.
So, how can you organize your email in a way that makes you more organized and ultimately more efficient and productive?
Sortd is one way to go about it. Sortd is the first ever “smart skin” for Gmail. It turns your email into to-do lists of sorts that are organized into columns.
What’s great about Sortd is that it allows you to stay on top of your important emails – they no longer slip through the cracks (or, in this case, the bottom of your email inbox). You don’t have to keep priority emails marked as unread or use a star system or whatever system you use.
If you use Chrome, you can easily install it as a browser extension – it’s that simple.
5) Manage Invoices and Expenses with Freshbooks
Managing your payments and expenses is what keeps your business afloat. However, it can be difficult to keep track of everything.
Unlike customer service, administrative tasks are always best to automation. As we’ve said before, 22% of your employees’ day is spent on repetitive tasks.
Considering that businesses that automating are the ones growing, it’s important that part of your organization is spent automating repetitive, time consuming tasks.
That brings us to Freshbooks.
Freshbooks is an accounting software designed for small businesses and makes billing/invoicing and managing expenses easy. It’s also easy to use. Essentially, Freshbooks allows you to keep an eye on your cash flow and also automate various aspects of the process.
Freshbooks automates tasks like invoicing, organizing expenses, tracks your time. It also gives you easy-to-understand reports and a lot more.
6) Streamline Project Collaboration
As a small business, you are undoubtedly managing a lot of projects at once, from within your team of employees to your contractors who work outside of your business.
Unfortunately, keeping track of the status of those projects can be tricky with everything else going on around you.
Simplify the way you communicate with you team so that everyone is on the same page. A system like this also allows documents to be easily shared and makes it so that everyone is kept in the loop at all times.
One of the best project managers around is Trello. It allows you to create boards and lists (and checklists) which all of your team members can collaborate on.
7) Manage Your Content and Social Media with CoSchedule
As a small business, content marketing is integral to the success of your business as it offers one of the greatest returns on investment where marketing is concerned.
But in order for your content marketing efforts to be effective, content actually needs to be planned, written, edited and scheduled.
In other words, an editorial content is absolutely necessary. The cream of the crop is definitely CoSchedule, which we’ve talked a lot about on our blog before.
There are a few reasons why CoSchedule is great.
First, it uses a task-based workflow, which means that you can monitor whether tasks are done throughout the process. Most calendars are status-based, which means you can only select whether a project is completed or in progress.
This “status-based” workflow is limited and doesn’t give you enough control over what’s happening throughout the process.
But there’s another reason why CoSchedule has made the list.
It automates your social media in a similar way that HootSuite and Buffer do.
As we said above, organization is about paring down your tools to the minimum so you’re not wasting time moving back and forth between a myriad of different apps and so on.
That’s why CoSchedule has made the list. It’s not only an editorial calendar but also automates your social media needs.
8) Automate Meetings with Calendly
As a business owner, you undoubtedly have a lot of meetings, whether with employees, customers and partners. A lot of your meetings are virtual ones where the person is in an entirely different time zone.
The problem is that everyone has different schedules. They are in different time zones and so on. Setting up a simple meeting takes several back-and-forth emails, clutters up your inbox and, most importantly, takes up your time.
Calendly eliminates all of these obstacles and simplifies scheduling, regardless of timezone.
This is how it works: when you want to schedule a meeting, you simply share your scheduling link (Calendly integrates with all of your other calendars so it always knows when you’re available).
The person you want to set up a meeting with simply has to choose a time block that works for them. The meeting is then automatically added to your calendar.
9) Improve Your Workspace Productivity
Workspace organization minimizes clutter and distraction and allows you to be more productive as a result.
The key to organization, regardless of the space, is to ensure that everything has a proper home.
You can do this by taking advantage of vertical wall space and adding shelves. But, one of the biggest sources of clutter, especially for businesses, is paper.
One way to deal with a buildup of paper is to go paperless. The benefit of this isn’t only less paper clutter but also that finding documents at a later date becomes much less time consuming because all you need to do is enter ‘Ctrl + F.
On top of that, it enables access to your documents wherever you are and, of course, saves space in your business.
All you need to do is scan your files.
CamScanner, for example, will turn your mobile phone into a scanner for you. You can also share those scanned documents with others, print them wirelessly and so on.
10) Organize Your Reading Lists
Most CEOs read about one book a week. In other words, reading is a big part of their business success.
Businesses also have to stay on top of industry related news.
Here are a couple of tools:
To organize your reading list of web articles, a great way to do this is through an app like Pocket. Instead of cluttering your inbox with articles to read, you can save all of your articles and videos to read for later.
For staying on top of industry news, Feedly is a great option. You can follow all of your favourite blogs and websites right there.
11) Organize Your Time
At the end of the end, organization is really just another way of saying that you want to master your time.
Going back to the idea of procedures mentioned at the beginning of this blog post, those same procedures are also important regarding how you spend your time.
Here’s an example:
According to Neil Patel himself, very productive entrepreneurs batch their tasks (this idea is actually originally credited to Darren Rowse). Instead of going from one item on your to-do list to the next, batching effectively separates your tasks into similar ones.
So, you might spend the first part of your morning on emails. You might spend the second half in meetings. You might spend the afternoon in sales.
The Bottom Line
Organization is critical to small business success. But it is having clearly defined procedures that provides the necessary foundation; it is tools like Zendesk and CoSchedule that power that organization.
Recommended Reading List:
- Time Management Tips You Can’t Live Without
- Office Productivity Suites: Office 365 Vs Google Apps
- How to Get the Most Out of Zapier For Your Business
If you’re an appointment-based business, whether a salon, a massage clinic, a dog groomer and so on and so forth, one of the best ways to keep your business organized for success is with an online scheduling software.
Not only does it automate your appointments so that you can keep your business running 24/7, but it also automate reminders/confirmations, manage your invoices and client management systems and much, much more.
Yocale is the top scheduling software on the market today. We also offer a free suite of business management and marketing tools. For more information, click here.