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- How To Keep Your Business Organized Year-Round - May 12, 2015
Staying organized is more than a nice idea when you have a business
When you own a business, staying organized is more than a nice idea — it’s a necessity. The logistics of keeping up with vendors, invoices, marketing campaigns and other details can easily become overwhelming and inefficient when you aren’t strategic — and that’s why you must be proactive about managing everything well. With that in mind, what are the best ways to keep your business and all your systems organized day to day? How can you make the most of your plans and programs in order to reap the greatest business profits? To help answer these questions, consider these basic principles and you’ll benefit from streamlined systems, greater productivity and an easier way to make profits!
- Declutter: Any good organizational system starts with a clean slate, so if you’ve let your business get out of a hand for a while, set aside a chunk of time to declutter. Working with one part of your business at a time — physical storage, email archives, paper piles, etc. — systematically purge anything that is not needed. According to Nellie Akalp at Small Biz Trends, aim to “keep the basics and anything you’ve used in the past year; all else can go.” Once you’ve gotten rid of all the clutter in your office and online world, you’ll have a fresh start for organization.
- Separate Personal and Business Finances: If you’re like most entrepreneurs, you already know how easy it is to mix your personal and business finances. To avoid this common blunder, arrange separate bank accounts for each purpose, with separate debit cards for each one. Melissa Kincaid of the Seattle Business Magazine also advises that you save 25 percent of business income in a business savings account, as “you will need this money to pay taxes at the end of the year.”
- Go Paperless: You may not be able to eliminate any and all paper from your business operations, but you can likely minimize your paper usage. What bills can you switch to online invoices? What paperwork can you scan into the computer and discard? Try looking into a document management system in order to free physical space at your business and make finding information searchable and thus more efficient than ever before.
- Set Up a Proper Filing System: Most companies have filing systems, and there’s a good reason why. When you’re looking for a record of that invoice you sent two months ago or that bill you were sure you already paid, you need to be able to find it quickly and efficiently. Organize paperwork into on-site and online filing systems that are user-friendly and clearly organized.
- Use an Accounting App: Still managing your books with pen and paper? It’s time to change that. Look into the many different apps available today to streamline record keeping — but realize that “not all apps hold up to their end of the bargain,” according to WaveApps.com. For the best results, “utilize programs and apps that can communicate with each other to eliminate additional work.” Not only will moving systems online make them simpler, but you may find that the change can also boost accuracy, efficiency and your ability to get paid on time, too.
Spending a little upfront time to get organized and implement systems now is a small investment you can make in improving your overall operations. Once you have your business systems running smoothly, it will be much easier to maintain orderly business finances and processes — then, moving forward, you can simply set aside a small chunk of time weekly or biweekly to review everything and adjust as needed.