You can't really tell how successful your business is without it being properly organized. You may think you are better off then you actually are of the other way around if you are not covering and accounting for everything.
Here are 10 tips to better organize your business:
Purge Your Office – Even if you don’t mind a little mess and dust, too much clutter can add to daily stress and chaos. Clutter exists because we think that everything is important. With the new year, toss out whatever is outdated, no longer relevant or a duplicate. For example:
- Recycle the broken electronics you may have stashed in a closet.
- Delete all those old voice messages.
- Donate anything you don’t need or use.
- Keep the basics and anything you’ve used in the past year; all else can go.
Organize Your Paper Files – One study found that the average person wastes over 4 hours per week searching for papers. Go through your filing cabinets and shred anything that’s out of date or no longer relevant to your business. If you’re worried you might one day need four-year old notes from a client project, then scan the originals and throw out the paper files to make more room.
Ditch Paper Receipts – Considering the IRS accepts electronic copies of receipts, there’s really no reason for you to continue hanging on to all those tiny paper slips from restaurants, taxis, office supply stores, etc.
Use the Cloud for Storage and Sharing – If you haven’t done so already, start using cloud-based tools to share and save documents. For example, Google Drive lets you store up to 15GB for free, while giving clients or colleagues access to collaborate. Other tools include Dropbox and Box.
Tame Your Inbox – If your email inbox has become a catchall for every email you’ve received over the past years, it’s time to clean house. It is possible to manage your email inbox so you only see the messages you still need to deal with and everything else is neatly archived for safe keeping. Start with a clean slate by filing away everything you no longer need to respond to.
Get the Right Note-Taking Tool – One key to staying organized and effective as a small business owner is having the right solution for jotting down any tasks or inspirations when they strike.
Tidy Up Your Social Media Profiles – It’s not just your email inbox and desktop that fall prey to clutter. Your social media profiles can also become clogged and out of date. First, take stock of where your business has a social presence and drop any accounts that are no longer in use. There’s no point in having multiple Pinterest, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Tumblr and Instagram profiles if you’re not actively posting and monitoring each account.
Meet with a Tax Advisor – Don’t wait until it’s time to file your returns to start thinking about taxes. Make an appointment with a CPA or tax advisor early in the year.
Take Charge of Your Books – If you run a small business, you already have some kind of process in place for invoicing, processing payments, recording expenses and tracking projects. But if you haven’t updated your process lately, chances are there’s an app out there to help make these administrative tasks easier and more efficient.
Tie Up Any Legal Loose Ends – This is a perfect opportunity to tie up any loose ends you’ve been putting off in prior years. For example, did you file a DBA (Doing Business As) for your business name? Did you get a Tax ID number? Are all your licenses and local permits in order? Did you make any changes to your corporation and LLC and still need to file an Articles of Amendment to record those changes with the state?
Can you provide a few other tips for new and old business owners alike on how to get their business organized for 2014?