5 Things You Should Do to Organize Your Business

Recently I shared some helpful tips on How to Plan Your Marketing for the Entire Year, so I feel it is also important to talk about another aspect of the planning process which is how to get your business organized, since organizing and planning go hand in hand.

Without organization, you are left feeling scattered, stuck not knowing what to do or even worse, hopeless that your business will not succeed.  In order to get organized, you need to find and implement the right organizational tools that will work for you and your business.  Here are 5 things you should do to start getting your business organized:

1. Create a digital file system

This may sound like a no-brainer but the first step is to have a filing system in place.  I’m not talking manila folders but a digital filing system on your computer.  Since a lot of our files are digital these days, it's important to have system in place so you don’t waste a ton of time finding things.  

Here’s an example of my current folder hierarchy:

  • Client Name 
    • Year
      • Design Files
      • Stock Photos

Realize that as your business grows, so will the number of your files.    Thinking through this step ahead of time, will save you a lot of stress later.

2. Brainstorm and write down ideas

We all need a place to jot down our brilliant ideas, goals and plans we have for our businesses.  Some of my great ideas happen to come to me in the shower, so that poses a challenge.  (Maybe I should put a whiteboard in there?)  Anyway, you may prefer pen and paper or you may prefer digital notes but find a medium you like and write down those ideas!   

Here are a couple suggestions for virtual note-taking:

  • Supernotes is great for simple note-taking, quick thoughts or memos on your iPhone.    This is a free app for the basic version and you can set up reminders with it.  
  • Evernote is nice because you can take notes, track tasks and save things found online for future reference.  Evernote will sync between your computer and phone so that is a big plus and their basic plan is free.
  • A handy, dandy notebook.  You know, the good old fashioned paper kind, maybe one with pretty flowers?  Or purses and shoes.  You can decide on that.

3. Use a calendar

Be sure you are using a calendar.  A calendar that works for you, that suites your style and that you will look at each morning before you start your day.  A digital calendar such as the Google calendar app is excellent because it will sync your schedule between your desktop and phone and wherever you go, you can check it and add events or set alerts and reminders.  Or you may prefer the pen and paper route and use it to write down your events, ideas, notes and plans.  Whatever works for you is fabulous but if you don't have one, get one!

4. Have a weekly schedule

Even if you are just starting out in business, a weekly schedule can help you to create a routine. For example, you could reserve Mondays for office time, Wednesdays for client meetings and Fridays for fulfilling orders or whatever shop keeping you may need to do.  Block out time for emails, follow up phone calls and website maintenance and stick to the plan.  Having a weekly schedule creates consistency and will get you farther ahead faster.  Plus you will feel as though you have accomplished more throughout the week.

5. Organize your finances

If you plan on making money with your business, you will need a financial software program.  Depending on your type of business, there are many accounting software programs out there to choose from.  A few of the more popular choices are:

  • Quickbooks:  Quickbooks is a popular software that allows you create invoices, sales receipts and statements plus help you track all of your expenses.   It may seem a little bit overwhelming if you’ve never used it so it's worth hiring someone to help you set it up and get started using it properly.  But in the end, you will know where you stand financially and your accountant will thank you.
  • 17Hats:  17 Hats is an interesting platform because in addition to its financial tracking it allows you to set up a client workflow. With a client workflow you can set reminders and email directly from the platform.
  • Wave Accounting:  Wave is a wonderful app that allows you to keep track of your finances, accept credit card payments and send invoices and estimates to clients easily online.  And best of all, it has a free plan.

Happy Organizing!  Now you are off to a good start.  I would love to hear any additional tips you have for getting your business organized in the comments below.  What do you feel works best for you?