How to Stay Organized With a Startup Business
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Starting a business gives you the freedom to work how, when, and where you want – complete with creative freedom. Being a staff of one, or a few leaves all or most of the daily workload on you. If you’re not organized, you’ll quickly fall behind in your productivity and processes.
Lucky for you, getting your workspace and business into shape is relatively fast and painless. These simple changes will keep you in control of your business instead of it controlling you.
1. Create a Work Flow
Work is much faster and more efficient when you establish a workflow or routine. Imagine a day when you arrive at work and jump right into the first task. You don’t waste time deciding what you need to do – you already know. Establishing a consistent work routine can help you streamline processes and achieve your goals faster.
2. Keep Your Workspace Clean
Visual clutter affects your workflow and your mental clarity – a messy desk can cause a cluttered mind. If you’ve been putting off organizing your physical workspace, now is the time. Get file folders, cabinets, or other tools to help you keep your supplies in order.
Once you’ve established a system that works well for you, make time for regular maintenance. At the end of each workday, take 5-10 minutes to put things back where they belong. To help with this, designate a catch-all location where you can put items that don’t have a permanent home.
When you’re doing your maintenance cleanup, take a few extra minutes to find new places for everything. If your home office can’t hold everything, create storage solutions in your garage, basement, or other spare space that can let you hang onto documents or inventory without crowding your everyday workspace.
3. Nix the To-Do List
To-do lists can be effective when used correctly. However, for many well-meaning entrepreneurs, they end up being a place where tasks and projects go to die. It’s way too easy to hide behind a list and never take action.
Instead, create a calendar with integrated time blocking. Have a general outline of your daily workflow, knowing things may need to move around to accommodate meetings and special projects. When new obligations cross your path, look at your calendar and immediately block a specific time to work on it.
If you aren’t ready to ditch the list, use it as a brain dump – get everything out of your head, email, and memos. Once you have your to-dos, determine your priorities and add them to your calendar. Everything else can fit in where you have room.
4. Go Paperless
Nothing clutters a space quite as quickly as stacks of papers. If you’ve reached the point where you need to push things around to find what you need, it’s time to consider a paperless route.
For most everything, there’s a way to go digital. Request to receive bills and invoices electronically. Keep all of your documents in the cloud using a tool like Google Drive. Scan receipts and other essential papers using your phone and keep them for later reference.
With these methods, you’ll be able to cut down on clutter. A paperless system also makes all of your documents searchable. When looking for something specific, use a search query instead of digging through filing cabinets and reading each item until you find the right one.
5. Manage Finances
The most critical numbers in your whole business surround your profits and expenses. Keeping track isn’t always fun, but it’s essential for success. Knowing your margins will help you make decisions about future purchases and strategies for growth. You’ll also need to access this information to pay your quarterly and yearly taxes.
Using a software program to document everything will make your life easier, keep everything organized, and free you up for tasks genuinely needing your attention.
6. Keep Track of Passwords
As a startup business, you run the whole show by yourself or with limited help, so it’s up to you to manage all of the accounts you need for operating your business. These tools are great when they actually save you time but not so amazing when you can’t remember the password. Save yourself the hassle and use a digital password manager to keep track of login information for everything.
7. Control Your Inbox
Email management can be a significant drain on your time. To more effectively deal with your inbox, set aside a few times during the day to check-in. The best times will depend on your particular workflow, but a suggestion would be once at the start of your day, once at the end, and once around lunch.
Avoid reading emails outside of those times because you’ll get distracted from more important work. When you do sit down to dig through your emails, make any necessary responses immediately. Waiting makes you less likely to remember to deal with it.
Take Action to Organize Your Business Routine
Are you looking to organize a new startup business from the get-go, or are you feeling a little overwhelmed by entrepreneurship? Wherever you are in your business journey, know that taking control and staying organized can be accomplished step-by-step — and with a reliable system in place, you can refocus your mind on the things that matter most.
How to Stay Organized With a Startup Business
Make a specific plan right now and put some ideas on your calendar. You’ll begin to see a difference in your productivity, flow, and overall satisfaction with your business if you do.
Check out this article on Tips for Running a Business While Raising a Family
Evelyn Long is a writer and editor focused on home building and construction. She is the co-founder of Renovated, a web magazine for the home industry.