Spring Cleaning for Your Small Business
Staying organized is one of the most important jobs you have as an owner running a small business. It’s also one of the most challenging. Busy small business owners are running full steam ahead and it can be tough to stop long enough to file away receipts and clean out your inbox. Taking time out of your busy schedule to get organized will actually save you a lot of time in the long run. That’s why once a year (or more) every small business owner needs to give their business a good ‘spring” cleaning.
An unorganized business will stop your productivity in its tracks.
Giving your business a spring cleaning can mean different things for different businesses. What you choose to clean and organize first should be those areas of the business most directly tied to productivity and, by extension, profitability. While every small business is unique, here are four steps every owner can take right now to clean up your business and create a huge boost in productivity.
1. Back-Up What You Need, Purge What You Don’t
Filing your (digital) paperwork is small-business spring cleaning 101. And, just as important, is removing documents and files that you no longer need. File or store important documents in the cloud, on an external hard drive, or in a filing cabinet. If you have a stack of old paper documents containing sensitive information, shred them. You can find more tips and tools for keeping your small business records organized by reading the recent SCORE article, “Recordkeeping 101: Information Your Small Business Needs to Maintain.”
2. Clean Out Your Inbox
Getting emails into folders and out of your inbox is a spring cleaning task that will make a big impact on your ability to stay organized. You’ll feel less overwhelmed and reduce the risk of that all-important email getting lost in the clutter.
3. Declutter Your Workstation
Clutter creates stress –something no business owner needs. The items on your desk should be ones you use each day, like pens, notebooks, a laptop or tablet, and any specialty tools your work requires. Everything else should have a home in a desk drawer, on a shelf, or somewhere else close by. An easy and inexpensive way to keep your workstation clean is with drawer organizers, shelves, and a filing cabinet.
4. Find Tools That Help You Stay Organized After You Clean
Once you’ve finished your small-business spring cleaning, look for simple ways to stay organized. If you’re most productive when you create a list of to-do’s, invest in a daily planner and note pads. If you prefer using apps and other tech tools to do business, there are several apps out there designed specifically for staying organized. Look for apps that allow you to manage lists, take notes, connect to your calendar or planner, and set reminders. A few examples of organizational apps include Trello, Evernote.
Make spring cleaning easier by dusting off your business throughout the year.
The best spring cleaning plan is continued maintenance throughout the year. If you can create a process for maintaining those tasks tied directly to your productivity –like filing documents once a month or taking 20 minutes every Friday to reset your workstation –you’ll increase the health of your business, get more done in less time and, ultimately, be more profitable. When creating a plan to stay organized, it’s always helpful to take guidance from an outsider looking in, like a SCORE mentor. A SCORE mentor will not only help you get organized, but they’ll work with you to uncover and set up the tools that will best help you stay organized and be more productive. Contact a SCORE mentor today to get started.
Southwest Regional Vice President, SCORE
Since 1964, SCORE “Mentors to America’s Small Business” has helped more than 11 million aspiring entrepreneurs and small business owners through mentoring and business workshops. More than 10,000 volunteer business mentors in over 250 chapters serve their communities through entrepreneur education dedicated to the formation, growth and success of small businesses. For more information about starting or operating a small business, call 1-800-634-0245 for the SCORE chapter nearest you. Visit SCORE atwww.score.org. Funded in part through a Cooperative Agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration. All opinions, conclusions, and/or recommendations expressed herein are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the SBA.