If you’re looking to grow your business, you need to get started in the right way.
To achieve the massive growth you’re hoping for in the coming years, start by organizing your business.
This is easier for a large business with a huge budget, hundreds (or thousands) of employees, and plenty of time to dedicate to getting organized as a business owner.
But how can you keep your small business in order when you’re strapped for cash and have only a few employees?
Well, I’ve been there before.
I know the pain of fighting desperately against the disorganization that affects every small business.
I also know that even if you are using the best tools to grow your business, success can lag if you aren’t putting the right things in place to make sure you’re growing.
1. Manage Your Office Space and Storage
Start by making sure your physical surroundings are neat and organized.
This ensures that you’re able to perform at your highest level. In many ways, the organization of your entire company is determined by how organized your desk is.
To start, make sure everything has a specific place, even if that place is in a pile of papers on your desk. Consider vertical storage strategies to maximize your workspace.
Since paperwork tends to consume a lot of the time and resources of most modern office workers, you should consider storing this offsite.
This means you’ll spend less time managing your documents, and you can be sure they’re safe and protected better than you could do yourself.
If this isn’t exactly your style of working, I’ll show you another method later that can help reduce your paper workload.
2. Keep Track of Customer Support
Your loyal customers are the heart of your business.
While they take up a lot of your time and resources, it’s time well spent to keep them happy and pleased with the services you have to offer.
To make sure you’re reaching them effectively, consider using a program like Groove that allows you to manage your customer tickets effectively.
You’ll spend less time managing customers and more time improving your product and business systems. Used correctly, Groove or similar software can go a long way toward strengthening your relationships with customers.
Just don’t take the automation too far. While it’s important to automate your system, it’s a bad idea to automate your relationships with customers.
This will only leave you feeling frustrated when customers leave you behind for competitors that treat them better.
Instead, make it easy for employees to offer your customers world-class service. They’ll reward you with continual business and referrals.
3. Plan Your Social Media Campaigns in Advance
If you’re running a social media marketing campaign on a budget, you need to reduce the time you spend implementing your strategy.
Why waste time publishing posts every few hours when you can pre-schedule them? Instead of just writing social media posts for the next few days, let a tool publish them for you.
This simple small business organization technique saves you countless hours, improving your efficiency and productivity.
MeetEdgar puts your social campaigns on autopilot. You simply pre-curate a library of content, and MeetEdgar does the rest, using what you feed it to regularly spin up fresh social posts.
This is a great way to keep things organized without repeating yourself by constantly manually updating your social feeds.
4. Manage Your Expense Receipts
If you’ve been running your small business for any length of time, you know how frustrating it can be to manage all your expense reports.
They’re a hassle to track and record, but managing them is a must so you can stay up to date with taxes and ensure your finances are in order.
You can’t just put them off when more important work comes up, though. You should track each purchase and transaction weekly.
Use software like Expensify that does all the work, keeping your expenses organized and recorded so you can focus on the things that really matter.
Speaking of letting software handle your paperwork, you can extend this to other areas of your business to achieve stellar results.
5. Go Paperless
If you want to reduce the clutter and management associated with your paperwork, it might be time to go paperless.
Tired of keeping track of dozens of files and folders all the time? Instead, digitally scan only the most important documents.
If you’re going to try this, you need a way to quickly scan documents on the fly so you don’t struggle to keep up with the workload.
CamScanner is a great app for scanning your bills and other papers quickly and easily.
You can store your files in the CamScanner app and also easily transfer them to your computer.
If you need to share these files with a broader team, I recommend keeping your archived files in a program like Dropbox.
This ensures everyone in your small business is up to date with the most recent documents without having to worry about extensive offline file management.
6. Organize Your Passwords
If you’re like most people, you have one of two systems for managing your passwords.
Either you use the same password all the time for different websites, or you constantly forget the passwords you’ve set for each site.
I recommend a third system: letting an app handle your passwords for you.
Yes, you can do this automatically in a browser like Chrome. Unfortunately, this isn’t completely safe, as anyone who has access to your computer can use them.
Instead, I recommend using 1Password to manage your passwords. It stores your passwords together in the platform’s mobile and desktop apps.
Unlike Chrome’s autofill feature, however, you simply enter a single master password to access your other passwords.
This is typically a series of a few words that is easy to remember but nearly impossible to hack.
Here’s how it works. Let’s say you need to log in to your account on Stripe. You would go to the Stripe login page.
You can either click the 1Password icon in Chrome or enter the keyboard shortcut Command + .
This brings up the 1Password form, where you’ll enter the word-based password that gives you access to your other passwords.
1Password then autofills Stripe with your login information and saved passwords. It also logs you in automatically, so it’s one fewer click you need to make.
1Password can store information for a variety of accounts. The best part is that every site leverages a complex, unique password—all accessible with your single phrase.
In fact, 1Password will even generate random, high-security passwords for you.
This means you dedicate less of your memory to passwords and get more done by working efficiently and keeping your logins organized.
7. Improve Your Workspace for Increased Productivity
You need to create an environment that supports the vision you have for your business.
There are a few proven techniques that can help you get more out of your workspace.
Believe it or not, adding a few plants around your office can increase productivity by 15% through improved concentration.
These techniques help you stay energized and focused without the distractions that come from a cluttered workplace.
They may only take a few minutes, but even small changes that improve your productivity can make a huge difference in how organized and productive your small business is.
8. Keep Track of Notes in the Cloud
If you write notes, to-do items, ideas, and contact information on scraps of paper (or whatever’s closest), it’s time to get more organized.
While you might already know that Evernote is a great way to make that happen, you should start implementing it immediately.
To make Evernote work best, you decide which philosophy you’ll apply.
Will you record everything there and then use the search feature to find your notes later?
Or will you carefully place your notes in folders and use tags and headings?
Either is a valid option. The key is to create a system that works for you and then keep using it.
9. Keep Your Computer’s Desktop Organized
Just like your physical desk should be clean to help you stay organized and efficient, your digital desktop should also be in order.
A good rule of thumb is that if you can’t see your desktop background, you should work to reduce and remove the items cluttering your computer.
Once you’ve cleaned up your main screen, consider eliminating downloaded files and removing any links or other files you aren’t regularly accessing.
You can even clean out your trash and reclaim some hard drive space.
10. Improve Your Scheduling System
If you have frequent meetings, video chats, or windows for others to schedule times to collaborate on work with you, you need a way to manage those time blocks effectively.
Many resort to back-and-forth emailing and calendar invites to schedule events like this.
But the continuous adjustment of schedules can be taxing and a waste of time. Instead, find a perfect time to meet using a program like Calendly.
Calendly enables others to schedule a time to work with you, eliminating all that back and forth.
It’s a simple way to collaborate without the typical confusion and scheduling hassles.
11. Track Your Time Effectively
If you’re a freelancer, you know the importance of tracking your billable hours.
Even if you don’t need to track hours to ensure you get paid, it’s a good idea to start using a program like Toggl.
Toggl is a quick and easy way to track your time, which can be helpful for any small business owner.
By creating separate projects and tasks in Toggl, you can easily keep track of the hours you’re putting in to reach your most important goals.
Instead of wondering why you haven’t met the benchmarks you set earlier, you can use Toggl to stay organized and track how you’re spending your most valuable resource—your time.
12. Keep Track of Invoices and Payments
Every small business needs to manage payments, invoicing, and billing. This is a critical set of tasks that keeps the business alive, but it can be a struggle to keep everything organized.
Instead of constantly working to make sure this is effective for you, consider using a program like FreshBooks to handle your invoices.
Remember, the vast majority of the payment information you need to manage doesn’t directly affect the quality of your work or appeal to your core competencies. Offload these administrative tasks to software to save time.
The fewer tasks you need to complete in a day, the more you can focus on the areas that really appeal to you and help take your business to the next level.
13. Plan Ahead for Quarterly Taxes
If your business is based in the United States, you’ll need to make sure you pay your quarterly taxes.
Even if you’re not based in the U.S., you need to stay updated on the tax policies for your country and region. Failure to comply could lead to expensive fines or even being shut down.
To make sure you’re staying up with the taxes and paying the amounts that are due at different times, look into a service like inDinero. It’ll help ensure you’re paying the right amount of taxes at the right time.
14. Tame Your Email Inbox
Is your inbox overflowing with unread emails? We’ve all been there. Managing your emails can be frustrating and time-consuming.
You’ll be more successful with your small business if you reduce this to a low number of important emails and clean out your inbox regularly.
Productivity expert Brian Tracy recommends keeping a clean email inbox, deleting your junk emails, and saving only the ones you’ll need again.
That means you can quickly see your social updates, purchase receipts, or trip itineraries without sifting through important personal and work emails.
By skimming the less important emails, you can work through your inbox even more quickly.
These are just two of many tools that can help reduce the time you spend sending and receiving emails, and they’ll save you tons of time while keeping you more organized.
15. Clean Up Your Reading List
If you’re like a lot of entrepreneurs, you’re constantly finding articles you know will help you grow your business and increase your revenue and conversions.
If you don’t have the time to read all these articles in the moment, however, you probably stash them away to read later, perhaps as bookmarks in your browser or as links you email to yourself.
If that’s the case, you’ll want to turn that unwieldy list of articles into something you can easily manage.
To use it, you’ll want to first find an article that looks interesting. If you install the Pocket Chrome extension, you’ll need to click it in the browser window.
In the drop-down menu that appears, you can add a tag and see related articles that others have saved to read later.
The new articles you save will instantly appear in your main list of pieces to read on Pocket.
Even better, you can read the articles you save on Pocket on all your devices. This makes it easy to keep reading on your phone when you’re traveling.
If you do a lot of reading online, Pocket is a great way to organize your reading material.
16. Reduce Your Physical Paper Storage
I mentioned earlier that paperwork is a huge frustration for many small business owners.
You can reduce the time you spend managing paperwork by creating an organizational system for your workplace.
If you like, you can even offload your paper management to an outside company.
If neither sounds like an appealing option, all hope isn’t lost. Start by organizing your stored documents in a logical order.
Be sure to keep your most important papers close by for easy access.
Get rid of any papers you don’t need anymore. Simply throwing away what isn’t needed is the single most effective way to keep your papers organized without extensive management systems.
If you keep important files or other documents you can’t throw away, consider using a service like Shred-it to destroy your documents.
This security-minded option reduces the workload and hassle associated with the papers you need to manage on a daily basis.
The fewer pieces you need to worry about in your small business’s organizational system, the more you’ll be able to focus on what matters most to your business.
17. Consider a Virtual Assistant
A virtual assistant is an excellent tool for small business owners who need help managing their workload and staying organized. A virtual assistant can provide a wide range of services, from administrative tasks like scheduling appointments and managing emails to more specialized tasks like social media management, bookkeeping, and research.
Hiring a virtual assistant can free up valuable time and mental space, allowing you to focus on growing your business and serving your customers.
One helpful tool for finding and hiring virtual assistants is Upwork, a freelance marketplace that connects businesses with top-rated freelancers from around the world.
Upwork makes it easy to search for and hire virtual assistants based on their skills, experience, and hourly rates, and its platform includes features like time tracking and project management.
18. Improve Your Contact Management
Improving your contact management is an important part of small business organization, especially if you’re dealing with a large number of clients or customers.
One helpful tool for managing contacts is a customer relationship management (CRM) system, which can help you keep track of important information like contact details, purchase history, and communication history.
With a CRM, you can easily search and sort your contacts, set reminders for follow-ups or tasks, and create detailed reports to help you analyze your business’s performance.
Here’s a list of some of the best CRM platforms to consider:
- Salesforce: Salesforce is one of the most popular CRMs on the market, offering a wide range of features and integrations for businesses of all sizes. Its cloud-based platform includes tools for sales, marketing, customer service, and analytics, making it a comprehensive solution for managing all aspects of your customer relationships.
- HubSpot: HubSpot is an all-in-one CRM and marketing platform designed to help businesses grow and scale. It includes features for lead generation, email marketing, social media, as well as a powerful system for managing customer relationships and tracking sales.
- Zoho CRM: Zoho CRM is a cloud-based platform that offers a wide range of features and integrations for small businesses. Its user-friendly interface, customizable dashboard, and automation features help streamline day-to-day tasks.
- Insightly: Insightly is a CRM system designed specifically for small businesses, offering a range of features for sales, marketing, and project management. Its intuitive interface and user-friendly design make it easy to use.
- Pipedrive: Pipedrive is a sales-focused CRM system that helps businesses manage their sales pipelines and stay on top of their leads and deals. Its visual interface and customizable workflows make it easy to track progress and identify areas for improvement.
Staying organized as an entrepreneur can be a challenge, especially when you’re juggling multiple tasks and responsibilities. However, there are many strategies that can help you stay on top of things.
Some entrepreneurs use digital tools like project management software or scheduling apps to keep track of their tasks and deadlines, while others prefer a more old-fashioned approach, like using a planner or a physical to-do list. Whatever your preferred method, the key is to find a system that works for you and stick to it consistently.
Absolutely! Being organized is essential for running a successful small business. Organization helps you:
Stay on top of your tasks and deadlines.
Respond quickly to customer inquiries and requests.
Make strategic decisions based on accurate and up-to-date information.
In contrast, disorganization can lead to missed deadlines, lost opportunities, and a general sense of chaos that can be detrimental to your business’s success. So, whether you’re a solopreneur or you have a team, it’s important to prioritize organization and make it a central part of your business strategy.
If you’re looking to start or grow your business, you need to make sure you’re organized to handle the inevitable growth you should expect to see.
In order to do that, you need to make sure your finances are in order. Be sure to track your expense receipts and transactions.
Ensure you’re ready for any taxes that need to be paid during the course of the year.
Don’t stop at organizing your finances. You need to make sure you organize your office space, too. Use some proven methods for boosting productivity by organizing your storage space.
While it might not be a solution for everyone, consider going paperless. Store all your documents in the cloud, and shred the extra papers cluttering your workspace.
Your time is one of your most precious commodities as a small business owner, so make sure it’s organized with time tracking and scheduling.
Free up time to focus on building your business by improving your email workflow, managing your reading list, and keeping your notes, passwords, and desktop organized.
Finally, automate your marketing campaigns and keep a process in place to handle customer relations and support.
What strategies will you use to keep your small business organized?