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Top 5 Ways to Organize your Small Business

blackboardRunning a small business or start up can be a daunting task because most of the primary day to day responsibilities often fall on the shoulders of one or two owners.  There are a multitude of tasks to keep track of, including accounting, hiring, marketing, financial forecasts and deadlines for clients.   Sometimes, it can be overwhelming for one person to juggle so many different tasks simultaneously.

I’d like to take a moment to go over several simple tools and methods to help small business owners keep track of and prioritize the various tasks involved in operations.

1.   Use a Whiteboard

Whether it’s a whiteboard, blackboard, bulletin board, or a simple notepad, try to keep a weekly log of primary tasks up front and center.  While there are a plethora of online programs and tools for organizing daily/weekly tasks, it helps to back it all up with a basic pen and paper list.    It is integral to have this weekly ‘grail’ to refer to when you hit a wall – try placing it in the center of your office for everyone to see.  Utilize different colors or check boxes to re-enforce accomplishments or the completion of a task.

2.  Use Google Documents

While Microsoft Word is still the standard in word processing, Google Documents has several advantages that make it the perfect online tool for inter & extra-office collaboration.   Need to brainstorm a list of potential clients for your wedding cake business?  Simply hop on Google Docs, create a new sheet, and share it with as many collaborators as you like.  The whole team can then log onto the document and make edits ‘live,’ to avoid the hassle of huge email chains or lengthy phone conversations.  Also be sure to try out Google Spreadsheets, a MS Excel alternative that allows you for seamless organization and collaboration.

3.  Use Recruiting Software

If you are a small business is the process of finding the best talent available, the task can become process intensive and  fairly complex.  Keeping track of multiple candidates, reviewing resumes and tracking progress can drastically slow your company’s forward movement.

One way to combat this small business brain freeze it to utilize a recruiting software package to track applicants, manage resumes, and provide a collaboration tool for your hiring managers.  Many modern day recruiting software solutions live completely online, making it incredibly simple to access and utilize with the click of a mouse.

4.  Prioritize with Flexibility

Sometimes, when it’s just you and 500 different tasks, there will be a tendency to jump from one task to another before completion. This can be good and bad.  It’s good to be flexible and not bang your head against any one task  if you aren’t making any progress.   Sometimes it helps to step back, breathe, and come back to something with a new outlook.   However, if your mind wanders too far and too often, nothing will end up done.  Try to find the balance between priority and flexibility that allows you to find a natural rhythm in completing weekly tasks.

5. Early Calls

If part of your business involves contacting potential clients, cold calling, emailing or collaborating with various individuals, I would suggest using the first half of the week for this.  People have the natural tendency to be more receptive during the first half of the week.  After Wednesday many potential business contacts begin to fade into their weekend shelters.  Getting a hold of these people on Monday or Tuesday will make the second half of your week far more productive.

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