The Great Myth: You are organized or you are not. The Truth: Organizing is a skill anyone can master. Here you will learn why and how.
1. Why is being organized so important for small businesses?
- Organization creates a clear definition of what you do, how do you do it, and why. You make better use of your time and communicate more clearly. It decreases stress and increases confidence and control. Organization helps you and your business be resilient, proactive and prepared when you face a change.
2. Why is it so hard to get organized?
- The systems and structures of organization (workspace, projects, responsibilities) often are invisible. This invisibility makes It is easy to take them granted and prevents you from exploring how to be more structured.
- Organization is personal and different for different people. You have a neat desk, your business partner has stacks of paperwork on her desk. It looks very different, but you each know exactly where everything is to get the job done. Ask yourself: What is it about being disorganized or not having system/structure in place causing a problem for me? What will I be able to do that I can’t do now? How is it affecting other aspects of my business? What is the outcome I want to achieve through organization? How will my business function differently? Take the time to answer these questions and be specific!
3. How does organizing boost resilience and enable success?
- Once you know the results you want to achieve, the questions are: How do I get from here to there? What is the solution? What am I doing now that is preventing me from getting where I need to go? Again, take your time to research your answers.
I have a number of examples from clients delineating the steps to helping them be more organized:
The Share Drive: The company was doing everything on paper–literally taking a printed document and passing it around physically for review and editing. As the team got bigger and younger, too much time being wasted—they needed a share drive. First, it was important to understand the specific needs of those who would use it. Together, we then selected a drive and help set up and name the folders so that everyone understood how they were organized and how to maintain them. When the pandemic hit this company was all set to work virtually!
In another example, the business owner had all the client management information in her head. As her business grew, she began making mistakes. Together, we worked to identify all the steps of client life cycle. We then put together a project management guide that she and her team could use.
Scheduling is also a common problem. I have worked with a number of organizations that have scheduling on different platforms leading to confusion and mistakes. Find one system that works best for you and your business!
In each case, the changes that were made increased productivity, communication and effectiveness—ultimately increasing the bottom line.
Here are 5 Tips for Creating an Organizing System:
- You do You: You are unique and you need to craft a solution that works for you. Make it personal.
- Get Real: Making sure that you are being honest about what is feasible. Maybe you don’t have budget or time to put perfect solution in place. Do the best you can do with what you have.
- Simplify and Consolidate: Make the solution as simple as possible and avoid duplication and redundancy. Only have things in one place and don’t
overcomplicate. If you describe a system to someone else and they don’t understand it may be more complicated than it needs to be.
- There’s no “Set it and Forget it”: All systems need to be managed over time as your business and you change.
- Just DO it! You don’t need to make all the changes at once. Start with small changes and see how they work. If they fail, that’s ok, keep at it. Try small and work your way up.
Photo created by freepik – www.freepik.com
About the author:
Alexandra Suchman, CEO and Founder of AIS Collaborations, AIS works with business owners and businesses to help organize and create all the behind the scenes infrastructure to run a business. This includes organizing spaces, equipment, processes, staffing and responsibilities.