Owning a small business isn’t easy. There’s always some point where the constant demands, paperwork, and deadlines start to wear you down. With a little bit of creativity and lots of organization, you can keep your business in order—-and save yourself time! These four tips can help you get started.
#1: Have a System for That Weird Paper Stuff
Even though we live in an increasingly digital world, chances are that your business still requires some sort of paperwork. Receipts, tax statements, invoices—all these things and more are equally important, and they can quickly pile up if you don’t have some sort of system. A filing cabinet and a few labeled files give you a great place to start if you have a low budget. If you want something a bit more technologically advanced, consider a scanner and a paperless filing program for your computer. Either way, create a plan and stick with it each day to keep your files in order. And yes, doing so will save you tons of time later on in the year when you finally remember that you left some key information in the wood-pulp void!
#2: Set Aside Time for Creativity
One of the biggest complaints among small-business owners is the lack of time they have in their normal day for marketing endeavors. By actively setting aside time, marking it on your schedule, and keeping your appointment with yourself, you’ll be sure to regularly attend to creative marketing. This will not only make you feel better about not having enough time in your day but it will also help further your small-business growth. Sticking to your new schedule will be tough at first, but you’ll soon be looking forward to doing something new and creative every day.
#3: Keep Marketing Tools with You
Many small-business owners spend a good percentage of their day out of the office. Whether you’re networking with other business owners or making sure that the other details of your company’s operations are handled: It’s important to keep business cards on-hand. Pick a spot in your bag, glove compartment, or briefcase and keep whatever brochures, business cards, or sample products you might need. Being prepared is both impressive to potential clients and saves you the embarrassment of awkwardly checking your pockets before shaking the hand of a possible collaborator. And yes, checking periodically to make sure you have a full stock is important, too.
#4: Streamline and Choose Consistency
It’s really easy for a small-business owner to become overwhelmed when organizing his or her business methods. It’s important to find solutions (apps, programs, technology, systems) that are streamlined to handle more than one task. These should be used consistently or they’ll become almost worthless. Take time out of your schedule to keep all your ducks in a row. Know what your ultimate goals are for such systems, and try out a couple of them. Once you’ve decided on one that works for you, stick with it.
While most of these tips seem simple enough, none of them will work unless you start implementing them. Get started today, and remember to keep them all going for maximum effect.
Matthew Toren is an Award Winning Author, Serial Entrepreneur, and Investor. He Co-Founded YoungEntrepreneur.com along with his brother Adam. Matthew is co-author of the newly released book: Small Business, Big Vision: “Lessons on How to Dominate Your Market from Self-Made Entrepreneurs Who Did it Right” and also co-author of Kidpreneurs.
Follow Matthew on Twitter: @matthewtoren