6 Parts of Your Business You Better Have Organized Being messy can hurt as a lack of organization has damaged and shut down many businesses.
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This article originally published on Oct. 25, 2016
This year, consulting work at some great companies has taken me all over the world. I've spent eight of the last 10 months outside of the United States. The constant travel has made organizing certain parts of my business extremely hard, but interesting. I've been back in the states for a few weeks now -- to do my taxes and organize different parts of my business -- and it's been eye-opening.
Lack of organization has hurt and even shut down many businesses. It takes a lot to run a business. Management of the many moving parts is crucial to whether a business flourishes or fails. You need strong organizational skills or a team that can keep these six parts of a business organized.
No matter what kind of business you run or where you live in the world, there is paperwork. It could be documents related to what you sell, documents related to where you live, paperwork from lawyers or an accountant or contracts. It is a must that the paperwork is filed in an organized way where you can have access to it when you need it. You don't want to be scrambling for a document when you need it the most.
2. Tax-related information.
Taxes -- the necessary but irritating part of running a business. Not properly taking care of your tax documents, expenses, income and more, could lead to some serious trouble in your business. Your tax-related information should be something you use software for, or you can hire a professional to help you stay organized.
3. Client records.
There is a lot of information about and for your clients that needs to be organized and safeguarded. It can be contracts, samples of their work or just your notes from sessions. Be sure to have a system to handle client records and a way to access them any time, any place. Make backups of electronic files just in case. Make copies of physical records. It sounds basic, but you'd probably be surprised at the number of entrepreneurs who don't.
4. Your schedule.
How you spend each day will make or break your businesses success. You should never wake up and wing it. Your days should be planned for maximum production. That's not to say you can't deviate from the schedule and have fun, but you have an overall feel for what you want to accomplish each day. Use today's tools and technology to keep your schedule organized. It can be as simple as your calendar on your phone to apps and software that incorporates your schedule into other parts of your business.
5. Content/product/services creation.
The "thing" that you sell and the way you sell it will drive your business. You create content to draw customers to what you do, and show them you know what you're talking about. You create products and services to make money. Having a streamlined system to consistently create content will increase your bottom line revenue. Having your premium offerings organized helps your customer see what's right for their situation.
6. Sales and promotions.
This is perhaps the part of most businesses that could be vastly improved -- there is not a plan for sales and promotions. Instead, there are hot and cold sales moments. You have something good, and you promote it hard. A few months later, it's forgotten. Successful businesses plan their sales and promotions out in advance. They understand how they will make money each month by what they will be promoting. Their promotion efforts are focused and clear, and the customer gets it and responds.
Related: 5 Mistakes to Avoid in Sales
If you don't have an organized plan for your sales and promotions, you need to spend as long as it takes to create one. Know when you're going to have a sale or promotion, how long it will last and how you plan to market it. This plan should be clear to your team if you have one. Organizing your sales and promotion will help your business reach it's next income goals.
Don't let a lack of organization keep your business stalled or worse. After you get done reading this article, spend time honestly evaluating your business. If there are some parts that aren't organized, take the necessary -- and sometimes even hard -- steps to clean up the mess. If you have a team, lead by example. Train them on how they can stay organized and efficient. A little organization in your business will go a long way and lead to income and growth.