Staying organized is an essential part of being an entrepreneur.
But when you’re caught up in the excitement of growing your new venture, this part of entrepreneurship can easily fall by the wayside.
Codifying processes, streamlining communications, and managing your finances aren’t exactly exhilarating compared to developing your bigger, more innovative ideas. However, these things are essential pillars of any business plan which will enable and empower every other action you take as a business owner.
If you feel like your business is growing beyond your control, or you simply want to benefit from more uniform ways of working, here are 5 ways to stay organized as an entrepreneur.
Even if you’re the one and only employee at your business right now, if the operation keeps growing you’ll need to think about onboarding employees in the future.
As a new entrepreneur, you're doing it all. But one day, you will need to delegate in order to grow.
One of the most challenging parts of growing your business is taking the processes you’ve been navigating by intuition, and training new employees in a way that ensures consistency in every task.
Aside from keeping everyone on the same page, codifying your processes can also be a great way to analyze the way you’ve been working so far, and remove inefficiencies that you may have been overlooking up until now.
When writing out your SOPs, it’s best to start with the most basic of processes and gradually move into more complex and nuanced tasks. With each document, walk through the process using clear, concise language in a step-by-step format.
Once an SOP is complete, try to imagine yourself following the steps yourself, checking for anything that could be misinterpreted or key details that might be missing. From there, you can redraft it thoroughly to the point where any new employee can pick it up and execute it effectively.
Make email work for you
“Email” is the modern professional’s least favorite word, and just like the average employee, most business owners spend a lot of time managing emails that could be better spent elsewhere.
Poorly-consolidated chains, feeling the need to reply instantly when the email may not be that urgent, and various other poor practices, can all chip away at your working hours and sap your overall efficiency.
Adopting habits like having specific slots of the day when you check your emails, starting your mornings with an email detox, and actioning the smaller tasks that crop up in your inbox first, can all help to limit the amount of time that email can suck out of your day-to-day.
If email is a central part of the way you manage your time, you may want to try adopting email best practices as well utilising external tools to make it work harder for you.
Sortd, for example, is a tool that “transforms Gmail into an all-in-one workspace” in the style of a CRM, allowing you to turn your folders into to-do lists with various customization options to prioritize tasks, assign them to specific team members, and more.
Study the experts
For almost any facet of your business, whether it’s marketing, sales, accounts, or anything else, there’ll be a specialist organization out there who does it better than anyone.
These outsourced services succeed by having a unique expertise in various business processes, with systems in place that allow them to keep these operations streamlined, efficient, and consistent.
Though you may not want to outsource any of your processes at this stage in your business, researching these industry experts and finding out how they approach their specialist subjects can be a great way to streamline your in-house work, and find new ways to organize your processes which will supercharge your achievements.
If you’re having trouble keeping your finances organized, then try taking a product tour of an accounting tool like Quickbooks.
Though you may not have the resources to replicate their methods exactly, getting an up-close look at how these service providers organize their projects can be a great source of inspiration, and serve as an excellent jumping-off point for creating new systems that will work for you.
Be wary of tech bloat
A well-organized tech stack can do wonders for your business’s productivity and level of organization, but too much of a good thing can easily become a hindrance.
In the wake of the COVID-19 business boom, many B2B tech companies rushed to sell their products to the flood of new entrepreneurs who decided to take the plunge and make their business ideas a reality.
With so many specialized tools on the market, it can be easy for new businesses to leap at the chance of making their processes easier by buying into a whole host of different tools. However, if you’re taking on more tech than you need, this can quickly lead to “tech bloat”: an oversaturated stack characterized by distractions, unnecessary complexity, and even security issues.
If you’re experiencing some or all of these problems, and it seems that your tech is at the root of it, set some time aside to review, condense, and streamline your tech stack so that only your most pertinent and essential tools make the cut.
Streamline your workspace
Though a large part of being an organized entrepreneur begins and ends on your laptop, the physical environment where you work can also have a major impact on your ability to organize your work and stay productive.
Clinical studies have shown that working in a cluttered environment can affect a person’s ability to focus, and though it may not be immediately obvious, tackling this aspect of your business could be the perfect way to become a more organized entrepreneur.
Sorting your office supplies into specific “homes”, using open shelving for your most-used papers and materials, and condensing the things you keep on your desktop down to the bare essentials, can all help to streamline the way you think about work, and avoid becoming sidetracked by scavenger hunts or erratic thinking.
Once you’ve come up with a system of streamlining your workspace, it’s also important to develop good habits to maintain it. One effective way to do this is by adopting the “rule of three”, where every time you leave the room you look for three things that are out of place to tidy away.
Staying organized isn't glamorous, but it will support your success
Keeping organized as a new entrepreneur can be a challenge when you only have yourself to depend on, but by following these five methods, you’ll soon be able to streamline the biggest sources of disruption and make them work for you.
We hope this guide has helped you gain a new perspective on organizing your business, and set you up for a more productive, less stressful, and all-around brighter future as an entrepreneur!
Today's post is a guest post from Gemma Hart.
Gemma Hart works remotely from as many coffee shops as she can find. Since graduating many moons ago, Gemma has gained experience in a number of HR roles but now turns her focus towards growing her personal brand and connecting with leading experts in productivity and education. Connect with her on Twitter: @GemmaHartTweets.