Organise Your Business Admin.
Lack of organisation causes waste in time, money, and goodwill if inefficiency affects the service that your customer’s experience.
You strive to get more customers to make a profit but mistakes and poor organisation adds to your overheads.
Keeping administrative work organised is a constant challenge when you are trying to run the business yourself. Customers always take priority and there’s no telling when they will call.. It’s hard to focus and concentrate on what’s important when your administrative workload is out of hand. Millions of people around the world share the same inability to be organised. Being unorganised can lead to important tasks getting put off, deadlines getting missed, and mistakes being made. Spending the time to get yourself on track is well worth the effort for your productivity levels, profit and overall professionalism.
Here are 10 quick admin tips that can help you run your small business effectively:
Make some time on a Monday morning (or whichever day your working week starts on) to organise your plans for the week. It’s important to set some time apart for this to avoid the work spiralling out of control. Once you have your week organised you will find it’s so much easier to get through all of your admin needs and you will also feel much better for it too. Make sure you have some time that includes no interruption from the phone or walk-ins.
Often for business owners, this means working at weekends or late into the evening.
To-do lists are the simplest. You can make this part of your Monday morning organisation too. No matter what else happens that week, make a promise to yourself that you’ll finish the jobs on that list, otherwise, they start to build up and spill into other weeks.
I find it easiest to use Google Tasks. You can make as many lists as you like and it’s easy to use on the phone. If you’re away from the office, you can add something to a list and it will upload automatically to your desktop for when you are in the office. If you have time-sensitive tasks you can put them into the calendar and create a reminder.
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Studies have shown that breaking down larger jobs into smaller, more manageable activities can make a project much more bearable and achievable. If there’s an admin job that you have been putting off because of the sheer size of it, try to break it down into a number of smaller jobs. Put each of these small tasks into your list so that you can tick them off as you go. You will soon find that as you start ticking these smaller jobs off your list that you have finished the larger task at hand.
Some studies also say that you should tackle the biggest task first, commonly known as ‘eating the frog’. The idea is that everything after is easier. Personally, this doesn’t work for me, especially if I am struggling with motivation. I find it better to quickly complete small easy tasks until I feel like I’m on a roll.
You probably have a calendar or schedule of some sort to organise your time, but take the time to put as much detail as possible when your mind is fresh. Sometimes a note that makes sense when you write means absolutely nothing a week later when you come to deal with it.
Make sure you block out time for more than just important meetings and you have also allowed for time to complete your important admin activities. The important thing is to make sure you stick to it and make it a habit. The most successful people have their days planned out to the minute.
Data entry can be one of the most time consuming and laborious activities there is for a small business. This is often because small business owners let the data entry requirements build up over time, putting it off until there’s no other option. Making sure that you stay on top of any data entry you might have can make it feel like the burden has been completely lifted. Try to set aside at least 10 or 15 minutes each day to get caught up and you can avoid the long boring hours spent mindlessly typing in data.
One of the most counter-productive activities to a small business owner is constantly replying to emails and other forms of communications. Phone calls obviously can’t go unanswered, but most people don’t expect instant responses to emails. Not only that but constantly stopping what you’re doing to reply to emails can result in completely losing focus from the task you were previously focusing on and it can take a while to get back into the zone. Try to split your communication requirements into one or maybe two parts of the day, once in the morning and once in the afternoon perhaps.
If you’re the forgetful type then set up alerts to remind you of important tasks and meetings that need your attention. Save yourself the trouble of staring at the clock and let technology take over. There are a variety of ways you can do this including Google as previously mentioned. Most calendar apps will give you the option to set up alerts.
There is very little that’s more counter-productive or infuriating than losing all of your work and having to start again. Most learn the hard way that it’s important to perform regular backups.
One of the most common time drains can be social media or aimlessly surfing the internet to avoid admin work that you find boring. Try to create an environment where these distractions aren’t present so you can focus all of your attention on the task at hand and you are guaranteed to get finished faster.
Poor record-keeping is one of the main reasons that small businesses fail. Keeping well maintained and managed financial records can make life so much easier as a small business owner. Not only will it make your tax reporting a breeze and keep HMRC off your back. It will also allow you to make smarter financial decisions about your business. Is there a time of the month where your business is quieter? Try to book a day each month out during that time for bookkeeping. This might not seem like a quick admin tip, but the amount of time it can save you, in the long run, is unbelievable. In addition, you will always have peace of mind knowing that your books are in order.
Of course, there is another option for small business owners who don’t have time for admin activities. You could always outsource your admin work to a virtual assistant and worry about it no more. Remote assistants can help with a wide range of activities, including answering your calls, email management, bookkeeping, transcription and much more, all from a remote location.
Admin is in theory the easiest part of running a business but it’s also one of the reasons that so many small businesses fail.
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