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Improving Your Information-Keeping: Where To Start

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Do you have a business? Have you had trouble with record-keeping? Consider where you should start so that you can keep track of information and find documents when you need them.

Determine the Problem

The first thing you should do when improving how you organize information is to consider your biggest problem. Perhaps you don't have any system to organize information and that's your problem. Or maybe you have a system, but you aren't a big fan of it or you've outgrown it. Either way, you should figure out where your biggest problem is so that you can take that first.

If you need to overhaul your entire organizational system, that can take a while. But if you can narrow it down to one focus area, that gives you a place to start. Then, you can move to other areas once you get a hold of the biggest issue.

Consider Your Goals

If you're having trouble deciding between two areas to focus on, think about your biggest goals. Then, see what areas need the most work to help you reach your goals. Maybe you want to gain more customers, but you have no way to organize potential contacts. So you decide to start by creating a lead management system so that you can find client contact information quickly.

Or perhaps your main goal is to increase revenue. In that case, you may decide to implement a new system for keeping track of income and expenses. That way, you can make sure you're on track to hit your revenue goals.

Start Small

If you have a lot of areas to change, you may want to tackle all of them at once. However, that can be overwhelming, and you may burn yourself out. Instead, focus on organizing one category at a time. Whether you start with leads, finances, or something else, you can focus on that one thing. Then, you can find a system that works for you or your company. If the first thing you try doesn't work, you can switch things up.

But if you try to implement a system for your entire business, that can be hard. What works for managing finances may not work for managing leads. If you can start small, you can make sure you use a system that works for that area. Then, you can expand, and you won't have to worry about making huge changes later.

Go Digital

Once you settle on where to start with your organization, consider making everything digital. For one, using digital files means you can access them from wherever. You can store the files on a laptop that you take with you, or you can use the cloud to access files from any device with an internet connection. Also, you can use the search function to find files by their names. That can save you a lot of time if you have many documents that you use in your business.

If you need to share files with coworkers or clients, having digital copies is also useful. Instead of using a physical copier to make a copy for someone, you can email them the file or a link to it in the cloud. That way, you can save time on file sharing and organization.

Use Labels

If you can't or don't want to make your files digital, you can still organize them. Create file folders or binders where you can put the files you need. Then, add labels to each folder or section. You can label the files alphabetically, chronologically, or some other way. Just find a way that works for you so that you know where to look when you need something.

You won't have the same convenience of searching by file name. But you can still make the system easy to use to save time. And you can get creative with your labels, which can make getting organized a bit more fun than just gathering folders and papers.

Evaluate Your Changes

After you start using the new system, go over it with yourself and anyone else who uses it. Determine if you need to make any changes to the system or if it's working well for you. If it works, keep doing what you're doing and reevaluate it in a few months to make sure you still like the system.

However, if you have a problem with your new system, figure out what the problem is. Perhaps you can't find the right files on your computer, so you decide to rename the files that make sense instead of using the default. Whatever it is, choose a system that you can use, and don't be afraid to change the second system if it also doesn't work.

 

Running a business can be stressful, and as you grow, you need a system to keep track of information for finances, clients, and more. Keep these tips in mind when organizing that system to work for your business.

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