I know, I know...you're entrepreneurial, you're independent, you're a pioneer in your field. You've been successful for years, or if your company is brand new you're hungry, full of energy and drive. You don't need any help with basic stuff like where to put a filing cabinet or how to set up a break room. But while you probably are all of the great things mentioned above, you may not have always have a grip on the best set-up to keep things running smoothly for future growth. Here are a few examples of when a professional organizer can help you keep your momentum, and even take your business to the next level:
1. You secretly dislike your work atmosphere. Pretty simple, but don't ignore the signals. You resist working in your designated office space because it's, well... a wreck. You take your paperwork to conference room because there's no room on your desk. Don't underestimate the effect clutter has on your mood and ability to concentrate. I don't care if Steve Jobs WAS messy - I'm guessing he had plenty of people working for him to handle the finer details. This situation also often occurs when you work from home, so along those lines...
2. You work from home and often have difficulty separating work life from personal. Your office space has Lego minifigures, dog treats, and copies of Runner's World magazine on top of your contracts and orders. An organizer can help you figure out the best ways to separate your two worlds - without offending the rest of the household.
3. You have more inquiries and calls for your business than you can handle. I've seen this scenario occur with people who start a multi-level marketing business with the idea that it would just be a part-time extra source of income. But then what happens when all of a sudden tons of people want what you're selling? What happens when you host a party and have 35 pieces of contact information and selections to process? Good business organizers have suggestions on the best recordkeeping methods to keep you from dropping the ball and losing money.
4. You have more than 25 unopened emails in your work inbox. I'm not necessarily into having no emails in your inbox at all, but when you aren't opening messages, you're likely losing customers or opportunities. Timely responses make for good impressions, so you need a method for daily email processing that doesn't take up hours of your time.
5. You can't find documents you know you've saved on your computer. Maybe it's your naming conventions, or maybe it's the fact that you save 5 drafts of the same thing, but whatever the issue is a PO with tech experience can walk you through ways to clean up your electronic clutter and get things in order. Same goes for your smartphone (all those pictures!) and tablet device.
6. You can't figure out whether or not you want to go "paperless". You keep hearing how great Evernote (or Iqtell, or Google Drive or the next Big Thing) is, but so far it doesn't make a lot of sense to you. Nor do you have a lot of time to mess with it and learn all of the features. A couple of hours with an organizer could go a long way towards determining what technology makes sense, or if your Franklin Planner is still a good thing.
7. Your employees can't find what they need and keep bugging you for assistance. Repeatable systems. Visual cues. Labels on almost everything. Do you have these? If not, expect to spend more time training and explaining than you would like. A PO with business expertise can help you set up the office so that the basic stuff is obvious to most anyone, thereby saving everyone time and effort.
Just as it's helpful to have someone with no attachment to your stuff come and help you purge your attic or garage, it's great to have an unbiased opinion on how to create the best atmosphere for your company's success. The price of hiring a professional organizer can usually easily be made up in increased productivity, and not losing track of important business leads. So what are you waiting for? Check out www.napo.net to find qualified business or office organizers in your area.
I love finding neat new things on the Internet, especially if I can get something from them for free. And anything that helps me to be more efficient, I like to share with others. So when I recently came across Smore (www.smore.com), I was intrigued. Smore allows you to pull from a variety of templates, fonts and colors, and create a professional-looking, fun flyer to announce special events, sales, or even to use as a newsletter. Here are a few I've done - each only took about 15 minutes to create:
Smore gives you some pre-set blocks and ideas to get started - things like the title section, various offerings, business info - but you can also add elements like links, video, audio, galleries and forms. You can drag the various blocks up or down, and adding pictures is as easy as dragging and dropping. You can change colors and backgrounds. The free template choices are eye-catching, but if you upgrade to one of the paid options you can upload your own backgrounds to personalize your creation even further.
Once you get your flyer just the way you want it, you can share via email (create saved email lists from your contacts), Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and Pinterest. After you've shared it with the world, you can check the analytics to see how many people have clicked on your flyer. Share the flyer as many times and in as many ways as you like (although there are some email limits). Smore has "badges" you can earn depending upon how many people view a flyer in a certain amount of time. I'm not sure that's particularly motivating for me, but it seems like they are trying to put a bit of a social media spin on the product. Not necessarily a bad thing.
The final designs come out orderly, organized, and easy to navigate. The free option gives you 5 flyers (I goofed and deleted 2 of mine before I realized there was a limit, so be careful), and then prices start at $6/flyer, with subscription plans starting at $19/month. Educators will find a special price of $59 annually - the format is perfect for classroom updates and communicating with parents. There's also a plan to offer special pricing for non-profit organizations in the future.
While I'm going to make the most of my free flyers, I can certainly envision paying as I go in the future. If you're looking for a fresh way to get the word out about most anything, Smore is a great product to try out. To see my most-viewed flyer to date up close and personal: https://www.smore.com/a8qn
Sara Skillen - Certified Professional Organizer®, coach, wife and mom, and serial list-maker. Excited to be in the long but worthwhile process of becoming a Certified ADHD Organizer Coach. Learning to trust my intuition more every day. Shall we work together?
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