It’s vital to declutter and the personal and professional benefits of doing so are palpable.
For example I am always amazed at how quickly new business and new opportunities come along when I am organised, decluttered and in control.
You may have a great system that works for you, but if you haven’t cleaned out your office since you registered your business name then hopefully this simple six step system will inspire you to whip out the Mr Sheen!
1. Paper files
Destroy anything that you no longer need to keep. The ATO requires small businesses to keep records for five years after the transaction is completed so if you have records dating back to the age of the typewriter enjoy the liberating feeling of shredding like mad!
The ATO also allow you to keep electronic records these days so check out www.ato.gov.au and see if you comply. It is much easier, and certainly more environmentally friendly, to store a few CD’s as opposed to boxes and boxes of paper!
2. Electronic files
When was the last time you went through your sent mail folder? If you are anything like me the answer is next to never. It is a time consuming job to clear out sent files, sub-folders and other folders but a necessary one to keep your computer operating at peak efficiency. Book some time in your diary to concentrate on the task without interruption and clear the backlog. Your computer will thank you for it!
Are you procedure files up to date? Do you have any? I started putting in place procedures for each aspect of my business recently and am amazed at the impact the whole process has had.
By thinking about how I do things, I have managed to streamline processes and outsourced certain tasks that were simple but repetitive and taking me away from more important things. This provides a great perspective on how your business operates and what is taking your time away. A further bonus to this whole process is that if the decision or opportunity to sell the business arises then you are prepared, clear and focused.
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How is your cashflow? Now is the time to check out your debtors ledger and follow up anything that is outstanding. Sometimes a simple phone call is all it takes and if there is a problem, you’ll find out about it! Also use this time to check out your customer database. Is there anyone who needs a phone call, some nurturing or a reminder that you exist? Maybe your top customers could do with a ‘thank you for your business’ gesture?
If you have been planning to revamp, repaint or reinvent your work space then this is the time to do it. Pull out that desk and give everything the once over, including the drawers, the bookshelves and the noticeboard. Maybe a new paint colour or furniture rearrangement would revitalise your spirits?
6. Business plan
Have a look at your business plan and, if you don’t have one, write one. Know where you’re going and live your brand and its evolution. Business Plans don’t need to be the size of the Yellow Pages – just a page or two will do – as long as it is meaningful to you.
Cleaning out your entire business may be something that is just too daunting to deal with. If that is the case, book regular, shorter appointments with yourself and move through the list stage by stage. I am positive that you will feel better, more in control and definitely more organised. Once you have cleared the clutter, who knows what the future will bring?