Without wanting to state the obvious, running a business gets busy. No matter how many processes and procedures you put in place, no matter how many good intentions you have when you first start out, at some point, it all goes a bit pear-shaped.
We’ve all been there. Workload becomes so heavy that those strict processes and procedures you once relied on go out the window and are replaced by frantic multitasking. A once organised inbox becomes a frenzy of pings and alerts that you can’t keep up with, and those behind-the-scenes tasks like credit control and admin are relegated to the ‘I’ll do it later’ folder in your brain (aka, it’s not getting done.)
If this sounds all too familiar, your business is in need of some serious organisation. Now, while that might seem like a mammoth task, there are a few simple steps you can put into place that will make a massive difference to the way your business runs.
When you’re incredibly busy, things like contacting customers you haven’t heard from for a while tend to get pushed to the bottom of your to-do list. While this is understandable, having a system in place that allows you to connect with these customers is a great way to get organised.
Instead of chasing new customers all the time and running around looking for leads, you’ve got a whole host of valued customers at your disposal. They’ve already invested, they know your business is great, they know what you’re offering – the hard work is already done!
Set aside some time during each week to reach out. A phone call, email or even a brief letter through the post will jog the memories of these customers and will most likely remind them to invest in what you’re offering again. Often, these customers won’t have stopped using your services because there was an issue – it’ll simply be because life happens. They get busy, as you do, and a simple reminder is all they need to become active customers once more.
Not only will this potentially lead to more conversions, but it’ll also improve the way your business runs as a whole.
Sort that inbox out
While your inbox may be the absolute bane of your existence, it also acts as the heart of your business. It pumps out essential business conversations, leads, decisions, enquiries. It builds relationships, forms new contacts and connects you directly to the rest of the business world. If it’s neglected, those opportunities become lost in a sea of unread emails and forgotten contacts.
Now is the perfect time to give your inbox a makeover – when it comes to emails, a little organisation really does go a long way!
Now, if you’re sat there looking at your 1483 unread emails and thinking, ‘where on earth do I start?’, we’ve got you covered. What we tend to do at The Edwards Company (yes, we’re organisational nerds) is categorise our inboxes into folders and subfolders. This way, we know exactly where everything is, we don’t have to consistently wade through our unread emails looking for something specific, and we can see exactly what to prioritise.
While these folders and subfolders will look different for everyone, depending on the type of business you’re running, here are a few that we frequently utilise:
- For Action
Of course, you can add more or less depending on how you want to organise things, but simply making an effort to do so (even if it’s only a few folders) will make things far easier for you and will have a positive impact on the way your business runs – no more missed queries or forgotten customers!
Once your folders are sorted and emails in the correct places, you can go a step further by delegating the management of specific folders to outsource professionals. Take your Queries folder, for example? As a business owner, will you have the time to reply to every single query that comes your way? Our guess is probably not.
Instead, it may be beneficial to find an outsource professional who specialises in responding to queries within your industry. You can ask them to monitor this folder of your inbox for a set number of hours per week, meaning you’ll never have to worry about responding to queries again. The job will be done by an experienced professional, and you’ll have ticked yet another thing off your to-do list.
Get your accounts in order
Unorganised accounts can have a negative knock-on effect on the rest of your business and the way it runs. Without effective credit control procedures in place, you run the risk of racking up aged debt, which may impact your cash flow. In turn, this affects the decisions you make for your business and may hold you back in terms of growth.
Putting a strict credit control procedure in place is a great way to keep your accounts and your business organised. To get started, ensure you:
- Have a process in place for onboarding new customers
- Undertaking weekly credit control management
- Chasing payment dates and debts
- Issuing monthly statements of account
- Running checks to revise any credit limits you have in place
If you aren’t able to check every point off that list at the moment, fear not! Set aside some time to review your current accounts processes. Make a note of things that are working well and any additional steps you need to implement so you can establish exactly what needs to be done. Then all you need to do is make a start.
Invest in a Virtual Assistant
If your main thought while reading this information has been ‘I haven’t got time to do that’, it may be beneficial for you to invest in the support of a Virtual Assistant. Virtual Assistants are all about organisation. Whether it’s organising your accounts with expert credit control support or taking admin tasks like inbox management off your hands, their main aim is to ensure your business runs as smoothly and effectively as possible.
Here at The Edwards Company, we offer support in the following areas:
If you think your business would benefit from the support of a Virtual Assistant, please do not hesitate to get in touch.
Organising your business doesn’t have to be a monumental task. Implementing a few simple steps to improve the effectiveness of important aspects of your business is a brilliant place to start, and the best time to start is now. Give it a go!