Getting Organized Can Help Your Business in 2009

Posted by Marty Dickinson on Jan 27, 2009

WAIT! Don’t take one look at the title of this blog post and run in the other direction. The thought of “getting organized” to some is worse than chores – worse than paying bills even! 2009 is all about the little things you can do in your business to stay alive, and thrive!

First, if you understood WHY being organized can help your business, then maybe you would be less resistant to do something about it. With the downturn of the economy, people are losing jobs or their businesses left and right. “Sprint-Nextel is eliminating about 8,000 jobs in the first quarter… Caterpillar will cut 20,000 employees, contract and agency workers… Home Depot says it’s cutting 7,000 jobs and closing its smaller Expo chain as the recession continues to batter the housing market.” MSNBC.com, 1/26/2009

I don’t add those figures in to scare you. I mention them to motivate you. Now is the time to make an extra personal effort; now is the time to stand apart from your competitors. If you get organized (and I’ll give you a few tips below), then you will have a capacity to pay attention to the details of your business. If you say you are going to call your client today, then make a note, and no matter what (!), call them. If one of your best customers at one point mentioned that they liked bumper stickers about puppies, write it down and send them an out-of-the-blue thank you card with a puppy bumper sticker enclosed. How many of your competitors do you think would do something like that?

We all know that word of mouth advertising is the MOST powerful form of advertising there is. Why not use that fact to your advantage? The more you treasure your customers, and let me know it, the more they will give you repeat business. 2009 is *not* about the making “quick buck” – it’s about going back to the business basics that work…doing work.

So, how do you get organized? how do you make a difference? Well, practice makes perfect. Here are a few tips to get you started on the right foot:

  • At the end of the day, no matter how tired you are or how much you don’t want to, clean up your desk. Put all of your files and papers in a stack, round up your pens and pencils and put them in a holder, and throw trash away. You will be amazed at the difference when you show up to work the next morning – you won’t dread your to-do list as much, and you will find motivation to tackel the tasks ahead.

  • Do not wait to get organized until you “have time”, because guess what? That time will probably never come because you will always find something else that’s “more important” to get done.

  • Hate to throw anything away? Well, you’re not alone, but there is something you can do about it. Filing papers is essential. Don’t let your contracts, invoices, and to-do lists pile up a foot tall. Office Max is your friend – or you can even find no-cost ways to get organized…you just need to get creative. Use old mail packaging boxes to store old papers and store them in a closet, for example.

  • Make groups. People remember things in 3′s – and this rule will help you immensely down the road. If you are the type of worker that can’t find what you need for a meeting that is minutes away (which makes you late), then this will help. Divide your to-dos, papers, etc. into 3 stacks. (Note: you should only have to do this once, then maintenance is the key.) A stack of things to tackle *today*, a stack for the *week*, and a stack for the *month*. This will save you tons of time from having to look in all of your papers for one thing you need.

  • A VERY helpful tool for those of you who are hopeless in the organization department. Go to Smead and click on the “Get Organized” button. They have a system in place to help any type of worker in any situation. You fill out a 2 minute questionnaire (no, you don’t have to give up contact info to see the results – it’s free) and the results will give you tips to get organized based on your working environment and behavior. Yay!

That should be enough to get you started. The only question left is….when will you make time to separate yourself from your competition? To make an impact on your client list? To boost your business sales?

How about today?

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