Running a business, no matter how large or small, you need to ensure that you have some systems and procedures in place. Even if it is just little old you right now, having basic templates, pricing schedules, filing and accounting systems allows you to work much more effectively. And if there is more than one of you, all of the following are even more important to stay consistent and organised.
Under this umbrella come things such as:
- a proposal template
- an invoice template
- a contract
- a pricing schedule
- a services overview or brochure
All of these can be very simple, one page documents. Simply start a new WORD document, insert your logo and contact details, and fill in the rest. If in doubt, keep it short and to the point. It looks much more professional to have these things ready if a client asks and you can feel more in control.
Invoicing IN; Invoicing OUT. Repeat this five times. Now create a folder (either electronically or paper copies) and keep track of all invoices in and out. It helps to keep a spread sheet listing all invoices you have issued and the amount and what the work was for, and then mark off when it’s been paid. Likewise, it can help to do the same with invoices you have to pay to suppliers. It doesn’t have to be as hard as it seems. Spend 30 minutes on this once a week and stay on top of the most important factor in your business: cash flow.
Emails and correspondence
You may choose to print documents and emails out and keep hard copies of things in a filing cabinet. Great idea, just make sure that you actually file things away rather than having a huge pile of paper work all over your study (or your dining room table!)
If you choose to keep a paperless office, this is great too. Keep your email inbox organised, create subfolders and flag important items and move emails once you have finished with them. Back up your computer so that all your work is not lost should there be an issue with your computer.
Keep a work diary and factor in personal time too such as lunch breaks. If someone invites you to a meeting or an event, for goodness sake put it in your diary. Make sure you can send and receive diary invites. You can also categorise diary entries into business, personal, networking, accounting and so on.
As you can see, a few simple steps can help you grow your business. How can you grow or make more money if you do not even know what you owe to suppliers or have an up to date diary. Spend one hour each week sorting things, and updating templates to ensure you are up to date, organised and in control.