How to Run a Better Business

Owning your own business is tough. There are so many things to do, and there’s only one of you.

It’s more important than ever to have systems in place that keep things running smoothly. How else will you be able to take vacation or a sick day?

Below are ten things you can implement right now to make sure you’re organized, and that your business is performing at it’s best.

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1. Establish a Workflow. Write out your entire business workflow from start to finish. This should include things like what you do when a new client contacts you, where you store your files, how you market your business, and what services you offer. Get specific, and then remove as many unnecessary steps as you can.

2. Minimize Social Media Platforms: Think about where you can create the least amount of content, yet make the most impact. Don't tackle all social media platforms. Just pick one or two that really work for your business model. Delete the platforms you aren’t using. Trust me, this will feel amazing!

3. Automate your Marketing Efforts: Look at your workflow and assess your current marketing plan. Are you using the approach? Establish what you’ll do to promote your business on a weekly and monthly basis. For instance, maybe you send out 5 promotional post cards per week, or reach out to 2 prospective clients on LinkedIn per week. Whatever it is, just make it habitual so it becomes automatic.

4. Get Your Finances Under Control: This is everyone’s least favorite part of owning a business, but it’s probably the most important. Getting your finances under control will feel like a weight lifted off your shoulders. If you haven’t already, sign up for a small business checking and savings account (I like Chase). Every time you get paid, transfer 30% of your profits to your savings account. Don’t think of this as your money. This will be money you set aside for quarterly taxes (so there are no surprises). Consider accounting software like Freshbooks or Quickbooks to track your profits/expenses and store your receipts.

5. Do a Financial Audit Once a Month: Look at your monthly bank statement, and see where your money is going. We forget that we can also increase our profits by spending less. Are there any services you’re paying for, but not using? Do you repeatedly buy supplies you don’t need? Figure out how to use your resources better next month.

6. Create an E-mail Folder Structure: I have a folder for clients, coupons, personal e-mails - pretty much everything. I keep my inbox clean by moving things into my folders, where I keep all e-mails permanently stored

7. File Storage: Create a defined folder structure where you store your files. I'd recommend a file storage platform like Dropbox or Box. You should be able to find any client file at the drop of a hat, and access the files from anywhere.

8. Invest in Tools that Save you Time: I love Squarespace because I can update my websites at the drop of a hat. I also love Dropbox. As far as tangible tools go, I love my commercial paper cutter, my label printer, and my Amazon Echo. All of these cost money, but save me so much time in the long run! Time is my most important asset. Reference your workflow and consider which tools will help you cut corners.

9. Designate Fridays as Cleaning Day: Having everything in order before the weekend is the best feeling. Here is the checklist I go through every Friday, to make sure I start my Mondays on a good note:

  • Clean Desktop

  • Clean Inbox

  • Clean Physical Workspace (wipe down desk, empty trash, put things away)

  • Update To-do List for Next Week

  • Update Websites

10. Clear out the Digital Clutter at Least Once a Year: Start by deleting any unused e-mail addresses. Then, change all of your passwords to something you will remember. For my passwords, I use the same basic template of characters and symbols. Unsubscribe to any e-mails you don’t want to get. Update your bookmarks bar to include only the websites you use most. Delete accounts on services you don’t use. This may take some time, but it will be worth it!

Nicole Cicak