05 Feb Get Organized
Simon Sinek said, “Time is our most precious commodity”. This couldn’t be truer for professional women. We are pulled in many directions between our personal and professional lives. Between the demands of family and business responsibilities, it’s sometimes a miracle we retain our sanity. So, the importance of making the most of our time is essential. The more effective we are, the greater the likelihood that we’ll be able to include more time for ourselves in our schedule. Wouldn’t that be a treat!
It made sense to have an opportunity to share tips and tools to help us be more organized. Think about how much time you waste looking for an email from a prospect, trying to remember the conversation you had with a client about something that was going on in their life or sorting through receipts to try to figure out if you are spending your money wisely. For our participants, being unorganized in certain areas of their business leaves them feeling frantic, scattered, lacking control, ungrounded, unprofessional and exhausted. We deserve better. Here are the areas of need we focused on.
Keeping track of contacts / prospect / client information
We all need a good CRM system to help us remember relevant information about people we connect with. Today, relationships are more important than ever. It comes down to the smallest of details that could make or break a sales opportunity. This makes tracking information essential.
While a spreadsheet can be a fine way to start the process, the limitations of this method become evident very quickly. Two of our participants use a CRM on a regular basis. It was agreed that most systems are very detailed and require a significant investment of time for training. Once you’re up to speed and use it regularly, there are essential to success.
A simpler system is Less Annoying CRM (LACRM). It definitely isn’t as robust as Salesforce or Zoho, but for “non-sales” people who are required to sell for their business, this product does the trick. It easily integrates with Google, Outlook, Mailchimp and VOIP phone systems. You can also track tasks, pipelines, and events so you’re on top of everything.
It is well priced at a flat fee of $10 per month, with no limitations or levels. You can import or export your data, customize to an extent and get great customer service and training at no additional cost. There is a 30-day free trial.
I’ve been using LACRM for about 6 months and it’s been great for me.
Organizing your finances
As a business owner, your financial information isn’t just something your accountant needs for your taxes. It should be data you regularly review to ensure you aren’t overspending and ensuring you get a good return on key expenditure (specifically marketing efforts). Quickbooks had taken over the market when it comes to tracking financial information. And for most non-financial business owners, the system is not user-friendly. For newer business owners, it doesn’t make sense to hire a bookkeeper for the few transactions they incur each month, yet, it is vital to have good financial information.
Two alternative accounting software packages were recommended –
Xero – an online platform that is user-friendly. It provides a mobile app for easy accessibility and a great feature that allows you to import your transactions directly from your bank statements. If you’re not great at accounting, you may want to have a trained bookkeeper set up this function for you, so the information gets categorized into the proper accounts. Once this is done properly, tracking your information becomes a breeze. There is a monthly fee – depending on the functions you need for your business and a 30-day free trial.
AccountEdge – another user-friendly system that comes in both a desktop version (purchase the software upfront with no additional fees) and a cloud-based version. For the basic version – which is good for most solopreneur businesses – users pay a one-time fee of $149. Pretty affordable.
One person sets the time on her calendar to take care of finances. She calls it Finance Friday where she tracks expenses, reviews financial information and pays bills. (Note: invoicing should be done directly through your accounting software system immediately! You don’t want to lose track of revenues!). What a great habit to get into so you don’t avoid your finances.
Organizing Your Papers
As I sit at my desk typing this blog, I’m chuckling. I like to write notes as I speak to people on the phone or get ideas. So, my desk is scattered with scraps of papers, writing pads and lists of things to do. This sets off my inner voice (for those of you who have met her – Poison Ivy is back!) – “Who are you to write about organizing your papers, Cindy. Blah, blah, blah…” This is exactly why I love our Reflection Friday conversations. Because I need to learn from my girls too! We’re all in the same boat, so why sail alone.
Two areas of clutter came out of the conversation – business cards and papers from networking events/ prospecting meetings. To manage business cards, we talked about the array of apps available to scan the cards directly into your contacts on your phone. CamCard was recommended because there is a free version that will put the cards onto your phone as you scan it and then can be integrated with Google Contacts. The app keeps track of the date you entered the contact which can help you track where you met them.
When it comes to paper clutter, it’s all about having a filing system that you can quickly and easily sort the papers, so your workspace stays organized and clutter-free. Color-coded files in a very visible spot in your office is a great way to remind yourself to sort the paper immediately – you don’t have to stop and think because you know that (for example) red is for networking papers; yellow is for receipts; green is for follow up information. Getting into the habit of putting the papers right into the file and blocking time on your calendar every week or two to review and purge will keep you ahead of the game and not feeling overwhelmed.
Getting Things Done by David Allen (started as a book, but lots of resources including podcasts, videos, etc) — https://gettingthingsdone.com/what-is-gtd/
All these ideas are great, and it comes down to developing the habit of using. We’ll be talking about How to Build Good Habits on March 13th.
Our next call is on Friday, February 14th. We’ll be talking about Self-Discipline. Does this have anything to do with Valentine’s Day chocolates??? We shall see. I hope you can join me. To register for free visit www.BusinessRescueCoaching.com and click on Reflection Friday. Once you register, you’ll get the zoom link. Members of our community are eligible to continue the conversation in our Facebook group. We’re continuing to grow, and the conversations get richer and richer.