It’s hard to beat the crisp cool fall air.  The excitement of the coming football season.  And of course getting ready for the first day of school.  Remember how exciting it was to get all those new school supplies and that great first day of school outfit?  There is a certain sense of renewal that comes with the new school year. 

Business owners typically wait until January to enjoy the sense of renewal that comes with a new calendar year.  But many of us are exhausted from the crazy holiday season and simply want to put our heads down and take a long nap when January rolls around. 

Why not take a page out of the new school notebook and use this time to renew and organize your business ahead of the crazy holiday season?  Many of us have gotten to spend some time out in the wonderful Montana summer and have gotten the wiggles out of our waggle and are likely ready to sit still for a moment. 

Now is a great time to take stock in the year, clean up the disaster that is known as your desk and make plans to actually enjoy the holidays rather than simply survive them.

A lack of organization costs your business precious time and profit.  Research studies show that when clutter rises productivity and profits drop.  The National Association of Professional Organizers found that paper clutter is the number one problem for most business.  In fact, the average person wastes more than four hours a week searching for papers.  This impacts customer service and add to your stress and frustration levels.  The Small Business Administration found that the biggest burden for small business is lost sales, profit, and reduced customer service due to mishandled paperwork.

So there is a great deal of incentive to get your ducks in a row and get organized as you head into what is the most important quarter for most businesses.

Start by purging your office. Get rid of anything outdated, no longer relevant or a duplicate.  Look around at the stuff in the corners.  If you can write your name in the dust, it might be time to let it go.  Go through that pile on your desk that you swear is organized but you know down inside it isn’t anymore. 

Time to go through your paper files.  You may even consider scanning in the important documents and going paperless.  Do the same thing with paper receipts.  The IRS now accepts electronic copies of receipts. 

Look to the clouds, storage that is.  This is a great way to share documents with colleagues or clients and lets you clean up your personal storage space. 

Tackle your Inbox.  Contrary to popular practice, your email inbox is not a storage solution.  We tend to use our email as a catchall for everything and we are afraid to get rid of anything we might need in the future.  Trouble is we are left with an unmanageable mess that doesn’t work.  Utilize the filing system in your email to create folders where you can move emails you have dealt with but want to save.  This keeps your inbox more manageable and lets you see what is really important. 

Get your books in order.  It is easy to get behind on billing.  But this is the only way you get paid so it is critical.  You are not alone.  Many small business owners don’t properly track invoices and customer payments.  Keeping your records up to date helps you avoid outstanding invoices that go unnoticed for months, or paying your suppliers late which impacts your relationship and can hurt your credit rating. 

Take time now to get organized and you will be amazed how energized and ready you feel to take on the challenge of the important holiday season.

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