The importance of organization in a business cannot be understated. A business usually has one chance to make a first impression when a consumer or potential client enters an office, a restaurant, or a warehouse. If the first thing they see is a cluttered office, a mis-managed and messy kitchen or a warehouse that does not have a system in place for inventory, a business opportunity is often lost. Hiring a business advisor to help navigate the ins and outs of setting up a business is a great start, although it might not be in the budget if a business is new and just getting off the ground. Regardless, it is vital to invest time and energy into creating a program or process to provide an organized system that can be maintained.
The organization of inventory, and the appointment and assembly of a qualified staff can minimize the consequence of micromanagement when a poor program or worse, no program is in place. Organization has been found to increase productivity and provide a more controlled environment. NAPO President, Ellen Delap reports in a blogpost, “According to Forbes, the typical executive today wastes almost one month a year searching for lost information. According to the American Demographic Society, Americans waste more than 9 million hours each day looking for lost and misplaced articles. Not surprisingly, being organized helps everyone to be more efficient and effective.”
Studies have shown there is a physical benefit to being organized too. People are more inclined to feel safe if something is predictable. Dr. Bethany Cook reported “Organizing your living space (or workspace) means you know where things are without searching, and this feels safe.” Studies have proven that a cluttered or disorganized workspace can make it more difficult to concentrate and focus on a task. Decluttering and organizing can directly lead to improving your attention span and focus. Organizing and cleaning your physical space can result in a refreshed and renewed mental state, leaving you feeling more capable of tackling the task at hand.
Organizing Your Staff
Although hiring staff comes long after the developmental stage of a business begins, having well trained and dependable employees is an important part of the organizational process. A clear business plan should be in place before the process of hiring begins, and a business advisor can help set up a plan to prepare for the hiring process.
Hiring employees in today’s market can be challenging. Listing potential job openings on a website like ZipRecruiter or Indeed can be helpful tools. Most potential employees will prepare and practice for the interview process, but we suggest if you are new to this process as the interviewer, that you do some preparing of your own. During the interview process while in search of a qualified employee, as the potential employer, you will be under scrutiny as well. Are you someone an employee would like to work for? Have you planned accordingly for the interview? Being a prepared and qualified interviewer is an important part of the hiring process.
There are many good options online to help with the onboarding of new employees. Indeed.com gives a thorough overview of the process in their article “9 Critical Steps in Your Hiring Process in 2022” with great info on the research needed to prepare to hire, writing a job description, marketing and promoting for employment, the application process, screening candidates and the interview process.
Organization in the Ordering Process
As a new business owner, you might feel like there are more things to do than there are hours available in the day to do them. After you have created and trained your team, meeting to build the framework needed to keep inventory or information organized will be the next step. Burnout is a dangerous reality when opening a business and delegation can often be the solution along with a well implemented and maintained organizational system.
Consider your business model and decide if an online organizational program is the right fit for your business, or if a hybrid version that pairs with a physical process will yield a more productive result. For example, a busy real estate office may opt to implement an online shared calendaring option to allow the employees shared access to scheduled meetings and showings, while a bustling bakery might have a large, laminated list of ingredients hanging on the wall in the kitchen so the bakers can keep track of and mark with an Expo marker when an ingredient or item has low stock and needs to be ordered. An employee charged with ordering inventory for the week will have this resource more readily available to reference when placing an online order.
Some inventory, like perishable items, cannot be stored long term. It is generally is a good idea to order a backup for your everyday items such as office supplies or commonly used containers in a restaurant long before you are close to running out. Be sure to rotate stock when a reorder has occurred, even for items like printer toner as there is usually an expiration date on most items.
Balancing the Budget
A budget can be an intimidating part of business when first starting out. There is often more financial output than input the first year or two in business. It’s important to maintain order in budgeting so that you can see growth patterns and catch the deficits quickly. Doing so ensures that a rebound can be made when necessary.
A balanced budget occurs when revenues are equal to or greater than total expenses. Meticulously tracking expenses and keeping a balanced budget is equal in importance to sales and productivity. A thorough business plan includes sales projections and researched profit margins within the industry to project future success.
Online programs for accounting in business are in abundance and finding the right fit might take some time. Many programs have a free trial period so you can see if it suits your needs before investing in a program. Consult with an accountant and get some feedback on setting up this part of your business.
Organizing Inventory and the Maintenance
If you have ever seen a professional organizer at work, you know the first thing they do is pull out everything from a space until it is completely empty. You are generally left with a huge room full of things you didn’t realize you had and likely some items you need to dispose of. The business of categorizing items can be challenging, but if you can create a permanent home for a specific category of an item much like a grocery store does, then when a restock of that item occurs, it already has a home to place it directly in, resulting in a well-maintained office, store or restaurant.
When possible, have an appropriately sized container for each item or category of items. Choose a container that allows ease of visibility and access to what is inside. Each of these containers or shelves should be clearly labeled for easy rotation and functionality when used by multiple employees. A good label maker is an important investment when starting the process of organizing in business or in your home. Once a system is in place, it requires very little maintenance if your employees are trained to put the items away when they arrive.
In most cases, it is recommended that exterior packaging is removed before restocking. For example, when a shipment of office supplies arrives, instead of stacking the items in the utility closet in a pile, pull out the case of sticky notes and remove the outer wrapping. Stack them neatly into the bin labeled “sticky notes” so that your employees won’t end up unwrapping them later and stashing them on a shelf where they get stuck behind the box of file folders. Ultimately, these sorts of careless mistakes result in the person tasked with inventory management reordering an item you already have stocked. Similarly, while restocking the pastry containers in a bustling bakery, if there is not an orderly and clearly labeled system in place, employees will have the challenge of rifling through a stack of unlabeled boxes trying to find the size they need in that crucial moment, wasting valuable time and energy in the process.
The rotation of stock should be completed each time there is new inventory received and restocked. Even non-perishable items should be rotated to prevent the wear of material and the buildup of dust. Keep your storage areas clean and tidy, as customers respond to even this small part of their experience with your company. A mortgage broker who presents a well-organized binder with all the client’s paperwork neatly organized inside, might be embarrassed to notice the dust that built up on the cover while it sat on a shelf awaiting its new home.
Trained and informed employees, even with these small details, can help remove unnecessary stress from a business owner. Taking the time to create an efficient system can prove its worth in the long run. A simple reminder from Ralph Waldo Emerson should be considered: “A good system shortens the road to the goal.”
Consistency is Crucial
The art of consistency does not come naturally to everyone. You might find that this is a stumbling block and consistency in effort takes work. Many entrepreneurs find that part of the not-so-secret to success is consistency, not perfection. According to an article on Entrepreneur.com, written by Julian Lim, “Entrepreneurs Ryan Mitchell Rios and Mark Atalla both agree that entrepreneurs need consistency to succeed in any field. The actions that you partake in often either lead you on the journey to success or pull you back. Mark says, ’Your life is shaped by the activities you do on a consistent basis.’ Ryan agrees and adds, ’To put it simply, you are what you do and what you consume daily.’ …consistency in your efforts leads to self-discipline, teaches you self-control, improves your overall personality, and builds momentum. ’When you are consistent, you have a sense of accountability and direction that translates to progress,’ assert the two entrepreneurs.”
Striving for perfection in a business will ultimately lead to burn out and likely failure. Owning a business requires grit, flexibility, resiliency, consistency, and commitment. Similar to a business needing an organizational system in place and maintained to provide functionality and aid productivity… as a leader, consistency in your actions can result in the same positive outcome.
Efficiency and Effectiveness
As with any endeavor, the time and money spent on a project should be balanced against the value it provides. For example, spending time organizing a box of nails so they are all facing the same direction is a waste of time and resources. If an organized space or process is not working, then it’s time to reassess and brainstorm other options until something does work. Efficiency and effectiveness should be considered with each business decision.