If you have ever spent hours looking for a specific piece of paper, or wished you had jotted down that amazing idea when it came to you at the grocery store, you understand the value of being organized. Many of us are not innate organizers, but with a few tips and tools all of us can reap the rewards of satisfying systems that make life easier, and businesses more profitable. Yes, that’s right. Organized businesses are more profitable: never forget to invoice, never lose a document, ace that project by staying on top of each step, and never miss out on a sales lead. Here are some top tips and tools.
Never Forget an Invoice
In our article on Time Management tips, we shared a cloud accounting tool called Freshbooks. The beauty of this system, and others like it, is that you can keep all of your invoices in one spot, along with billing information. If you enable PayPal on your invoices (weigh the pros and cons of the processing fee!) you offer a simple way for clients to remit payment to you. With Freshbooks, you can also track time spent on each project, and easily turn this into an invoice. If you use a cloud accounting system, we still recommend you save each invoice in a folder on your computer. This will make sure you always have access to it. And don’t forget to mark down in a calendar (paper or electronic) when you need to invoice a client.
Never Lose a Document
If you read our Time Management tips article you also know that we recommended an app called TurboScan. This app, and others like it, are great time-saving tools because they enable you to electronically scan and then file documents. Anyone with a bulging folder of “to be filed” bills and receipts can appreciate this organization tip. The important thing, whether dealing with electronic files or paper, is to devise a system that works for you. Set aside time each week or month to deal with documents. In the meantime, put a pretty inbox on your desk or shelf that can collect important papers.
Ace That Project with Project Management Tools
There are a number of Project Management programs out there that can help you organize, and share, your workflow. For example, Basecamp allows you to create a project folder and share it with other members of your work team. Upload files, check in about due dates and assign tasks within this easy to use program. Discussion groups make virtual brainstorming sessions a breeze. KISSFLow is an example of a program that manages WorkFlow and Evernote can help organize your ideas, saving you from drowning in sticky notes!
Never Miss Out on a Sales Lead
You can automate certain aspects of your sales funnel, saving you time and ensuring you never miss out on a sales lead. With a sign-up form on your website, you can invite people to join your email distribution list. This is the first step in encouraging a visitor to engage with you as a potential consumer. Email management programs like Aweber offer autoresponders; this newsletter sign-up triggers a series of emails automatically sent from your account (you set these up in advance). These autoresponders are designed (and written by you!) to move consumers through the sales funnel from interested, to engaged, to consuming. You can get even more sophisticated in managing your funnel with a program like Infusionsoft, which manages many more aspects of your sales process including email marketing, reporting and online sales.
We live in such an interesting time! Business tools are aplenty and available at our fingertips. Which ones do you use to stay organized?!