Monday, August 23, 2010

You're the Boss: Part 8

Don't forget to enter our Raving Fan and Future Raving Fan Contests to win a Sneak Peek at the 2011 Line and Your Choice of Calendars from Much Ado About You.

Be Organized
Organization with your supplies and products will make work much more enjoyable for you.
Organization with your invoicing and expenses will make work much more profitable for you.
Organization with your clients, like responding to emails in a timely manner and getting orders shipped quickly will make work much more marketable for you.

Many years ago Brooke and I were trying to come up with a business that we could start together.  We came up with the idea for Organize Me.  We were going to be Organizational Consultants that came to your home or office and turned your crazy clutter in a beautifully organized sight to behold.

We even wore matching overalls.  It was 2001 people.
Anyway... that business never took off, but my point is that I love to organize.

I am a generally very organized person.  I like lists, labels, and order.

This has been extremely helpful to my business.

I don't need to tell you why being organized is a good idea... it's obvious.

But I am going to give you some tips on organizing your supplies and paperwork that I hope will help you to make your business more efficient.

You know that phrase "Time is money."  Well, it's true.
When you are running your business... the more efficiently you can produce your products, the more profit you will be making on each one.  Bottom line.

So first things first... organize your supplies well.

I make calendars {in case I haven't dropped that hint enough} and so I organize my supplies by design.  Each design has its own drawer that contains all the paper and embellishments needed to complete that design.

Each drawer is labeled with the name of the design it contains.

There are also drawers for extra solid paper, labeled according to the color(s) contained it those drawers.

The white drawers at the bottom contain other supplies, such as glue sticks, Stickles, calendar bindings, ribbon, etc.

I also have a tub that we keep on the work table with supplies that we use every day.

Okay, so my supplies are all in order, but none of the supplies would even be necessary if we didn't have any orders to fill.  And in order to get orders, and continue to get orders, you have to have a good system for organizing your invoices.

I have told you that I use Etsy, so I am going to show you how I keep things straight with my Etsy account, but I'm sure that you could apply a similar system to any shopping channel you are using.

The first thing I do when I get an order is print the order, contact my customer to let them know that we received the order, and relist the product.

I then put the order in a hanging file that is above my desk that says "Need to be Entered", which means that it needs to be entered into our database.

Once the information has been entered into our database, the invoice is marked with an "X" and it is put into the file above which says "Ready to be Made".

Our amazing database that my amazingly fabulous husband built for us prints out a Daily Status Sheet which lists all of our open orders.  {If you don't have a nerdy super-smart husband that can build you a database, you can always just keep a running list using Excel or even Word, but don't tell my husband that I suggested that.}

When my employees come in to work each day they check the Daily Status Sheet, then go get the invoice out of the "Ready to be Made" file and begin working on an order.

While orders are in-process, they are kept in these snazzy trays that I got from Ikea:

I love these trays because each one pulls out completely and can be carried to the work table while someone is working on that order.

When an order is complete, it is prepared for shipping at our fantabulous Shipping Station.  The invoice is then put on my desk so that I can complete it in the database.  Once it is completed, it is marked with a "C" and filed in our Recent Invoices box:

I keep the current and previous month's invoices in this box, in case there is a situation in which we need to refer back to the invoice.  {What... a mistake?  No!  We never make mistakes around here.}

At then end of the month, I move the previous month's invoices into my filing cabinet and start a new file for the next month.  Make sense?

It may take you a while to get yourself organized, but it will be so worth it in the end.  If you have to, shut down your shop for a week and devote your time to getting things in order.
You don't have to spend a fortune.
I got most of my organizational tools at Target and Ikea, and they definitely didn't break the bank.

One last tip about organization: be sure to extend it into your finances as well.  If you are not organized with the money coming and going in your business, I promise that you will never make a profit.  You will never know how much money you are making {or even if you are making any money} unless you know how much you are spending.  My friend Gussy just did an amazing post about Budgeting Your Business that you should definitely check out.

  I will just say:
1.  Open a separate checking account and credit card {with a low limit} for your business.
2.  Keep very good track of your receipts for all expenditures.
3.  Get a good CPA that knows how to take advantage of every tax credit that you should receive for running your home-based business.

1 comment:

  1. just wondering where the pic of you in the overalls is? ;) all seriousness, these are GREAT tips, Emmy. And I think they can be applied to more than just running your business. Homeschooling, crafting, mail/bills, etc. Great post!