Running your business solo has a lot of advantages. You can avoid common headaches with managing staff, not to mention you don’t have to deal with hiring, scheduling, or doing payroll taxes.
But as a sole proprietor, you also have to deal with every challenge that your business faces — you can’t delegate these tasks to employees. That’s why staying organized is so important. If you stay on top of deadlines and needs, you’re better positioned to move forward and grow your business. Here are some tips for keeping it all together.
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Automate everything you can.
The key to staying organized is automating as many tasks and processes as possible. From paying bills to tracking sales, digital tools enable you to stay current with your finances while offering at-a-glance views of your business. Square Dashboard allows you to take payments, send invoices, check inventory, view analytics, and more. You can find some of our favorite apps for entrepreneurs here.
Once you start automating your business, go ahead and ditch the paper, too. By scanning contracts, invoices, receipts, and other important documents, you can avoid last-minute scrambling to find this information when you need it, like at tax time.
While you’re at it, automate your bill-paying process to streamline your month and avoid late fees. You should also set a paperless precedent with your vendors and clients by creating a policy of only sending payments and invoices electronically.
Between Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat, maintaining a robust presence on each of these platforms can feel overwhelming, especially if you’re doing it alone. Attempting to keep up with multiple accounts can even be detrimental to your business. That’s because customers have come to rely on social media as a way to contact businesses directly with questions, comments, and complaints, and they expect speedy responses.
So choose a few social media platforms to focus on, and then concentrate your efforts on keeping those accounts fresh and direct customers to them as the places where you post news and photos and respond to feedback.
Cut the clutter.
We’ve already discussed the importance of eliminating paper, but your workspace might need some organization as well, especially if it doubles as a space where you meet clients, vendors, press, etc. Take a look around your space: Is it a place you’d be proud to welcome guests?
If not, do a deep clean, tossing, recycling, or donating anything you don’t need anymore, like outdated or broken technology and furniture you no longer need (who needs file cabinets now that you’ve digitized your business?).
Connect with other small business owners.
Smart business owners know that even if they’re sole proprietors, there is value in collaboration and networking. Seek out other entrepreneurs in your position by joining meetups of other local business owners. Not only can you forge connections (and opportunities) with other businesses but also gain helpful insight and get advice from veteran business leaders in your community.