Posts Tagged ‘Home Office’

While in Toronto in early November at the Professional Organizers in Canada annual conference I attended a workshop delivered by Deanne Kelleher from Kaos Group called “Essential and Powerful Business Tools”.  The session made me realize how many systems all of us small business owners should have in place and perhaps don’t, myself included.  If only I could find the time! (more…)


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I am fascinated by how the concept of ‘good enough’ relates to being organized and our many attempts to be what we perceive as ‘well organized’.  What does being organized mean to you?  Most likely not the same as it does to your spouse, your best friend or your children.  What if, instead of constantly striving to be more organized, better organized or even, heaven forbid, perfectly organized we strove for (more…)

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Here are some wise words from my good friend Georgina Forrest from Smartworks Organizing in Calgary, Alberta from one of her recent newsletters. (more…)

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This week was very gratifying on many fronts but especially so because I got to help a client who owns a small business revamp her paper filing system.  I’m quite sure I was far more excited about the process than she was. (more…)

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As the song says, I’ve been ‘Hunting Hi and Low’ (famed Norwegian band ah-ha in case you want to check them out) for home office furniture for the last week or so.  Turns out I’ve got several home office projects on the go right now -very cool.

The challenge of finding furniture for a home office makes it seem, at times, like I’m never going to find just the right pieces.  We have to consider the following: (more…)

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At this time of year I always start to get into what I like to call ‘Clean Up and Get Organized for the New Year’ mode in my business.  Somehow, I always look forward to this process. For me it involves several steps which many of you may find it helpful to consider.

  1. Purging Paper & Electronic Information – like many of you I accumulate a lot of paper and electronic information throughout the year, some of which I never use. There’s no better feeling than going through all the paper files and shredding a bunch, going through my ‘My Documents’ folder and either archiving or deleting a bunch of files and finally going through all my email folders from this year and either archiving or deleting a bunch of that information.  Somehow this process always seems to shift the energy around a bit and make room for new and exciting projects each new year.
  2. Getting Ready for Canada Revenue – I have to say that all of us small business owners certainly do have to be well organized on the financial records side of our business in case our friends at CRA come calling.  I firmly believe that if I’m well organized and keep good records there is less likelihood that will happen but if it does I’ll be well prepared. I can pull any piece of   information they may require on a moment’s notice including invoices, expense receipts, HST returns, my calendar with all appointments,  monthly financial statements and the all important Automobile Mileage Log (to purchase yours go to http://www.janetheorganizer.com/productsforsale_automileagelog.html)  for the past 7 years.  The two things that they love to audit us home-based businesses for are ‘office-use-of-home’ expenses and ‘vehicle expenses’, so be sure to have those records in tip top shape and easily accessible.  In addition, HST audits are quite common so being able to produce your records in a timely fashion can make this process almost painless.
  3. Creating A New Budget – I always like to challenge myself to ‘stretch goals’ on the revenue side and then see how little I can get away with spending on the expense side while still growing the business.  This year I’m thinking about a few new budget items such as a Smartphone (yeah, yeah, I know I’m so behind on that one), a part-time Personal Assistant (too exciting), and maybe even my dream of a Training Video.  Having a monthly budget and reviewing it twice per month is one of the key success factors to any business, large or small.
  4. Annual Planning – in addition to creating a new budget, I schedule a yearly annual planning session for 1 or 2 days with my mastermind group(s) to brainstorm ideas for the next year or so.  This will involve both my personal and professional life and is a chance for some free thinking with no limitations.  A chance to review outstanding projects and think of new ones.  A chance to dream big and share those dreams with others.  And finally the time to put it all in writing, decide my priorities for the next year, and make a committment to others in my mastermind group to work on those priorities or, if I don’t, to have a good reason for changing them.

Whew, aren’t you exhausted just thinking about all this? Now we all have to go and book time in our calendar over the holiday season to get working on #1 to #3.  In my business #4 will be happening in two phases, one in January and the other in March.  However, you may decide to do something completely different like attend a workshop or hire someone to help you through the process.  Remember the adage, “Poor Prior Planning leads to P… Poor Performance”.

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Last week I taught a class on contact management for Professional Organizers in Canada (POC).  Who knew there were so many systems out there?  And, we only touched on a few of them.

CRM (Customer Relationship Management) systems, as they are often referred to, can be anything from a simple spreadsheet to an extremely robust system such as ACT!  Personally I’m a fan of the Outlook contact management system that comes with the software I already have.  It seems to do everything I could possibly need it to do.  I can enter as much information on a customer as I wish and the system will keep track of every email, appointment and task I have related to that customer without me having to do a darn thing – I like that!

What you need your system to do is obviously the key when choosing a CRM system.  If I needed to track conversations and be able to analyze my customer base and print detailed reports then I could see the need for software such as ACT!, Goldmine, Maximizer, etc. 

Any organization with a sales force needs to have one of these systems in order to allow multiple users to access customer records and keep detailed information on prospects and opportunities.  And, from what I understand, these systems are essential when you need to generate regular reminders that it’s time to contact a customer.  Somehow, when I was in sales, I managed to keep track of all this information manually – looking back I have no idea how we did it!

I have a few thoughts on how to choose the right system:

  1. Keep in mind the complexity of the system and how much time it takes to maintain accurate records.
  2. Base your decision on what you need the system to do for you.
  3. Be certain that the system you choose integrates seamlessly with your email management program, calendar and tasks.
  4. Talk to an expert before making your final choice (check out The Red Group).

All that to say I have now discovered that I am so far from an expert on this subject it’s not even funny.  Perhaps something to add to my professional development list for 2011?

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