Saturday, June 4, 2011

Logically Laid Out: A 5 Step Guide To Organizing Your Business For Efficiency And Success

Photo by Mrs Logic

A businesses' ability to implement an effective system of organization could mean the difference between order and anarchy…stability and chaos…success and failure. A strong organizational plan helps ensure that a business remains focused on its goals and is able to work toward those goals in the most efficient manner possible. Without an organized business structure, time may be wasted, and wasted time can translate into lost revenue. Therefore, the following list provides guidance for organizing a business for increased efficiency; however, individuals or families may adopt some of these ideas for a plan to organize their household or personal life as well.

1. Favor Function over Form

We all have that friend who has an unhealthy obsession with organization. She's the one who has books color coded in her bookcase, food alphabetized in the pantry, a rigid, written schedule for every minute of every day, and she makes lists of her to-do lists. Retailers love these overly organized types; they market expensive products to them, like attractive "daily planners" (aka notebooks) and stylish "organizational bins" (aka boxes). If these products tend to lure you in, take a minute to reflect the next time you reach for one when browsing a store or shopping online. Ask yourself if the product is really likely to help keep you organized, or are you really just attracted to its appearance. Because the purpose of organizing is to maximize efficiency and to make our lives easier, you may be wasting your money by purchasing expensive, unnecessary organizational devices.

This same principle applies to the business world. For example, an attempt to form a separate department or committee with a fancy name to give the appearance of organizational structure will likely cost a business financially and lead to reduced efficiency. Organizing your business should be an organic process, and every attempt to increase efficiency should have a specific purpose and should not be based on pretense.

Indeed, organization doesn't have to be pretty. I know a guy whose office looks, to casual observers, like a disaster. Stacks of paper line the floor in his office and everything appears to be out of order. However, he insists that he knows where everything is and that tidying up the apparent mess would undermine his organizational strategy and lead to wasted hours trying to find things. While that example may be extreme (and, to be fair, there are other important reasons for avoiding the appearance of chaos while carrying on your business), it does demonstrate that we should all strive for function over form in organizing our lives and our businesses.

2. Go Custom Instead of Generic

The organizational structure for every business should be carefully designed with the nature and size of the specific business in mind. For example, the model adopted by a one-man-show or sole proprietorship won't necessarily work for a multi-office corporation. And the system implemented for a retail establishment might not translate well if introduced into an office environment. Therefore, take time to analyze your specific needs and goals as you determine the best way to organize your business.

3. Make It a Comprehensive Plan

Careful organization shouldn't just be confined to the system of storing your files or the manner of retaining your company's paperwork. Instead, you should strive to bring order to every aspect of your business. That means carefully managing your finances, your staff, and all other features of your business. Depending on the circumstances, neglecting the organization of just one component of your business could be devastating.

4. Get Everyone Onboard

In order to create a comprehensive organizational plan, everyone within your company must be on the same page. A successful, organized business depends on teamwork and cooperation among coworkers. If rogue employees are allowed to deviate from the plan, chaos could ensue.

5. Put Everything in Writing

We may poke fun at our friends who are compulsive list makers, but they may be on to something. Business owners who insist on putting everything in writing may have a competitive advantage over others when it comes to maintaining order in the office. For example, giving written instructions to employees will help make your expectations clear and can help keep the staff in line. Keeping careful records is also important for future reference. In business, we often have short memories, and if you need to consult a file or a project from years past, having all the important information reduced to writing will help refresh your recollection.

Kenneth McCall is director of IT for In this role he builds the systems that help customers find the best self storage.

Thanks to SimpleProductivityBlog

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