In business, time is money, and if you are spending too much time trying to maintain your store, you may be losing money in the process. Organization is more important than most people realize and it can drastically affect how customers perceive your business and how you run it. If you're struggling to keep your products in order, reduce clutter, and track all purchases/invoices then here are a few tips to get your business back on track.
Manage Receipts and Transactions - Anything that involves your money and taxes should be at the top of your priority list. For one, you do not want other people ending up with your information. Identity theft and fraud can be caused by simply misplacing a receipt or shipment invoice, so keep that information stocked away somewhere you, and only you can easily find it. Two, you do not want to underpay or overpay on your taxes. Misplacing a receipt that you plan to write-off can be detrimental, especially if you plan to accept reimbursement. Tax fraud is one of the most serious crimes businesses face and can be detrimental to your business growth, so maintain a secure system for storing important documents.
Manage Space and Storage - Make your physical surroundings neat and organized. This will help you run your business better, and a neat store will make your business more appealing to customers. Doing a "spring cleaning" in one sweep can be extremely difficult on top of day-to-day tasks that must be done, so break it into small goals. Break your store down into separate groups and day-by-day make changes necessary until every section is to you and your customer's liking.
Save the Trees - Going paperless can make a huge difference in the organization of your business. Less paper will reduce the clutter you accumulate and make your information storage more secure. Having a safe or lockable drawer can be great for keeping your information safe, but in today's day and age, digital security is the best option to prevent breaches in security. "Cloud Servers" are reliable when it comes to security and receive consistent updates to make them more secure. Meanwhile, your safe or drawer is only getting older and more brittle. The benefits of this option are seen for both business owners and customers. Simply offering an emailed receipt or none at all can be a tremendous benefit for customers who do not want the clutter themselves. Going paperless can also be great for marketing and adds a bit of depth to your business by showing you care for the environment.
Rearrange Your Store - Sometimes, clutter can build up in your store because of a lack of "flow". In retail, you generally want to pair goods with other complementary goods or offer the products most people want when they walk in. Rearrange your items that way they flow better and are easily accessible. If you have a mash-up of products in your store that is thrown into an open shelf space, you may be setting yourself up for a very disorganized business with very little success. In some scenarios, businesses have a good floor plan, but still, lack some aesthetics that customers would like to see. Adding plants can be a great addition to help. Studies have shown that concentration can increase by 15% when plants are present.
Keep Your Computer Organized -Nearly everything we (society) do today is digital. Your business should be the same way, which is why you should be compiling all forms, transactions, and other documents that can cause clutter on your computer. Once you make that switch, you may notice that your computer can be subjected to clutter as well. A great rule-of-thumb is, "if you can't see your screen-saver then you have too much". Organize and compile files and information into groups that are easily accessible for yourself and others. Another handy piece of advice is, "Make sure other people can do the job, even when you aren't there". In today's technological climate, there are numerous software systems you can use to organize your business, digitally. If you manage your files just fine on your own then take the time to clear out what you don't need to make space for what you do.
Direct Bills and Invoices Elsewhere - Businesses, like FreshBooks, compile all of your invoices and bills into one, easy-to-locate, area for your viewing pleasure. Not only do they stock up the information that you may lose if it was in paper form, but they analyze documents and do your, mandated, quarterly taxes as well. While running your business, these companies give you peace of mind by making sure your store complies with all government mandates, both new and old. Much of the benefits associated with this go beyond a physical presence that is neat but gives you peace of mind as an owner.
There are many strategies available to help your business succeed. Each situation can be unique so be sure to research what might be best for you. Sometimes customers can cause some dysfunction, other times, the issue can be your own doing. Analyze what your business needs, make a plan, and then make a call to action. Committing to organizing can bring in more customers, which grows your organization.