Do you struggle with organizing your home-based business? I’ve worked with several successful small business owners, e-Bayers and direct sales distributors as clients. As such, I’ve seen the unique challenges that organizing a home-based business provides. Here are 8 great sanity solutions to help you run a successful, profitable and organized home-based business!
Define Your Workspace.
This is possibly the biggest key factor to your business success. When most people “launch” a business – whether it be in Direct Sales as a distributor for another company, or to launch their own product or service-based business from home, they tend to sit down wherever there is “available space”. This behavior brings with it some real challenges. Without a clear boundary between work and home, SO many breakdowns and challenges can occur. Life gets in the way of your business. Kids’ needs take over, dinner still needs to be made, errands to be run, chores to occur – and your business will sit – with it’s door wide open if you’re working within your living space. If you’re serious about working from a home-base, take care of yourself and create a defined workspace as soon as you can. Running your business from the kitchen or dining room table, or from a corner of your bedroom is a recipe for failure. Since most home-based businesses are women-run (and often mommy-run), it’s best to make the separation between work and home and create a work area that you can leave “in process” in case of inevitable interruptions and emergencies. This one key factor can be the differentiator between success and failure.
Chart Your “Process Flow”.
Get a large piece of blank paper and use pictures to depict how orders come and go in your business flow. This process makes it easier to see the types of tasks and duties you need to perform within your business, and you can track things easier.
In addition to your workspace, you’ll need to have space to store your inventory and an adequate area to organize and stage or pack your orders (especially if you ship your products out regularly.) Creating enough space to do this will likely lead to more success, and less lag time between shipping orders. If your area is set up and ready to go, you can pick, pack and label orders for shipping quickly and easily.
Create Easy, Repeatable Systems.
When working with clients either as a coach, a trainer, or as an organizing consultant – I assign each client a manilla folder. I label it with their name and phone number and use the outside of the folder to track my high level actions and communications with them. This way, I easily have a go-to place to track last communications and can update the information quickly. I can upload this to my database at a future date (or ask my admin to help me!). I also have systems to keep track of other business activities and actions. If you have access to electronic customer relationship management software like Outlook or ACT, make sure you know how to use it. If you are a person who retains and plans better on paper, an electronic system may not suit your style as well.
Stage Your Road Show Items.
Many home-based businesses require you to peddle your wares via home shows or parties. These typically require display materials, banners, forms, and sample items. It’s best to create a system that allows you to get ready in a moment’s notice. Consider using rolling bags, suitcases or tubs to make transportation in and out of customer locations easy. Don’t overpack your items and make them too heavy – you want to avoid back injuries and take care of yourself along the way. Your system will perfect itself as you go along, but generally follow the overarching organizing KISS principle – Keep It Simple Silly… The simpler this process is for you to unpack and repack, the better for you.
Organize Your Paperwork & Files.
Most franchises offer many systems to help you keep track of leads, orders and payments and many offer on-line systems and ordering tools to make this process much easier than it used to be. It is still important to set up your files and your paperwork for your business so that information you need to retrieve is easily accessible and easy to maintain. Consider storing blank forms and paper items in a vertically accessible storage system such as a standing Stadium File so that you can clearly read labels and easily find what you need.
Track Your Taxes.
If you struggle with this topic, seek assistance from a tax advisor or CPA. If you’re just starting out – you’ll at the very least need to track money in, money out, receipts for business items. According to the irs.gov website (IRS Tax Tip 2011-71, April 11, 2011), you should keep and track the following: records relating to a home purchase or sale, stock transactions, IRA and business or rental property, bills, credit card and other receipts relating to deductions, invoices, mileage logs, canceled, imaged or substitute checks, proofs of payment, and any other records to support deductions or credits you claim on your return. (For more information on what kinds of records to keep, see IRS Publication 552, Recordkeeping for Individuals, which is available on the IRS website at http://www.irs.gov or by calling 800-TAX-FORM (800-829-3676).)
Get Some Support.
One of the most common difficulties to managing a home-based business is underestimating the time it takes to do it! Many women (moms in particular) feel they can “squeeze” their business in between all the other things they have on their list. This may or may NOT be true. Adding a business into your schedule means dividing your time, attention and energy – and shifting your home-space. If you are serious about your business’ success, you’re going to need to ease up the time spent on other things, and get some support. Even if you get help with chores (from your family members or outside help), or to set up a childcare situation to help you devote concentrated time to your business, setting up your support is key to your success. Without it – YOU will suffer most.
Getting organized to run your home-based business is not difficult, but it does take some time and intentional action to make you feel organized and under control. IF you need help getting your home office set up, start here with your complimentary free DIY Get Organized ebook and Audios.
What tips and tricks do you have for setting up a successful home-based business? Please share your comments and ideas below in the comment box! It’s time to get sane! I hope this helps!