At the beginning of the year, while consumers are pursuing New Year’s resolutions, business owners and entrepreneurs are busy making plans as well. Typical goals include improving marketing outreach, making more sales, increasing efficiency, adopting technology, cutting expenses, and generating more revenue. Another popular goal is organizing your business. This can include everything from organizing your physical workspace to organizing your digital files to organizing your financial plans.
While many business owners may have a general sense of how they’d like to organize their business, having a vague goal to get more organized is one thing, having a detailed strategy for achieving organization is another. Here are four steps you can take to get your business organized in the new year.
Using the Big Picture to Define Your Strategy
When planning how to organize your business, keeping the big picture in mind will help keep you strategically focused and keep you from wasting time majoring in minors. Key strategic business questions fall into five major categories, says London Business School professor Elsbeth Johnson.
- Mission: What is the purpose of your organization?
- Value: What do you offer customers?
- Profitability: What does your company offer your business and shareholders?
- Policy: How your company behaves internally towards other team members and externally toward customers and shareholders
When organizing your business, you can use these general strategic areas as a template for generating more specific strategies and tactical plans. For example, while considering profitability, you may want to tackle questions such as:
- How could better organization of our marketing campaigns generate more leads?
- How could better organization of our sales process generate more revenue?
- How could better organization of our workflow, digital files, and physical workspace improve productivity and cut costs?
Using these types of questions to guide your organizational planning can help ensure that your organizing activity makes a practical difference for your business, your productivity, and your bottom line.
Taking a Team Approach
Your strategic planning will be more informed if you get input from all relevant departments of your company instead of doing all the brainstorming yourself. Input from leaders of areas such as marketing, sales, customer service, project management, and IT can have a particularly critical impact on your business performance.
In order to solicit input in an organized manner, management professional Jonathan Mosley recommends taking four steps:
- Emphasize the importance of your meetings to participants so that they understand its impact on your company’s performance.
- Have a written agenda for each meeting, circulate it prior to the meeting, and stick to it.
- Have a designated chair run each meeting, a designated scribe record notes, and a designated timekeeper to advise the chair when agenda items are running over budgeted time.
- Plan on scheduling more than one meeting in order to keep agendas and discussions focused.
Following this format will help you solicit input from your team members in an organized, productive, actionable way.
When deciding what parts of your business to organize, it’s critical to use your strategic vision to set priorities, so that you focus on activities that will improve your business performance. For instance, leading marketing expert Jay Abraham says that there are three major ways to grow any business:
- Increase the number of prospects you reach who become customers
- Increase the average amount your customers spend per transaction
- Increase the average number of times your customers buy from you
Organizational improvements that impact these three key marketing and sales areas will have a direct impact on your business performance. For instance, better organization of your SEO and social media campaigns can increase the size of your customer base. You can also prioritize areas such as:
- Boosting customer satisfaction
- Improving operational efficiency
- Cutting costs
In some cases, the necessary reorganization to achieve your priorities will be digital, while in other cases, it may be physical. For example, organizing your digital CRM files can be a step towards improving your sales. Similarly, organizing your workers’ work stations can help improve efficiency.
Scheduling Tasks and Tracking Progress
What doesn’t get scheduled, doesn’t get done. In order to implement your organizational plans, it’s vital to organize your team’s schedule so that you budget in time for performing relevant tasks. The most efficient way to do this is to use project management software to create, delegate, and schedule tasks and to track progress. Assign one person as project leader to monitor progress on organizational tasks and send out reminders as needed. Send out periodic updates on project progress, and hold periodic meetings to review progress.
Basing your organizational plan on major strategic goals such as marketing, sales, and project management goals can help you keep your organizing focused on practical objectives. Getting input from your whole team can give you more insight into what organizational goals to pursue and how to go about pursuing them. Setting priorities helps you focus your time and energy on organizational improvements that will truly make a practical impact on your business. Scheduling tasks and measuring progress will help ensure that your organizational plans get implemented. Following these steps will help you succeed at getting your business organized so that you can be more efficient and more profitable in the coming year.