Have you ever seen one of those movies (I'm thinking National Treasure, maybe?) where there is a file storage warehouse with just rows upon rows of shelves, cabinets, and drawers? The star of the movie goes RIGHT TO the drawer they want, rifles through a few file folders, and BINGO! They have what they need.
That is how every business owner imagines their data being managed. They type a few keystrokes and instantly find the information they're looking for.
When we start out in business, it doesn't feel necessary to have everything in the perfect place. It's in the general area; I'll remember where it is; I'll remember WHAT it is.
As the business gets busier and begins growing, there is less time to think about how to keep the information organized, so it's just shoved into the file named 'close enough'.
Eventually, the 'close enough' file becomes a 'close enough' file cabinet, a 'close enough' file room. Then ‘close enough’ moves off-site to a place called 'Out of Sight/Out of Mind Warehouse'.
Keeping tabs on your information, projects, financials, and communications is vital to making sure you keep growing in the right direction and not repeating past mistakes.
Staying organized from the get-go sounds a little over the top, but if you spend time NOW getting your information in the right place, you’ll save yourself 10x more down the road.
When it comes to files, digital or otherwise, it's important to come up with a naming convention so 1) you can easily create the file, and 2) know you’ll be able to find it again.
What is a naming convention? It’s a collection of rules to follow when naming your files. One example is Manhattan’s East-West streets are called ‘Streets,’ and its North-South streets are called ‘Avenues’.
If you’re naming your digital files, perhaps you use the first couple of letters of the client’s name followed by a date. Maybe a version number is included.
When organizing my online files, I have folders and subfolders:
(This is where I file all of Susy’s documents and digital files, subfolders if she
has several projects. Document naming conventions for me include a year,
client name, and something to let me know what the document is)
Figure out what works for you and then stick to it. It’s even a good idea to have your naming conventions written down somewhere…maybe keep it on your computer desktop?
Imagine what life would look like if you had easy access to your data. A couple of keystrokes and you're there.
When you easily retrieve the information and evaluate what you need, you're able to move forward with the project.
The proposal goes perfectly because you have what you need to answer the client's questions, and they sign right away.
The project goes perfectly because you reviewed your information from the last time you did it and reminded yourself of the challenges you faced and how you overcame them.
Your finances are in order because you have easy access to your reports to see how you're doing.
I could go on, but I’m sure you get the gist.
If this all sounds overwhelming for you, or you want to talk through other ways you can keep your data organized, schedule your complimentary strategy session.
No need to look through your files…just click here.