5 Tips to Keep Your Small Business Organized

Chris Heller HeadshotChris Heller,March 8, 2020
Calendar,Software,Showing,Busy,Schedule,Of,Manager,With,Many,Meetings,As a small business owner, it’s essential to stay on top of everything that is going on in and outside of your business. Doing so requires organization. In the very beginning, you will have a few tasks, but as time goes on and your business develops, the tasks will multiply and get more complicated. You will have to communicate with multiple parties at once – clients, brokers, and other stakeholders. So good business organization is essential to success.

At times, it may get chaotic as running a successful business takes a lot of effort. To help you become and stay organized, we will share our top 5 office organization tips on how to stay organized at work and increase your productivity.


Declutter Your Workspace

Organization starts from your workspace. Everything from your email, social media, papers, and receipts should be organized and easily accessed to maximize productivity. Research has shown that chaos can impact the worker’s ability to focus on the task at hand, further revealing the importance of having an organized workspace.   

With that in mind, here is how you can declutter and organize your working tools: 

  • Desktop – Everything starts with your desktop. Make sure your desktop has only the most important files you need to start your working day. If you need to access different data at once, create a few folders with the current files you need instead of having everything stacked on your desktop. A clean computer screen can boost your motivation and creativity, so give it the time and attention it needs.  
  • top-view-photo-of-people-near-wooden-tablePapers – Businesses are turning to paperless offices for a reason. It not only minimizes clutter in the office, but it also helps you organize and find everything easily. But if your business does require paper, once every week or month, you can organize your documents by grouping them in a “to keep” pile and “junk paper” pile. Get rid of everything you don’t need, is expired, or you’re not legally obliged to keep. You can also turn to digital files and search for the one you need by name instead of storing hundreds of boxes with papers you don’t need. 
  • Receipts – Expense tracking can be a nightmare for many small business owners, but the longer you put it off, the harder it becomes. Just for the simple fact that they will pile up if you don’t organize them daily, make sure you manage your receipts and stay up to date with them. If needed, you can download an expense tracker to help you scan and categorize receipts by type and date, and upload them on a cloud storage software where you can share or access them whenever you need. 

This will allow you to prepare the expense reports easier and keep track of your taxes and finances, which ultimately helps you manage your business more efficiently.

  • Social media posts – Your social media accounts need your attention too. They need to be appropriately organized and represent your brand identity. Delete all posts and photos that don’t portray your brand message, as well as any duplicate social media accounts. Your followers aren’t interested in that, which means they don’t belong on your social media profiles.

You should also schedule posts through different tools instead of spending time each day on publishing posts. It will save you a ton of time and allow you to focus on other tasks without having to log in several times per day on different social media profiles to publish a single post.

  • Digital files – With technology, you can sort your files by name, type, date, size, and customize them according to your preferences. Take a few minutes every day to organize your files, give them a proper name, and categorize them in different folders. You will notice how everything will look tidier, and you will be able to access the file you need quicker and more quickly. 
  • Wires and cables – You don’t want to enter your office and trip on wires and cables lying around. A few zip ties can do wonders to sort that problem. Tie all loose cables and wires with some zip lines and place them alongside the walls, so they don’t get in the way of you, your employees, or your clients.

You should also make sure every desk has a cable hole and cover so everyone can connect and charge their work computers without having to pull cables through the whole office. Having a clean, tidy working environment will increase productivity and make your employees feel more comfortable at their work post. 


Create To-Do Lists

One of the best small business organization tips to employ is to have a To-Do list. It doesn’t have to be something fancy or over-complicated. Whenever you have a task, jot it down on a piece of paper, so you don’t forget it. Later on, organize your tasks and group them in a way that would allow you to finish them most efficiently.  

Doing this will give you a way to follow-through your tasks and, more importantly, prevent the loss of sales leads. You don’t want to forget to reach out to clients because you didn’t write down what needed to be done. To-Do lists will help you keep track of which clients you have already reached out to and which ones you need to follow up with.

You can create a To-Do list with tasks grouped by similarity, so you can save on time and finish them at once. Another option is to write down smaller, bullet point tasks that will guide you through each step of every project you need to complete. 

Another way how to stay organized at work is to sort your tasks by importance. Write down which tasks are a priority and have to be done by a specific deadline, so you know when and what needs to be done. 

Finally, make sure that you tick off every task you complete so you don’t lose track of your progress. Nothing will make you feel more accomplished at the end of your working day than ticking off all tasks in your to-do list, so it’s an additional motivational boost you can use. 


Sort Through Emails ASAP

Your email is the most crucial communication tool you’ll use in your day to day work at your business organization. As such, it needs to be completely neat and organized. However, as you will receive tens, maybe hundreds of emails daily, you can’t postpone the task for tomorrow. 

There are many software programs to keep your inbox under control, but you can also adjust your habits to keep your inbox organized. 

If you’re wondering how to stay organized at work without investing in an automation tool, sort your emails and categorize them as you receive them. If you run different projects, create email folders with the same name as your digital file we mentioned previously. Transfer all mail related to that project in the appropriate inbox folder so you can keep tabs of which projects are currently running, which people you’re communicating with, and track down your message history. 

You should also make sure you reply to emails as soon as you receive them. Having a lot of unread emails not only causes anxiety and stress but also among the plethora of unread emails, you may miss replying to an important client’s mail, something you don’t want to do.   

Regularly delete unnecessary messages from your inbox and block all spam emails you notice to minimize the number of future spam emails you receive. You can also put category tags on your emails, mark the important ones, or create inbox rules that will send each mail from a specific sender into a designated folder. 


Use Productivity Tools

Almost every small business organization uses productivity tools to manage their business. And one of the most important tools you will need as a business owner is CRM software, especially if you’re a real estate agent. It not only delivers actionable insight and facilitates team communication, but you can also digitally organize your client’s documents. 

Business owners, especially real estate agents, need a CRM to keep track of paperwork. You have titles, mortgage agreements, purchase and sale agreements, bank letters, home inspection reports, and a whole assortment of other documents you have to track and share with your clients. Losing any of these documents can potentially ruin your and your client’s relationship.

Furthermore, real estate CRM solutions can be a great way to implement digital services to keep track of client relations. It will keep everything under one roof and allow you to generate reports, communicate with clients, and automate your activities, as well as customize tasks according to your needs. 

Some other popular productivity tools you can implement into your small business organization practices are:

  • Team Communication & Collaboration Apps:
    • Slack
    • Google Apps
    • Podio
    • Airtable
  • Project Management Apps:
    • Trello
    • Asana
    • Basecamp
  • Note-Taking & To-Do-List Apps:
    • Evernote
    • Wunderlist
    • Todoist


Keep Tabs on Your Books

If you run a small business, you already have some input in the invoicing process, expenditures, payments, reconciliations, and you’re probably the one that is keeping track of all projects. While you’re involved with each process of your business organization, why not take charge of your books? You have your books, payment logs, expense reports, customer logs, and all of these require your attention. Being responsible for them yourself prevents miscommunication between you and your team and fortifies a clear organization structure with divided responsibilities and tasks.

If you’re not able to be in charge of your books or feel overwhelmed by it, at minimum, you should set up a system where you have some level of control over what is being recorded. Oversee the process of how everything is recorded, processed, booked, and checked. This will give you a level of understanding of how everything is done and who is responsible for each area of your business. In a small office, it is important to always keep tabs on your books and verify them to ensure that you and the assistant/software came up with the same numbers and are on the same page.

Chris Heller Headshot

About the Author

Chris Heller brings 27 years of experience in real estate. Chris serves on the AgentAdvice Editorial Board and is the Chief Real Estate Officer at OJO Labs. Chris brings deep expertise having held influential industry positions including CEO of mellohome and former CEO of Keller Williams Realty International.

Last Updated: 5/20/2022



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