Stacked files

If you are from that generation of men and women who had to visit a nearby insurance agent to shop around for new policies and benefits, you might have had this vivid experience, bearing in mind that your horror or disgust was from the point of view of the customer. Also, you could still be nipping out late at evening to get some emergency supplies at a nearby small business grocery store.

By the time you stepped into the agent’s office, you were already having second thoughts. Quite frankly, you had not encountered such a slovenly mess before, not since the messy classroom dunce’s desk was avoided at all costs. There were breadcrumbs and sauce from takeouts strewn across the desk and what could be important, confidential client documents. Piles of client files, all tattered and grubby, were arranged helter-skelter, looking like they could tip over at any moment.

By the time you plucked up enough courage to take your seat, you found that the chair was tattered, torn and uncomfortable. You could never see this, but this poorly dressed man, to your mind, could not have been any good with numbers, occupying a grotty office in a run-down part of town. Today, thanks to software technologies and new and updated legislation, such men don’t exist anymore. We wish we could say the same for nighttime grocery stores, where shelf goods are soiled goods and unpacked boxes lie in the very narrow aisles, dangerously in the way of customers.

We know that, today, new clients of yours will never be having such experiences once they step into your new office or store, part and parcel of your own new business. But just to be safe, we thought we’d provide you with a few more words of encouragement and tips towards keeping everything efficiently in shape and, indeed, quite impressively presentable.

  1. Filing tips Whether you are going to be using hard cover files like the defunct insurance agent mentioned above, or relying on computer hard-drives and software packages (which we recommend), do make sure that you have set in place a good numbering system which makes it quick and easy for you to a draw a file when needed.
  2. Up to date records An important part of your business is making sure that all records, from tax returns to regular client invoices, are kept up to date at all times. Make sure that these records are ordered in date order.
  3. Office administration It would be ideal for you to have someone assist you with all efficiencies of the day to day administration of your office, the nerve center of your business. You may need to have a small staff complement, in any case, so invest part of your budget in employing an efficient administrative assistant or office manager, qualified, reasonably experienced, and with good resume records.
  4. Good housekeeping Another investment worth making where human resources are concerned is having at least one staff member who is going to ensure that the office or workshop is neat, clean and presentable to clients. If it is an industrial space, regular cleanups need to be carried out anyway, more to do with the safety of both customers and staff. To this end, you could also outsource a cleaning services company to come to your aid here.
  5. Software packaging Another outsource investment well recommended, in fact, quite essential today, is that of an information technology expert, also with good credentials, experience and references, as well as the up to date knowledge to deal with continuous rounds of computer and software upgrades. He must be sufficiently expert in assisting your business with servicing and/or maintenance work that needs to be carried out quickly and efficiently to ensure that there are no disruptions to the daily running of the business.

We hope and trust that this short list of efficient office administrative tips were sufficiently informative for you. More importantly, perhaps, we would like to believe that this little bit of subjectivity has motivated you to know that you need not be overwhelmed with your workload and that with the necessary checks and balances in place, you will be able to focus on more ambitious future projects to ensure that your company can continue to grow without being stalled by unnecessary administrative cleanups, such as filing tax returns or hunting down non-paying clients, or franticly tidying up the office in the expectation that a potentially good client will be calling on you at any moment.

Another important facet of good business and office administration is always being prepared, even if it means having to work a little overtime. But then again, and this much has been proven, even when the business is extremely busy, smart and efficient office admin ensures that you and your staff could potentially be working shorter and more flexible hours. In essence, you are also working smarter and not unnecessarily harder.

The next short article deals with presentation skills. We trust that you will enjoy that one as well.

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