The following procedures will insure an organized and well run office.
1. Have a daily To Do sheet. This is made up at the end of the day. You might have items left over from the previous day, put those items first and work from there. If you make deposits on a daily basis, add them to the list. Plan to file at the end of the day or before/after lunch breaks. Doing this daily will avoid the "pile syndrome". This list should also include any marketing strategies you employ. This will insure you set time aside to implement them.
2. Have a weekly goal sheet that you review at the end of the work week and finish off any projects hanging, check supplies, make deposits, do invoicing, review the goals you set up in your business plan. This sheet will also include phone calls left to make, marketing or mailings you need to finish.
3. Your monthly goals and routines should include: making deposits, invoicing, bank statement reconciliation, mileage costs, copier costs, postage costs, and income and expenses for the month. Check your supplies and order, if necessary. Comparison of your income and expenses for the month will indicate whether or not you need to make any changes or adjustments to your marketing plan for the following month. Calendar any upcoming events. Make up new income and expense envelopes. Pull your tickle for the following month and place materials in the appropriate day. Make up your chron file for the month.
4. At six month intervals check on your competition. Are they increasing their prices? What kind of marketing are they employing? Are they offering new services?
5. Do one of the following things with each piece of paper that crosses your desk: act on it, read it, file it or toss it. Be sure you need it, before you file it.
6. Set up a mail system. Use different colored folders to categorize the mail you receive. For example, Red - you need to act on (write a letter, make a telephone call, etc.); Gray - for your information; Yellow - meetings, upcoming events; Green - minutes of other meetings, newsletters, reports, etc.; Black - flyers, advertising materials. Remember stamp the date received on all mail, and follow up as quickly as possible, if necessary. This system can be modified for those companies that do not receive a large volume of mail. This system will help staff members set up work priorities.
7. Make up a reading folder. Read or browse this material during lunch, breaks, during slow or off hours. Make up files with specific categories for those articles you want to keep as a reference. Check on these periodically (every 3 months) to see if the information is still up to date.
8. To cut down on filing and paper costs. Set up a chron filing system. A chron file contains any correspondence you have generated for a specific period of time. They are usually made up on a monthly basis. For example, label a file January Chron, and place any correspondence you generated for that month in the file. For most offices, this system avoids having to make up client files with one piece of paper in them. However, some offices keep an additional copy in the client file. Do this only if you have to.
Part 2 of this article will discuss what you will need to implement this system.