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Secret to Small Business Success? Get Organized


Multiple factors have created a thriving small business economy, according to a recent Staples survey of small business owners. The online survey, representing small companies with up to 25 full-time employees, was conducted by Critical Mix. It polled 503 U.S. small business owners from December 26 through 28, 2017.

The key result: 86 percent of small business owners are optimistic for the future. Of the respondents, four in five identified their business as thriving or surviving in the new year.

Marketing & Organization Skills: Two Key Requirements

It is impossible to sell your services to clientele who do not know your business exists. Amid that reality, thriving small businesses are more likely than others to use all forms of marketing; 63 percent of thriving small businesses use social media advertising, 59 percent use online advertising, and 46 percent use print advertising.

But that doesn't necessarily mean that the small business leaders are marketing wizards. Far more likely, those entrepreneurs realize they'll need third-party marketing help. Indeed, 50 percent of business owners do not know how to reach customers on their own, the survey says, so third-party experts in social media, lead generation and digital marketing are key.

Feeling Organized: Successful small business entrepreneurs also tend to run well-organized businesses. Fully 53 percent of thriving/surviving small business owners describe their workplace as very organized, while only 23 percent of struggling/failing small business owners say the same. This definitely makes sense, as well-organized businesses tend to work  more efficiently while staying on top of costs and key performance indicators like profit margins.

Getting Organized

Since being organized is important to the success of a small business, how can a person who is naturally disorganized jump on the bandwagon and get their company efficiently organized? Here are a few suggestions

  1. Monitor processes to find inefficiencies. Take some time to go over things that happen in your office on a daily basis. Examine each task and look for ways to make the task easier or even automated. There are several automation tools available like Zapier that can help automate some mundane tasks. There are also software programs you can find that will help as well.
  2. Go digital. If there are people still moving files from one desk to another, or endlessly filing paperwork, there are definitely ways to improve efficiency there. Using a paperless system can help get a company organized and able to find documents when they are needed.
  3. Create processes. Sometimes having an official way your company does things can help the business be organized. This way if someone takes another job elsewhere, or unexpectedly leaves, you don't have just one person that knows how to do things. Make sure the processes for how you do things in your office are well documented as well.
  4. Have enough storage. When there is a place to put everything away, your workplace will be well on its way to being organized. Instead of throwing files on a desk to go over, make sure there is a clear inbox. When you don't have someplace to put all the things you need, your desk and workplace will become cluttered, making it impossible to work efficiently.

Delegate (Even More)

Michelle Bottomley
Michelle Bottomley

The survey also mentioned that many small business owners feel overwhelmed by taxes and the financial parts of their business. Fully 50 percent of those surveyed stated that they do their taxes themselves. However, 40 percent also stated that they are not good with numbers and have very little accounting expertise. Hiring an accounting firm to help with the finances can free up time for your company to focus on what you do best.

Michelle Bottomley, chief marketing officer, Staples said in a prepared statement, “When small business owners feel they have the necessary tools, support, and assets to thrive, they’re able to devote more time and attention to what they’re passionate about -- providing their customers and clients with exceptional goods and services.”