3 Tips For Success In Your Small Business

Small Business Organization Tips

Starting a small business can be an exciting adventure and you want to do everything in your power to make sure your business is successful.

There is a lot of research to do when starting your own business or assessing why your small business isn’t as successful as you had hoped it would be.

Below are a few tips to help ensure success in your small business endeavor.

Vision and a Plan for your Small Business

A broad idea of what you want your business to be is fine when you’re in the very beginning stages of planning but when you get into real steps toward making your small business a reality, a clear plan and goals are crucial to success.

It’s important to take baby steps and make small goals to get to your overall master plan moving forward.

You may want to be the number one business in your niche and area but it will take some time and hard work to get there.

Consider the market you’re targeting- do you have a lot of potential customers in your area or will you need to broaden your customer-base to surrounding areas to be successful?

A little guidance from other established small business owners or from established consultants, can help you with your plan in the long run.

Talk to other small business owners.  Their candid feedback is invaluable and they have been where you are.  They are very often more willing to talk than you might think!

Re-assess your goals frequently; you can always tweak how you are approaching your reaching your goals and being clear on what you want will help gauge if you’re successful.

Successful Small Business Marketing

Once you’ve put your business plan together and have a plan for opening or growing your business, you’ll need to ensure your customer base knows about what you’re doing!

Social media is now the top way to access your customer base, regardless of age or demographic.

TV commercials are on the decline as many people are now streaming their favorite shows instead of watching them live on TV.

Print ads do get you some exposure and give people something physical to hold onto and remember you’re having a sale, or an opening event, or a special day that you want to use to draw a crowd.

Your website will be a critical part of how you’re perceived by potential customers.

Ask people that come to your store, restaurant, or utilize your services to rate you on social media, like Facebook, Yelp, or Google if they enjoyed their experience.

An established social media history, with ratings makes your business look more established, plus, if other people like it, maybe your new customers will think they will like it too!

This is the new “word of mouth” advertising.  Positive, candid customer reviews can be invaluable in driving new customers to buy your products or services.

One key element when developing your marketing is ensuring that your online reputation is intact. Take look at a blog where we’ve discussed the needs of Reputation Management.

Small Business Organization from the Beginning

There are plenty of large companies out there that are well established in their markets and many of them make the same comments about their businesses- they wish they had been more organized from the beginning! Take a look at our blog, best ways to organize business records, for your Alaska business to identify key areas to improve your organization.

Keep lists or databases of everything – your customers, contacts, and the projects you’ve completed, important dates, things that went well (or didn’t go well!) and why.

Proper documentation of taxes, financial documents, payroll, and purchasing files are critically important.

If you don’t have one, Shred Alaska can assist you with developing a Business Shredding Process for your business. With tips, techniques, and an individual evaluation of your needs. This process allows for a paper shredding process which will help your business be more secure, efficient, and eco-friendly, while also ensuring compliance with all legislative requirements.

You hope that your small business will be successful and be around for a long time and that means building a history.

The timeframe requirements on all this kind of paperwork means even 5 or 10 years down the road, you may be audited by the IRS and be required to show any number of documents or receipts.  Some items need to be kept forever, literally.

Always be sure your paperwork is in order to save yourself a headache, and potential fines later down the road.

Read some extra tips on how to keep your small business organized. These ideas can help you to either re-organize or implement new organizational strategies company wide.

Your drive and passion can help make your business successful. See how our services can help!

Your ability to effectively tackle your small business process and increase business efficiency
could mean the difference between success or failure of your small business endeavors. At Shred Alaska we consider our clients as partners. We understand the importance of working with companies that can effectively support your short-term and long term goals.

Shred Alaska is a premier document destruction service located in Anchorage Alaska. They offer a convenient place to shred paper or hard drives. Shred Alaska provides secure document destruction of all of you sensitive documents.

Shred Alaska contributes to Alaska recycling efforts by recycling all of the shredded material that is deemed appropriate for recycle. Shred Alaska is your number one resource when searching for places to shred paper in Anchorage Alaska!

Not sure what you can shred or will it shred? Check out what you can shred for more information. Need a place to shred paper? Just stop in during our convenient walk-in destruction service for our easy retail drop in location. We will shred your materials as you watch, or take a shred bag home and fill it up for an even more convenient shredding option.

Trends In Paper Shredding

Trends In Paper Shredding

Paper shredding is one facet of information destruction that is constantly evolving.

Where much more simple forms of paper destruction and hard drive destruction used to be sufficient, more complex and crafty criminals mean information needs to be handled more effectively.

As in other businesses, the paper shredding industry has been changing with time to meet the modern consumers demands as well as the needs of the business community.

Types of Shredders

At the inception of at-home shredders, a simple shredder that created small strips from one large piece of paper was the way to go for people concerned with getting rid of important documents at home or in business. But, do paper shredders do a good enough job?

At that time, this hand-crank invention that was inspired by at-home pasta makers was enough to give people the peace of mind that their information was gone.

Now, a bit of Scotch tape and some time would be enough to put those pieces back together and gain back the information people thought was gone forever.

As paper shredding has become more and more necessary out of sheer volume, as well as through legislation, at home shredders are getting more sophisticated. Finding reliable places to shred documents has become vitally important.

Particle, or cross-cut shredders are best for getting rid of truly sensitive information if in fact you must do it on your own, however – If there’s any doubt- leave it to the professionals. Utilizing a premier document destruction service like Shred Alaska, is an ideal fit when seeking a dependable document destruction company.

The massive volumes of paper added into the equation from different places when using a commercial destruction service exponentially decreases the likelihood that someone will be able to piece even a small part of your information back together.

Shredding services also often recycle paper they’ve shredded, meaning there’s no way your information will ever be recovered. Anchorage recycling centers are always utilized for Shred Alaska’s shed material – without compromising the security of your shredded items.

The complete chain of custody utilized in a commercial shredding service adds an extra layer of security where shredding items on your own falls short. Unfortunately, some recent companies have been greatly impacted by security breaches.

Business Opportunities

With more and more information out there, it’s becoming much more critical to properly dispose of shred documents or hard drive destruction. You or your employees may ask, “where can I have my documents shredded.” Answering this question with the name of a dependable document destruction company, is important.

Shredding paperwork is a critical business requirement, and shredding services are the most common solution to business or personal shredding needs. Often free shredding events are available for those that may only need occasional paper shredding. However, also walk-in destruction services, on-site destruction, or hard drive destruction are all easy ways to ensure your critical exposures are protected.

Where it used to be difficult to find someone who could securely handle large volumes of paper that needed to be shredded, more and more often shredding companies are opening in expanding markets making secure shredding services readily available to all businesses and individuals.

Shred Alaska prides itself on providing a level of service for both residential consumers as well as corporate consumers. We appreciate the things that companies have to say about our services.

Convenience

Getting rid of information used to be much more difficult.

Imagine having to have a bonfire every time you wanted to get rid of the documents you no longer need that have personal or financial information on them. Maybe, you have to get rid of documents because of legal compliance. Either way, the current trend in paper shredding is simply to have someone else do it for you!

Paper shredding companies have made a big push in the business segment in the last 10 years, and are really just now beginning to pay attention to the needs and concerns of individual customers.

Technological Advances

Many people were surprised to find that as technology advances, we start using more paper, not less.

With the rise of computers, people assumed everything would be electronic and paper would eventually become obsolete.
If you were to look around your office now, you would notice that even though every desk likely has a computer, and even a printer – most often it also has a stack of paper either on the desk or filed somewhere near it.

Original copies of contracts, checks, receipts, and signed employment paperwork is likely amongst those stacks of paper.

Keeping electronic copies stored away is the trend in document storage but that means shredding originals and the day-to-day items is at the top of the list for handling these documents. Allowing Shred Alaska to automate your business shredding process is an added value to the Shred Alaska services.

Recycling

With many people focused on our own futures and those of our children, recycling and sustainability are at the forefront of many business’s missions.  The shredding industry is no exception.

Paper waste is unnecessary and since many people accidentally or unnecessarily print documents, recycling those documents is important. Many can just be dropped in the recycling bin and minimally processed since the fibers stay intact.

Shredded office paper  is most often re-purposed as newspaper, paper towels, paper bags, and many other useful consumer products.

If you are looking for a cutting edge shredding service for your business, be sure to find one that recycles the paper they shred.  If they can’t answer the question about recycling for you, your answer should be no! Shred Alaska partners with the Anchorage recycle center to ensure that all of the results of our shredding- are recycled.

Some trends are worth grabbing onto and many of the trends in paper shredding are for the greater good, like recycling and information security.

Contact us today to see how we can help with your paper shredding needs.

Shred Alaska is a premier document destruction service located in Anchorage Alaska. They offer a convenient place to shred paper or hard drives. Shred Alaska provides secure document destruction of all of you sensitive documents.

Shred Alaska contributes to Alaska recycling efforts by recycling all of the shredded material that is deemed appropriate for recycle. Shred Alaska is your number one resource when searching for places to shred paper in Anchorage Alaska!

Not sure what you can shred or will it shred? Check out what you can shred for more information. Need a place to shred paper? Just stop in during our convenient walk-in destruction service for our easy retail drop in location. We will shred your materials as you watch, or take a shred bag home and fill it up for an even more convenient shredding option.

Spotlight Alaska Neurology Center – February 2015 Client of the Month

Shred Alaska is proud to recognize our February 2015 Premier Document Destruction Client Of The Month!
Alaska Neurology is an outstanding client of ours and represents the finest of Alaska’s Neurology and Neuroscience treatment centers. Shred Alaska partners with Alaska Neurology to provide our on-site document destruction services for their sensitive healthcare related needs. Providing our convenient on site destruction services has helped Alaska Neurology Center provide patient security for the destruction of their sensitive documents.
AKNC is a state-of-the-art medical facility that prides itself on offering customers a full range of medical and diagnostic services. They are fully committed to improving the lives of Alaskans! Shred Alaska is honored to work with companies that love Alaska and Alaskans as much as we do.
Alaska Neurology understands the sensitive risks and exposures to Medical and Health Care facilities.
Shred Alaska clients, such as AKNC, are able to conveniently utilize our  online access to manage accounts which enables them to make payments, view invoices, and conduct other account-related business completely and conveniently online. Utilizing our customer portal has allowed Shred Alaska to retain the highest level of dependability with being the premier choice for shredding documents in Alaska. It also allows for our health care facilities to request quick and easy services that Shred Alaska provides. Shred Alaska also offers the
A big thank you to Alaska Neurology Center for allowing us to partner with and provide our secure destruction services on their behalf. It is our pleasure to have the opportunity to do so!
If you are a health care organization, like Alaska Neurology Center, and need shred bins for your office contact Shred Alaska today to set up an initial consultation for services. We are happy to evaluate your paper or hard drive destruction needs right on site! We also work along side anchorage recycling centers to ensure that all of our shredded documents are properly recycled and trees are saved. With your health care business partnership, we can continue to save Alaska’s trees!
Check out our A+ Better Business Bureau Alaska rating and our recycling stats!

How to Properly Drop Off Documents For Shredding

How to Properly Drop Off Documents For Shredding

Once you’ve decided it’s time to start shredding your business or personal documents, you might decide that using a drop off shredding service is the best way to start.

There are a few guidelines to remember to ensure items are ready for a drop off shredding service.

Shred Alaska Inc. can shred almost anything, but there are a few things that can’t be shredded along with your sensitive documents.

Binding

Many people think you have to remove staples, paper clips, and other binding from documents before dropping them off for shredding but our shredders can handle shredding these items with your documents.

You can drop your documents into one of our empty bins still in the manila folders, envelopes, and tie-close envelopes.

Don’t worry about spiral bound notebooks either, those can go through the shredder as well.

If the item you want to shred is questionable, either give us a call, view our can and cannot shred summary, or set it aside and ask when you drop off your documents for shredding.

Package

As long as you’re able to carry it, the packaging for dropping off your documents isn’t very important.

Cardboard boxes, banker’s boxes, trash bags, and plastic bags are all accepted at Shred Alaska Inc.

Re-usable, free shred collection bags complete with a closing top, and a shoulder strap are available for pick up at our facility – which also helps you save $10.00 when you return with it for destruction.

Shred Alaska can recycle your empty cardboard boxes (that are used for transport) at no charge for you as well when utilizing our drop off location.

Which Documents?

You may be putting together guidelines on what to shred and what documents can just be recycled.

There are certain business documents like contracts, financials, tax documents, and anything with personal information that should, without question, be shredded.

As a general rule, any personal or business junk mail you receive both can, and should be properly disposed of via a certified destruction process.

There are other documents like extra flyers for events that have passed that don’t need to be shredded.

They can simply be recycled. Of course, everything we shred is in fact recycled so erring on the side of caution is always encouraged.

The rule of thumb for documents to drop off for shredding is if it has any information that can be used to hack your business or to steal someone’s identity, it should be securely shredded.

Non-Recyclable/Shreddable

There are some things that can’t be mixed in with items intended to be shredded.

Newspapers, magazines, and phone books should not be put into the box with documents intended for destruction.

Newspapers and phone books are made of thin, recycled paper and have thick binding that shouldn’t go through the shredder.

Magazines have glossy paper that makes the shredded paper that comes out the other end undesirable to paper mills that accept recycled paper.

Other items that shouldn’t be added to your stack of items to be shredded would include X-Ray films, Microfiche, Pharmacy Pill bottles, and other paper waste such as plates, cups, napkins, etc.

Non-Paper Business Information

Shred Alaska Inc. can take care of shredding your business documents even if they aren’t in paper form.

Many business documents are saved on hard drives, thumb drives, and compact discs that you need to destroy as well.

Keep these items separate from your paper goods when you are preparing to drop them off.

Other media such as VHS tapes and film that is related to your business and needs to be destroyed can also be packaged up and dropped off for shredding. Shred Alaska offers convenient hard drive destruction at our retail drop off location.

At Shred Alaska Inc., your business document destruction is important to us and we are very careful to ensure everything has been destroyed properly.  Our facility is fully set up for witnessed destruction of your materials to give you peace of mind in knowing that all of your items have been properly destroyed.

We are AAA certified by NAID (the National Association for Information Destruction) so you can be sure your private documents are handled securely and professional through final destruction.

Contact us today to arrange a time to drop off your business documents for shredding!

Shred Alaska is a premier document destruction service located in Anchorage Alaska. They offer a convenient place to shred paper or hard drives. Shred Alaska provides secure document destruction of all of you sensitive documents.

Shred Alaska contributes to Alaska recycling efforts by recycling all of the shredded material that is deemed appropriate for recycle. Shred Alaska is your number one resource when searching for places to shred paper in Anchorage Alaska!

Not sure what you can shred or will it shred?  Check out what you can shred for more information. Need a place to shred paper? Just stop in during our convenient walk-in destruction service for our easy retail drop in location. We will shred your materials as you watch, or take a shred bag home and fill it up for an even more convenient shredding option.

Companies That Have Been Impacted By Security Breaches

Companies That Have Been Impacted By Security Breaches

More often than not, when a company is impacted by a security breach, it’s really the company’s customers or employees that are impacted.

Any company that ends up with a customer’s personal or financial information is putting itself at risk to be a target for hackers.

In the last few years, there have been numerous cases of highly publicized data breaches of larger national companies.   

The information you choose to give to companies, while sometimes necessary, needs to be carefully considered.

Large corporations are also equally large targets for hackers that want massive amounts of information quickly.

Most of these companies have a huge amount of infrastructure involved in their information technology systems and finding new malware or hacked locations can take time.  Forensic analysis often takes enough time that hackers can often get in and out largely undetected, leaving us to simply pick up the pieces.

The below are examples of companies that have been impacted by security breaches that can be lessons to other companies on what to look out for when thinking about your own potential security issues.

Target

Many people frequent Target since it is a nationwide chain that carries a wide range of items.

In 2013, Target announced that hackers had gotten into their point of sale (POS) system and stolen personal and financial data for more than 100 million of their customers.

Current news report estimate the breach to have cost the company more than $140 million since it began in December of 2013.

Home Depot

The Home Depot released memos that hackers had used third party vendor information to access their customer account information.

Essentially, hackers had used information to get into their system and upload malware so that data could be collected at their self-check-out stations.

They report that only email addresses were taken but this security breach means millions in further security and detection expenses.  If such a breach was able to happen once, what is stopping it from happening again?  

Customers are rightfully worried about this and many other personal security issues. Read about how to assure your customers that their transactions are safe.

Sony

Sony is an example of how your employees can impact your business from the inside.

There are many things that Sony’s data breach showed us, and that we should remember because of it.

While you, personally, may care greatly about your online security, your employer may not be quite as aware.

Sony’s information hack showed us that corporate email should be treated as public information – there’s no telling who may end up being able to read them at some point down the line.

This particular hack shows that human resources information needs to be treated as critically important and private in both paper and electronic form, no matter the size of your company.

Celebrities

Security breaches happen all the time, not only with financial and personal information but also various types of media such as photographs and videos. Without a premier document destruction service in place it may be difficult to protect some of these exposures.

Celebrities report security breaches all the time in situations where photos or videos are stolen from cloud based storage solutions and are sold or distributed across the web and other media.

It has been reported that 26 celebrities were affected by the iCloud hack that occurred in late 2014.

Celebrities like Jennifer Lawrence and Kirsten Dunst have spoken out about the information breaches that impacted their personal lives and their careers.

All of these are examples of companies that may have thought they were well protected but were shown very quickly that hackers that want your information are going to do anything they can do to get it. 

These breaches cost the affected companies millions of dollars in media and public relations to inform affected customers, new IT security and monitoring measures to bridge the gap, and to ensure everything possible has been done to prevent it from happening to them again.

Taking precautions personally as well as professionally will help keep your information, and images, safe. Ensuring that your hard drive and sensitive documents are destroyed by a company with an A+ better business bureau Alaska rating is a huge step in the right direction.

Contact us today to see how we can help keep your information secure.

Shred Alaska is a premier document destruction service located in the beautiful state of Alaska. They offer destruction of sensitive documents, hard drive destruction, on-site, and walk-in destruction services. Shred Alaska also contributes monthly to the anchorage recycling efforts by recycling all of the shredded material that is deemed appropriate for recycle.

Not sure what you can shred or will it shred?  Check out what you can shred for more information. Need a place to shred paper? Just stop in during our convenient walk-in destruction service for our easy retail drop in location. We will shred your materials as you watch, or take a shred bag home and fill it up for an even more convenient shredding option.

How Reputation Management Can Change Your Small Business

Small Business Tips for Reputation Management

Reputation management is a new concept for a lot of small businesses.

There are many ways to improve your marketing and advertising, but there are also a lot things that can be detrimental to your cause.
What does reputation management mean and what can it do to change your small business?

Awareness- Knowledge is Power

You can’t change what you don’t know about.
Reputation management helps to make you aware of everything out in cyberspace about your company.
Have you ever Googled yourself, either your business or yourself personally?
If you haven’t, you should do it now.
Did you find anything surprising? Anything you forgot about? Anything you might not want a customer to see?
Professionally, there may be a bad review that crops up because it’s been looked at and shared numerous times.
You may be mentioned in an article alongside a company getting trashed for bad business and your name isn’t being used negatively but a cursory glance looks like it might be.
This could be enough for potential clients to move on to the next company.
One of the most important things about managing your business reputation is knowing everything there is to know about what is out there for customers to find.
If a negative review is posted, maybe you can do something about it. You could contact the reviewer and see if you can improve their experience.
At the very least, you can learn from the experience and post more positive information about your company that is more recent.

Visibility- SEO

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a huge business.
Basically, how do you get your business to pop up in the top slot, or at least top few slots, when a consumer searches for your type of business in your location?
It’s possible the good reputation you have simply isn’t visible enough.
Reputation management can help guide you to that first search result spot.
The number of times your business name is mentioned in news articles, other reviews, and consumer reports will have a direct correlation to your business coming up in a search.
Reputation management is a delicate balance between saturating the market with your name and ensuring the majority of the information out there is positive and relevant.

Privacy

Utilizing reputation management will help protect your privacy and securely handling your sensitive information, in terms of both personal information and professional business information.
Being alerted as soon as your small business name or your full name comes up in a post online will help track if those posts are positive or if they need to be reviewed or removed.
Taking immediate action is one of the ways to mitigate any negative impact on your reputation from information posted online by a third party.
As a small business, you want your name out in the world as a resource but you want to ensure your name is prevalent on the right platforms that will help your business grow the way you want to meet your goals.

Trolls

Internet trolls are out there.
Bots and spammers can easily turn your posts from popular to passed over.
Without legitimate viewers and commenters, your posts will likely go unnoticed and not benefit your small business marketing.
Reputation management can help you watch your posts, website comment sections, photo sharing profiles, and other online presence to ensure you are getting a real audience instead of the attention of fake viewers.
Reputation management can help your small business by making you more aware of your online presence and getting advice on how to make it better.With a smartphone in every hand and a computer in every home, accessing online information is way too easy for you not to know what’s out there.

Check out Shred Alaska Inc. blog for more information on how to help your small business.
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The Best Ways to Organize Your Small Business Records

The Best Ways to Organize Your Small Business Records

Running even a small business means managing a lot of sensitive business records.

Many of these are legally mandated and must be kept for a certain amount of time, while there are others you may question whether or not you need to keep at all or destroy immediately. Day to day memos are a good example. The tips below will help keep your small business records organized.

Electronic Storage

There is a movement to keep documents electronically whenever possible.
This is not only more efficient in terms of searching for the documents you need at a moment’s notice but also for back up in case of loss, fire, or other disaster that would mean paper documents are destroyed forever.

Concerns are often raised about the safety and security of documents that are stored electronically but there are many IT security measures available to ensure your private business documents stay private.

Electronic storage is especially helpful if you have employees that work remotely or often travel and need access to your important business records.

Once these files are no longer needed, or you upgrade systems, it’s of vital importance to properly destroy these electronic storage devices.

Required Originals

There are many types of originals that, for many reasons, you may want to keep the original hard copies of.

Anything that requires a signature may need to be kept such as contracts for business or employment, at least until the project is complete.
Litigation over any number of possible issues during a project may require contract originals.

Employee paperwork like applications, employment contracts, or tax paperwork should be kept while the employees are on staff and up to 5 years thereafter. This may be mandated by your state’s department of labor or your own internal company policies.

Depending on the type of business you are in, you may have OSHA record keeping requirements that must be met while conducting business including safety logs, MSDS sheets, and on the job injury reports.

Not knowing about these requirements could lead to fines if and when these organizations come to check out your business or if there is some kind incident that requires an investigation.

Storage for hard copy originals should be just as organized as their electronic counterparts, keeping them easily accessible when necessary but secure from prying eyes.

Properly destroying your originals and other hard copy documents when it comes time is also an important step in the document handling, storage and destruction process.

Receipts and Invoices

If your company requires any of your employees to travel, they likely have a whole slew of expense receipts at the end of a trip.

The old fashioned way of turning in receipts can be not only frustrating, but a bit daunting and time consuming for your employees and office staff.
There are many apps and programs available that make this easier and more efficient for you and your employees.

Business records related to travel are easy to organize with the technology available.

If there is ever a question of payments or financials, it is vital to have copies of the invoices and payments made to help answer any questions and ensure all your books are on point!

Apps

Technology is an amazing thing and can help with many of the issues you may be having with business record organization.

Expensify
is a great free app to help with receipts and expenses. It helps to create the expense report for you so there is less mundane paperwork to complete.

Vault is a more complex way to help with drawing revisions if your business revolves around drawings of projects or custom products that require knowledge of when revisions are made, who made them, and what they were.

There are many apps available to track contract revisions that may come in handy for other documents as well. The technology you ultimately choose depends on your needs and what works best for you and your business.

Keeping your small business records organized is an important part of running a successful business, and with today’s technology, it has never been easier! Contact us today to see how we can help with any record destruction needs!

7 Tips For Increasing The Operational Efficiency Of Your Small Business in 2015

Tips to Business Efficiency in 2015

Small businesses need to run efficiently to be successful and profitable.

Unlike larger companies, small businesses may not have the flexibility to try out many different efficiency methods before finding the ones that work best for them, so many of the tips below are for smaller companies looking to make smaller strides.

Running at peak efficiency is just as important to a small business as it is for larger ones and the tips below can help!

1. Audit

Periodically auditing your practices and procedures will help weed out the ones that are no longer working.

It will also help improve those that are working but could be more efficient.

Ask your employees to help with this process.

It can be frustrating for employees to be handed a procedure that they will have to utilize everyday with no ability to comment on its effectiveness or potential improvements.

Ensure the procedures you put in place help your employees be more efficient and ask for their feedback on the process.

The people with the hands on experience are the ones that can help you determine what will make things faster and easier.

2. Document Control

The ability to find necessary documents as easily as possible is a crucial part of operational efficiency.

Finding the most current variation of any particular piece of paperwork- contracts to drawings to specifications- can help keep you on your critical path. Keeping your business is organized is key!

Document revisions can also be important, depending on your type of business. If you sell services or goods that will require service in the future, knowing exactly what the final product the client ended up with is important when supporting them later.

Procedures for document control start from the top down. Set a good example and document control will be easy!

3. Consistent Procedures

Consistency makes for efficiency.

Creating and maintaining consistent procedures throughout your small business operations will help keep everyone on the same page, cutting down on confusion and rework. A simple plan of how to properly dispose of information properly, is an example of how to keep consistent procedures.

When procedures are consistent across the board, training employees is easier and assessing performance is a snap.

4. Small Steps

Nothing is going to be perfect right away.

Small, thoughtful steps in the right direction will get your business up to its optimal operational efficiency.

As technology evolves and becomes more applicable to your small business, you may be inclined to rush into upgrading and swapping all your systems over right away but taking small steps to ensure efficient integration of these technologies will likely be better for your company in the long run.

Adequate training on new systems with enough time for cross training is an important part of implementing new processes.

5. Schedule

A clear schedule will keep you and your employees aware of the expectations you have for how they spend their time.

Keeping a schedule will help make sure your bills are paid on time and your customers’ needs are taken care of.

It will help forecast resources you may need as well as allow you to help schedule your personal life- everyone needs a vacation!

6. Maintenance

Maintaining your small business’s assets is important.

Whether or not its equipment used to manufacture your product or simply the printer/copier used by the office staff, keeping these items operational is critical to business running smoothly.

A little time and money now will help keep costs down in the long run- it’s better to maintain equipment as you go than pay for a complete breakdown when things finally fail.

7. Culture

The small business culture leans toward more relaxed office spaces and less pressure from management.

Keeping a positive work environment alive will help with your operational efficiency.

Happy workers are productive workers. If your employees feel like they can make suggestions for helping the business run smoothly, they will keep an eye out for these opportunities.

Contact Shred Alaska Inc. today to see how we can help keep your business running efficiently! Check out our Trial Offer.

5 Ways to Help Keep Your Small Business Organized

5 Ways to Help Keep Your Small Business Organized

Your small business is likely one of the most important things in your life. There are some easy ways to keep your small business organized and keep everything running smoothly.

Consistency

One of the best ways to keep your small business organized is to be consistent in every aspect of your business. If you have repetitive types of files you use such as contracts, invoices, and schedules per project for example – create a consistent file structure so everyone that needs necessary information can find it every time. This filing system set up can be used for both hard copy or electronic files.
Teach your employees to file the same papers the same way every time to keep things easy to find.
If the mail gets opened and filed at the same time every day, it’s less likely you’ll lose a bill or important tax document. Employees can help with this and they will follow your example!

Clear Out

Organizational efforts can be a minimalist exercise. With all the options for saving files electronically, and the ability to back up those files, there is very little need for paper receipts or hard copy papers anymore. All that clutter needs to be destroyed properly either by shredding, burning, or other certified destruction processes instead of simply the trash or recycling. A great way to cut down on the clutter before it even starts is to request electronic billing from the start if customers or vendors offer it as an option. Make it policy to only email invoices and other paperwork if your customers specifically request hard copies – it’s more earth friendly, it’s traceable, and it’s clutter-free. Implement a Clean Desk Policy to ensure your employees clear out or file away papers at the end of every work day.
This ensures things get taken care of in real time and don’t pile up. Taking care of organization in small chunks and maintaining it makes organization much more manageable.

Technology

Utilize all the technology available to help with your organization. Chances are, if you have an organizational dilemma, there’s an app or program for that.Do you need to keep track of employees while they travel? TripIt was invented for that!Are there multiple sales leads and projects that many people need to have access to and maintain? Check out Podio. Ask other small business owners what their favorite apps or programs are for keeping their businesses organized.

The Right Database

Nearly every business needs an information database to keep track of customer and vendor information.
There are so many database options available that it may be daunting to try and pick one.
You can use everything from an Excel spreadsheet to very high tech project management software- as long as it works for you. Check with an industry consultant or a colleague if you aren’t sure where to begin.

To-Do Lists

There will almost always be down time at some point in a business’s day to day operations where small projects can get effectively done. Keep a public, running to-do list of these items that you’d like help from your employees on.A list for a group of employees can be kept near the punch clock or on a bulletin board with other announcements and information. Shared outlook calendars can also be useful, and likely is already available. This will allow employees to show initiative, to self start, and to keep themselves busy and productive all day with limited additional direction.Even if you are your only employee, a reminder of the things you’d like to get done will help keep you motivated.
If you think having a list of incomplete items in a place you always see it will leave you with more anxiety than motivation, strategically place that list somewhere you will only see it if you aren’t overwhelmed. Do you have a spot you like to sit and rest when you feel like everything is done? Keep your list easily accessible there so you can evaluate it while taking a quick break.

Keeping your small business (and your life!) organized will help keep things running smoothly.
Contact us today to see how we can help with your organizational needs!