Chaos is best described as a lack of order, which can cause all kinds of problems in a small business. In fact, many problems at growing companies can be easily avoided by simply restoring order. One of the mavens of order herself said it best:
Life is too complicated not to be orderly. — Martha Stewart
It is no wonder that this quote came from one of the country’s most successful female business owners. Women tend to be able to better utilize their organization skills, and this bodes well for them. Chaos can rob a business of time, money, employees, and customers. No business can survive if it is a constant state of chaos. Here is some practical advice on how to avoid losing time, money, customers and employees.
Loss of Time
Time is a precious commodity, and it is one of a few things in life that can never be retrieved once it is gone. The only thing to do is to make the best effort to not lose any more than necessary, and to spend what time you have as wisely as possible. Time spent looking for things that are lost or doing things that can be done better and faster by someone else is time simply thrown away. Be very careful about this. Everyone knows that organized files and efficient scheduling can save time, but there are other ways of saving time as well.
Consider the process of looking for a small business loan. Searching for the right product and terms among various banks, credit unions, and alternative lenders can take hours upon hours with few results if you are starting from scratch. Why not leave this to someone who knows exactly how and where to find exactly what you need? Sites such as Biz2Credit.com connect borrowers with banks and other lenders for small business loans, expansion capital and business lines of credit. Thus, using technology can save you hours of work while offering much faster results. Additionally, Biz2Credit can help specific groups, such as small business loans for women.
Loss of Money
Even if business is booming, a chaotic work atmosphere can cause money to drain away faster than water in a leaky pool. Disorder can cause bills to be late, resulting in late fees. Inadequate attention to details can cause schedule conflicts that result in too many workers showing and expecting to be paid. In general, disorder causes business owners to lose track of their finances and miss major opportunities.
Further, a chaotic environment is perfect for fraud to take root, as perpetrators will see that one will notice what is going on. Getting things in order and dealing with any financial discrepancies, as well as having a plan for staying on top of future issues, will stop a surprising number of money leaks.
Get started by establishing a bill paying routine that stays the same from month to month or week to week. Pay on Mondays, on the first and third Tuesday, or whatever works for you. Make a habit of putting bills in the same place as soon as they come in so they do not get lost under mounds of papers. Set up as many auto payments as you can; then you only need to focus on paying bills that cannot be set up for electronic payments. It is faster and there is less paper involved, which means less clutter and less chaos. For the clutter that remains, take a page from Martha’s book and utilize tools such as bins and baskets to keep things neat and orderly.
Loss of Customers and Employees
The scheduling snafu mentioned before, as well as other chaotic employee management habits, can cause great distress among workers. They need to know, within reason, what is expected of them and when. No one feels secure in the midst of a mess.
When customers walk into a store and cannot find what they are looking for, they are immediately turned off. When they walk in and the person they are dealing with appears to be completely disorganized, they get the feeling that the needs that led them to the business will not be met. This is not a way to get or retain customers.
Have as set a schedule as possible for employees, create a handbook or document that explains to new hires what is going on and what is expected, and touch base with employees weekly to make sure everyone is on the same page. This will give them an opportunity to express concerns to you and vice versa, and everyone will feel more at ease.
Be certain that when customers walk in, they are greeted with a neat appearance in the store or office, and that they are met by an employee that can give them the attention they need or at least point them in the right direction.
Chaos can kill a business, but order can push a successful business over the top. This is an advantage that women in small business have, as they tend to be more organized than men. They are more likely to pay attention to cleanliness and neatness, and they tend to keep financial information and files more orderly. All business owners however, can benefit from banishing chaos where it may be lurking and inviting in a more orderly approach to how things are run.
This article was submitted by Faith Stewart. Faith Stewart has a BBA with a major in accounting and spent 10 years working in the various aspects of accounting and finance before pursuing her passion for writing.