My grandmother-in-law had a wonderful sense of order in her kitchen. Even though it was a small apartment and space was at a premium, she made the room look neat and orderly. “A place for everything, and everything in its place,” was her mantra.
I was reminded of that recently when we stepped out for an evening date at a restaurant on the water. A lovely setting with a picture-worthy sunset, it was premiering the summer season. To complement things, the interior of this small business was beautiful – with stunning nautical décor, increased seating, and plenty of tall windows to maximize the scenery.
All good, except for the full-on view of the condiment and cutlery supplies in a low, bookcase-like unit flushed against the first banquette at the entrance to the dining area. Seems this restaurant didn’t have “a place” for these necessities – and not exactly “view worthy” items.
Are there supplies or items in your store or establishment that stand out in an odd – or even “sore thumb” – sort of way? As spring cleaning time draws to a close, take a look around to see how you can put more balance into the image your small business projects.
- De-clutter. How much is too much? One indication is if you cannot find some clear counter space. My sons’ barber shop has upwards of seven cutters working at once. I look to see if the most talented is the most organized and usually that is the case. A clean work area, clippers organized, items neatly arranged. You get the picture.
- Appropriate storage. Utilize bins as needed. Short-term items should be within reach; longer-term things can be stowed away. And archive files and items that are only recalled on demand, like annual surveys or taxes.
- Balance. There’s a misconception that an overloaded, disorganized desk or work area means you are busy and productive. Perhaps. But “messy” is really what this shows. Keep the most important items on your desk and send other items into drawers and file cabinets. (Do you really need a pile of unused 1994 calendars on that shelf?)
- Set an example. Today’s generation is definitely on its way to becoming paper-free. Follow their lead and welcome suggestions by younger colleagues to get their take on what an organized work space should look like. If keeping things in their place is your specialty, be sure to impart that knowledge on your staff.
First impressions continue to be long lasting and while they don’t always result negatively (We’ll return to the restaurant mentioned earlier, but we’ll still chuckle over the view of the ketchup.), they can be avoided.