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Cleaning up………………

UGG!  I kept an appointment with a new prospective client this morning.  The purpose of the visit was to get acquainted and explore the possibility of working together to create a business and marketing plan for the coming year.

A little about the firm, it consists of an owner and two full time employees.  The firm does service and repair on machinery (don’t want to be more specific)  and has been in business for approximately 4 years.  They are covering expenses but show little profit and their goal is to systemize their business and to develop an effective growth plan.

During the past 25 plus years of meeting business owners in their place of business, I have never seen a more disorganized operation. I congratulated the owner on his ability to survive four years considering the disorganization and to some degree, the lack of “cleanliness” I found in his operation.

I told him that this visit would be the topic of my blog this evening. I also gave him a list of task to finish in the next 10 days at which time we would meet again and evaluate the possibility of working together

On the way back to my office I started thinking about how often all of us start a new project without “cleaning the foundation”. The following “cleaning list” evolved in my mind and my hope is that you will take an internal look at your own business; if any of these items need to be done, you will finish them in the next 10 days.

Record keeping: in these days of high tech, I found it interesting that the old manila folder and file cabinets are still the preferred method of keeping past and current records. Depending on the type of business, the type of records may be dictated by law as well as how long they have to be kept.  Take the time to go through your old records and if they no longer serve any useful purpose, write the name, address, contact information, the date of service and work performed and destroy the rest.  Keep the contact information for future marketing purposes.  If part of the file must be kept, consider purchasing a scanner and save everything in your computer (make sure it’s backed up).

All prospects and current customer information should also be maintained in your computer. Yes, taking notes in meetings is important, but before closing up at night, transfer everything to your computer.

The one thing that I want to see on every business owner’s desk is a working business and marketing plan that is referred to every day.

Cleanliness:  many small firms do not have daily janitorial service. Cleaning floors, washing windows and dusting are perhaps the last thing on the mind of a business owner. Perhaps your customers/clients do not come to your office, but cleanliness and organization is always reflected in the quality and quantity of work that is put forth.

I don’t want this to be a “how to clean list”.  Each of you know what I am talking about. As we develop systems for an office as well as business and marketing plans, organization and cleanliness have to be part of the equation for successful implementation and future success. Yes, as I coach, I do hold you accountable in this area.

Do it NOW. Time is money. Work smarter, not harder. There’s always enough time for the important things.                                                                                                                        Alan Lakein

Nick J. Petra CFP          Accountability is the key to future success… let us help you stay accountable.         



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