Business fundamentals

Being able to find information you need when you need it is fundamental to the way you manage your business.

It doesn’t matter what your business does – whether you’re making pies, children’s’ clothes, iron gates or if you provide

Read more

Inbox Zero

This link came into my inbox yesterday and given my liking for anything that helps people manage their inbox, naturally I was curious to find out how Rebecca Corliss did this.

Read more

Email management in the new year

We know that email messages build up without us even noticing – until the inbox gets full or someone asks why we haven’t replied to an email that sought a response. We look at the number of messages and gasp, then leave it all because it’s too hard to even think about dealing with all those messages.

I got a newsletter recently suggesting that we deal with email in the days before Christmas when people had some down time at work.

Read more

Email Management – love it or hate it

When I gave this presentation recently I started by saying that the email experience is different for everyone – some people get maybe 10 emails a day while others get 100 or more. Each situation needs a different approach to managing email.

Read more

Do you check your e-mail first thing in the morning? Big mistake

Do you check your e-mail first thing in the morning? Big mistake

Here’s what Tim Ferris has to say in the Huffington Post  in an article entitled “9 Things You Should Never Do At Work

Read more

My email has stopped working. Grrrr!

All my email messages are still there and I can still see them.  But the little line at the top of the screen says “not responding” and I’m getting tired of trying to make it respond.

I can get by though because I have a backup email system that contains all my email.  I also have important messages saved in my directory structure. So I can find most of the emails I need.

Does that sound a bit like Little Goody Two-Shoes? Maybe so but to me it’s simply good business practice.

What I am missing is the folder structure I had set up in my usual email (MS Outlook).  In particular my “Action Required” folder where I saved anything that needed some action from me..  I don’t have that same folder structure in my backup system (Gmail). Now if I had only set that up before this happened …

Anyway, now it’s off to my IT support team to sort me out  in Outlook so I don’t waste any more time searching for emails that require me to take some action. And when they’ve done their bit, I’ll set up a mirrored folder system in Gmail so I won’t have the same frustration next time. Maybe I’ll use the Gmail Priority Inbox system.

11931208_s

 

Managing risk in your business

If you business is to operate effectively, you and your staff need to be able to create, store, access and reuse information received or produced during the course of a regular working day.

Establishing core principles for keeping a good record of your business activities will reduce risks and lessen exposure to issues that may incur corruption or even loss.

Risks associated with poor document management include:

  • Unreliable information is used to make business decisions
  • Key information or documents are hard to find or lost
  • Time is wasted re-creating documents that cannot be found
  • Management practices become untimely, inappropriate and inefficient
  • The business is unable to comply with legislation or regulations
  • The business gains a negative reputation.

Core principles for managing information include:

  • Having a structured system for storing documents that is easily understood and available for all team members to access and use as and when required
  • Ensuring that all documents created as part of normal business activities are filed appropriately in the approved filing system
  • Establishing standard policies, processes and procedures and ensuring team members understand and maintain them when creating, storing and using organisational information
  • Making and storing notes on key business decisions – made by your Board or with clients.

You can read about more hints and tips to improve your business in my free eBook; and even more if you download the eWorkbook that gives you a full set of instructions on how to set up a filing system for your business.

Your first step to improve your office efficiency

You can improve the way your office operates by creating efficient access to all the information that you use in your business.

Information, both electronic and hard copy, is the cornerstone of your business.  No matter what your business is you need information about stock, designs and other intellectual property, cash flow, staff, client and supplier contacts, business plans; in fact all the knowledge that is held by your business in paper files or electronic documents and systems.

Not knowing where to find all this valuable information, or being unable to access it quickly when needed, can result in loss of contracts and lower profits.

You and your staff need to get at important information quickly and efficiently

If only one person knows where and how information is filed, other people in your business won’t be able to access it when that key person is unavailable

Your systems and processes for keeping business records will reflect the information flow and ensure that everyone is able to work efficiently. This in turn will improve productivity and thus increase profits.

Think about this…

  • How you lost a contract because you couldn’t find a key tender document in time for a meeting
  • The complaints from your team because they couldn’t find something  someone else had filed
  • Information you can’t find after you have filed it
  • An important email that was deleted in error or lost in the thousands of emails in your inbox
  • The tax payment you missed and penalty you had to pay because you couldn’t find the reminder from your accountant

When was the last time you were in one of these situations?  You need to organise our business information so you can find what you need when you need it.

Our e-workbook is here to help you.  This step-by-step instruction book will give you the tools you need to build your own system for keeping your business information under control.  It won’t take you long and will save your heaps of time and money currently lost in unproductive searching for information.

Don’t waste any more time searching for elusive documents or files.  Create your own filing system using our instructional workbook.  Available online now.

You can read more hints and tips to improve your business in the free eBook.

 

It’s easy to manage your email inbox: don’t send email

The email inbox is still the biggest problem for lots of people I work with.  The best advice I’ve seen recently about managing your inbox is don’t send email.  Really?? How does that work? You simply can’t live without email!

How often do you send an email to say “thanks” for a message sent to you? Is that message really necessary? How often do you receive an email message that simply says “thanks” or “OK”

Your email message generates emails back.

Think carefully about the next email you send. Ask yourself these questions:

  • Why are you sending this information by email?
  • Is it really necessary?
  • How will that email benefit you and the receiver?
  • What does it add to the information the other person needs
  • Is this the best way to communicate your message? Or is there another way to get your message through to someone else?

Don’t do long email threads.  If the email conversation is generating a worthwhile discussion, phone the person, go to their desk/office and talk to them or arrange to go out for a coffee or lunch.  If more than one person is involved, arrange a meeting – even if only for a few minutes.

If you need to keep a record of the phone or in person discussion, write a quick note when you get back to my desk and file it.  If you need to remember something important from that discussion – say the time and place for another meeting, make a note of it – in a notebook or in your smartphone.

Now you’re not going to stop the emails altogether.  And I don’t suggest you do.  Email is a very effective way of communicating with other people.  But use it sensibly.

Organise the emails you go get into folders so emails like newsletters, social media alerts and such don’t actually reach your inbox.  Google has started to do this very effectively with Gmail.  Check out this video.

If you don’t use Gmail, it’s worth taking a few minutes to follow the Google’s advice and set up your own folders in the email package you use.

For more information on how to do this go to my blog “Demystify your inbox”  and “Good habits around email

Remember your email inbox is not a filing cabinet

You can contact me for more help or you can read about more hints and tips to improve your business in my free eBook; and even more if you download the eWorkbook that gives you a full set of instructions on how to set up a filing system for your business, including filing emails.

Judy Owen has been working with businesses of all sizes and complexities for more than 20 years to improve and streamline the access to their business information.  She and her team can show you how to reduce risk, improve productivity and increase profits with good business systems and processes in your business.

 

 

 

 

 

Communication is everything – and Google forgot!

Last month Google revamped Gmail so that incoming mail was diverted from the inbox to different folders before mailbox owners got to see their new email messages.

There was an outcry! Why? Surely this change is a good one if it sorts your emails before they get to you? Yes – most definitely.

But Google just did it without any warning.  One day all the email went into the inbox; the next day it went into different folders – and that was the day Google told its Gmail users about the change.

Now your inbox only contains emails that have been sent directly to you. Messages sent to long list of people with your email address in there somewhere now go to one of three folders:

Social – for messages via LinkedIn, Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter etc

Promotions – from companies wanting to sell you something

Forums – for messages from groups you belong to such as professional organisations

With these messages safely tucked into their own folders, your inbox is no longer cluttered with message you don’t need to look at frequently.  You can check these messages when you have a spare moment rather than interrupting your day.

Initially some emails may be misfiled so it will pay to check these categorised emails and move them to an appropriate folder.  But once you’ve done that Gmail will remember and not misfile again.

Google has more information for you here  or you can watch the video here

So if this new way of organising emails is so helpful, why did people get so upset with Google? What did Google do wrong?

Google surprised people.  That’s what!

All Google needed to do was give its Gmail users some warning about its plans – and explain the benefits.

So many organisations forget to tell its people about upcoming changes.  Then the bosses wonder why staff are upset and productivity plunges – even if only temporarily – and it is so avoidable.

In my eWorkbook I explain that if you are going to change your  filing system, you need to communicate your plans to everyone concerned from the beginning of the process. That way there will be no surprises and your productivity will improve when the new system is installed.

If you don’t use Gmail and want some help managing your email, go to my earlier blogs De-mystify your email inbox and Good habits around email.

We can help you to set up folders in other email packages so you can focus on the important emails in your inbox.

You can read about more hints and tips to improve your business in my free eBook; and even more if you download the eWorkbook that gives you a full set of instructions on how to set up a filing system for your business.

Judy Owen has been working with businesses of all sizes and complexities for more than 20 years to improve and streamline the access to their business information.  She and her team can show you how to reduce risk, improve productivity and increase profits with good business systems and processes in your business.