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How To Sleep Like a Leader

Posted By Chris Aird, With Purpose Business Consultants, Monday, April 2, 2018

As a leader within the company or as the top leadership executive, it can be accurately stated that you did not get to that position by only doing what was required of you or through minimal investment of your time.

It is also, safe to say, that through your dedication, determination, drive and sacrifice you have attained to this level of leadership success.

However, it is also important to remember that, as the leader within the organization, that many are dependent upon your continued success. Specifically, it would be your employees, your stakeholders, your family and above all, YOU!

Therefore, it is important to consistently invest in your well-being and one of the best ways to maintain your health, energy and drive is to Sleep Like a Leader.

It may surprise you that a recent survey conducted by the Harvard Business Review indicated that roughly 43% of business leadership surveyed said that they are sleep deprived 4 out of 7 nights a week https://hbr.org/2016/02/theres-a-proven-link-between-effective-leadership-and-getting-enough-sleep.

Consequently, a few important practical tips may be in order to ensure that you receive the adequate rest that you need to maintain your powerful leadership energy, vision and enthusiasm.

Some of those healthy sleeping tips would include:

  • Maintain a consistent bedtime hour.
  • Although keeping current on the events of the day may be necessary, the high-performing executive should detach from the world events at about an hour prior to retiring.
  • If experiencing difficulty going to sleep, check your diet and limit caffeine intake.
  • Indulge in consistent exercise through the course of the week.
  • As much as possible, detach yourself from communication devices at bed-time (cell phones, computers, tablets, etc.).
  • Instruct leadership staff to limit communication when you are “off the clock.”  Perhaps a separate number can be set up for extreme or emergency conversations.
  • Practical advice would include eating lightly at night as well as sleeping on a comfortable bed and in a sleep inducing environment.
  • Utilize homeopathic sounds such as running water or nature sounds available through inexpensive sound devices or listen to soothing music.
  • Take power naps during the course of the day at all possible.
  • Business travel is sometimes necessary – a few tips to manage jet lag may include staying hydrated, scheduling early arrivals, stay active, trying light therapy, etc.

Lead in your own life, take control, good night and sleep well!

Allow us to serve you and your business organizational needs as well as offering opportunities to mentoring your leadership staff.  You may contact us at (480) 280-6505.

Tags:  ASBA  business  business decision-making  business development  Business growth  business knowledge  Business Learning  Business Planning  business services  change  Employers  entrepreneur  finding your passion  getting unstuck  professional development  small business 

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What You Need to Know About Overtime!

Posted By Kenyatta Turner, LegalShield Independent Associate, Monday, June 26, 2017
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT OVERTIME

 

If your employees work more than 40 hours per 7-day workweek they may be entitled to overtime pay. New overtime rules were set to take effect late in 2016. These regulations would have expanded the number of employees eligible to receive overtime pay but they are currently tied up in federal court. It is vital that you observe the current regulations to avoid potential fines or litigation. If you have questions about state or federal overtime rules, contact your LegalShield provider law firm.

  • Current Rules - Federal overtime regulations are part of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The FLSA entitles employees working more than 40 hours in a workweek to one and one-half times their regular pay rate. If your business has, “an annual gross volume of sales made or business done of $500,000 or more” you are required to pay overtime. All schools, hospitals, medical facilities and public agencies are required to pay overtime. Click here to determine whether FLSA applies to your business.
     
  • State Regulations - Many states set additional rules for overtime pay. California, for example, requires overtime for those who work more than 8 hours in a day and double pay for those who work more than 12 hours in a day. Other states set specific thresholds for businesses that must comply with overtime rules. Arkansas requires employers with more than 4 employees to pay overtime. Click here to view a map highlighting current state overtime laws. It is important to understand both the federal and states regulations where you do business.
     
  • Exempt Employees – There are exemptions for some executive, administrative, computer professionals and other professional service employees.

From the Department of Labor:

A. Currently, to qualify for exemption, a white-collar employee generally must:

  1. be salaried, meaning that they are paid a predetermined and fixed salary that is not subject to reduction because of variations in the quality or quantity of work performed (the "salary basis test");
  2. be paid at least a specific salary threshold, which is $455 per week (the equivalent of $23,660 annually for a full-year employee) in existing regulations (the "salary level test"); and
  3. primarily perform executive, administrative, or professional duties, as provided in the Department's regulations (the "duties test").

Certain employees are not subject to either the salary basis or salary level tests (for example, doctors, teachers, and lawyers).

  • New Rules from 2016 – Overtime exemption thresholds were set to nearly double in December of 2016; however, the new rule is currently tied up in court. There is a great deal of speculation about the fate of the new rule with many expecting a change in direction from the new administration. The U.S. House of Representatives recently passed a bill that would allow certain employers to offer comp time instead of overtime pay. The bill still must pass the Senate but it is yet another sign that changes are coming. It is important for all businesses to follow these changes carefully.  If you have any questions, contact your LegalShield provider law firm or Kenyatta Turner at 602-367-1069 or kenyattaturner@legalshieldassociate.com.

Tags:  Accounting  business owners  business resources  business risk  business services  employees  Employers  Hiring  HR  human resources  labor  legal  legal services  management  small biz  small business  small business owner  startup  tax  wage hour lawsuits  women-owned business 

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New LegalShield Law Index Brings Leading Indicators Of Actionable, Hard Data To Reveal Economic Trends

Posted By Kenyatta Turner, LegalShield Independent Associate, Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Monthly Index Covers Over 70% of the GDP to Predict Economic Health

 

ADA, Okla.June 8, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- For the first time, the LegalShield Law Index—launched today—provides a forward-looking snapshot of the economic and financial status of U.S. households and small businesses. The Index is made up of five indices, including the LegalShield Consumer Financial Stress Index, LegalShield Housing Activity Index, LegalShield Bankruptcy Index, LegalShield Foreclosure Index, and the LegalShield Real Estate Index. Each index relies on LegalShield's unique and proprietary database of actual member demand for and usage of legal services to predict the health of the U.S. economy.

Experience the interactive Multichannel News Release here: https://www.multivu.com/players/English/8115751-legalshield-law-indices-predictive-economic-trends

 "The LegalShield Law Index is generated from actual consumer and business demand for various legal services provided by our closed panel of dedicated law firms covering all 50 states," said James Rosseau, LegalShield's Chief Commercial Officer. "Each index is a leading economic indicator and is released in a more timely manner than traditional economic indices. Our index predicts economic activity that represent more than 70 percent of the Gross Domestic Product of the United States. The LegalShield Law Index provides actionable intelligence about the direction of the U.S. economy in the mid- to near-term," continued Rosseau.

The key predictive takeaways from the first public release of data, through May 2017, are as follows:

  • Consumer confidence may continue to ease in the months ahead, but will likely remain strong by historical standards.
  • Housing starts, which have risen at a stubbornly slow pace since 2012 and remain well below pre-recession levels, should continue to improve slowly in the months ahead.
  • Bankruptcy filings should remain subdued in the near term. However, elevated levels of household debt are worth keeping an eye on, as they could lead to upward pressure on bankruptcy filings in the future.
  • Foreclosures should remain subdued in the short term, but may begin to rise in the second half of the year.
  • Existing home sales should continue to improve slowly in the months ahead.

The LegalShield Law Index is made up of five indices that are generated from LegalShield's proprietary data, which tracks the demand for different types of legal services for the various areas of law over the past 15-plus years. Each time a LegalShield partner law firm receives a request from a LegalShield member, the request is logged as an "intake" within one of roughly 70 unique areas of law (e.g., real estate, criminal, bankruptcy), depending on the nature of the legal need.

"We are excited to share our forward-looking data about the U.S. economy, based on the actual legal needs of our members and the work of our provider law firms—data that covers more than one-and-a-half decades of activity. When our members contact their LegalShield provider law firm, we record the area of law," explained Rosseau. "In aggregate, our index foreshadows economic activity based on actual legal events in the lives of individuals, families and small businesses."

The flagship LegalShield Consumer Financial Stress Index tends to lead the Conference Board's Consumer Confidence Index by one to three months. LegalShield's May data suggest that the recent run-up in consumer confidence may have overshot economic realities, and that consumer confidence levels may consequently pull back in the months ahead.

"While there are reasons to be optimistic about the U.S. economy, since December there has been a divergence of 'soft data' based on consumer and business confidence surveys, and 'hard data' based on actual market events, such as demand for legal services," Jeff Bell, LegalShield CEO, said. "Historically, when the LegalShield Consumer Financial Stress Index drifts away from the Consumer Confidence Index, it is typically consumer confidence that falls back into line with our index, not the other way around. We saw this in 2006 and 2007, when our index provided an early warning signal of the drop-off in confidence at the outset of the Great Recession."

LegalShield will be releasing the Index monthly, on the sixth business day of each month. Today the company is releasing May data, along with an assessment of what the data suggest about the health and direction of the U.S. economy. For access to the economic assessment, please visit https://www.multivu.com/players/English/8115751-legalshield-law-indices-predictive-economic-trends/.

The five separate measures that comprise the LegalShield Law Index together provide a leading indicator of the economic and financial status of American households and small businesses. The indices closely track a handful of key economic indicators, such as the Consumer Confidence Index (developed by the Conference Board), Housing Starts (reported by the U.S. Census Bureau), and Foreclosure Starts (reported by the Mortgage Bankers Association). Each LegalShield index has undergone a battery of statistical tests overseen by a PhD economist to validate its relationship to an existing economic indicator that sheds light on the health and direction of the U.S. economy.

LegalShield's suite of law indices provides actionable intelligence about the direction of the U.S. economy in the near term. Each index is based on data collected through LegalShield's provider law firms across all 50 states, thereby offering insights that are not accessible to the general public.

The Index is based on data collected on a near real-time basis, and will be refreshed and released monthly along with forecast statements on each index. The Index is based on intakes among more than 1.6 million memberships (including individuals and small businesses), providing a window into the legal needs of families and businesses across the country at any given point in time.

About LegalShield 
LegalShield is one of the North America's leading providers of legal safeguards for individuals, families and small businesses. The company also offers one of the industry's most affordable and comprehensive identity theft plans, IDShield. LegalShield plans provide protection to more than 4.2 million individuals, and IDShield provides identity monitoring and restoration services to more than one million individuals across North America. In addition, LegalShield and IDShield serve more than 141,000 businesses.

For as little as $20 per month, LegalShield members get access to attorneys with an average of 19 years of experience in areas such as family matters, estate planning, financial and business issues, consumer protection, tax, real estate, benefits disputes and auto/driving issues. Unlike other legal plans or do-it-yourself websites, LegalShield has dedicated law firms in 50 states and four provinces in Canada that members can call for help without having to worry about high hourly rates.

For more information, visit http://www.LegalShield.com/hub/KenyattaTurner or contact Kenyatta Turner, LegalShield Independent Associate, 602-367-1069

Tags:  business  business decision-making  business development  Business growth  business plan  business resources  business services  business worries  economic development  economy  finance  ID Theft  Identity Fraud  Legal  legal services  real estate  setting goals  small business  small business marketing  small business strategy  women owned small business  women-owned business 

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Why I Consider Daymond John My Personal Mentor…Though We Haven't Even Met

Posted By Kim England, Fast Inc. Network, Monday, May 8, 2017

Published by Carrie Luxem

Most of us have at least one person who we look up to and strive to be more like. Sometimes this connection is sparked because of shared, similar backgrounds or because we admire how someone has catapulted themselves through adversity to realize their personal or professional dreams.

My own list of mentors runs the gamut. From the deep admiration for my brother for overcoming addiction to the super-fangirling of Pitbull for his business acumen and educational endeavors, it's time to add another one to the list.

Daymond John. Business mogul extraordinaire, Shark Tank panelist, and branding genius. His story has had a deep and lasting impact on how I view myself, my business, and the world…and we haven't even met. Yet (more on that later).

His Early Age Entrepreneurialism

Daymond began cultivating his entrepreneurial spirit well before many of his peers. Starting in first grade with his custom pencil business and eventually shifting to handing out flyers and waiting tables before hitting it big with FUBU, Daymond seemed to innately comprehend the level of hustle and go-gettedness required for success

Looking back, his history shows us that it's okay to try different things — with various levels of success and failure — until we find exactly what suits our talents, skills, and interests.

Where we connect: Growing up, I always had business on the mind, launching multiple companies starting in elementary school. From cleaning windows for local restaurants to designing balloon arches for Home Depot to coordinating job fair events, I pushed until my true niche was found with Restaurant HR Group.

His Dedication to Struggling Entrepreneurs

Throughout his time on Shark Tank, Daymond has interacted with hundreds (if not, thousands) of entrepreneurs. And while not every entrepreneur has received an offer or a deal, Daymond frequently shares at least a tidbit of fundamental advice with the departing business owner. Whether that is a quick suggestion to redesign the packaging or the encouragement to come back again in a year because the idea is too premature, these simple words of wisdom can be enough to breathe life back into the struggling entrepreneur.

And he doesn't stop there. Between his books and keynote note speaker appearances, Daymond continually shares his decades of knowledge with others, breaking it down into applicable steps for entrepreneurs around the world to follow.

Where we connect: While I'm certainly not to his level of influence or knowledge (yet!), I do regularly share advice with other business owners through my role at Restaurant HR Group. Between face-to-face meetings, trainings and seminars, and publishing content online, lifting up other entrepreneurs has become a daily, rewarding venture.

His Ability to Overcome Adversity  

Growing up in a single parent household following his parents' divorce at age 10, Daymond took on additional responsibility at a young age. Instead of letting that muddy and narrow his view of the world, he used it as initiative to explore his options and opportunities and dream big instead. And eventually, FUBU and a string of other successful endeavors came to fruition.

Diagnosed with the vague term "learning disability" early on in his education, Daymond struggled with reading and writing but found math to be a breeze. While he wasn't officially diagnosed with dyslexia until adulthood, he found a workaround to his troubles by enrolling in a business co-op program which alternated his studies between classroom time and the First Boston investment bank in Manhattan. This view of real world business at play only further solidified his passion for business.

Where we connect: My parents divorced when I was 10 years old as well. Despite the turmoil created during that time, I chose to stay focused on my eclectic mix of business dealings. Business, like life, is pretty much never smooth sailing. Overcoming those obstacles and finding ways to turn them into treasure is where it's at. Thank you, Daymond, for that invaluable lesson.

His Branding Genius

Have I mentioned that Daymond is an absolute branding genius?!? After successfully launching FUBU by identifying an untouched market in the highly competitive fashion industry, he learned early on that you have to narrowly define your market and identify their top needs and wants. Daymond's other branding advice centers around commonsense practices, such as keeping the message simple, always controlling your brand's image, and making transparency a top priority. 

Where we connect: While I can't claim to have gone from zero to $300+ million like Daymond, I have managed to build a multimillion dollar company from the ground up…and I have only just begun! Daymond's experience represents my ultimate stretch goal and pushes me to better define my business and target market each day.  

Meeting Your Mentors

If you had the opportunity to meet one of your celebrity mentors face-to-face, would you go for it?

Well, if I can sort out some scheduling conflicts, then I just may be able to say yes to that question! Recently, I found out about an incredible event that's happening from June 7-9 in Phoenix, Arizona. Fast Inc. Network is hosting an Accelerate Your Business conference (click on the link below to learn more about this event!) and is offering exclusive VIP access to Daymond John, complete with a meet and greet! Plus, there are master classes to attend, hours of small group learning sessions, and the ability to network with other likeminded entrepreneurs.

If you're as inspired by the work of Daymond John as I am, you can check out all of the details and register for this incredible event here >> https://bg322.isrefer.com/go/event/Carrie/.   

Follow me on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram for more HR and leadership insights. Or check out my new website, carrieluxem.com, to learn more about my vision to impact the restaurant industry.

Who else considers Daymond John a mentor? What specifically do you admire about him?

 

 Attached Thumbnails:

Tags:  arizona  ASBA  business  business owner  business services  entrepreneur  small business 

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4 Tips for 5 Star Customer Service Review

Posted By Tracelyn Sutton, American Cancer Society, Tuesday, March 28, 2017

If you are in business, then you are in the business of customer service.   Everyone in a company, even if you are a one-man band, is responsible for providing effective service that will contribute to success and profits for the company.   The differences between effective and ineffective service is a matter of sensitivity, sincerity, attitude and human relations skills.  The good news is that these skills can be learned.  It is important to have the following:  positive attitude, cheerful outlook, enjoy people, enjoy putting customers on center state, high energy, fast pace, flexible and enjoy new demands and experiences and can allow customers to be right even when not.   If you tend to be depressed, angry, like to work alone or with items, need to be center of attention, works at a relaxed pace, no care about the client, likes everything predictable and orderly and you want others to know you are right will lead to service failures.   Let’s talk about how we can turn this around with just a character adjustment.

Customer Service has 2 parts, the procedural and personal.  It is important to have established systems and protocol to deliver the products and service.  On the personal side, it is how your people interact with the customers.   Let’s talk about the person side of customer service.  

First, understand that attitude is a state of mind influenced by feelings, thoughts and actions.  The saying, the attitude you send out is usually the attitude you get back is true.   First step is send a positive attitude to others.  Remember that every time you work with the client, you are on the big stage, and you need to act accordingly just as if you were an actor.   You need to check any poor attitude at the door and work on being positive.  First step is to make sure your appearance matches your positive personality.  You never get a second chance to make a first positive first impression.  Keep in mind your hairstyle, personal cleanliness habits, clothing and jewelry, neatness and general grooming. 

Next is your body language and my advice is to hold your head high and steady, make sure your arms move in a natural and unaffected manner.  Are your facial muscles relaxed and under control and do you find it easy to maintain a natural smile?  How is your eye contact?

Another important part of your attitude is the sound of your voice.  Remember the tone of your voice, or how you say something is more important than the words you use.

When you are using the telephone your positive attitude must come through the phone.  The adage to put a smile on your face is one that works and the client can feel your smile through the phone.

Another important part is to stay energized. The realities of customer service are the exertion of emotional labor.  It does take its toll.  Make sure that you are energized and can charge your batteries when needed.  Never take out the fact you are tired on the client. Also, don’t talk about being tired and working too hard when on the job.

Remember that a positive attitude is nothing more than really liking your job and allowing your actions and words to broadcast this enjoyment to your customers, supervisors and fellow employees.   Make sure you have the right mindset and take this part of customer service important.   This is just step one in customer service.   Even these simple tips will help you score 5 star reviews.

 

Thank you to Kaylee from the BBB Tucson office for the artwork design.

 

Tags:  business services  customer service  Improve Sales  small 

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Are You Overwhelmed by Email?

Posted By Amy Geils, The Streamlined Office LLC, Tuesday, February 28, 2017

If you are, then you are in good company.  Almost all of my clients are stressed out by their inbox.  The GOOD NEWS is that there are 9 quick and simple things you can do to get in control and get there quickly!  How would you feel if you opened your email every day and felt like it was manageable?  It would feel FABULOUS, wouldn’t it?  Well, here’s how.

  1. Archive all of your old emails and start fresh, today!
  2. You should have no more than 2 inboxes, one for business and on for personal use.
  3. Schedule specific times ON YOUR CALENDAR to deal with email.
  4. Turn off email (and other) notifications on your devices.
  5. Open your email and then do something with it.
  6. Set up foders and/or auto filters to automate your inbox.
  7. Learn how to write an effective email subject line
  8. "No Response Required"
  9. Unsubscribe

Read the complete article for full details.

Clutter is the result of delayed decisions, and your inbox is no exception!  Remember, if you are taking the time to open your inbox and look through your email, DO SOMETHING with it.  Don’t delay the decision making.  Email can be a highly productive and effective form of communication IF you use it properly as a tool and not a distraction.

The Streamlined Office has a wealth of knowledge and information to help you implement a strategy to manage your inbox and use email effectively.   We can help you learn how to use the functionality of your email system to maximize your results.  And, if your current habits are costing you in time and efficiency, we can teach you alternatives.  Are you tired of being a slave to your inbox?  Contact us at 480-221-0588 to schedule your FREE consultation!  We can help you create a system that is unique to your business and needs.  What could you do with the time you save?

Tags:  business services  office organization  productivity  technology 

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Passwords-Are You Set Up For Security or a Security Breach?

Posted By Amy Geils, The Streamlined Office LLC, Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Did you know that $16 billion was stolen from 12.7 million US consumers in 2015?  There are a few simple things you can do to protect yourself and your digital information.

  • Use different passwords for your most important accounts
  • Passwords should have at least 12-16 characters including a combination of at least 1 number, one uppercase letter, one lower case letter and one special symbol
  • Avoid using words that are familiar to you such as the names of your family members
  • Do not use any combinations of numbers which can otherwise identify you such as your birthday, zip code, phone number and certainly NEVER your social security number
  • NEVER click the button that says “Remember Password”. This stores the password in your web browser
  • Do not log in to financial or other important accounts unless you are on your own computer or connected to a private internet connection. Do not use public Wi-Fi hotspots or the like to access these types of accounts.
  • Change your password every 90 days
  • Protect your computer and other devices.  See my blog “How to Protect Your Digital Information”

For the full article which includes information and reviews of Password Management software, click here.  For a free consultation of all your office organizing needs call 480-221-0588.  

Tags:  business services  entrepreneurs  office organization  productivity  technology 

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Is Your Email Inbox a Source of Revenue or Is It Costing You Time and Money?

Posted By Amy Geils, The Streamlined Office LLC, Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Synopsis:

Statistics reveal that high skill workers spend 28% or 11.2 hours of their work week managing email. And, over 50% of workers check their inbox more than 11 times day.  Combine that with the 23 minutes that it takes to get back on task after being interrupted and you quickly realize that this is hardly productive and efficient!  Would you like some tips on how to use your email more efficiently? Read on........

Get control of what enters your inbox. 

How many of the emails in your inbox are solicitations, SPAM, newsletters or other correspondence that do not directly affect or relate to your business bottom line?  Eliminate email that is not relevant to your business.  Here's how.

Use appropriate subject lines and encourage others to do the same.

Subject lines are extremely important and non-negotiable in the business world.  The subject line is or should be the first thing you read to help you determine how you are going to handle the email.  A good subject line will give you enough information to decide if the email is important, urgent or neither.

Many business professionals have folders and filters set up to manage their email.  Do you?

Regardless of what email system you favor, you should be maximizing the functionality afforded by that system to keep your inbox organized.  If you are missing orders, losing track of email correspondence or not responding in a timely manner then you will benefit from an improved process to manage your inbox.

Create calendar appointments and new contacts directly from your email.

Take advantage of the functionality available in your email system to add new contact information directly to your contact list.  Using a CRM system?  Most CRM systems will have an Add-On or Plug-In that will connect your CRM to your email system.

“Touch” your incoming email only once.

Clutter is the result of delayed decisions, and your inbox is no exception!  Open your email and take action!  Don’t take the time to read it and then leave it there thinking “I’ll come back to that later and decide what to do with it.

Email is here to stay!

Email can be a highly productive and effective form of communication, IF you use it properly as a tool and not a distraction.

READ THE FULL ARTICLE HERE:  http://thestreamlinedoffice.com/is-your-email-inbox-a-source-of-revenue-or-is-it-costing-you-time-and-money/

Tags:  be more productive  Business  business services  efficiency  email systems  office organization  processes  productivity  professional development  systems  technology 

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Create a Digital File System in 5 Steps

Posted By Amy Geils, The Streamlined Office LLC, Friday, April 8, 2016

digital file systemIt used to be that creating a filing system meant color coding your file folders, and then organizing them alphabetically or chronologically.  In some instances, this may still be reasonable. However, today’s small businesses and home offices are now a lot more dependent on technology.  Most record-keeping is now electronic, so you may need to consider both the system that resides on your computer in addition to the one that resides in your filing cabinets (or in those piles on your desktop or on the floor).

There are a lot of different ways to organize your files; the key is to create a file structure that allows you to find important information quickly and easily. Depending upon your business needs, these files may be paper or digital and they may reside in a filing cabinet, on your computer, on a network or in the cloud. What works best for you and what industry standards do you need to apply? 

The first step is knowing and documenting what you need to keep and why. 

This means that you need to create record retention guidelines if they do not already exist.  Typically, information needs to be kept for legal and accounting purposes.  The specifics will vary depending upon your particular circumstances.  Your CPA or legal counsel are both excellent sources to help you begin establishing these guidelines.  The Streamlined Office offers an example of a Record Retention Schedule that includes IRS reference information. 

The second step is to create a digital file structure. 

Once you are very clear on what type of information or documents need to be retained and for how long, you can begin this process.  Again, there is no one right way to create your file infrastructure.  Create clear, simple and logical folders based on categories appropriate to your business and any industry specific standards that must be followed.

A good starting point is to divide your information into categories based on department/subject, project or client matter.  For instance, every office typically requires a folder hierarchy for areas such as Accounting, Finance, Legal, Business Documents, Insurance, Medical etc.  Occasionally, organizing by geographic regions is applicable. 

In conjunction with creating the folder structure, folder and file naming conventions should be established, documented and distributed to everyone who will be using the system.  Ignore infinite articles in a business name (a, the), consider using an abbreviated letter sequence if this is how the business is most readily identified (CBS versus Central Broadcasting System), consider organizing client folders by placing the surname (last name) first, and avoid the use of titles (Dr. Mr.).

When it comes to file naming, you are not bound to the limited space once demanded by paper file folder tabs.  Be as descriptive as possible to allow for ease in future location and searching.  Use lowercase only, except perhaps with proper names.  Avoid the use of symbols, punctuation marks, file separators and white space in file names.  If you have multiple revisions of a file, consider using major and minor revision strategies or add the date to the file name.  Just remember to avoid using special characters such as “/” in dates.

The third step is to move your existing files into the folder structure that you have just created. 

Rename any files that do not adhere to your documented folder and file naming conventions. Scan your existing paper files into your new digital folder structure.

The fourth step is system maintenance. 

Weed and transfer old files into the new structure.  Ensure naming conventions are being adhered to.  Document any changes to the structure or naming conventions that were created in step two.  Check for duplication and make sure unnecessary and out of date folders and documents are weeded out of your new system on a regular basis and according to your record retention guidelines.

The fifth step is to be sure you have appropriate security and backup systems in place. 

data securityThis may include setting permissions and access to the information, ensuring the presence of a Firewall, Malware (anti-virus) protection, and completing routine software updates. Where and how to back up information will be determined by the frequency of data change, your retention guidelines, and industry standards to name and few. 

For many small business owners, determining where to start with digital organization might be overwhelming and confusing. Hopefully, the information provided here will have you well on your way to doing it yourself. If you don’t feel comfortable that you can create an efficient filing system that you can maintain, contact The Streamlined Office for assistance!

Tags:  business services  digital filing  office organization  process solutions  technology  workflow 

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Process Solutions for Small Business - FREE 30 minute phone consultation

Posted By Amy Geils, The Streamlined Office LLC, Friday, February 5, 2016

The Streamlined Office, LLC is working with ASBA Member AZ Strategic Marketing Services to impove its website and social media content.  In order to better define the needs of small business owners, The Streamlined Office is offering a FREE 30 minute phone consultation to anyone willing to take a brief survey.

The Streamlined Office empowers Clients by removing the constraints to business growth created by inefficient processes.  We take the time to understand your business and create custom solutions for your unique business needs.  This is accomplished using critical thinking, problem-solving expertise and process analysis.  Based on the results, we then deliver on-site or virtual services to help you implement practical, process-oriented organizational strategies using PC based technology solutions as needed.

Tags:  business services  efficiency  performance improvement  productivity 

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Affordable Dental Plans for ASBA Members

Delta Dental of Arizona

2 employees? No problem! We’ve got a dental plan to meet your needs & budget. Click to learn more!

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Join ASBA

ASBA

ASBA is the most powerful resource for your business in Arizona. We ensure the tools we offer are valuable and support the growth, education and connections necessary for today’s top business minds.

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Enterprise Bank & Trust

ASBA

Enterprise was founded on the idea of serving the lifetime financial needs of privately held businesses.Today, we continue to empower privately held businesses and also help families to secure their financial futures.

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RSVP

Coffee Connect with ASBA

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Date: Held monthly
Time: Click for times based on location

RSVP

ASBA Speed Networking

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Date: Held monthly
Time: Click for times based on location

Have Questions on Health Insurance?

Health Insurance

Do you have questions on plans for Individual, sole proprietor, or group? We can get the answers needed to make sure you find the right plan for you and your employees.

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Partner Program

CopperPoint

ASBA’s Partner Program delivers your brand throughout Arizona. Share insights, connect with small business and highlight your company’s involvement with the association. Contact Jodi Towns to get started.

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Upcoming Event

Health+Plus

ASBA is bringing you Health+Plus, an all-inclusive healthcare experience for business owners! We’re getting you in front of healthcare providers, insurance carriers, health and wellness experts, HR, software solutions, telemedicine, and more.

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