22 Nov Back to Basics: Organization Tips for Makers
By Abbie Garcia
One of the biggest components of successful marketing strategy is consistency of communication, both in terms of form and content. In fact, communication is the single most important factor that will lead to the success or demise of your entrepreneurial endeavor. Getting your message right when dealing with a whole host of parties, from vendors to collaborators to regulating bodies to customers, is a huge part of the challenge of running your business. This is why it’s important that you find systems to put in place behind the scenes to help stay organized and keep your desired message on track at all times. Here’s a look at a few resources to help you stay on track and on message.
COLLECT YOUR THOUGHTS:
Before you can get your message out you’ll have to know exactly what needs to be said, so the first step is getting those ideas out of your head and in front of you where you can see them, move them around, and be sure you’re not leaving anything out. The systems outlined below will help you with intrapersonal organization.
Evernote is a free app that works great for keeping organized on the go. It’s lite, user friendly, and perfect for jotting down notes on your mobile when inspiration hits, and seamlessly accessible from your laptop so you can work however suits you best.
All you need is a free gmail account to access Google’s free product suite- as useful weapon as any I know of to have in your organizational arsenal. Create word files in Google Docs and save files in your Drive to keep everything you need in one centralized, searchable location. Sheets will help you create simple charts and tables to get on top of figures and track inventory, costs, etc.
For a more tactile approach to wrangling your projects into a manageable workflow, look into creating your own handwritten bullet journal. Most of us are able to retain material much better after having physically written information down, and the bullet journal system provides a living template to house your growing and evolving checklist. Plus they’re fun to design and endlessly customizable.
COLLABORATE WITH YOUR TEAM:
Once you have a clear picture of what needs to happen in order to get your operations running smoothly, it’s time to bring in the team and get the ball rolling. The systems outlined below will help you with interpersonal organization.
Once again, the Google Suite of free products is very well designed to be an organizational hub, and that’s true for both personal and communal purposes. With the easy to use sharing feature it only takes a couple of clicks to get collaborators on the same page, literally, and able to start editing shared documents in real time, regardless of physical distance. And with Google Forms you can set up surveys and checklists in no time with limitless potential for gathering information from hiring candidates to employees to vendors to customers.
Slack is a great tool for organizing multiple conversations in real time while keeping all parties’ inboxes clean. It’s a customizable chat app that allows users to create separate channels so that information can be stored in the same place and keep your digital world clutter free. Set up dedicated channels for marketing, inventory, events, operations, what-have-you, and save yourself the tireless digging through dozens of rambling emails for that needle in the haystack.
This app is like a virtual bulletin board, but so much more. It gives users a clean collaborative space that includes features like project and individual status updates, individual, team and project calendars, shareable to-do lists, task management due dates and reminders, file sharing spaces and integration with a host of outside tools. It sounds complicated but in practice is actually the reverse, with its clean dashboard and lite design it’ll help you focus on the task at hand while ensuring nothing gets left out.
Some people are born planners, able to stop the myriad threads of thought concerning various ongoing projects from becoming entangled, keeping ideas and conversations separate and in motion like some kind of plate spinning wizard. Luckily for the rest of us, there is a whole host of free platforms at our disposal to keep organized on the back end and ensure our communication is delivered clearly, timely and succinctly. Once you choose the right tools for you and your business, you’ll be amazed how much easier things become when you add just a little more structure to any project.
Who is Abbie Garcia?
A recent transplant from Austin, TX, I’m entranced with the spirit of originality and opportunity that I seem to find around every corner in Baltimore- I’m falling more and more in love with the place all the time. Being new to consulting in the area, I’m excited to continue learning about local businesses and entrepreneurs and interested in conversations about bridging the generational gap between boomers and millennials and ushering in a new era of collaborative commerce on a local, independent scale. Learn more or contact me here.