Is your business limping along and losing cash? Before you blame your CFO, look in the mirror. Could disorganization — your disorganization in particular — be taking its toll on your company’s bottom line, and ultimately, its financial success? It might, especially if your personal lack of organization is hampering your organization’s ability to move fast and get things done.
In 2022, Skynova conducted a study to find out why 500 startups failed that year. Forty-four percent of founders said they went out of business because they ran out of cash. When asked what they’d do differently if they could go back in time, 29% wished they’d managed their finances better. And 79% had some clear advice for their entrepreneurial peers just getting their brands off the ground: Learn from your mistakes.
These numbers are interesting because they suggest that many of the entrepreneurs who were polled found themselves in financial difficulties because they didn’t apply smart fiscal strategies. And when you practice organization skills both at home and at work, you’re in a stronger position to apply those skills to making confident financial decisions. You’re also poised to reap the personal and professional advantages that come from being organized, such as having more time on your hands, being less distracted by physical (and mental) clutter, and not missing important meetings.
Leading a more organized lifestyle might take a little time, but it’s worth pursuing. Just adding one new organization-focused “best practice” every month can have a profound impact over the course of a year. Don’t push yourself by trying to reorganize everyone at once. Take it slowly and let each new technique become part of your everyday habits. That way, you won’t experience change overload, which could cause you to revert to your disorganization comfort zones.
5 Key Organization Strategies for Achieving Financial Success
1. Look for ways to automate wherever you can.
The emergence of AI-powered technologies has had a profound influence on our everyday existence. Now, it’s possible to eliminate mundane duties and “busywork” by turning them over to automated systems. Forgot some snack items when you went to the store yesterday? Have them delivered to your house instead of making a second trip to the grocery store. Hate vacuuming? There’s a Roomba for that.
If you make a daily commitment to efficient practices and utilizing automation tools, you can save yourself precious minutes and even hours in your day. This surplus of time can be reinvested into your company, and by embracing the latest automation software and tools, you can likely free up even more time each day.
For example, think about all the manual tasks you perform, like physically updating all your calendars and contact lists — a tough, time-consuming job that gets more challenging as you scale. Historically, it’s been impossible to avoid physically coordinating your calendar and contact information when jumping between different programs and applications. Not anymore, thanks to CiraHub. With CiraHub, you can sync all your data simultaneously across multiple platforms: CRMs, Microsoft 365 mailboxes, Google calendars, etc. You only have to key in data once. CiraHub populates this information across all connected platforms, using a two-way syncing system of checks and balances to ensure accuracy. As your list of contacts and calendar events grow, you can manage everything while doing less, not more.
2. Outsource wherever it makes sense.
There isn’t always a system or app that can tackle your to-do list on your behalf, of course. But there are ways to outsource many of the less pleasurable duties and functions that never seem to get done. Part of the journey to being an organized individual is being willing to address all the things that have been backburnered for far too long.
Take gardening and lawn care. Maybe you enjoy trimming your trees at home, but you can never seem to do it. You say you will, but every time you roll up the driveway, you see a messy yard brimming with brushy overgrowth. Paying someone to take care of the tree trimming, at least for this season, will remove this nagging responsibility. Though you’ll pay for the service, you’ll avoid the mental stress of knowing you’re behind the proverbial eight-ball on your residential “curb appeal” goals. When you’re less stressed, even just a bit, you’re more able to give attention in other places. That’s good for you as a leader of a growing company that wants to achieve financial success.
You can outsource almost any internal business operations, too. From fractional CMOs to payroll management agencies, outsourcing partners are ready to wow you. Setting up outsourcing arrangements allows you to shift more off your and your employees’ plate onto others’. The free time you get in the process can be used to find ways to better allocate your resources toward your most profitable endeavors.
3. Find places for all the stray objects in your house and workspace.
Right after the pandemic, mDesign and OnePoll asked people about their personal organization habits. Most admitted that their lives were more cluttered than they’d like. Nearly three-quarters of participants said that they’d feel less anxious if all their possessions had a specific home.
Think of your living spaces or even your desk. Would you describe those places as neat and tidy? Or do they look like a tornado touchdown spot? If you’re leaning toward the latter, you probably need to go on a physical decluttering mission.
When you’re surrounded by messiness, you can lose your concentration. Though you may not feel like all those stray objects have an effect on you, they do. As WebMD reporting points out, living amid clutter can make your mind wander. A piece from The New York Times adds that clutter can also lead to feelings of shame. And if you have a condition that affects your attention, like the millions of adults with ADHD, you could find it even harder to pay attention. Consequently, putting your “stuff” in order may help you put your finances in better order, too. And what’s more, having your finances in order can put you one step closer to financial success.
4. Prioritize the art of planning and goal-setting.
Did you know that making and following plans can be a way of organizing yourself? The act of writing a plan forces you to think of the logical steps to reach a desired goal, such as increasing your personal wealth. Chances are strong that you’ve already written at least one plan, a business plan, for your startup. However, you may be like other founders who have fallen into the trap of leaning on your instincts to make rapid decisions.
While there’s nothing innately wrong with listening to your gut as a leader, you could wind up hurting your company’s financial standing –and therefore its success– in the process. When you’re not following a carefully arranged plan, you may be tempted to make rash choices. Take your branding, for instance. Let’s say you go to a conference and hear about a cool new way that another organization is branding. Rather than taking it back to your team for consideration as part of your next quarterly marketing plan, you just tell your marketers to implement it. No data. No forethought. Just a reaction to what you’ve recently seen.
As you can imagine, this type of knee-jerk response is understandable but dangerous. You might end up allocating a large portion of your advertising funds toward an untested strategy. Worse yet, you could harm your current branding and confuse the public. Are there times when it makes sense to deviate from plans? Absolutely. But if you’re always pivoting and never staying the course, you’re constantly moving targets around — and you’re unlikely to hit any of them.
5. Pick a mentor to hold you accountable for being more organized.
Mark Zuckerberg had a mentor: None other than Steve Jobs. Bill Gates did as well, the financial success wizard Warren Buffet. In fact, many of the top leaders have ensured their success through mentoring. Having a mentor carries tons of benefits, including being able to ask someone to hold you accountable. Since you want to become a more organized individual, you can ask your mentor to keep you on track.
Being accountable to someone aside from yourself can work wonders to motivate you. When you know that your mentor is going to ask, “Were you able to stay organized this week?”, you want to be able to answer, “Yes.” Of course, you might slip up. That’s only human. When that happens, your mentor can work with you to redirect your attention.
In looking for the right mentor for this responsibility, aim to find one who is both organized and an excellent money manager. You’ll be able to learn some of their organization tips that made them stronger and wiser founders. Don’t be afraid to ask for hints, either, especially if you struggle with a particular aspect of organization like time management. Any advice will help you master your own organizational prowess. In the future, you may be able to mentor others, allowing the mentoring experience to come full circle.
The Importance of Staying Organized
Never underestimate the importance of organization as an entrepreneur. Truth is, you can have a revolutionary business concept, hire a crackerjack team, snag some investment dollars and still have trouble meeting payroll if you’re disorganized. That’s disastrous for you personally and professionally. A better solution is to automate, outsource, declutter, plan, and get advice so you can organize your life and be more of an asset to your company. By considering these strategies, you can create a route to financial success for your business.
Featured Image Credit: Photo by Karolina Grabowska; Pexels; Thank you.