You thought you'd get ahead of the game and run your business solely online, which was, quite frankly, a good call. Smart entrepreneurs realize that an online presence has no geographical boundaries and little overhead, so pat yourself on the back. But have you really organized your digital business so that you're free to focus on the business?
If the answer is no, here's your guide to organizing your digital workplace so that you save trees and make more money—a win-win for everybody. These tips will help you clear your head and your office so that your business is entirely online, streamlined, and lined up for you to focus on your company.
This might be your dining room table or a room with a door in a leased office space. Regardless, getting your personal space under control is the first step towards moving all your data to the internet.
Best app: None. You've got to put in the manual labor here.
No matter how successful your business is, you're going to be more profitable if you set down a business plan and stick to it. Your plan should be flexible enough to meet shifting market demands and supply chain issues, and comprehensive enough that you always have a roadmap for the next week, month, and year. Here's an outline for the plan structure.
Workflow is the trendy way to talk about how you get stuff done. How do you work best? Do you take advantage of all the resources you have? Do you delegate where you can? An effective workflow system helps you stay on track by documenting everything your team is doing at any given time, letting you figure out the best practices for your company. Task management software makes workflow planning easy, and the data is easily shared in real time with your entire team.
Time management is not the same thing as workflow, but for an entrepreneur they're hard to separate. A good task management system will help you figure out exactly how you spend your time and help you maximize your productivity, which is, again, a fancy way of saying if you're a morning person, get up early and get going.
Best apps: Trello, Asana, ClickUp
Online entrepreneurs tend to fall into the trap of not paying attention to financial management, at least not until sometime in January when your accountant is standing on her head. From day one, treat your business like a business—open a separate account for your company and keep track of your income and expenses via an online system that links to your bank. This not only takes the headache out of your accounting, and makes tax time infinitely easier, but also helps your budgeting process.
Best apps: Quickbooks Online, Turbotax for Small Business, Square
Face it, your computer is probably a complete mess and needs a good decluttering, just like paper files need to get tossed and trashed. If you can, use separate computers for business and personal use, but if that's not practical set up individual accounts on one computer. Here's how to tidy up your online files and apps.
Most entrepreneurs have several email accounts, and spend hours every day sifting through perfectly useless communications searching for that one that's really important. Unroll.me shows you all those emails you've subscribed to so you can get control of your inbox. Gmail users have the option to use Google extensions that organize messages.
Best apps: Sanebox, Unroll, EdisonMail
Really successful entrepreneurs will tell you that with social media, less is actually more. Focus on the quality of your content rather than the quantity; smart, thoughtful content will generate more business than a thousand mindless shares, likes, and comments. Determine the best platform for your business and focus on putting the bulk of your content there. Then, incorporate your social media schedule into your task workflow so you always know when you're due to post content.
Best apps: SproutSocial, SocialPilot, Sendible
In this article, we went over the various aspects of running a virtual business. From establishing your “why” to having an outlet and platform for each process, these are all great ways to future-proof and automate your online business.
Now that you've organized your business, let Desktop.com help you keep it that way. We're the experts in online collaboration and app management, and offer the most comprehensive solution to keep your team communicating, collaborating, and stay clutter-free. Learn how our digital workplace can work for you today!