Tips & Tricks

Personal Tips for Small Business Owners to help Stay Efficient and Effective

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As a small business owner you’re wearing many hats – marketing, accounting, business development, among others – and it can be overwhelming at times. To manage the day-to-day stresses of running your business and keep your sanity, it is important to effectively manage your time and take advantage of the resources that are available to you. Brother Canada suggests its top three tips to help maximize results in as little time as possible.

 

 

1.    Focus on What’s Important…Keep a To-Do List

The challenge for many small business owners is how to prioritize activities that will bring in new business while ensuring that the existing business is being successfully managed. With today’s technology, it’s easier than ever to get and stay organized. Whether you use a “To-Do” list on a software platform or a smartphone app, be diligent about identifying and focusing on critical action items and deadlines. It’s good practice to end your day reviewing and updating your to-do list because it’s fresh in your mind and allows you to set your game plan for the next day. An additional bonus to staying organized: you can sleep a lot better when you know you’re accomplishing your daily goals because it means you’re on track to achieving long-term goals.

2.    Delegate Tasks

You started your business from scratch and it’s been your blood, sweat and tears that has gotten it to where it is today. So, it’s no surprise that many small business owners find it challenging to delegate some of their work. You’ve hired a team that shares your vision, so delegate because it helps give you the time and energy needed to deliver quality work to your clients. Here are a few tips to help you start delegating effectively:

  • Communicate the Task:  Clearly describe the project or task, indicate when you want it completed and define the end results you expect.
  • Consider Decision-Making Authority:  Consider granting the authority required to complete the task because this will remove roadblocks and prevent delays.
  • Get Commitment:  Just because you’ve assigned a task doesn’t mean your employees accept it, be sure to confirm their commitment to completing it in the timeframe required.

3.    Organize Your Workspace

Where did that invoice go? Where did I put my prospect’s phone number? Clutter – both physical and electronic – can negatively impact your productivity. Below are a few ideas to help you organize your office:

  • Create a Filing System:  A defined filing system for paper or computer documents doesn’t have to be complicated and it creates order on your desk or desktop. First, create separate folders for different needs. If you work with clients, for example, give each one its own folder, so you know where to store any document related to them.  For computer files, establish a naming convention (e.g. Client-ABC Company, Client-XYZ Association), so they’re grouped together by subject (e.g. clients, suppliers).
  • If You Use It…Keep it Close:  Don’t waste time looking for things you use every day, keep them close to you. If you’re always looking for your cell phone, buy a stand and put it next to your computer so you always know where it is. There are no rules. It’s your space, so organize it in a way that suits your work style.
  • Purge and Purge Again:  File or recycle papers you’re not using any more. If you need to keep files for legal reasons, scan or store them where they can be accessed if needed. If you’re unsure whether to throw something away, find a place for it away from your workstation but easily found should you need it.

Share your tips … How do you efficiently and effectively run your small business?

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Create Customized Marketing Materials and Help Save Money!

Many small business owners can attest that when you run your own business, every penny counts. Unfortunately, there are some costs that you just can’t avoid, like professional expenditures associated with your business registration. However, there are many simple and easy ways to help save money, including owning the right business machine for your office.

en-ca-main_posterOutsourcing your print jobs  gets quite expensive, creating your own marketing material is a great option! Owning a good all-in-one printer to print all your marketing material becomes imperative, like the Brother Business Smart ™ Inkjet All-in-One Series! Not only does it helps you save money, it helps you save time too.

CaptureThe Business Smart ™ Inkjet All-in-One Series provides cutting-edge technology in a sleek and compact design, and delivers the ultimate combination of fast print speeds, easy-to-use features, low cost printing, and up to 11″ x 17″ printing. Super high-yield replacement inks are also available, giving you better cost efficiency over the long run, and minimizing the number of times you have to change the cartridges. You’ll  print virtually anything in-house from presentations to signs for your upcoming event!

Another great resource is the Brother Business Center which offers many FREE templates online. You can create anything from professional signs, to posters, and business cards to promote your business or special event in a matter of minutes. There are many template categories which include beauty salon & spa, food & beverage, event planning, and childcare services. The platform is very user-friendly allowing  you to add your own photos, to customize your text, and decorations. You will be pleased by the professional results you can produce on your own without any help and expense.

Here are some of the materials you can start creating today!

  • Brochures – Create professional sales and service materials in just a few short steps.
  • Mailers – Design, print, and mail a professional sales or service brochure in minutes.
  • Posters – Promote your products, services or events quickly, easily, and professionally.
  • Calendars – Promote your products and services every single day of the year.
  • Business Cards – Customize, create, and print a business card that helps you stand out from the crowd.

You will see that designing your own customized, integrated marketing materials is so easy!

We hope this post has been helpful to you. Feel free to share your feedback with us on our Facebook Page today! www.facebook.com/brothercanada

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Forget Pajamas and the Couch, Style and Appeal Are at the Top of the List for Canadian Home Workers.

Designer Samantha Pynn shares tips on creating stylish, functional home offices that will be the envy of all your colleagues.

Designer Samantha PynnBrother Canada and designer Samantha Pynn are on a mission to help Canadians fall in love with their home offices again and create spaces that are both stylish, and functional.  Home offices are often neglected spaces  filled with clutter, mismatched furniture, and bad lighting but it doesn’t have to be that way!  Using some simple design techniques and Brother’s office equipment solutions, like the small and sleek Business Smart inkjet all-in-ones, to transforme home offices into a welcoming and productive place to work.

“People who work from home get the luxury of being able to design, style and create their workspace based on their own personal style,” said Samantha Pynn, expert interior decorator, stylist, and host on HGTV Canada. “As we all look to maximize every hour of every day, it’s time to reinvigorate our home offices to create not only stylish spaces but more productive, functional, and efficient ones.”

Canadians want to spruce up their home offices.  According to a new Vision Critical national survey* commissioned by Brother Canada, 82 per cent of men and women surveyed who work from home say they do invest time, effort, and resources into making their home office look stylish and appealing – but 20 per cent are still struggling to create a space that reflects their own style and personality and eight per cent work out of any place at home that is available and convenient at the time.

According to Pynn, there are a few simple techniques we can use to freshen up our home offices, which is important as 40 per cent of people surveyed say they plan on meeting with clients and colleagues at their home office:

  • Incorporate furniture pieces that seamlessly fit with your existing décor. Don’t be limited by traditional office furniture.
  • Use brightly coloured area rugs to create a defined space that’s all your own.
  • Brighten up your workspace with table lamps and non-fluorescent over-head lighting.
  • Use decorative trays to store office essentials and equipment like staplers, tape dispensers, pens, and paper to create elegant and functional groupings.

With one third (34 per cent) of employed Canadians working from home at least once a month, the survey also discovered these workers’ unique technology needs:

  • 82 per cent of respondents ranked printers as a very important piece of home office equipment  following only laptops (86 per cent), and well ahead of items like smartphones (40 per cent) and tablets (12 per cent).
  • 93 per cent of those polled agree that having the right office equipment, and technology is required to be productive.

“The survey tells us that people who work from home have really different needs in terms of technology,” adds Pynn.  “One of the greatest ways to create both stylish and productive home offices is with the new Business Smart inkjet all-in-one printers by Brother Canada.  With these all-in-ones you won’t have to give up precious workspace or style as they feature a sleek design that is perfect for smaller, modern workspaces and the home office.”

MFCJ4510DWSitu_21The Business Smart Series is available at Staples ($199.99 for the MFC-J4510DW and $249.99 for the MFC-J4710DW), Future Shop ($189.99 for the MFC-J4410DW) and Best Buy ($189.99 for the MFC-J4410DW). The MFC-J4610DW model is also available at other online retailers.

The Business Smart Series inkjets, like all other Brother products, include machine lifetime support. For more information about Brother or the new Business Smart™ Series, please visit www.Brother.ca/business-smart.

About the Survey:

Angus Reid Forum Methodology:

From April 2 to April 4, 2013, an online survey was conducted among a sample of 1,000 randomly selected Canadian adults who work from an office at home and who are Angus Reid Forum panel members. The margin of error — which measures sampling variability — is +/-3.1%, 19 times out of 20. The sample was balanced by gender and region to the profile of Canadian adults who work from a home office. Discrepancies in or between totals are due to rounding.

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