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April 2019 Newsletter
In This Issue
  • Thanks for Joining Us!
  • Dust Off Your Business Operations
  • Clear Space = Clear Mind
  • Ensure Proper Documentation Retention
  • Quick Reference: Spruce Up Your Website
  • Quick Reference: Must-Haves to Keep Your Office Organized
  • Quick Reference: Clean Up Your Hard Drive
  • Coach's Corner: 5 Steps To Spring Clean your Business
April 2019
Volume 6, Number 4

Thanks for Joining Us!

April is here already! We're well into spring, and have left the sometimes closed-in feeling of a long winter behind.

Spring cleaning is the time when we declutter, refresh and deep clean our homes. We start to look at some of the chores that have piled up and the little (or big) things that have been neglected over the colder months. Those same principals can be applied to our organizations as well. Taking just a little time individually or tackling bigger tasks as a team can make a big difference to how we feel about our organization and also how it is perceived by clients, funders, service users and other stakeholders.

Take the opportunity to do it now before we all get swept up in holidays and the dog-days of summer!

Keep reading for more learning!

Dust Off Your Business Operations

Spring is here, bringing with it that extra bit of mental energy that comes from the return of fresh air and the end of snowy cold. The change in season also creates a chance for companies to review their processes. So what can your business streamline and de-clutter to improve operations?

Examine Automation: Take a closer look at all aspects within your company, from bookkeeping to customer support and manufacturing to marketing. Can you integrate new software and/or hardware to streamline operations, and free up time and personnel for design and business development?

Audit Your Activity: Step back and analyze your daily activities, as well as the activities of your team. Look for inefficiencies, clutter, overhead and other “junk” that’s accumulated over time. It’s remarkable how much we do out of habit, never stepping back and asking ourselves if there’s a better way.

Question Processes: Even the most mundane and tested processes can have massive room for improvement right under your nose. Encourage your whole team to question everything and ask “Is that the best way to do it?” — even if it’s a process that’s been in place for years. A  “spring cleaning” is the perfect time to go through every process and look for improvements. 

Freshen Up Client Documents: Are invoice templates, care instructions or other documents you've been providing to your customers starting to show their age? Go through all of those and find out if they can’t be improved.

Reorganize Systems: Did you develop systems and processes within your organization organically as needs arose? At the time, it may have allowed you to be agile. As companies grow, however, that strength may now be a weakness.Take a step back and say, “If we could do it all over again, how would set things up?”

Cut Out Unnecessary Meetings: It seems like meetings start to pile up throughout the year. Every new project somehow turns into a weekly call, meeting or update. Remove the unnecessary meetings from your calendars and reprioritize your time. You can even consolidate meetings if they can’t be removed. Whatever you do, just don’t let your calendar impact productivity. 

Clear Space = Clear Mind

As you organize, check out these recommendations for what to keep and what to toss:

Keep: Info from business cards (but toss the cards)

You’ve likely collected a lot of business cards over the years but after a while, not only do they start to take up more space, but they begin to get difficult to sort through. Save yourself some time (and free up a little space) by inputting that information into a synced contact list, database or spreadsheet, then toss the cards.You worked hard for those contacts, so having them backed up on a computer is really a best practice anyways.

Toss: Untouched social media platforms

Did you create any social media accounts for your organization a while back with the best of intentions to get it up and running, but then just...never did? If so, it’s probably time to delete those accounts. This doesn’t apply to Facebook and LinkedIn; we highly encourage you to have and utilize those platforms for credibility purposes, at the very least. But this is more so in reference to those “nice to have” or "flavour of the moment" platforms. If you have accounts but nothing on them, it’s probably time to say goodbye. It’s better to have a strong presence on two or three social media sites than it is to have a weak presence on five or six.

Keep: Member or client survey data

Hopefully you survey your members or clients on a regular basis whether electronically or via standard pen and paper. These may include satisfaction surveys, post-event surveys, member exit surveys, etc. However you capture that feedback, make sure at some point it winds up on your computer, where it is easily accessible and searchable and can be backed up properly.

Toss: Old emails

Spring really is the perfect time to clean out your email inbox. Go through and delete everything that’s no longer relevant or necessary. At the same time, create a folder system that will make finding emails in the future easier. It may take a little time to set up, but you’ll thank yourself later.  At the same time, clean up email lists – whether you send newsletter and emails to clients, funders, donors, volunteers, staff and/or others, there are sure to be some old, unused, incorrect or otherwise useless email address. Take the time to go through your lists and delete anything that no longer serves a purpose.

Adapted from: The MemberClicks Blog 
Ensure Proper Document Storage and Retention
You never know when you are going to need certain financial records and other business data,” says Mitzi Weinman, of Needham MA, a time strategist and author with Time Finder.  “Not having it could lead to legal repercussions.”

Establish a records management system to properly retain important documents like contracts, receipts, tax returns, etc.

It’s also important to make sure you’re storing sensitive information appropriately. The average cost to Canadian companies of a breach was $6.11 million, up 5.6 per cent from those who participated in the 2016 Ponemon Institute’s international Cost of a Data Breach study. By comparison, the global average cost of a breach was US$3.86 million. The study goes on to state that the average per capita cost of data breach over three years in Canada was US$211 million. 

Quick Reference: Spruce Up Your Website

You website is often the first encounter a person has with your organization. It may also serve as the main point of reference for potential employees, investors, clients, and vendors. Keeping your website accurate and up to date is priceless.

Add new content, edit where needed and delete old/inaccurate content. Check out leadership, staff and board pages. Also have a look at your ‘What we do’ or ‘How we help’ pages and ensure the write-ups are accurate.

Have you considered the ‘About Us’ section? Are you describing yourselves/your organization in a way the paints a true picture of who you are and what you are about?

Have you updated or revised your mission, vision and values? Ensure they are accurately reflected on your site.

Changing up the photographs and other images on the site as well as on your social media accounts also offers a fresh outlook.

Consider adding new, interactive content to your website as well.

Quick Reference: Must-Haves to Keep Your Company Organized

All-in-one printer. Most important is the scanning feature. An organization can scan nearly all of its important documents and store in My Documents, within specialized software, up in the Cloud, or on a backup server - depending on your needs. Where they are not legally required, original paperwork can then be shredded.

Shredder. Constantly utilize this to properly discard your confidential documents and paperwork

Accurate supply inventories. Organizing supplies lowers unnecessary spending and downtime. Keeping supplies in a central, organized location minimizes over-ordering and maximizes efficiencies. When you can easily see what’s in stock, you reduce duplicate orders and lost time from last-second runs to the office supply store.

Quick Reference: Clean Up Your Hard Drive

This task isn't glamorous, but  the payoffs are big. The following questions may give a clue as to whether or not you need to take a dive into your hard drive:
  • Do you know how to find any file at any time without having to use the search?
  • Would you say your filing system is consistent? Intuitive? Efficient?
  • Have you created random folders that are actually empty?
  • Do you have files saved that aren’t in a folder?
  • Do you have too many folders? Not enough?
  • Have you saved documents that you’re sure you’ll NEVER look at again?
  • When you open your file explorer is it easy for you to find everything you’re looking for?
  • If you had to leave the organization tomorrow or the board had to replace you, could someone step into your shoes, look at your computer files and know where to pick up exactly where you left off?
If any of these questions made you stop and think, then perhaps it’s time to spend some time tidying up your computer files. Digitally organizing, deleting and archiving files and folders that are no longer used removes clutter and allows for more efficient work. And the satisfaction will be tremendous. 

Creating a document management system (both paper and digital) takes quite a bit of time and effort. The Balance Small Business offers a detailed guide to help get started. You can read the guide at this link: 3 Steps to Creating a Document Management System 

...And Now For Something Completely Different!

DISCLAIMER: The video we've include below - part of a series by Tripp and Tyler of Office LifeHacks - makes some good points. It is, however, intentionally satirical, irreverent, and may cause offense
to some (sorry). 
How to Make Work Better
Organizing your business for maximum success takes experience and know how. 

Contact Wendy Ellen Inc. for assistance today!
About Wendy Ellen Inc.
Wendy Ellen Inc. specializes in providing human resource and benefits management skills to small to mid-sized companies on an as-needed basis. From recruitment, Human Resource policy development and legislative compliance, employee retention and engagement, individual advisor/coaching, succession planning to employee development and performance, Wendy Ellen Inc. will help you protect your most valuable resource, your people.
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