Recently, my wife and I bought our first home. As new homeowners, we now know that we should always expect the unexpected.
Sure, we had an inspection, but that doesn’t guarantee that an old pipe isn’t patiently waiting its turn to burst, or that a renovation won’t yield bare wires behind drywall. And of course there’s always the possibility that termites or carpenter ants will silently eat away at a carport, garage or porch. You’ll only realize it when you lean against a post and it collapses to reveal it’s hollow.
Could we get termites? What’s the small business version of hungry pests?
Home Sweet…Small Business?
Much like your first home, “the office” started out as a long-held dream—one you may have imagined and planned for years. And while it still may be your ideal situation, the responsibilities can sometimes feel nightmarish. Gradually, you may have lost track of all the little tasks that keep your business running, and who’s managing them. It can cost you sleep—and dollars.
According to Constant Contact’s May 2013 study “Small Businesses: Then and Now Survey,” 59 percent of small businesses say it’s tougher to run a business now than it was in 2008. And if you’re experiencing significant growth, you’re probably finding that your old way of managing records and information just isn’t cutting it.
Curing “Lost Document” Insomnia
At this point, a lot of small businesses we work with come to us for information management advice. Consider these tips for fighting what may lurk in your storeroom and beyond:
1. Solve “The Mystery of the Disappearing Documents.” Will your records be intact, organized and legible when you need them? Given the unending stream of new government, state and industry regulations affecting your business, will your firm burn up personnel hours tracking down information needed to satisfy compliance demands? Or could an IRS audit or a subpoena set off a desperate scramble? A top-notch records management company can provide small businesses like yours with the assurance of on-demand access to vital information.
2. Vanquish “The Blob That Ate the Storage Room.” Remember when you were a kid and you were afraid of what might be hiding under the bed? Not only do your records need to be orderly and easily accessible, but they should also be safe from flood, fire, earthquakes, tornadoes and all the other bad things possibly lurking in your 3 a.m. brain.
Storing records offsite—far enough away that the next disaster won’t affect them—signficantly reduces risk. Make sure your storage solution comes with an expert records retrieval service so that you can carefully tag and index your files. Doing so helps put your business intelligence back in your hands.
3. Slam the door on “The Drama of Sneaky Storage Costs.” What’s the price-per-square-foot overhead of your storage room? An effective records management system can free up space and resources. You may even be able to repurpose that file room to generate revenue, or eliminate it altogether to slash costs.
Here’s an unexpected bonus of following these tips: When your information is secure, and you’re not wasting valuable real estate to store it onsite, you may actually get a good night’s sleep. Calling in the experts can help get you organized and tackle the little tasks that keep your business running.
By the way, speaking of experts—don’t forget to call the exterminator.