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The Value of Organization and Time Management

How often do you find yourself looking for that important – yet somehow misplaced – piece of paper? Do you promise yourself that you’re going to become better organized, but find the days, weeks and months slipping by with too much work to do and not enough time to start that new filing system or categorize your overflowing email messages?

Everyone can benefit from good time management skills, but these practices are particularly valuable for entrepreneurs, who typically wear many hats on any given day and don’t ever seem to have a second to spare.

Here are some tips that successful small business owners and time management experts have shared with us:

The best and the worst of times –To better assess what changes might be most helpful for you, it is crucial to understand how you spend your time each day. Where are you not making the best use of your time? Another way to approach this is to note what you are doing differently on the days you find yourself most productive.

Are you diligent at daybreak or mentally best at midnight? Do you need solitude and a deadline to focus, or do your best ideas seem to be found after social interaction or when you’ve taken the time to simply let your mind wander? But it’s Leap Year, so I got an extra day – Every day has 24 hours, and there’s nothing you or I can do to modify that. It is up to each of us to manage our behavior: it’s the only way to better cope with the finiteness of time.

Eliminate those distractions that are not helping you become productive. Find a system that works to help get – and keep – you on track (there are many available, so choose something you feel comfortable with and will use). Set realistic goals toward better time management. Streamline your inbox and organize physical and electronic files of information.

Routine tasks need handling, but perhaps they need time limits. A perfect example of this is reading and responding to email. If you keep an eye on incoming email messages all day long and then stop to respond immediately, there might be room for improvement by simply limiting the times you read and reply. Many small business owners put email at the top of their list as an area that truly needs better organization and time management. What’s really important – Make that decision and prioritize each day accordingly. Many small business owners feel they accomplish more if they begin with the most difficult challenge. Usually this is the very task one wants to avoid but by facing it first, with fresh energy and a clear mind, you might find it wasn’t so bad after all. When using this approach, deadlines are often met ahead of schedule.

Let someone else do it – Determine which jobs could or should be outsourced, and then allow someone else to do the work. Tedious or simple tasks could be contracted out to free up your time for something more precious, and those areas that fall outside your comfort level and areas of expertise should definitely be left to the professionals.

Just say “no” – Only you can decide where your time should be spent. In addition to running your company, you want to ensure you enjoy quality time with family and friends. Most entrepreneurs are also involved in their communities, which is a wonderful way to serve others while networking to help grow their companies.

But, how much time do you really have? Many self-motivated business owners find it difficult to turn down requests to serve on boards or volunteer in other capacities. By thinking about your time restraints in advance, and realizing how much energy will be required for various community activities, you might find yourself making different choices going forward.

This pie is always being cut in different proportions: one year may be a great one for volunteering, as your youngest child heads off to college; another year might be too busy with helping your parents move, hiring new employees and wanting to spend more time with your spouse. Be true to yourself as you give of your time and talents. What I need most – Don’t neglect spending time just on you. Understand your physical and mental limitations and respect those times you need to take a break. When you find your schedule slowing, embrace it (that might be a great time to review your progress and switch priorities).

One final note is that some flexibility must be considered with anyone’s schedule, but by spending a few moments each day organizing and staying on track, you are creating habits and routines that will enable you to stay calm and focused as you manage your small business (and your life!) now and in the future.


The buzz is that if you are a Baby Boomer and you want to sell your business in the next few years, then you are in the majority. You are not the only Baby Boomer and will possibly have your business compete against many more similar businesses in both model and industry. In order to be well-prepared, you will need a proper valuation. Establishing a baseline value of your business will help you overcome weak areas that keep you up at night. Why would a buyer want to buy your problems? Some savvy entrepreneurs will want your problems, but most will not.


Check out our short video on the different types of Valuations.


Roger Murphy, our CEO, explains the different types of valuations we provide.

What DO Your Employees Want?

I have very fond memories of my first “real” job. After all, this was my initial step into the real world: no longer did I receive cash for a few hours of watching someone’s children; I now had my hands on an official paycheck – complete with my social security number, full address, and withholdings for the government!

I was attending college, so this was a part-time job at a (local) state bank a few blocks from my home. I originally answered an advertisement requesting help as a new accounts representative, but I soon found myself learning about every aspect of banking.

I did help open new accounts, but I also spent time assisting customers with their safe deposit boxes and working as a teller handling deposits, withdrawals, and other transactions.

The bank’s vice president and cashier took me under her wing and taught me a great deal about banking. It was an exciting and exhilarating time!

I learned about the FDIC and was privy to the bank’s safe, which contained the actual currency available at any given time. I was educated on why banks cannot be closed for more than three consecutive days in a row (and assumed this is why many banking holidays land on Mondays!).

I helped process personal and commercial loans and greeted customers as they entered our lobby.

Looking back, I believe the VP/Cashier hoped I would follow a career in banking. I did not take that path but think of that particular time in my life often (I really didn’t consider it a job … it was more like a fun internship!).

I’ve had a few jobs since that time, and several have involved personnel management.

My experience at the bank taught me a lot about how an employee wants to be treated. I was the lowest-ranking employee at the bank, yet was treated as the officers and board members were. I had the opportunity to learn as much as I wanted and work in various departments in the bank. I was never bored! I left with great references – and only took another job because I was considering applying for law school and wanted to have some experience working with attorneys.

Have you spoken with your employees lately? I share this experience as a reminder that a little bit of interest can go a very long way in helping workers feel valued and appreciated.

At the bank, we only had 30-minute lunch breaks. To offset that, the bank provided bread, deli meats and cheeses and frozen entrees. I am dating myself here, but my first microwave experience was at the bank! The point is, the bank asked for the sacrifice of a short lunch break but offered something in return for the favor.

Do you know what your employees really want? You might be surprised to speak with them individually. Each employee might want something completely different, but you may also find they share some common desires. And these desires might easily be within your budget and reach as an employer.

You might find an employee who really wants to learn and tackle new challenges. What a great internal resource! Teach that employee and empower him.

You may uncover an employee who enjoys working at your company but is bored stiff in his current position. Better to know this now than on the day he hands in his resignation.

You may learn that someone really wants to retire soon but has been afraid to mention this to management. In this case, knowing about an impending departure in advance can only lead to a smoother transition.

You may discover innovative ideas and uncover a willing spirit from some employees to learn and achieve more.

Take a moment this week to sit down with each member of your team for a candid – and possibly enlightening – conversation.