Professional organizer Jennifer Burnham tackles everything from hoarders’ homes to estate sales, corporate headquarters to home-based offices.
The 31-year-old started her Charlotte-based company, Pure & Simple Organizing, in 2010. She’s often called on to help small-business owners, and as an entrepreneur herself, she’s learned that small organizational issues can grow to be the difference between an exhausting day and an exhilarating one, a foundering business and a thriving one.
ShopTalk spoke with Burnham about solutions for corralling emails, saving time and maintaining a workspace. Here are her tips for your business’s spring-cleaning overhaul:
Tackling the inbox
Burnham said corporate managers and business owners will often hire her to retrain employees – and themselves – on email maintenance, so they’re able to spend more time on projects and less time on e-communication. Here are tips she shares with clients:
Streamline to save time
Burnham says it’s important that business owners don’t waste time repeating the same steps unnecessarily. Here are some of her tips for shaving minutes that add up to hours and days:
Thanks to Burnham’s help, Luckett now has documents with her logo that list her policies, process and pricing. Now, when prospective clients email Luckett, she’s able to reply immediately with the documents attached, rather than type out the same information in the body of the email repeatedly. Burnham also recommends converting these documents into PDFs, so that the formatting isn’t lost, no matter what operating system the recipient has.
Luckett says clients are regularly impressed with the speed of her reply, and the aesthetics and professionalism of the paperwork. As a small business owner, “you basically are your brand, and everything impacts your impression,” Luckett said.
Then don’t be afraid to schedule everything that needs to get done, Burnham adds, whether it’s blocking off time for administrative tasks or a reminder to take a lunch break.
A workspace that works
Burnham, who says she color-coordinated her crayons as a child, has a home office with matching boxes, notebooks and files, as well as a chalkboard-painted wall with her annual goals.
Doesn’t sound like you? No problem. Just make sure you have these items, she says:
Then name each file based on what will make for easiest retrieval. For example, if it’s information on a loan, it’s probably better to file it in a section called “loans” than a file marked with the lender’s name.
“A filing system should be set up so that it’s easy to retrieve, easy to find and easy to file,” Burnham said. “If it’s not easy, people won’t do it.”