Folders on a computer or server should be organized with the same care as a giant room full of filing cabinets. No company would allow their employees to just walk in and stick their folder anywhere, things are labeled, and there is a system. For many small businesses there is no rhyme or reason to the folder system.
Whether you are a one-person office with one computer or a group of employees utilized a shared server the pertinent people and/or office
manager should sit down and carefully devise a system of organizing and naming folders and files and write-out a simple protocol that everyone call follow. A massive reorganization can take a hefty commitment, but the time saved in the long run can be huge.
It’s okay to enlist someone more organized than you to take on the task of creating and implementing filing system. It’s worth doing and you’ll be happier once all the files make sense.
Here are a couple strategies to get those organizational juices flowing…
- Folders by the YEAR. This is especially handy for things like bookkeeping. Taxes are organized by year, shouldn’t your tax files be too?
- Folders by CLIENT or PRODUCT. If you manage many clients or products, keep pertinent files in individual client or product folders, within these you may subdivide into different years or topics.
- Folders for IMAGES. Definitely keep folders with original image files, then organize by topic and/or date.
- Folders for EVERYDAY stuff. Do you have files you reference or need everyday? Why not put an everyday folder on your desktop with copies of those files.
- Folders for RANDOM stuff. Do you deal with a lot of attachments and random files all day? Throw them into one folder on your desktop labeled ‘random’ and then commit to taking one hour each week to clean it out and properly file away those documents.
- Folder for PROMOTIONAL materials. This folder should probably be several folders, but it’s important to have one place where you store all materials you use to promote your business. Including a stash of various logo files. This is also a great place to throw testimonials that you receive or articles you’d written or had written about your business. Having these files on hand and easy to find is a must for any business.