We all know the importance of archiving your documents and the benefits of doing so, but are there some instances where archiving shouldn’t happen?
Every day, your business generates information and data. It can be anything from petrol receipts to the information you collect when customers buy online. You have legal responsibilities to keep some of this data. However, many companies hang on to information “just in case”, a state that could lead to document archiving costing you far more money than it needs to even if you have chosen to use an offsite cheap storage unit rather than expensive office space to store the documents. It is increasingly common for small companies to make use of self storage rather than waste valuable office space for storage. The costs are generally low, especially with all the good self storage deals around but it may still be money that your business doesn't have to spend if you are storing documents that you don't need.
Knowing the law
In many ways knowing what you should not or don’t need to keep is fairly straightforward – you just need to be aware of what the law says in relation to your business sector and industry.
As a general guide, you should always keep documents, data and information relating to:
What documents you don’t need?
However, in spite of having these five points relating to documents you must keep, many businesses still hang on to information that they really don’t need. On one hand, you may think that you may need the information or document but on the other, it makes archiving documents a cumbersome and heavy process.
To help you understand whether you need the documents or not, ask yourself these four questions;
Telling a story
Your business records essentially tell the story of your business, charting its rise from humble beginnings to the thriving business that it is today. Keeping documents safe is important, and not just for the regulatory or legal reasons. Backing up data is important too but a separate activity to document archiving.
If you are unsure what to keep, for how long etc., a professional document archiving service can help.
I've been running my own business for 8 years now and there hasn't been a single moment when I have regretted giving up the 9-5 corporate drudge. Even when I have been uplate and night or (more usually) up very early in the morning to fit it all in and still have time for a good family life. After all what is the point of working for yourself if you never get to see you family and give them the time and attention they deserve? I know not everyone thinks that way as there are plenty of parents who put their jobs first and I know, they won't admit it but you just have to look at the time they spend with their kids. I simply don't believe that quality time makes up for quantity time with them especially in the early years but also later on too.
So running my home based business has meant less sleep for me but hasn't compromised the very reasons I am doing this.
When I first started my business my home office was full of the products I was selling online, and the boxes in which to pack them for shipping. Eventually I outsourced the packing/shipping to a company who provided warehousing for the products but found there were simply too many products getting damaged or the wrong products being sent. I was then faced with the dilemma of where to find enough storage space to house my stock at a price I could afford and where to find reliable staff who could do a decent job packing and shipping my products – which were often large and fragile (what a combination!).
The answer was literally staring me in the face as I regularly passed a local self storage facility. What I hadn't thought of was that this was the perfect place for cheap storage because I had always associated self storage with moving house. How behind the times I was. It turns out their units were full of stuff for small online businesses and they even offered a packing service. It wasn't of course "too good to be true" and who would want that anyway as there is no such thing – because there is a cost to this service but it turned out to be cheaper than the company who were supposedly the experts at this and, more importantly for me and the reputation of my growing business, they were good, reliable packers who shipped the right thing at the right time and the damage rate was very low.
My business is now thriving and growing in a way I couldn't have imagined 8 years ago.
As the Holidays begin to peek around the corner people are beginning to search for ways to make money at home for the up-and-coming gift giving season. Not only that, the recession has hit people hard and I honestly believe that home based businesses are going to explode in the coming years as more and more people look for ways to make money at home.
Whether you choose to offer a decorating service or a grocery shopping service, advise people on how to declutter a home or, indeed remove the clutter in your truck - the options are endless.
10. Grocery Shopping Service. Put an add on Craigslist or in the paper that targets the elderly and busy moms. Have people email their shipping list to you and you can do their shopping for them. If you advertise in Craigslist you will not need to spend any money on marketing.
9. Internet Tutor. I personally do not know a single person who does not own a computer. However, there are still millions of people that are completely clueless (my mother-in-law) when it comes to operating their computer and using the internet. Again, you can advertise on Craigslist for free. Charge by the hour.
8. Hauling Service. If you have a truck you can advertise a Hauling Service on Craigslist. Offer to haul away peoples junk, tree branches or trash and charge per load. With decluttering so popular as people seek to get more organised and create a less stressful life their are plenty of people who need someone to remove their clutter. (See this Ultimate Guide to Decluttering if you need some encouragement to declutter)
7. Translation Service. Are you fluent in another language? Start a translation service or become a tutor.
6. Holiday Decorating Service. You can decorate residences and businesses for the upcoming Holidays. You could do both interior and exterior. Charge by the hour.
5. Garage Cleaning. Clean up and organize peoples garages. After the initial cleanup you can up-sell bicycle racks, shelves etc.
4. Window Washer. Charge by the window or by the size of the house. You don’t want to charge hourly because you can clean a LOT of windows in one hour.
3. Lawn Care Service. Mow, trim, weed lawns and include leaf removal during the Fall. You could also include snow removal during the winter months. You will need a good mower and trimmer to start with. Investigate the competition to set your rates.
2. Start An Online Business. Join my blog by signing in with your name and email address on the home screen and I will provide you step-by-step instructions on how to start an online business.
1. Blogging. There is now a complete blogging and marketing system that you can use for $25/month. The best part? You can share with it others that want to blog and you get 100% affiliate commissions for everyone that uses your affiliate link to join. $25/month in residual income for everyone that you share the blogging and marketing system with. In my opinion, this is the best way to make money at home.
Many extremely organised people cannot understand how disorganised people can actually manage to get any work done in a cluttered office. De-cluttering can increase productivity and efficiency as well as creating a calmer and more pleasant environment in your home office. When you clear the clutter and take control of your life you will be more productive - trust me.
Declutter Your Home Office and Become More Productive
When working from home, different people work in very different ways – some like to be extremely organised, with a filing place for everything and everything filed in its place. Others like to be surrounded by piles of work – maybe they think it makes them look busier when their partner arrives home from the daily commute. But more likely they work in a "mind-mapping" way with lots of connected pieces of information set out across their desk or even around the whole room.
The extremely organised types cannot understand how the seemingly disorganised types can actually manage to get anything done - and yet they do manage to, and often in a more creative way.
But if you are the "disorganised" type (or perhaps a better description is that you work in organised confusion) there will always be times when you lose that vital piece of paper: the important invoice, or contact details or just a scrap of paper where you noted down that brilliant new idea. That's the point when you might start to think there is some benefit to being more organised and consider decluttering your home office. Clearing space in your office can help create a less stressful environment that will lead to a more organised, clutter-free mind.
In order to embark on the arduous task of de-cluttering we need to feel motivated that a clutter-free office will be worth all the effort. If you cannot appreciate the advantages of de-cluttering then you will never do it. We also need to understand that de-cluttering is absolutely not about throwing away items that you actually need but it is about knowing the difference between the things you need and the clutter.
So avoid the excuses, aim for a less stressful working environment and just get started de-cluttering your home office – here are 7 top tips to help you:
What shouldn’t be a surprise is that the number of small businesses are currently seeing hyper-growth! There are millions of people out of work that are trying to figure out what their “plan B” is and that often means starting a small business.
Unfortunately, if 1,000,000 people start a business this year only 50,000 will come out victorious. There are several factors for these numbers but I think the biggest is the lack of knowledge and training, and an awareness of the best ways of improving the profitability of your small business.