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22 July 2013

Starting an online shop, part 3: organisation

A key element to running your own business is organisation. It may seem like an obvious thing to say but that's because it's essential. If you want to progress, be taken seriously and provide excellent customer service, then you simply can't do it without being organised.

If you've been practising, experimenting and researching your product, then you've probably built up quite a collection of tools, materials, and paper work. Well, I can tell you now this "stuff" is going to multiply as you test out new designs and ideas further down the line. So, before it gets chaotic (if it hasn't already), put a whole evening/day/weekend aside to organise yourself. Now, I'm not going to tell you how to rearrange your desk because we all have different ways of working and different ideas of what constitutes space. What I will advise, however, are some key areas to focus on and few top tips for good measure.



Paperwork
Don't let your paperwork pile up whatever you do. You've chosen a lovely new ring binder, right? So, get filing - in sections! And remember to keep all those receipts for your tax return.

Supplies & tools
Whichever way you decide to organise your supplies and tools, remember to put those items you use regularly within easy reach, not buried at the bottom of a drawer. For example, my key tools - embroidery hoop, needle, threads, scissors and pencil - are all within hand's reach. Trust me, this saves energy when you're asking who saw your scissors last kind of a scenario!




Photos
This might seem like a strange one as you take a photo of your product and upload it, right? Unless you're a whiz with the camera, then you'll probably start out by taking quite a few photos. There's nothing wrong with this. In fact, it's good practice and with time, you'll speed up. Whether you're experienced or not, make sure your photos are organised into folders on your computer. Do this as soon as you upload a batch. Trust me, this really takes the agony out of it when you're looking for that great product shot to upload on to your online shop/blog/website.

Notebook/calendar/diary
If you have an idea a minute, then make sure you have a notebook to hand to jot those thoughts down on. You may feel a bit overwhelmed or lacking in time as you're starting up your business or even as you progress! Just remember you're not a robot, so break those tasks down into bite size pieces and schedule them into your calendar/diary. This works both for procrastinators and those who don't know when to stop. Talking of time, you may find my recent post all about the lack of time interesting.



De-stash and de-clutter
You may get to the point where you have tools and supplies that you simply have no need for or you've just run out of space. Put some time aside and have a proper clear out but before you chuck anything, why not have a de-stash sale, either online (e.g. ebay) or at a carboot or even a craft swap with friends. That way you're not only helping someone else out but you can also recoup some of the money spent on supplies.


I hope you find this post helpful. If you have any top tips, please feel free to share them below. Next month, as part of this series, I will be looking at the scary topic of Money!

Until then, happy organising!



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