I started my business when I was 19 and quite frankly, I had no clue what I was doing when it came to keeping business records straight. I've learned so much over the years! For the first year, organization was "fake it til I make it". My records were decent, but definitely needed much improvement! If you're just starting out, here are some of my favorites for keeping records straight.
I highly recommend setting your to-do list for the day the night before. I use Trello for my to-do lists. I've tried paper to-do lists for years, and it usually became a jumbled mess of notes! Trello has the option to categorize each client with checklists, sort between URGENT and ON-GOING to-dos, and lets me drag and drop once each item is complete.
One of the greatest parts of Trello is the fact that I can make customized checklists for each client! For the longest time, I was trying to find a good system for this - through paper checklists, Excel spreadsheets, etc. and nothing seemed to be working! Trello has made it so easy to keep track of each client.
I can also make checklists for things like bookkeeping! I have a new checklist for every week for bookkeeping. It definitely helps me stay on top of things throughout the year, instead of when I'm preparing info for taxes!
I can't even begin to tell you how much I love this program. It's definitely one of the best investments I've made in my business so far. The only sad part about it is the fact that it's geared toward creative vendors + event planners. I wish it was a program every business could use!
- It keeps all the files and info for each wedding in one place.
Before HoneyBook, I had files for clients in multiple places, and now it's all in one place! It's great for me and my clients who have enough on their plates with wedding planning. We can send emails back and forth (which are registered in the event), send + sign contracts, clients can make payments online, and so much more. Now if I need to quick check to see their answers on their Questionnaire and refer back to an email, it's all in one place. Amazing. <3
- It has a calendar of each event and payment schedules.
I can now view what payments are due when each month, and see the events I have coming up.
- It tells you if you're available or not when someone inquires.
The contact form through my website asks for the couple's wedding date. HoneyBook will say, "Looks like you're available that day!" or "You're already booked. Want to send to another vendor?" Basically my own assistant. :)
I already blogged about TaxBot, which you can view here. It's another program that I can't be quiet about! It's helped me so much with staying organized and on top of my bookkeeping. I would recommend it to anyone.
It tracks your income, expenses, and mileage. I have an app on my phone that automatically tracks mileage, which means I don't have to remember to turn it on! I then go through and classify each trip as Business or Personal, and the purpose of the trip.
And there you have it! Those 3 are programs I use daily that have significantly helped organize my business. If you're just getting your business started, I highly recommend these three if it's in your budget. It will save you many headaches and mistakes down the road, and help get you started on the right foot.