Archive for the ‘Business Success Tips’ Category

Does Your Business Have the Personality of a Carrot?

Wednesday, September 16th, 2009

Message from Michelle

September already–I can hardly believe it. My schedule is already filled with networking events, birthday parties, and fall festivals. On top of that, there’s completing client work and implementing my own marketing plan.

It’s easy to get busy. It’s too easy to get caught up in the doing. This issue of Sumèr’s Secrets is about slowing down–taking a break from the doing–and taking the time to look long and hard at your company’s brand message.

Connect With Me Online at:

Feature Article:

Does Your Business Have the Personality of a Carrot?

You might not think so, but do your prospective customers? If you want to achieve online business success and attract more clients, you must step outside of your usual realm of thinking and view your company from an outsider’s perspective. From the perspective of your target market.

Too many times businesses either neglect their brand message or don’t project it accurately. When this happens, a brand image is easily misconstrued and it can have a devastating effect on your business.

Don’t let your prospects think your company is comparable to a carrot–orange is out of style.

Here are some tips for making sure an accurate brand image is shining through in all that you do:

Step 1: Take inventory. Review your company vision and mission, what types of products / services you offer, what sets you apart from your competition, where your products / services are sold, and all the details about your target market.

Once you’ve done this, it’s time to take a hard look at how you are projecting your business message. Take out a piece of paper, and answer the following questions as honestly as you can.

  1. Is your message accurate and consistent on your website, your blog, and social media sites?
  2. Are your vision and mission expressed in your messaging?
  3. Are you speaking to your target audience or at them?
  4. Would you purchase a product / service from your company based on what you see from your marketing materials?

You may be surprised to find that your message is boring–extremely boring. Or you simply aren’t conveying an accurate message.

Step 2: Don’t feel down about Step 1–your findings do not mean your company is boring or unorganized or incompetent. It simply means your marketing message is not clear and accurate. Every business should regularly analyze how they’re projecting their brand personality and message.

Step 3: Ask friends, family, and colleagues if they would purchase from you based on your current marketing message. Make sure to ask people who will give you an unbiased opinion. If anyone says that he or she would not purchase from you, ask why. Perhaps your web copy does not project the correct business image, and you lose prospective customers who visit your site. Maybe your website design is jumbled and difficult for viewers to navigate through. Perhaps your website lacks a strong call to action or is simply boring.

Step 4: Now that you know where your website and other marketing materials need improvement, it’s time to revamp them and inject some brand personality. Whether you need web design work, a professional web copywriter, a blog marketing expert, or a social media guru, it’s important to find the right one who can provide you with the results you desire. Don’t hire just anyone. Do your research.

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Christophe Artisan Chocolatier-Patissier: Business-to-Client Gift Ideas

Friday, August 14th, 2009

You know the power gifts and thank-you cards have when it comes to customer retention, yet, you can never think of anything new to send. Well, if you’re tired of giving another plant or bouquet of flowers or gift basket . . . you’re in for a treat.

Sūmèr has found the perfect solution to the stress of gift giving. And that solution is chocolate. 

At a recent networking event, Sūmèr was thrilled to meet co-owner of Christophe Artisan Chocolatier, Carly Paume, and to find out that Carly’s husband, Chrisophe, is the master chocolatier of Christophe Artisan Chocolatier.

Christophe Artisan Chocolatier is located in Charleston, South Carolina, and specializes in handmade chocolates, which can be customized with company logos, specific designs, flavors, and more. With customized gifts to match any budget and personal preferences, Christophe Artisan Chocolatier should be on the top of everyone’s gift-giving list.

Sūmèr: What makes your chocolates the perfect gift for companies to give to their clients or employees?

Carly: Chocolate is wonderful for many reasons. It is a gift that is truly for everyone. Most people can find one piece that they love no matter what. It is also a gift that is genderless; both men and women love chocolate. And, it is a gift that can be shared. One box can be sent to an entire office. Giving a gift of Christophe Artisan Chocolatier heightens the level of appreciation, as it is also a gift of art—edible art. Also, with the focus on buying local, it is a great way to support a local company.

Sūmèr: What is the price range of your chocolates? Specifically, what can customers purchase for a very affordable price, and what can they purchase for a more expensive price?

Carly: We have a gift option for every budget. A one-piece box of chocolates can be purchased for $2.00 or a 144-piece box for $250.00, and there are options in between. A 4-count box retails for $9.95, a 9-count box for $18.95, and an 18-count box for $34.95. These are the boxes that we carry on a typical day, and they are made from faux-crocodile leather, which makes a very upscale gift. We can also make it more affordable by choosing different packaging, as we work with a few different companies. The possibilities are endless.

We do offer a discount based on the level of purchase. For purchases between $1,500-$5,000, we offer a 10% discount. And, with purchases above $5,000, we offer a 15% discount.

Sūmèr: We believe gifts with thought are a great customer-retention tool. If a company were to send chocolates to valued customers, why should they choose Christophe Artisan Chocolatier over another chocolate company?

Carly: We can customize the packaging and the chocolates more than most companies can, or will. There are more choices to the personalization of a gift. Our chocolate is also made here locally and by hand. These are not mass-produced chocolates filled with preservatives or low-grade cocoa butter content. Our chocolate does show a higher thought level, as we specialize in hand-painted chocolate, which typically gets an “Ooh” and an “Aah” even before it’s eaten.

I have a year of specialized corporate-gifting experience in chocolate from a company that I had worked at before, and therefore, I am knowledgeable about how details play an important role in gifting. The smallest detail can make a lasting impression. Using Christophe Artisan Chocolatier can take the stress off of gifting, since all we need is a list of whom the chocolates are going to, along with an address—we take care of everything else. You don’t even have to worry about shipping or delivering.

Sūmèr: How do you personalize gifts?

Carly: There are many different ways in which to personalize the gift. We can place a logo transfer on the chocolate itself or use a chocolate mold that would represent the company. We can also custom print the packaging with a logo or choose a specific color that represents the company. Customized stickers and ribbons are also an option. We work with many great packaging companies that can do some wonderful things with business logos.

Christophe is also great at making sculptures freehand, so we don’t always need a special mold. For the upcoming holidays, we’ll be making a lot of great items, such as a toy soldier, nutcracker, candle, ornament, and more. We also offer personalized message cards in the package as well, where a company logo and special message can be placed. Gift bags and baskets are always an option as well.

 Sūmèr: Do you send chocolates across the nation? Internationally? Will people eventually be able to purchase from you online?

Carly: We can ship throughout the United States but have not yet tackled international shipping. We will also deliver corporate gifts to the company placing the order or to their clients as long as they are in the Charleston metro area. We would love to have an online store by next year for purchases, but, for now, we can take call-ins.

Sūmèr: What’s the best way for prospective clients to contact you?

Carly: By email at or by phone at (843) 388-7495. The earlier the client contacts us the better. This way we can work more on personalization and make sure that we secure the packaging the client prefers. But, we also have options for someone the day before he or she needs the gift, or even the day of.

Top Five Twitter Don’ts

Monday, August 3rd, 2009

If you choose to participate on Twitter, don’t be a tweeter everyone dodges. It’s not good for business. Instead, focus on listening, adding valuable content to discussions, and building reciprocal relationships.

Knowing the right strategies to successfully tweet will lead to an increase in your website traffic, a boost in online exposure, and position you as an expert in your industry.

Familiarize yourself with the top five twitter don’ts:

1. Don’t be negative: Avoid complaining and being viewed as a Debbie Downer. No  one wants to read tweets that have negative connotations—it doesn’t add anything  constructive to the conversation and discourages followers from following you. This doesn’t mean you can’t disagree with someone. As long as you are polite and still add value to the conversation, you are more than welcome to disagree.

2. Don’t blatantly market and promote your business on Twitter: People don’t  use Twitter to be bombarded with advertisements; therefore, don’t use Twitter as an  advertising platform for your company. If you want to build a solid Twitter network with  working relationships, you must first listen and actively participate in conversations  relevant to your interests or industry. Once you have built a solid network and reciprocal connections, you can begin posting links to a few articles, blogs, or informative pieces about your company that you believe would provide value to your followers. However, be careful not to abuse your newly acquired position on Twitter. If you start to only tweet for business purposes once you feel comfortable with your network, you’ll immediately be back to square one. But this time, people will know not to follow you.

3. Don’t do all the talking: Twitter is very much like a cocktail or dinner party—  traditional social etiquette applies. For example, no one wants to listen to a chatterbox go off on a tangent about himself for an hour. The same idea goes for Twitter—no one wants to be tweeted at. Rather, Twitter is used for those who want to have intellectual discussions that provide every party in the conversation with valuable information. In the end, successful and solid relationships are built, and a network is created. By building relationships online, you can increase your exposure to potential clients and others in your industry.

4. Don’t neglect your Twitter account: Many people think that by setting up a Twitter account, they’ll automatically get followers and people interested in what they have to say. Some businesses even use autotweets—something that is frowned upon by the Twitter community. If you want Twitter followers, you need to work for them. You won’t build solid relationships if you’re not constantly present on Twitter. But how often should you tweet? Several times a day, throughout the day. Don’t pile all your tweets in during the morning. Space your tweets out in order to reach those who go on Twitter in the afternoon as opposed to the morning. Since fresh tweets always rise to the top of Twitter homepages, yours will most certainly be missed by those who go on several hours after you tweet. Keep fresh and valuable information constantly streaming through your Twitter account.

5. Don’t get discouraged when people you follow don’t follow you: Twitter is a great          place to find fresh and useful information, which is why it’s much more beneficial for you to        focus   on finding people you are interested in following. If you provide valuable information, they may   consider following you. Also, it’s not about the quantity of followers you have—it’s about the quality. Having just a few followers who provide you with valuable feedback and information and who are excellent connections for you to have are much more beneficial than having thousands of followers who don’t provide you with anything useful.

Two Twitter lessons to remember:

1. Proper social etiquette is essential on Twitter.

2. The Twittersphere can be a harsh place, which is why it’s important to always keep your Twitter dos and donts in mind.

Not familiar with the Twitter dos yet? Visit our recent Sūmèr post, Top Five Twitter Dos.

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Top Five Twitter Dos

Thursday, July 30th, 2009

When used properly, Twitter can be an effective tool for businesses to integrate themselves into the online community. But since Twitter is a sensitive medium, tweeting cluelessly can be dangerous.

Tweeting dangerously? Yes, it can happen. It happens all too often.

If you are constantly working to market and promote your business on Twitter, you may insult the Twitter community, and in effect, create a poor business image online. Twitter should not be used for sales pitches and for advertising—it should be used to build reciprocal connections with others in your industry, as well as your target market.

So, before actively participating in the Twitter community, it’s important to familiarize yourself with Sūmèr’s top five Twitter dos—because it might save you from Twitter rejection.

Top Five Twitter Dos:

1. Do have an account for both business and personal purposes: Twitter users like to feel that they’re interacting with a human being—not a company. Building personal connections on Twitter that also work as business connections is an excellent way to integrate yourself in the community and build working relationships. Just remember, don’t tweet about anything you don’t want known in the business and online community. Reputations can easily be tarnished if you aren’t careful.

2. Do let your personality shine through: One of the keys to success is expressing your distinct personality and showing a human side as opposed to just tweeting about your business. An effective tweet can share information, work to build relationships, or provide value to a conversation. Your personality should naturally flow out of your tweets.

3. Do follow people in your industry or those with the same interests: Following people in your industry is an excellent way to learn from each other and provide helpful feedback. For example, if you own a construction company that builds luxury custom homes, you may find it beneficial to build a relationship with several architects on Twitter. This, in turn, will increase your online exposure, boost site traffic, and possibly allow you to find an architect you’d love to work with.

4. Do listen: There is an abundance of valuable information circulating throughout Twitter, which is why listening to what others have to say is an important factor associated with successful tweeting. Listening also shows others that you aren’t simply using Twitter to post your own information—you’re interested in what others have to say.

5. Do actively participate in conversation: After you begin to get a feel for the personalities of the people you are following on Twitter, you can begin to participate in the conversation and lend constructive advice and comments. If you feel you have valuable information to share with your followers and those you follow, by all means, share the wealth. It’s a great way to illustrate you’re an active participant in industry news and updates, as well as someone who enjoys sharing helpful information with others.

Share your top Twitter dos with us. Or tell us if you agree or disagree with the above. We’d love to hear from you.

Networking: Be Aware Of Your Body Language

Wednesday, July 29th, 2009

How many times have you had a meeting with someone who has made direct eye contact only 50 percent of the time?

Everyone is guilty of this at some point.

Body language is a great indicator of how a person feels about a conversation. Frowns and furrowed eyebrows can make the speaker feel as though his  message isn’t getting across or is being disagreed with. This isn’t always the case. Many times the nonverbal cues could be misinterpreted by the speaker.

Avoid body language that may discourage the person speaking with you. Make direct eye contact, keep a neutral facial expression, and give nonverbal cues, conveying that you understand what the speaker is saying, such as nodding with understanding.

Also, be aware of proper personal space. In America, a business conversation should happen about four to twelve feet apart. This space differs from country to country, so if you are planning to attend a business meeting with foreigners, it would be beneficial to observe their speaking distance before the actual meeting.

Are You Effectively Connecting With The Online Community?

Friday, July 24th, 2009

In the above video, web public relations expert Brian Solis shares his expertise on how to effectively build relationships on social media sites. You might be surprised to find out the truth behind building solid connections . . .

Are You Missing Out On Connecting With Potential Customers?

Wednesday, July 22nd, 2009

In an exclusive interview with Shannon Chitayat, graphic designer and owner of inkportfolio, Shannon discusses the importance of sending the right message through effective marketing materials. inkportfolio, a full service graphic design and print management company, prides itself on its ability to portray an accurate business message for each client through effective design and business materials. inkportfolio thoroughly examines each business’s primary visions, target market, and competition before creating effective marketing materials and designs.  

Sūmèr: How do inkportfolio’s services benefit businesses?

inkportfolio: As a full service graphic design and print management company, our services are powerful tools for businesses—not only in helping businesses look great, but also in the success of a business. Our team has specialized design skills, techniques, and experiences that are used for the purpose of attracting people and increasing business activity.

It’s vital that the marketing materials used to promote a business look professional and send the right message. Every logo, brochure, advertisement, and business card that is seen plays an important role in establishing a company’s image.

It may not seem obvious, but design adds credibility. Think of the products you buy or the stores you shop at. Have you ever made a purchase choice because of the way something looked? I know I have.

inkportfolio’s services are not just about making a business look great. It’s also about consumers choosing one business over the other—we play a crucial role in that.

Sūmèr: What’s the number one thing you see businesses struggle with in regards to their graphic design?

inkportfolio: I think a lot of businesses consider graphic design as an expense rather than an investment in the potential growth of their company. This is a major problem since some of these businesses don’t invest the proper amount of research and time into the identity / brand of their company. When businesses neglect the brand image of their company, it often creates an unprofessional, inconsistent look on their website, sending the wrong message to perspective clients about their business.

Sūmèr: What are the top three benefits inkportfolio brings to companies?


1. Improves businesses’ images and strengthens their brands.
2. Makes their business stand out from their competitors.
3. Sells businesses’ messages to customers more convincingly.

Sūmèr: What steps go into creating graphics for companies?

inkportfolio: We first conduct an interview / questionnaire with the client to get a better feel for the project and their goals. We then research the company, the industry as a whole, and the competition in greater detail.

With the interview / questionnaire and research information in mind, we go to work on the design concept (or concepts depending on the project size and scope). Once we have a concept, we ask for feedback to ensure the idea is on target with the client’s vision.

After completion of the concept, inkportfolio presents it to the client and receives feedback. At this point we make final changes if needed and the files are off to final production!

Sūmèr: What makes inkportfolio unique to other graphic design companies?

inkportfolio: I have had the great fortune to experience all aspects of the design and print industries. From client services—as an art department manager—to a graphic designer to a business owner, I’ve seen it all. Having these experiences helps me approach design from many different perspectives.

Also, my years in the print industry, have shown me the ins and outs of the printing process—something many designers aren’t familiar with. I feel that for a designer to have this knowledge is priceless. This knowledge helps me make better choices for our clients, helps streamline the process, can help make more cost effective design decisions, and in the end, we create a result that everyone is happy with.

Visit inkportfolio’s website at and contact them via phone at 843.324.0931 or via email at .

Don’t Let Your Business Fall through the Cracks of a Market Shift

Monday, July 20th, 2009

Is your company seeing fewer results and lower conversion rates than ever before and you don’t know why? You spend all this time with your marketing message, but you’re not seeing the expected results. The question you must ask yourself is whether your website is speaking to the current market.

Recently, the market has shifted greatly from where it was a year ago, and even six months ago, to where it is now. Comparable to an earthquake when the ground cracks beneath your feet and you can either move with it or fall through the cracks, you must choose if your business wants to move with the market shift or fall.

People are still buying, but they’re buying for different reasons. An uncertain economy leads to uncertain buyers, and uncertain buyers need to know for sure they’re getting the most out of their dollar. In a nutshell, there’s no room for wasting money.

How can you apply result-driven marketing to your company? Simple. Your target market wants to feel a sense of security, knowing that your company is going to deliver the ideal product / service—and a product / service that’s worth their hard-earned money. The current market isn’t going to spend money on uncertain luxuries. This is where you shift your marketing strategies.

All it takes are some tweaks in your products / services and / or your company message. For example, if you own your own travel company, you might consider pushing more products and services that create a sense of security within the client.

Below is an example of products and services a travel company could implement in order to move with the market shift:

• Offer more all-inclusives: Promoting all-inclusives is an excellent way to cater to the current market’s needs. With all-inclusives, clients are certain about how much money they’re spending on their vacation before they even arrive at their destination. No surprises. No uncertainty.

• Offer more customized packages: Creating customized packages for your clients is an excellent way to ensure they do only the things they want to do. Packages ensure clients aren’t wasting money and precious time while on vacation. Clients can also rest easy knowing their vacation is planned out and prices have been written out for them ahead of time.

• Offer more promises: Making promises to your customers provides them with a sense of security. Promises that you know you can make will build trust in the client and allow them to feel relaxed and confident about their purchasing decision.

No matter what type of business you own, effective website copy that speaks to the market shift will help convert more website visitors into leads and sales.

Result-driven copy . . .

• Hits your target market’s sweet spot. People who were once buying certain products / services with a carefree attitude are now looking for security in their purchasing decisions. They want to know exactly how much it will cost, what the value of the product / service is, features of the product / service, and what benefits they’ll be receiving from the purchase. Your web copy needs to send a message to your target market that makes them feel secure. You are there for them and your promises are consistently met.

• Illustrates an accurate and clear business message. Well-written web copy will show your target audience that you’re a trustworthy and reliable company that offers valuable products / services. Providing your customers with accurate information, promises you can fulfill, and a sense of security is going to allow your target audience to feel confident with their purchase and with your company.

• Converts more website visitors to leads and sales. The goal of your website copy is to influence website visitors to take some kind of action. Whether that action is to call your company, or purchase online, your website copy needs to persuade viewers to take action. If you can build a sense of security and trustworthiness in the viewer before they even meet or speak with you, you’ve already made part of your sale.

How to Get the Most Out of Your Blog

Friday, July 10th, 2009

Message from Michelle

Hope everyone had a fantastic Fourth of July. I had a wonderful weekend relaxing and boating. This year, I experienced a firework display as never before. We anchored the boat in Charleston Harbor and had an amazing opportunity to watch the fireworks right in front of the USS Yorktown, where the fireworks were launched.

This issue of Sūmèr’s Secrets is about blog marketing and promotion. Too many people put up business blogs and neglect them. Or they frequently post but don’t do anything to interact with readers or other bloggers.

Having a successful blog requires more than simply posting on a regular basis. To be a successful blogger, you need to have readership, and you need to interact with the online community. Using a blog to its full potential means you’re marketing and promoting it online in a proper manner and writing posts that offer valuable industry tips, statistics, and information to readers.

Connect With Me Online at:

How to Get the Most Out of Your Blog

Blogs are an excellent online platform to provide valuable industry news and tips to your target market, but they are also an integral part of marketing and promoting your business online. Blog posts that provide value to your readers help position you as an expert in your field and a credible source for viable information.

If you want a successful blog–one with a large readership and one that brings you customers–simply posting regularly isn’t enough. You need to market and promote your business blog. Setting aside an hour or two each week to market your blog will help increase readership, position you as an expert, and grow your client base. If you’re not using your blog properly and to its full potential, you are missing out on increasing website traffic and boosting sales.

Below are 9 steps to effectively market and promote your blog:

Step 1: Attach the RSS feed widget to your blog: RSS feed stands for Really Simple Syndication, which is a file containing a brief amount of information–a headline and synopsis–and a link to the full content on the blog. Voluntary subscribers to specific blog RSS feed will receive this information through their RSS readers. Search engines can detect if your blog is high quality based on how many people subscribe to your blog’s RSS feed. In addition, search engines can detect how many people visit your blog from their RSS readers and how many times they click through to your blog.

Step 2: Import blog posts into your social media sites: With a large concentration of companies and individuals using social media sites to communicate, it’s important to import your blog into social media sites. Nearly all social media sites allow you to import your blog into your profile, including some of the most popular social media sites such as Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter. Importing your blog allows your target market to post comments and share posts with friends. Whenever a comment is posted on your blog from a reader via Facebook, the comment is visible on the reader’s minifeed, which can be seen by all of the reader’s friends.

Step 3: Create a blog marketing and promotion schedule: Creating a strict marketing and promotion schedule ensures you will stay organized and current with its promotion. Each week, set aside time to comment on like-minded blogs, ask other bloggers if you can be a guest blogger, or ask others to guest blog for you, and request to be on like-minded blogrolls. Don’t forget to set aside time to track your blog posts and recycle posts into articles.

Step 4: Comment on like-minded blogs: One thing many bloggers don’t realize is the importance of commenting on other blogs. Commenting on like-minded blogs is a powerful networking tool and works to increase inbound links to your own blog. Your comments should be relevant to the blog topic, add value and your expertise to what is being said in the blog, give positive feedback, peak the interest of the author and other viewers, provide links to similar pieces you may have written about the subject, and have a link to your email and website below each comment.

Step 5: Approach popular, like-minded bloggers, and ask if you could be a guest blogger: Search engines look highly upon blogs mentioned on other blogs because it illustrates that your blog provides intellectual material that ignites curiosity and discussion in the online community. Aside from other blogs, if search engines find your blog’s URL on social media sites and social bookmarking sites, these social media sites consider this a positive indicator that your blog is high quality.

Step 6: Approach popular, like-minded bloggers, and ask if they would be a guest blogger on your blog: Requesting like-minded bloggers to be guest bloggers is the perfect way to build relationships online and increase exposure. The more people you can touch and build working relationships with, the more likely you are to successfully market and promote your blog. Having guest bloggers also shows you are interested in what others have to say and are striving to find the best possible industry information available. 

Step 7: Request to be on popular, like-minded bloggers’ blogrolls: After commenting on other blogs and requesting to be a guest blogger–and vice versa–it’s time to request to be on those bloggers’ blogrolls. Since you have a basis of a relationship with most of these bloggers now, you are more likely to receive a yes to be on their blogroll. Being present on other blogrolls helps increase inbound links and drive targeted traffic to your blog and website.

Step 8: Track blog posts: Tracking the popularity of specific posts helps you see what topics are of interest to your readers. Regularly tracking your blog also helps you track key phrases people use to find your blog and the amount of click-throughs you receive.

Step 9: Recycle posts into articles: Recycling past blog posts into online articles helps to increase inbound links, position you as an expert in your field, and reach thousands of potential customers. Articles are the perfect way to recycle important and valuable information and share it with thousands of individuals who have never visited your blog before.

Tip of the Month

Although it is hard to judge how many blogs are created, Wordpress (a very popular blog platform) reported 2,906,086 new blogs created on just their platform in 2008.

Business Success Requires Less Organization Than You Think

Monday, June 29th, 2009

Organization. It’s essential to running a successful business. And it’s often overwhelming to begin. Instead of stressing, we asked Sean Johnson, professional organizer and owner of Organized Bliss, to share with us tips on how to keep organized. 

As a Professional Organizer, I’m often called in to help business owners get organized in their offices. What I usually find are stacks of paperwork, file cabinets that aren’t properly set up, and random sticky notes all over the desk with important information that could easily get lost or forgotten. 

What I learned long ago is that, even though we value our clients and their business, we need to value our business and our office environments as well. It reminds me of the flight attendant doing the standard emergency speech, which states that parents must put their air masks on first before attending to their children.

The question we all need to ask ourselves is, how are we taking care of our business so that we can take care of others? How many times does a client call, and you have to call him or her back because you can’t locate a file needed for that conversation? Not only does this cost you time, but it could also cost you money. It never looks good if you appear disorganized in your business. Personally, I want to do business with someone who is on top of his or her game. And, usually, that person has incorporated a few organizing skills into daily and weekly business routines. 

Here are five tips that I recommend to get the order going:

1. Do set up your files in alphabetical order using hanging files (categories) and file folders within (sub-categories). This system should be for current files. Files that are no longer needed should either be recycled or placed in a storage box (if needed for tax / legal purposes) and stored away. If at all possible, print out your labels as opposed to using handwritten labels. Printed labels are uniform and make it easier to locate a file within seconds.

2. Get an Inbox. Place all incoming mail and projects that need to be addressed in an inbox. Make it a daily routine in the morning to go through your box to see what needs to be addressed that day. An inbox should not be the big, black hole. Whatever goes in must come out, and physically going through it daily insures that flow.

3. Get a notebook. Get in the habit of keeping a notebook by your phone. Each morning, start a new page with the date at the top to record any notes from conversations, calls, reminders, etc. This stops the confusion of random notes and pieces of paper all around the office. Keeping a business notebook is helpful in retrieving information and also serves as a backup in case you need to remember a conversation or detail from weeks or months ago.

4. Use a Daytimer. Whether electronic or handwritten, Daytimers are a necessity for keeping us in the know on where we need to be and when. I personally couldn’t live without one. I refer to my Daytimer several times a day, and it travels with me to and from my office. All appointments and plans are logged daily.

5. Set up a weekly cleanup routine. This is the time to address your filing and clear the deck in your office. Pick one morning or one evening a week to go through your paperwork. Turn off the phones and email. Uninterrupted time will help you focus on getting the job done quickly and efficiently. Avoiding this task will ultimately create disorder and stress. On the other hand, making the time for this routine creates a sense of calm and control in your business environment. Easy choice!

For more information, visit the Organized Bliss website at or contact Sean via email at or by phone at (843) 856-1847.

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