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Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Organization and consideration help in the tough spots

I wonder where that Contract with Big Co is located?
Trash is trash unless you decide the items are antiques.  Coins have a face value unless they are collectors’ items.  Patents are valuable until you are paying huge fees for patents that will never protect your commercial product.  Accounting documents are extremely important to your business unless you do not keep them properly or miss file them, then they may cost you money.

Organization, document filing, and cataloging of assets is critical to your company and the skills help protect the business in the unfortunate situation where key people are no longer available.  Take for example a company that required 4 audits over a 6 month period just to bring the financial files into compliance and obtain the proper opinion letters from the auditors.  The filing system was a mess and prior record keeping was not effective.  The costs of 4 audits and the housekeeping required to finalize the process was costly!

Patents are very important to many companies.  What happens when the cost of maintaining the portfolio reaches a very large number?  Weeding out of unnecessary patents becomes the only way to reduce the costs.  This is housekeeping but it usually happens when finances become tight and you try to trim the expenses.  Consider regular reviews because you may save money and time.

Have you ever worked next to a coworker that was a bit like an oil slick?  They start in a small area and their stuff creeps and creeps until they cover a massive amount of territory.  Then someone has to require either the worker to clean up or worse yet, you have to do it because the worker is no longer there.  Then finding all the critical items or documents becomes a huge task.

Some people take a lifetime before they decide to review their stuff and organize it.   Occasionally, they leave before the task is completed then others must weed through everything and identify the items critical to retain.  Antiques, valuable coins, titles, tax returns, contracts, agreements and much more become either valuable or trash!  Making those decisions is not easy and the time required can be extensive.

The issue is that learning to keep documents and other items organized is essential for transition or maintenance.  A business that does not learn to manage their documents and assets will be doomed to waste time and money on clean up at the most inopportune moments.  Storage of long-term documents and assets are great, but where are they and how are they valued.  Eventually, someone may need to convert the items to cash or enforce agreements.   Retaining original signed copies of agreements is important when one wishes to seek legal remedy for breach of agreements.  If you do not remember where they are, your search may turn up empty at a critical time.

Thinking ahead and developing organizational skills can save time and money.  This is the case whether you are planning disposition of assets after death or your company is considering raising capital, merger, acquisition, sale or liquidation.  Organizing documents and assets is important.  You may also need to foster consideration for the others in your business by finding ways to prevent the “oil slick” types from expanding too far. 

In the words of a wise man, “a word to wise should be sufficient!”  Starting a business has lots of busy work and planning that may shift your thoughts away from good organizational skills within the business operations.  Try to keep the organizational skills and spring cleaning urge as part of your thinking.  It may save you time and money in the future!

  Taffy Williams is the author of:  Think Agile:  How Smart Entrepreneurs Adapt in Order to Succeed to via Amazon