Quit Wasting Time Hunting Down Files: Organize Your Client Folders

Help! I’m going crazy with all the digital paperwork!

This is an issue I often see when my clients and prospects are overwhelmed with the “piles” of digital documents around them.

So, how to focus on the business and tend to the customers and clients when you have to hunt down hundreds of documents to get things done?

With folder structure.

Did you know that the typical American employee/employer spends two hours a week just trying to find papers?

Woah, that’s about a hundred hours a year!

Just take a deep breath and imagine you’re losing more than a hundred hours of productivity every year.

That’s profitability running straight out the door.

Losing money because your paperwork is not organized? It sucks.

But you can put a halt to all that disorder-craziness with a proper folder structure in place.

What is Folder Structure?

You’re working on an important deadline, when ding!, there comes a message from your colleague:

Hey, do you have that meeting note from last month’s meeting with that fussbudget client? He is asking for something that seems out of scope, and the boss wants us to dig in and check if his request is legit.”

Uh oh. That’s a message you wouldn’t want to see.

But you did. 

And, darn, there’s no escape.

Now, you’ll have to scroll through hundreds of folders and documents to find a simple record that you should’ve kept handy.

In fact, until now, it was handy. Or was it?

Well, this is why you need a folder structure.

Think of it as that binder you store all your physical documents in. It kills disorderliness and keeps everything organized on your systems.

It’s your solution to document clutter.

How To Build A Client Folder Taxonomy?

  1. Create a template — Have a standard folder structure template in place. When you know how to create a folder structure quickly, you’ll spend less time making it when you scale.
  2. Define the hierarchy — Don’t dump everything in folders. Focus on a logical progression and categorize the folders either by project, client, or department.
  3. Label them right — Hey, don’t rush when saving files in folders. Name everything descriptively to save time and frustration as you search later on.
  4. Create shortcuts –—While an efficient folder structure is your savior in most scenarios, you need shortcuts for the most commonly used folders and subfolders. But, don’t flood your system with shortcuts either. Go easy on them.
  5. Version and Iteration control — Create processes for storing and keeping track of versions and iterations of deliverables.

Why is Folder Structure Important?

Well, a good folder structure is crucial in various scenarios:

  • When you want to find an item without wasting your time
  • When you want to make your systems easier to manage and sustainable
  • When you want to reduce the digital mess
  • When you want to avoid the risk of people using the wrong document
  • When you want to have a structured approach to manage all the deliverables and documents and enable sensible search

So, there you have it, the ultimate guide on saving time with folder structures.

Master the Skill of Folder Structure

When it comes to managing client folders, you need a folder structure that makes document search easier and folder organization better.

Level up your folder structure skills by:

  • Creating a folder structure
  • Using templates
  • Maintaining a folder hierarchy
  • Labeling files, folders, and everything in between
  • Creating shortcuts
  • Implementing version/iteration control

Before you get busy with creating that perfect folder structure, download this free client onboarding guide and toolkit to optimize your client onboarding process.

Creating Sexy Systems with Smart Technology and Even Smarter Documentation

Stop employee morale degrade

Stop productivity dwindle

Stop profitability downswing

Most of the clients I’ve worked with faced some common “problems” before I helped them step up their processes.

Some of these issues I regularly hear about are:

“We don’t have the bandwidth to take another project.”

“We don’t know how to collaborate better.”

“Our team is too scattered. We don’t have a centralized database for information sharing.”

“An important client asset is missing; I don’t know where to find it.”

“Delegation is a nuisance. How to do it quickly without micromanaging?”

So, how to improve, Juliana, how?

I say with the right TECHNOLOGY and DOCUMENTATION.

If you’re lost in processes (like many businesses), take your employees out of the confines of their silos.

Enable them to collaborate and ramp up better — with the power of technology and documentation.

I’ve said this before, and I’ll say it again: make your team collaboration-and-delegation-ready because the lack of collaboration and delegation leads to inefficiencies.

And you can scale your inefficiencies faster than anything else.

Here’s how you can leverage technology and documentation for creating BEAUTIFUL PROCESSES and SEXY SYSTEMS.

Technology

I understand that chaos is the order of the universe. 

Choosing the right tools and pieces of technology will help you:

  • Work across verticals
  • Work across platforms
  • Work across teams – especially the collaborative and telecommuting ones

I mean, how to find all the information you need to get your business going?

For example, if Employee A is in Sydney, Employee B is in Singapore, and you’re sitting in New York, how the heck are you going to collaborate?

You would need all the information in one place — without banging your head against the wall.

Enter technology, and you’re on your way to cutting out the crap and improving performance.

Technology automates tasks and creates efficiencies. So, you and your group can concentrate on the more critical parts of the business — the BIGGER stuff.

Documentation

There’s no ONE document that you need to keep handy all the time.

You have to keep ALL your business documents easily accessible by all who are involved in your business processes.

From the video screencasts to the screenshots, the meeting minutes, the agendas, the contingency plans — every single piece of paper — hard copy or soft copy — should be well-documented to get into the nitty-gritty of the workflow.

Documentation helps you delegate things quickly and help people ramp up quickly.

Let’s say, John, your Account Manager, leaves the organization. You hired a new manager, but they’re clueless about which client needs what.

So, what will save your bacon? Documentation, baby.

When all your information is documented, your employees will be able to use it without any fuss — whenever, wherever.

Documentation = Quicker Delegation = Conversions $$$

It will also help you create quality along the way and have people do things the way you want them to do reliably.

So, as you skate around your expertise, take technology and documentation along with you. They’ll check off your goals sooner than what you’d do otherwise.

And they’ll keep your sanity intact.

Don’t Let Your Tasks Fall Through The Cracks

  • Adopt the right technology for better collaboration
  • Adopt documentation to track all of your projects and delegate quickly

 Here’s to stepping up to the next level.

If you have questions on what tech and documentation processes we use here at ScaleTime, leave a comment, and I’ll share it soon.

5 Pillars for Creating Stunning Processes for Your Business

Struggling to create a process? You’re not alone.

Companies lose 20-30% of their annual revenue due to inefficient processes.

And that’s freaking HUGE!

Many of my clients and prospects ask me, “Juliana, how can I create processes for my business?” Or I sometimes get, “How can I improve the processes I already have?” 

I advise: Rip those layers of red tape must-dos and GET SH$T DONE.

Processing a process is way more than having repeatable systems in place and that super-strong desire to document.

It’s the meta process of your business. It’s how you take the core part of your business and make it effective and efficient.

At ScaleTime, we understand you need super-awesome systems. And you need super-super-awesome processes to help your systems level up.

To unlock opportunities for efficient, effective and quality scaling, we use the following five pillars.

So, brace yourselves for the grand reveal of our killer five-stage approach that works for us every time and will work for you too.

1. Workflows

First, you need workflows. These are the repeatable steps that you need to keep track of your projects. They’re fantastic at giving you a bird’s eye view of the core part of your business.

So you can track a document easily. But workflows? That’s a different animal altogether. 

Creating a workflow process for your business is a checklist that lives in your project management systems and CRMs, helping you track the work being done. This lets you breathe more easily because you can see the workload, capacity, and deadlines. 

Think of the workflow as aides you need to define the people and technologies involved in the processes. And creating them is nothing less than an art – because your processes’ beautiful execution begins with the rightly crafted workflows.

2. Tech Stack

When creating business processes, you need to be skilled at leveraging technology. Because at the end of the day, it’s about collaboration. No matter where your team is, you need that collaboration to be visible and trackable. 

The main things in your tech stack should be: 

  • Project manager
  • CRM
  • Accounting software
  • Scheduler
  • Password protector

Your tech stack should include technology that creates efficiencies, streamlines communication and automates specific tasks so that your business can focus on high-level stuff.

3. Documents

How in the world can you delegate things quickly when there’s so much to do?

Through documents.

These are the support assets you need so that you are not reinventing the wheel.

This step of the process includes spreadsheets, decks, screencasts, screenshots, client documents, agendas, and all the information that helps you get into the nitty-gritty of the workflows.

It’s your key to faster delegation and to enable people to ramp up quickly.

4. Training

Remember that your business process is agile. You won’t have the same processes when you’re a $1 million business vs. a $5 million company.

As your business scales, it changes everything — from sales to production, from project management to the people involved. You need dynamic instructions to teach people how to perform tasks and reach levels of excellence.

This is where training helps.

It ensures you don’t get stuck in a rut and enables you to innovate and ramp up confidently.

5. Metrics

Metrics are the numbers that measure the efficacy of the processes.

Right Measurement = High Profit.

Understand and measure the key performance metrics for your business’s core part:

  • Metrics
  • Outcomes
  • Time a process is taking
  • People’s performance

This will help you drive results and profits.

So, there you have it: the roadmap to successful processes.

But, hey, when you have stunning processes in place, remember to keep optimizing and updating them.

Treat them the same way you treat your marketing campaigns or product launches. Because sustaining successful processes is as important as creating them.

Repeat After Me: Your Meta Process Is A FIVE-STAGE Approach Involving:

  • Workflows
  • Tech Stack
  • Documents
  • Training
  • Metrics

Go ahead, rock it.

If you have any questions, feel free to reach out to me.

I’d love to know how you optimize your processes and which processes cause you the most headaches.

And if you’ve crushed it in a process, I’d love to know that as well.

What Choosing Your Systems has to Do with Dating

Let’s skip the small-talk… And no, this is not the speed-dating circuit. Grab a seat here at the bar, settle in, order a drink and I’ll jump right into sharing some of my secrets… Ready?? OK, great, let’s get started…

Whether it’s a project management system or a client relationship manager (CRM),

there comes a point where you realize you need a system to download your brain, track and keep up with your workload, you need to update your system or you need to switch to a new one.

“Juliana,  there’s so many systems out there; what’s the best system?”

Well… the app store comes out with a shiny new, friendly funded startup app for systems almost monthly, if not daily!

It’s overwhelming.

Of course it’s part of my gig to be playing with these new systems all the time — so I do have many thoughts, opinions and complaints on the matter.

But that’s not answering the question.

So let’s rephrase — What is the best system for YOU, Right NOW?

Tweet This: Here’s the kicker: what’s a great system right now, guaranteed, will not be a good system 5 years, or even 1 year from now. Annoying, right?

So, I like to think of the process of picking a system like dating.

“Whhaaaaat?!?”

Lesson 1 — Don’t get too attached and align with your values. (Ughhh I know — here come those attachment issues).

Lesson 2 — Play the field! You are going to want to date a few systems before you commit and see which one fits you and your team the best. (Did someone say poly?)

Lesson 3 — Your systems are like looking for Mr or Mrs right nownot Mr/Mrs future. You are not marrying it, you are just going to have a very adventurous short term relationship with it (ouch!).

>>>Want to make sure you’ve got the most crucial systems in play? Download this systems check to find out.

Here are some things to look for when you are in the dating phase of your systems search…

Think of this as your ScaleTime Systems Value Set:

#1. Is it user-friendly?

How is the user experience? Is it easy to navigate?

Better yet, is it easy to train your staff on it? (This will save time, money and headache).

It’s just a matter of facts — attractive apps get more action.

#2. Is it mobile-friendly?

When you’re running around closing deals and making it rain (oooooh yeah!), can you track what your team is doing?

Will you be able to see if milestones and deadlines are being met? Can you review on-the-go so you don’t become the bottleneck of progress?

A lot of business is done on the go — will you be ready for that or do you want to be called and texted and asked for the 50th time what needs to be done next.

#3. Is it visual?

Is this something that is easily viewed and maneuvered? Can you drag and drop? Or do you feel like you needed to go to a top programming school just to make an edit?

If it’s not easy to set up or edit, chances are you won’t use it and your staff won’t use it. Leaving you with another sad and lonely tool that is shelved and a full email inbox of “how do you do that, again?”

#4. Is it collaborative?

Can your team work on it simultaneously? Does it have templates? Can they share, review, edit and comment on it? Can you?

Teams are becoming more flexible on how they work, where they work and on what devices they work — be prepared to set them for success no matter what.

#5. Does it report?

Can you run quick reports? Can you easily track progress? How do you know if your team is actually performing? How do you know when and  if the business is performing?

Sometimes systems can feel like a data sucking black hole. You just input input and input without any return. It’s important to view what the data is saying so you can see trends, seasonality, hiccups and challenges. Clarity allows us to make better business decisions.

“Everyday is a new day to make better choices”

(—my man Deepak. It just got deep in systems world).

#6. Overall: is it easy?

Running a business is hard; your systems don’t have to be.

Not every system will fit your style or your team; so flirt some and date around.

There’s plenty of apps in the marketplace sea!

Ready for the first step?

>>>Download this Systems Check and if there are any crucial systems your team is missing.

Well, it looks like the bar’s closing for the night. Thanks for the drink! It’s been fun so let’s do this again sometime okay?

Oh, and one last thing before I go… Disclaimer! Don’t actually use this or talk about this for your dating life!! LOL