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Organizing A Small Business
"My ADHD husband has a small outdoor advertising company. I have started to work with him and am trying to help him get the business organized so that he can keep up with his clients. He has a habit of getting distracted while on the phone, and is so often sidetracked as he works that it takes twice as long to get the job done. Of course, this makes the customers angry. Do you have any suggestions on how I might be able to help him organize his business in a consistent way that can be reviewed 'at a glance' so that he is aware of what's going on at all times?" -- CMA, TEXAS
Visual cues are so important for both children and adults with ADD. I'd suggest he look into using a large whiteboard to keep track of his current clients and current jobs. Create a template on the board that tells him exactly what he needs to know at a glance. For example, he could have the customer's name, the job name, contact information for thecustomer, the status of the job proposal, estimate, order, pending, in production, etc. when he's supposed to call back, the estimated finish date and a place for comments or notes.
He can even use a different colored pen for the different stages the job is in - proposals or estimates are written in red ink, actual jobs are written in green ink and customersto call back are written in orange. Using color would help him quickly identify for a customer on the phone the status of that particular customer's job without having to shuffle through a file or stack of papers. Whiteboards or planner boards come in a variety of sizes and styles - many even come with grid lines and information pre-printed on them. He may want to see if there is one already designed that has the information he needs so he doesn't have to create it himself.
TimeWise Catalog has an extensive variety of boards to choose from, they will even custom design one for him. Contact TimeWise Catalog by phone at 1.800.523.8060 or by email at .
It might also be a good idea for him to set aside certain times of the day or certain days of the week to concentrate on specific aspects of his business. He may designate mornings as the best time to spend on the telephone, making or returning calls, and afternoons as the best time to make the signs themselves or do administrative or paper work. This can be kind of tricky to manage, however it's an excellent time management technique that will help keep him focused on what he's supposed to be working on. If appropriate, you can even make some of the follow up calls for him, which would leave him free to do other things.
Holly Uverity is an organization expert who runs the Houston-based firm Office Organizers. She is the founding president of Houston Professional Organizers and is a very active member of NAPO, the National Association of Professional Organizers.
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