As women, we each wear quite a number of hats—mother, wife, caregiver to name a few.  More and more, women are adding the role of business owner, more specifically, entrepreneur, to their lives.  Over 10 million businesses are owned by women; 1.9 million of them are owned by women of color.  Never before have so many women been calling the shots.

Clearly, women mean business, but to really mean business you have to handle your business.  Do any of these scenarios sound familiar?

  • You waste time looking for things because your paperwork isn’t organized
  • Your tax returns aren’t filed on time because you can’t find all of your receipts
  • You incur late fees due to bills not being paid on time
  • You miss connecting or following up with prospective and current clients
  • At times you feel overwhelmed
  • You’re working plenty of hours but nothing’s getting done

Unfortunately, these things happen quite often and are a way of life for a lot of women in business.  Because you wear multiple hats and because life moves at the speed of sound, you have to create systems that support you in running your business.

First things first, tame that paper tiger!  Set up a solid filing system so that every piece of paper has a home.  Your paper filing system should have three categories: reference, action and archive.  Determine which files fit each category and set up your system accordingly.  If your paper has a home, you’ll spend a lot less time looking for it and more time getting things done.  Chances are that if your paper files aren’t orderly, your computer files aren’t either.  Your electronic filing system should look just like your paper system.

You can’t successfully run a business if you don’t have a good accounting system in place.  For accurate and easily accessible records and having everything in one place, choose one of the user friendly accounting software packages on the market.  Set up files for your receipts, client invoices, bills, etc and a process for entering things into your software so that everything gets recorded.  Use the benefits that the software has to offer to the fullest extent.

To keep track of your prospective and existing clients, use a contact management system that will allow you to not only enter an individual’s contact information, but one that will allow you to make note of where you met them and what product or service they might be interested in.  You also want to be able to track the times that you’ve spoken with them or attempted to contact them and have a way to set reminders for future follow up.

Finally, you have to manage yourself in a way that has you on top of everything and getting things done.  If you don’t currently have a time management tool that is working well for you, it’s time to assess why it’s not working and determine what would be more appropriate for you. Once you have it, learn how to use every feature and use it to its fullest capacity and set up other components as a part of your time management system.

Put these things into place and use them regularly, and you can be rid of the aforementioned scenarios and have control of every aspect of your business.  Even when you’re wearing multiple hats, with these things in place you will be large and in charge, calling all the shots; able to handle your business.