How to Get Organized This Summer So You Can Hit the Ground Running this Fall Jessica Lunk During the summer, kids are on break, families take time off, and you and your staff are squeezing in summer vacations. While summer can be slow for many businesses, the back-to-school and back-to-work season is right around the corner. Will you be prepared to dive in and handle the uptick in activity as the cooler months breeze in? Summer is the perfect time to turn downtime into an opportunity to get organized. Here are a few tips for tying up loose ends over the summer so you can hit the ground running as business picks up in the fall: Organize Tax Records to Stay Cool with the IRS Organizing all of your business tax records isn’t the most glamorous task, but the peace of mind it brings is well worth the effort. Keep all of your employee tax records as well as records documenting expenses, gross receipts, credit card charges, account statements, and sales invoices. Set aside a designated place to keep all tax documents and receipts neat, tidy, organized and accessible. Good summertime recordkeeping will keep you cool should you receive an IRS notice to substantiate items on your tax return or if your business is audited. Say Goodbye to Paper Bid paper farewell to free up more time – and more office space. Use software-based bookkeeping tools to get organized in the accounting department. Small business bookkeeping software, like Quickbooks and Bench, offers cloud-based invoicing, accounting, and billing. For other documents overflowing in your filing cabinets, you can scan your documents with a management system like Genius Scan. Use Expensify to digitally manage receipts and expense reports. Use an app like CamCard to capture new business cards, so you can toss them rather than collect them. Once everything is filed electronically, you can go ahead and shred all that paper and free up space on your desk. Best part is, you’re always just a click or two away from pulling up important documents. Free Up Time with Social Media Software While having a social media presence is important, manually updating social media feeds throughout the day can be distracting. Social media software tools like Buffer, Sprout Social and Hootsuite let you schedule updates across multiple platforms, helping you to reach your audience with timely content. In addition, these tools can help you monitor what your audience is saying about your business and your industry. With social posts in the can, and mentions of your business being tracked, you can relax on the social front and focus more energy on tasks that directly impact sales. Get Virtual Assistance Good help is hard to find, but today there are loads of options for managing your schedule, tasks and appointments. For instance, Square’s appointment app lets your clients book appointments online and even check out on the spot with your device. A virtual assistant can take calls, act as your gatekeeper and schedule your appointments. Grasshopper can set you up with a virtual phone system that runs on your mobile device, so you can conduct business on the go without ever missing a call. And don’t forget that you can keep communication flowing between your business and your prospects and customers by automating tasks with Hatchbuck. Ramp Up Contact Management Managing leads, prospects, and customers is an ongoing challenge, especially if you’re disorganized. Use CRM software to keep communication, notes, tasks and activity all in one place. When contacts are organized, you can filter and segment your list on the fly. Reach hot prospects with an irresistible offer. Stay in touch with old customers. Spark the interest of new leads. Keeping contacts organized means you can spend less time hunting down contact info and more time building the relationships that keep your business humming. Just because it’s the summer season, doesn’t mean business has to slow down. With some smarts and technology, you can get organized, keep those sales flowing and accelerate business into the fall.