Small Business Office Management: Tips for Running Your Office

Starting a business: a perspective from one successful entrepreneur.

It wasn’t long after I opened my new business that I realized the first person I would have to hire would be someone to keep my office running smoothly.

I started my own business after many years of working for large corporations and thinking it would be wonderful to finally have my own office and the freedom that comes with that.

I would no longer have to answer to anyone who did not understand what I was trying to do and I would be in control of my own destiny as for how often I would work, what kind of work I would do and how much I would charge for that work.

After the construction on my new home office was completed and the phone had been installed I was ready to go – or so I thought. It was then that I found out I was completely ignorant of what it took to run an office!

Phones I knew how to get, but everything else needed to run an office was a challenge. Which machines would I need? Where do you purchase those machines? Where do you get supplies? I mean just the day-to-day supplies.

For instance, in the companies I had worked for if I needed a copy made, I either wrote out a slip of paper (a requisition form) or gave what I needed copied to my assistant to have her take care of it. I had never purchased office supplies yet they had always been readily available to me in those large companies. I just went to the supply room!

If I needed office equipment it was a matter of ordering it through a central supply because the company usually had a contract with a particular supplier to buy a certain model of copy machine or typewriter at a budgeted price. There was not much guesswork or legwork involved. And my assistant would take care of those “details.”

It’s not that I couldn’t have learned to do those tasks myself. I could have; but they are time consuming and when I was just starting out, I needed to focus on getting my business off the ground and then keep it moving forward and you should do the same.

While today’s supplies might be different, it may even be more confusing because now you need to know which computer to purchase (or lease?) and the same with copy machines and printers and fax (or one that does all three). Which machines will “grow” with your business? It is still a job best delegated.

I first found someone to help me on a part-time basis, and if you are starting out that will probably work for you, too.

Office equipment was the first purchase I made after opening because I always needed something typed, copied, stapled or mailed. And believe me it’s not that these tasks are menial – they are not. They are most important to the success of your business. I have employed many qualified office assistants over the years and each has helped me in their own way.

(c) 2000 Stanley I. Mason. Syndicated by ParadigmTSA

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