Keeping a Business Journal
As an upholstery business owner, have you ever forgotten what you had told someone about a job, what you need for a job, to order, etc.. Over the years I have forgotten many things that would have been very helpful to remember. In recent years I have learned to take many more notes about jobs, payments, and the like. However, even so, sometimes my notes are scattered all over the place. I haven't had one central place to keep track of all the notes that are useful in running a business.
Recently I installed a Wordpress website and set it up to be a private site (so no one can see my posts except me) with all the features that I thought approriate. I've set it up so that I can just cut and paste pictures into the text box, I can attach documents to the posts.
Generally, the best time to write out the details of a job is either during or immediately after talking with the client. This is when the details of the job are the clearest. If you wait until even later in the day much of what you remember will fade away.
In addition, many jobs need to be planned out, putting together all the many details to get the job to come together successfully. For example, what special instructions did the client give you for the job? What speciall supplies might be needed, and where will you get them. Do you have any questions about the job that you need to ask the client or that you need to research? Write those in your journal so that you can refer back to them later.
As a side note, I also use the Notes and memo features in Quickbooks for jotting down information about Customers, transactions, and whatever else.
I've had the Wordpress site setup for a month or two now and have found it very useful for keeping track of anything that i need to remember. For the past couple of months I have been working with a local college to upholster 40 chairs. Since part of the job includes having a logo printed on the vinyl, I've been doing research to find a source for the printing and getting prices and samples printed. This has involved a lot of phone calls, texts, and emails in searching all of this out and getting the process going.
As I've worked through the countless details and finding information for this job, for most of the process I have been keeping notes and what I said, what was said to me, who I talked to, etc .
One of the great benefits of writing it all out is that it helps to clarify all the details of any job. If, later on, you forget something, you can easily refer to your notes.
Takes Too Much Time? My dad was a really hard worker and he worked very fast. Even so, he went broke a number of times as I grew up. He wasn't one to do much planning or keeping track of details. His motto seemed to me, "Work hard, work fast!" Because of his attitude of not "wasting his time in planning, taking notes, or other general record keeping, we suffered greatly. He was frequently running off (and taking us with him) from the consequence of his actions.
Yes, taking notes takes time, more time that you probably want to give it. However, it can help give you focus and keep you on track to better fulfil your objectives