Are you struggling to get it together in your business? I’m about to tell you the crazy simple way to organize anything and everything in your business. And it might just blow your mind.
Whether you’re a one-person shop or a bustling business of many, you need systems to survive and a method of organization to grow.
Systems are standard ways of doing things like:
- onboarding new clients
- mailing purchases to customers
- creating custom wedding invitations
- recording and posting a podcast
- writing and promoting a blog post
Organization allows you to grow because it’s the process of connecting things to create something new. Using the method I’m about to teach you, you could organize your content calendar, material for a new course, or a new product launch – just for example.
The process I like to call “the notecard method” requires only three basic office supplies you probably already have:
- a bunch of index cards
- your favorite pen
- a stapler
Step One: Choose something in your business to systematize or organize
You can make a system out of anything using the notecard method. I used this method for the first time on a solo business retreat up in the Arkansas mountains. In one day I managed to turn each of my core services – branding, marketing, and web design – into a repeatable methodology called the Landmark Method.
With notecards in hand, I took what was already a nailed-down process and created a systematic checklist for it so that I never forget a thing. Seeing it all laid out at one time showed me where I could add even more value at several steps along the way. The notecard method also opened my eyes to gaps in the process where I could easily do more to support my clients.
You could use the process I’m about to teach just like I did and create a method that captures the best of your expertise and packages it up for your clients. Or you can figure out your client onboarding process so that it’s more organized and educational for your clients. If you’re a product-based business, you can use the notecard method to standardize your fulfillment process so that your trips to the post office are happier. Plus, when you’re ready to bring on help for these parts of your business, it’ll be so much easier for a new employee to jump right in!
Creating new service packages, launching courses, or dipping your toe into live trainings? Perhaps you’re finally launching a blog to show your expertise or sitting down to prototype a new app idea. The notecard method can help you plan out how to grow your business with sharper marketing and new offerings.
Step Two: Put pen to paper
Now that you’ve chosen something to systematize or organize, it’s time to put pen to paper and make it happen. On each notecard, write down one thing related to your project. It’s important to only put one thing on a card. For example, here are five notecards you might have if you’re working on your client onboarding process:
- Send proposal
- Send follow up email
- Set project start date
- Send first invoice
- Mail client welcome gift
When I did this, I had a living room floor full of notecards. The more detailed you get, the better this method will work for you. Just keep writing things down and placing the card where it belongs in the process. The beauty of the notecard method is that you can keep moving stuff around until the timeline, process, system, or methodology is just right.
Step Three: Get actionable
Once you have your notecards all laid out on the floor, it’s time to put some action behind it all. Start at the top of your column of cards and read through them until you get to one that requires one or more to-dos to make it happen.
Take one of the examples above: Send a follow up email. On a fresh notecard, write down all the things you need to do to make that step of the process happen. In my set of notecards, the to-do card for this step would be:
- Write canned email
- Load canned email into Gmail
Place your action card beside the first card on the floor. You will eventually have two columns of cards, one full of steps in the process and one full to-dos to make it happen. Having two columns keeps everything flexible as you move cards around. And you can see all your to-dos without constantly flipping over notecards. The beauty of this method is that it’s a tactile, flexible way to see the big picture.
Step Four: Gather your cards and get to work
Once you have your process laid out to your liking and all of your to-dos recorded, it’s time to make the magic.
Staple each to-do list card from the second column behind the corresponding first column card. When you’re done, gather up your your cards in order and voilà, you’ve got a sales process, a launch plan, a web design process, right there in your hand. All you have to do now is bust through those to-do lists!
Don’t just take my word for any of this.
Take Amy’s word for it too! She used the notecard method to launch a new course:
This is the first time I’ve used notecards to organize my business. I used them a lot in graduate school and would do fancy things like color code them and everything. I’ve always been a very visual learner – I need to actually SEE how it all works together.
One thing I do when I’m brainstorming is drawing up mind-maps. I like the notecard method because I feel like it’s a more flexible type of mind-mapping. I just jot everything down and then play, mix it up, and fix it up until it makes sense in my head.
Recently, I used the notecard method to plan out the contents of a large eCourse. I had SO much information I wanted to share and I needed a way to organize it that made sense for both my students and myself. –Amy Kuretsky at amykuretsky.com
Oh, hey! Want me to feature your business? Tweet me a cute picture of your notecard method adventures, post your pic to Instagram and tag me @dizzycaitlin, or email email@example.com