Ask a hundred or so business owners why they got into the “game” and they’ll give a wide range of reasons: for some, it was the chance to turn their love of something into a living. Others will explain that they have always been skilled at selling and that starting their own business was a natural progression. There are other reasons, too, but perhaps no-one will tell you that they got into business because they love doing admin.
This, as it turns out, is perhaps something of a shame, because when you are in business, the admin is a quite dominant, ever-present part of the deal. You’ll have to keep records, refer back to things and keep in contact with others on a regular basis. Even more importantly, an understanding of the importance of record-keeping can play an immense role in your business becoming successful – and maintaining that success. As we’ll see below, there are key reasons why record-keeping is so important.
With records, you can identify patterns
One vital reason for assiduous record-keeping is that, if you keep an account of everything, you can readily refer back to it when you need to. You can see, at a glance, where the peaks and troughs have been in your business record. Therefore, you can identify when things tend to tail off for your business, and why. This can allow you to make changes which will boost your business going forward. It can also be a way to identify the impacts of significant events (like a virus pandemic) which can be useful in future processes and potential litigation.
Solid record-keeping helps you answer questions
If you keep records of all correspondence into and out of your business, then you need never be caught on the hop by a customer’s question again. With a few clicks, you’ll be able to say when an order was placed, if it was delayed (plus why it was and for how long), and handle a wealth of other queries. Because you have it in black and white, you can answer a question with confidence.
If you don’t keep records in this way, you can find yourself stumped by a customer question and needing to foot the bill for an issue that wasn’t your fault. If that doesn’t get you asking “Where do I get better software for my scanner?”, presumably nothing will. Just keep in mind the ongoing benefits of having years’ worth of digital business memory.
You never know when you might get audited
Quite aside from the benefits to you when you keep proper records, one unbeatable reason for maintaining them is that you might, one day, get audited for tax reasons or undergo due diligence from a business looking to invest. In these circumstances, you can be asked questions and they aren’t the kind of question to which you want to be answering “I don’t know”. Having a ready reference and the ability to answer fully and accurately will be invaluable in these situations.
Admin and record-keeping might not be the exciting parts of your business – but when you do them properly, they can really help you out further down the line.