Ever dream of sitting by the pool with an ice-cold Singapore Sling as your business runs itself? 🍹 Or what about skiing in Aspen, having just sold your business for a 7-figure sum?
Both are very real possibilities – and it all starts with Google Drive.
Intrigued? Let’s dive in.
To get from boardroom to beach, you need to strive to build your business to run itself, so that it becomes easier to remove yourself (even if that’s for a weekly vacation) and eventually sell it.
To do this, you need to cultivate a strong organizational foundation within your business. This will allow your team to perform tasks without you on hand to guide them.
This all starts with a digital filing cabinet to help digitally organize your company.
What is a Digital Filing Cabinet?
We all know what a traditional filing cabinet is. It’s a system of drawers that allow you to organize documents, receipts, data… anything on paper that is important to your business.
Of course, in the internet age, many of us rely more on digital filing cabinets.
By storing documents electronically, they become easier to manage. Tracking, storing, locating, and sharing these materials becomes simpler, while they also become easier to organize. In theory… More on this shortly.
What does a digital filing cabinet look like? While you may be using an internal network, it is more likely to be a cloud-based tool such as the following:
- Google Drive
There are many others, all with their own features, prices and benefits, but these are the main players – most of which are free to use to begin with. 🙌
While having a well-structured digital filing cabinet will make your day-to-day working life easier and more efficient, it becomes imperative at the time of sale.
1. It makes you look incredibly organized, which is very attractive to the potential acquirer.
2. It makes handing over important documentation during the due diligence process effortless.
3. It makes the hand-off period much shorter if you are very well organized.
Ultimately, when it comes to eventually selling your business, understand that nobody wants to buy a headache – they want to buy a well-organized money printing machine.
Why An Organized Business Can Run Itself
By now you will understand that if you have aspirations of removing yourself from your company and eventually selling it, you will need to organize it in a way that allows your team to run it for you.
To do this, you have to be extraordinarily organized from the minute you start. (Don’t worry, if you are already a few years into a thriving but disorganized business, it isn’t too late to change things!)
By having a clear system for maintaining your organizational skills at scale, you become one step closer to having a business that can run itself, while you bask in the sun. ☀️
That clear system is underpinned by SOPs – standard operating procedures (SOPs), which are step-by-step instructions compiled to help workers carry out routine operations within your business.
When they can do this, it becomes easier to both to bring new employees on and walk away with no question as to how things are run.
So, after creating and organizing your digital filing cabinet (see below), you create SOPs that teach both your existing and future teams HOW to use the cabinet and file.
Any time a new employee joins the team, they will be immediately tasked with reading through the organizational SOPs, so that they know how the business is run, including where to look for things and where to make additions.
We have an article on how to write incredible SOPs, which goes into more depth on this topic, so do yourself a favor and read that next!
How to Digitally Organize Your Company Using Google Drive
Going back to your digital filing cabinet, it’s vital that you start structuring it properly. It will quickly become the cornerstone of organization in your business.
Without structure, your digital filing cabinet will become as cumbersome and confusing as that rusty old metal cabinet in the corner.
So I suggest implementing my personal strategy, which revolutionized how I electronically organize my files.
I use the Wheel of Business as the base to structure my Google Drive. It makes sense, as each of these segments will require their own documents.
Create separate folders on Google Drive, each corresponding to a segment on the wheel, as I have done here:
Naturally, modify this as you see fit. For example, in a smaller company or for a solopreneur, marketing and sales can be the same folder. You know your business best!
Now you have a great structure, half the battle is won. The next fight will be convincing your team to actually use it!
To ensure they are inclined to use it, I suggest making your team part of the process instead of simply imposing it on them. Perhaps you could say, “Hey, I’m working on leveling up our organization abilities and would love your input… Does this Google Drive organization make sense to you?”
If you have heads of department, ensure you discuss what the interior of the file’s structure looks like with them.
For example, your head of marketing should be responsible for creating the interior architecture for the marketing folder, as they and their team will be the people using it the most.
At the beginning of every year I like to do a recap on our filing structure. It’s a full team effort. I listen to feedback and then we organize the filing system together.
Of course, if you’re a solopreneur, then just do this by yourself folder by folder!
The Bottom Line
The key takeaway of this article is that having a strong organizational foundation will allow you to build a company that runs itself and/or can eventually be sold with minimal stress or risk.
A word of warning: while spending time building a well-organized digital filing cabinet is a crucial step, it is not an instant ticket to millions!
Otherwise, every small business owner with a Google account would be joining you in what would be a very crowded swimming pool.
Yet, digital organization is a very important step that underpins many others in the process. Get this right, and the rest of the process will become a lot smoother.
And then you can ask the waiter for your Singapore Sling – you will have earned it.
We are preparing more articles that highlight how to remove yourself from your company and sell your business. In the meantime, if you have any questions or inquiries, please reach out at: firstname.lastname@example.org