The Basics of Office Management

Portrait of sign shop store owner

If the office runs well, the sign shop owner is happy.

No matter what the size of your sign business is, if you are going to run a successful office you need to follow a few basic guidelines for office management. Here are 6 areas flagged for improvement when you are looking to improve your sign shop office.

1.  Employee training and human resources. A building block to a strong small business starts with employment policies. Your policies should outline the way your company views employment. It should contain guidelines and specific rules that can be used to determine fault when issues arise. Make sure your policy includes at least a brief training and development program to ensure that employees know what you expect of them.

2. Equipment and furniture. Your office doesn’t need to be a fancy one, stocked with all the latest equipment, or a lazy-boy in the break room, however there are several basic items you should have in order to optimize employee productivity. Make a list of what you feel you need and what budget you have to purchase equipment and furniture. Take into consideration what software you will need on the computers, as well as where you will store client information and other documents. Will you keep files, or go paperless? Answering certain questions about your business procedures will enable you to determine what your office really needs.

3. Conflict resolution. The fact of the matter is, in any work environment there are bound to be conflicts. To make handling them easier, set a plan into motions before conflicts occur. By having a plan or a policy in place for resolving conflict you will be able to deal with disagreements in a professional way.

4. Project management. Tracking your projects is critical to the success of the business. Not only does it monitor your progress, it also provides you with information regarding your business. When projects are tracked carefully, everyone knows what their responsibilities are and what the next steps on completing the job entail. Deadlines are more likely to be kept and employees will have a clear vision of their role in the completion of the project. Additionally, the tracking of a successful project results in documentation that can be used to develop plans for future projects.

5. Communication. Communication is a central part of running a small business and typically the office manager resides at the core. Understanding when and how to communicate is the responsibility of the office manager or the boss, and will greatly influence the way your business is run. If communication is clear and regular employees will be more apt to fulfill their responsibilities. Typical communication in a busy office includes emails, posted notices, and staff meetings. Learn how to make your meetings more productive in this post.

6. Know the business, know the people. If you want to run a successful office, you must truly understand your business and the people that work for you. If you don’t work as the office manager in your sign shop, make sure that your office manager understands the ins and outs of the business. He or she should know the products, what the company offers, and the mission of the business. Knowing what role each employee fills will enable the office management to follow up on completion of tasks and keep your sign shop office running like a well-oiled machine.

Share your thoughts on managing an office in the comments section below.