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Using OneNote to make your small business profitable and enjoyable

Sandy Morgan is owner of Almost Anything LLC and writes about using OneNote on her blog Business Made Simple with Microsoft OneNote.

Since I run a service-based company that provides small business training and consulting, my clients rely on me for immediate responses, up-to-date information, regular follow-ups, and effective training on how to run a small business efficiently.

Sandy’s passion for the past 30 years has been serving as personal business consultant and bookkeeping specialist to over 75 private companies.

Sandy’s passion for the past 30 years has been serving as personal business consultant and bookkeeping specialist to over 75 private companies.

OneNote allows me to stay focused on getting work done, rather than keeping track of the enormous amount of information I need to do my job. I’m more productive, which has increased my overall profitability, and I truly enjoy delivering exceptional customer service through routine processes, all thanks to OneNote.

Every time I work with a customer, I type notes and checklists directly into OneNote. I have detailed profiles on all my clients stored in my notebooks, which allow me to nurture my relationship with them, and record critical information such as their learning objectives or which version of QuickBooks they use. After a meeting, it’s easy to email them a work summary, and share information with teammates, eliminating the need for multiple software programs and redundant steps.

No matter what kind of small business you run, chances are that OneNote can help you run your business better as well. Here are some suggestions for incorporating OneNote into your workplace procedures.

Bookkeeping

Bookkeeping is perhaps one of the most daunting tasks facing small businesses today. Bookkeeping entails capturing receipts and purchases and tracking invoices and sales for two distinct purposes: filing your income taxes and using your financials to make sound business decisions.

Understanding and being compliant with the hundreds of Federal and State regulations used in bookkeeping can be complicated. Using OneNote to track these regulatory requirements helps clearly define what’s needed and can be useful in creating procedures for reimbursable expenses, travel deductions, and other topics related to your business deductions. Create a OneNote notebook called “REGULATORY” and use it to capture current mileage rates, direct links to IRS publications such as Publication 535 on Business Deductions, or website links for filing your quarterly state taxes.

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Customer and vendor communications

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OneNote can help streamline email communication with customers and vendors by creating a notebook or section dedicated to email templates. Not to be confused with OneNote templates, these are the text of emails I might send on a regular basis, like new customer welcome messages, reminder notes, basic information for suppliers, and so on. When I want to use one, I can just open the template and copy the text into the body of an email. It’s a real timesaver. I keep them organized in a section called “Communication Templates,” which is easily accessible by everyone in my company.

OneNote can be a great collaboration tool, with both customers and employees, for brainstorming ideas, improving performance, and pre-testing new products. Sharing a notebook online with OneDrive can not only be an effective communication tool, but can open up an abundance of ideas that you yourself may not have thought about. Create a notebook and encourage employees and customers to share their thoughts, doodles, and suggestions.

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If you maintain a blog, OneNote Clipper is ideal for capturing blog topic ideas when you are surfing the web or for recording a sudden thought so you don’t forget it. I also like to use the Quick Note feature on my Android phone so I don’t lose track of blog ideas on the go.

Follow the steps we talked about earlier to create a standard blog template in OneNote so you can have a record of the blog post title, purpose, categories, tags, keywords, and a link to your editorial calendar. It’s an easy way to save time and keep relevant information at your fingertips.

5Finally, try using blank pages in your OneNote notebook to write out posts in advance and link them to your editorial calendar. This lets you quickly copy and paste the content into your blog when the time comes. Share your notebook and encourage employees or even customers to contribute to your blog content, to save even more time and keep content fresh.

OneNote helps small business owners like me eliminate redundancy, optimize performance, and reduce frustrations of untimely responses and lost notes.

–Sandy Morgan

 

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