Managing your Business Email
Small Business best practices for email management
As a small business, you need to be efficient so these small business best practices in email management are intended to help you put your business email to work for you and stop the cycle of email overload!.
It’s Monday morning and the email deluge has begun. Before you even have the chance to finish your first cup of coffee, your inbox is overflowing with digital messages and it’s getting out of control. Especially if you are a small business, best practices in email management are valuable to help you maximize your time and efforts (precious commodities for small business owners).
As the preferred mode of communication for both business and personal correspondence, email has revolutionized the speed of getting information to clients, colleagues, friends and family. However, too much of a good thing like email can wreak havoc with your inbox and can actually cause technical glitches with your email software and server.
To keep email under control, develop a system that will help speed up your response time and keep up with pending projects and action items, decide what gets filed and what gets trashed.
The following are simple best practices on how to manage your in-box:
- Read the email once and determine whether this is a reference or action item. If it’s a reference item, in other words information that doesn’t require you to take action but is connected to a current project, file it in an email folder that corresponds to that project.
- If the email doesn’t relate to something that you are currently working on or doesn’t contain information that you’re required to keep, delete it.
- If the email requires some action and you can’t do it under two minutes. Delegate it right away. Once the message has been delegated, either delete it or file it in a folder dedicated to follow-up items.
- If it can’t be delegated or deleted, defer it. In other words, can this email be turned into a task or an appointment? In your email software, such as Microsoft Outlook, you can turn the email into a task or an appointment. Make sure to name the task or appointment clearly so you’re not required to reopen the email.
- If you receive an email with an attachment, open and save it. If the email needs to be filed away, file it without the attachment. This will keep your storage limit under control.
- Flag and color code your emails. Some flagging features allow you to type notes and reminders. Color coding can signal whether the email is a top priority or whether it’s been delegated.
- Set aside a certain amount of time daily to file, respond, and delegate emails.
- Follow these rules daily.
Remember, technology like your business email is intended to help you work faster and more efficiently – but it can have just the opposite effect if you allow electronic untidiness to overwhelm you. By following these small business best practices for email management, in no time at all you’ll have less clutter in your inbox and more time to focus on the important stuff – like running your business!
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