The Art of Monkishness for the Small Business Owner

Posted by Stephanie Valentine on November 10, 2009 in Small Business Management |

Adrian Monk is one of my favorite characters on television, probably because my husband resembles him so much … everything has to be “just so”! I catch reruns of “Monk” on the tube at least once a week, and I love how he uses his OCD mind, which is truly detail-oriented, to solve crimes. It has occurred to me more than once that small business owners could benefit from a little Monkishness to create a more efficient and productive business.

Small Business Owners and Adrian Monk
It’s true that Monk’s OCD tends to hinder rather than help him on a daily basis, since he spends so much time staying sanitary and clean. However, his “devil is in the details” approach is pretty useful for the small business owner.

Why? Well, think about this. How time do you spend looking for stuff (files, documents, phone numbers, etc.) that you’ve misplaced somewhere? How often do you dig around trying to find a business card? How many times have you tried to find that important email in the masses of them stacked in your inbox?

If you are like the typical small business owner, the answer is clear: a lot! The typical small business owner is a business-savvy risk taker who is adventurous but not necessarily organized. Lack of organization results in a lot of wasted time.

A Monkish Example
Let me give you a simple example. At the moment we are in Cancun, vacationing for 5 weeks. We have digital room keys. The first few days, I just carelessly laid my room key anywhere that was handy, often dropping it, along with sunglasses, sunscreen, and lip balm, on the counter or night stand. Sometimes I left it on the kitchen counter or dining room table of our condo. Wherever.

Those few days I spent at least 15 minutes per day looking for that darned key! Not that it makes a big difference on vacation, but it illustrated an important point: not knowing where stuff is wastes a lot of time!

My husband and I decided after a few days to always put our room keys on top of the television so we wouldn’t waste time looking for them. After all, looking for our keys one day made us late for a taco party!

Tools for the Monkish Small Business Owner
Misplacing a room key is a small matter, but throw a few of these “time wasters” into your business day and you’ll easily lose an hour or more hunting down stuff that should be at your fingertips. Luckily, there are a number of useful tools for the small business owner who wants to be more like Adrian Monk. Here are a few of my favorites.

Password Agent
This encrypted software safely stores your login and password information, as well as notes about anything important. If you are like the average small business owner, then your online accounts abound. With this software, when you need to login to a website, all you have to do is open it and access your login information. Because this software is encrypted and lives on your computer rather than in your browser, it gives you an added layer of protection. This software comes in a free “Lite” version, which allows you to store a limited number of records, or a full version which gives you unlimited records. Free downloads are available at Tucows and other software download sites.

Chaos Intellect
I recently purchased this software for contact management and email list management. The software is quite inexpensive and allows you to easily store contact information about customers, vendors, and business partners. Best of all, it allows you to easily group contacts and send emails to entire groups at a time. The email-sending function on this software throttles the sending speed, so you don’t overwhelm your email server. Finally, contact records are linked to documents, emails, and any other form of correspondence, so that each contact record automatically stores a full record of every email or piece of correspondence sent. Compared to better-known but costlier contact management software programs, this program is a good buy.

Memo to Me

I love this online software because through it I can program email reminders to myself, daily, weekly, monthly, yearly, or on a specific date. I don’t like to have “reminder software” running in the background because it often eats up RAM, but having reminders come through email is convenient, since I check email at least twice a day. The software is available for an inexpensive subscription fee or you can get the free lite version.

I adore all three of these software programs because they keep all my necessary information at my fingertips. If you’ve got some nifty tools that help you be a more Monkish small business owner, I’d love to hear about it. As always, the pursuit of a more productive business life that allows more time for fun is ongoing!


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