My dividers are plain white #10 envelopes. I seal, cut to size, hole-punch, and notch them up top (so I can slip in notes and such on the go). The tabs are stickies labeled and “laminated” with Scotch tape. There is nothing precious about these homemade dividers so I can feel free to write notes on them knowing I can easily replace or switch them out.
In my binder I have three sections: Ideas, Research, and Money. (At first I had tabs that corresponded to the elements of a business plan: Principals, Target Market, Sales, Finances and Budget/Projections. Very early on I consolidated sections and labeled them “in plain English” instead of business terminology.) Just keeping it simple.
The ideas section contains notepaper in various styles and several copies of this project planner sheet. Whenever I am struck by a brilliant idea, I write it on a project planning worksheet and keep adding to it as the idea develops. Since I am particular about the kind of paper I use for different purposes there is variety here. I use graph and dot grid paper for sketches and brainstorming. I use lined papers for writing drafts and lists. I rarely buy pre-punched paper in this size. I usually take a notepad of paper I like and cut it down to size then punch the holes myself.
The research section contains many detailed notes and lists that I reference often. While starting my business there was a constant flow of new information coming at me every day. This section is where I organized it all.
First, this is the place to collect business cards and other contact information for all the people I was meeting, calling, and consulting. I only keep one business card sheet in here. I can fit 6-9 cards in it. Every so often I take the cards out, scan them, and throw them away. Back in the day, I kept a Rolodex, but now I use the cloud* to store contacts.
*I use the Scanner Pro app for iPhone to scan the cards and convert to PDFs. I then upload those to Google Drive, which is what I use for my business. There are other cloud storage options including Evernote and Dropbox, to name just two.
This is a great template for any meeting, whether it is face-to-face, virtual, or on the phone. Don’t feel you have to fill out every field for every meeting. Use what you need and leave the rest. There’s room for more notes on the back.
I kept a document where I entered the notes I wanted to share with my business partner. I typed it up, printed it, and put it in my Filofax. I added details and printed a new copy on a weekly basis. I also printed out a copy of our initial business plan. I printed these on paper from a yellow pad to make them stand out in my binder.
My money section is the simplest of all. There is notepaper to make lists of potential clients and revenue streams, and to sketch out budgets and cash flow projections. The folder is a place to collect receipts and deposit slips. On the back of each receipt I note the items I purchased and which account* it will be charged to. On the back of each deposit slip I note the source of the money. I empty these out periodically and enter all the data into Quickbooks online.
*In the startup phase most of my receipts were for office supplies, licenses/permits, and books. Now that my business has opened I have more categories. Your own will depend on what kind of business you have and how you set up your bookkeeping and accounting. Also, there are specific expense tracker envelope templates on Philofaxy.com that are great if you have someone else do your bookkeeping.
My next post will be about accessories – bought and handmade.