Business-like, isn't he?



Business in Vancouver logo

    Local businesses help others get organized
    Say goodbye to clutter with a low-tech organizer and online catalogue

    by  Alan Zisman (c) 2005 First published in Business in Vancouver February 1-7, 2005; issue 797; High tech office column

    Get Organized for Success ( suggests that with better organization, you can offer your customers better service while having less stress and getting more time off. The company promises that you are just a few steps and a day away from a better-organized, more productive office. To get there, they offer the One Day Office Organizer Toolkit ($139).

    The kit includes no computer software, but an audio CD, a printed guidebook, and a financial filing system (available separately for $25). The filing system includes a set of labels to organize the bulk of most small business owners' financial needs. A deluxe $229 version of the toolkit adds a set of various-sized sturdy baskets and a file holder, for instant organization.

    The Toolkit doesn't claim to organize what's on your computer, but instead is designed to help you organize the bits of paper clutter: business cards, receipts, memos, letters and other random-seeming important bits of paper. It also helps you end up with an office that works for you. You start with a list of supplies to help you get organized, ranging from containers, to office supplies, to cleaning supplies (yes, you might as well clean up your workspace while you're organizing the clutter), to the snacks needed to keep you going. (Yes, you'll need to get organized in order to Get Organized.)

    On your designated Get Organized day, you (and designated helper) will start out dealing with the obvious trash, followed by a quick clean up, then making piles of everything on your desk and shelves. Next, a round of "basket therapy" makes a first run at organizing. Once the clutter is out of the way and the surfaces are cleaner, consider making your office layout more efficient. After breaking for lunch, put in a couple of hours sorting your papers. Your goal: get at least 80 per cent of the clutter sorted. Now you can start putting things back in their new, better-organized homes. A final walk-through reviews the location of your files and helps to reinforce their new location.

    Get Organized's founder, Tami Reilly, chairs the Vancouver Women Business Owner's Association and was twice named B.C. Entrepreneur of the Year by Toronto's Raymond Aaron Group. She promises that after spending a day getting organized, you'll be able to find any needed piece of paper in ten seconds or less.

    Online catalogue

    North Vancouver's sPearWay ( produces sPearCat software, which easily creates customized Web-based catalogues that reflect company branding and enable merchants to quickly update content as needed. Along with displaying products, the software can handle commercial transactions while creating invoices and calculating tax and shipping costs. sPearWay founder Pierre Frisch notes that while these catalogues can be used by retailers, most current clients are wholesalers and importers, who can use the software to keep an up-to-date catalogue of an ever-changing inventory.

    The Web-based catalogues can be modified using any Internet browser without having any background in the HTML code that underlies Web pages.

    sPearCat supports multiple languages and currencies, and can support multiple prices, with different discounts for dealers, distributors or retail customers. Shipping costs can be set to vary with customer location. Catalogues can show customized pages depending on log-in.

    Pricing varies depending on whether catalogue design is done by the client or by sPearWay, and whether sPearWay or the client hosts the catalogue. Frisch notes that design of a paper catalogue can cost $100 to $200 a page. Vendors can supplement a print edition with a more easily updated online version, requiring fewer expensive reprints. As a result, most clients see a return on investment within six to 12 months.

Search WWW Search

Alan Zisman is a Vancouver educator, writer, and computer specialist. He can be reached at E-mail Alan