From hidden closet bottom drawers to insight into consumer organization trends, I learned much during the single day I attended the Closets & Home Organization Conference & Expo last week. One of the more fascinating seminars I attended was Kraig Kramer’s presentation that gave owners of organization companies 45 different "CEO tools (read more about CEOtools.com" to help with everything from tracking finances to improving communication with employees. He gave a lot of good advice but a few things he emphasized really stuck out in my mind.

One was encouraging owners to bring relationship skills that are used with family and friends back into the workplace. Trust between direct reports and owners can be improved with scheduled, short, non-business meetings, Kramer said. He recommended scheduling a few meetings right away, and then maintaining the relationship with occasional meetings as the year goes on. Keep business out of the conversation, and talk about family, hobbies or other non-business conversation. Raising trust will in turn raise communication, which can improve the flow of information and ideas.

Another great part of the presentation was about creating 12-month trailing charts (download an example here from Kramer's Web site CEOtools.com) to track everything from expenses to revenue to accounts receivable. Even if owners don't realize it, every business has some aspect of seasonality in its sales, Kramer said. Each month also has a different number of working days and payroll periods, so comparing statistics from month to month can often be misleading. Instead, the 12-month charts take the entire previous year into account, so owners can visually see good or bad progress each month and quickly respond to downward trends.

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