We have all done it… saved documents and files at some point and then we don’t know where they are! When saving files it is best to have a plan and set guidelines to follow so it’s easy to find those items again. By making this plan to keep cloud files organized and sticking to it, you will save a lot of time and trouble moving forward.
File Naming and Folders
First, choose a standard nomenclature that you can implement across all document types to keep cloud files organized. At Reinventing Events we like to use Company Name_Type of file_YEARMMDD (Reinventing Events_Handbook_20170101). This allows you to see the date the document was created which helps finding the most recent version. You could do v1, v2, etc. but we’ve found having the date is better if you need to verify the date of a doc.
Next, make specific and clearly labeled folders for those areas or items that make sense for your business. You can even break these folders down to subfolders so it is easier to locate files. An example of folders and subfolders would be Internal > Legal > Insurance > Workers’ Compensation Insurance > WC Ins 2017.
Ensure that your team and company know what is expected for the saving of all documents so that it is uniform throughout. This will save everyone time and confusion in the future when trying to locate items.
Decide where you are going to save your documents. This can be on an individual hard drive, local server, or in a cloud filing system such as Google Drive or Dropbox. Be conscientious of what your business needs are and make sure that you choose what will be best for your company to work efficiently and effectively within and on those documents.
Reinventing Events uses both Google Drive and Dropbox, but in different capacities. Google Drive is used for all collaborative documents, sheets, or presentations as it saves real-time changes that are made by multiple people as well as the ability to see revisions and who made the changes. This is a great place for working documents that may need to be shared for team collaboration or even sent to a client or someone outside your organization. We also use Google Drive for agendas for internal or client calls so everyone can see what is being covered and can add their notes as well.
You can also use Google Drive to host a file that may need updates, such as a sponsor information packet. By sharing a link to the document with sponsors, it saves you from having to send multiple versions or updates of the information out to every person. They can check the doc for updates periodically.
Google Drive also has a search function to allow for easy searching and the ability to star documents that you work on or access frequently. More time saved searching will allow for more time working!
We use Dropbox to organize documents that are static, like quotes from vendors or contract agreements. It’s best to keep every single revision you get of a quote or contract so you can review if there are any questions later on. We’ve seen prices change and have been able to share with the vendor that the price in the previous version was less so they could correct it.
Dropbox is also great for documents like layouts, receipts, photos, and sponsor and speaker files like logos, headshots, and presentations. Dropbox can also be shared with your client or other people as needed. Dropbox does offer a service called Dropbox Paper that is similar to Google Drive. We haven’t used it as much just yet so I can’t speak to how well it could replace our system on Google Drive but you might want to check it out as well!
Benefits of Keeping Files in the Cloud
Why would you want to put your docs in the cloud? There are multiple reasons!
- It saves hard drive space which in turn helps your laptop run better.
- By keeping files in the cloud, you can access them from multiple devices like computers, tablets, or mobile phones. This is also helpful if you’re away from your laptop and need a file. Use your phone to find it!
- For teams, it allows easier access to all files. It also helps with keeping duplicate files or versions at bay.
So make sure to think through the systems you want to use and HOW you want to use them when getting started in your business to help you keep your files organized. Being consistent and implementing standards across your team and company will make documents easier to locate. No more wasting time searching for documents in multiple different places. By following your plan in place, it will make your life easier!
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