A lot of startup business owners try to consolidate all their correspondences in one place for convenience and then answer them all, all the time. The truth is that is not scalable. Here is how to create a scalable email effort.

First, don’t offer the same email address to all your contacts or bring all your communications from your marketing efforts to the same address. You want to build a self-sorting systems of connections that can be managed by you or others as your business requires as it grows. Create lots of email addresses with non-name identities and when you or whomever responds, use that address as the return address.

Orders@ This is pretty obvious. Whomever is your transaction person gets these. This discrete email box gets checked once or twice daily. NO MORE. Maybe you put an auto-responder on it to thank the sender somehow and tell them that what will happen next and the timeframe in which that will happen.

Info@, Service@, Inquire@, media@. These and many other possibilities are what you put on the general materials or the website for different types of activities. These addresses DO NOT FEED into your personal daily email stream. These email boxes will be addressed as a project every two or three days or as volume dictates based on importance. Real opportunities may get forwarded to your personal email address, otherwise, respond with the address to which the email was sent.

Your personal email address. This address is your cherished close and/or important relationships address. Vendor execs. Sales people. Important business contacts. It is the highest priority in your email correspondence triage. You check this multiple times a day for whatever may be important. Nothing in this box should ever be urgent.

IMPORTANT NOTE- Do not treat this as a real time tool. Turn off the auto sound feature. Turn off the interrupt everything else feature. An email box is like a mailbox. You go there when you choose to go there. You don’t put an alarm on the box so that it interrupts what you are actually doing with something that is unknown until you distract yourself to find out. Allowing email to be a distraction is like at working at a Customer Service Center just waiting for the next call. Email is a terrible tool for real time communication. When you need that, pick up the phone.

Your time will be disappear like sand in an hourglass if you don’t get these addresses all lined up. If you already have an overloaded personal email box, get a new one. Then notify only the important people about it. Then use an auto-responder to tell senders to your old email box that you only monitor it every few days. Be very thoughtful about the responding email addresses you provide, because that determines where returns arrive. Push inbound email to higher or lower levels by forwarding it to a different box before you respond and changing the return address.

Build a system that will suit you for the future. What you’ve done already was fine at the time, now you have a new perspective and can see how you can silo email to the benefit of your time management. Be smarter than the competition. Do it now. Then put the emails on your website, your signatures, etc. Life just got easier.