This past weekend, I did two of my favorite things… bike in the sunshine, and clean my house for springtime. When you take the time to organize the piles and attack the dust bunnies, you can revitalize your daily routine and become more productive in the future. In the same respect, spring is a great time to look at your business processes to de-clutter, dust off, and get everything in order to sparkle for the rest of year. Here are a few ways to get started spring cleaning your business.
- Tackle the most important area first: Even when you are hankering to clean the guest room closet, starting with the top priority – the areas you touch every day – will be the most valuable. Similarly, if you feel like you have unfocused, untargeted customer touch points or creeping costs, you should put your initial efforts into better understanding those issues.
- Rearrange the furniture to get those hard to reach places: Take a moment to talk to your staff and gather feedback about you, your business, and customers. Is there something that you can’t see from your position or is hidden from view? Your employees are on the ground with your customers and this is the opportunity to gain awareness of something they are privy to that you can’t see – but something you can ideally help solve!
- File, Recycle, and Toss: Literally clean the stacks of paperwork on your desk and your file cabinets. Delete unneeded emails or archive old messages that you might need and start hitting ‘unsubscribe’ on newsletters you don’t read. Consider going paperless – Yes, you’ll need to keep tax returns and current contracts, but can you store them on Dropbox or Google Drive instead?
- Polish up your presence and publications: Do a quick search of your online listings, social profiles, electronic invoices, and website contact info. Is everything accurate? If you give your customers anything when you start to work with them – a sign-on sheet, or even a business card – is it up-to-date and as clear as it can be?
- Clean the closet of technologies and services: Look at your expenses. Pick a starting threshold (for ex: $200+ per month) for expenses to evaluate. Can you get better prices through negotiation or a buying group? Have you even used it in the past month or year? Do you need to update old technology? Delete Apps? Does it still fit your business right? By scrutinizing what you do and don’t use, you can either get something more out of it, or make room for something new that will work better for you.
- Dust off your credit profile: Do an annual check-up to make sure that it’s as you expect it. By having a good understanding of both your business and personal credit, you’re able to fix any unknown problems and be in a good place if you need to be underwritten for a loan or merchant account.
- Sharpen your tools: Take this opportunity to look for a class, conference, or local meetup group to find some new sources for inspiration and growth in 2014. Whether it’s becoming better at Excel, learning new sales techniques, or getting better at Facebook marketing, a sharper skill set can pay off in the long run!
- Weed out your customer database: Look into your customer base and reach out to revitalize potentially lapsed customers and update their information. When was the last time you heard from someone? Is it because they moved or simply forgot. By updating email addresses and payment information you’ll be more organized for the future and remind them of your interest in continuing to work together.
- Plant your garden: Look back at your mission statement and the goals for your business. Set yourself up for a successful year by reviewing or laying out a strategic plan. Where and what do you need to plant to have a bountiful harvest? Do you have the right tools and people to make it bloom?
By taking the time to go through this spring cleaning list, you’ll be better set to tackle the priorities (and enjoy!) your business throughout the year. Image Credit: desk by shannon m, Flickr