With winter finally drawing to a close and spring just around the corner, you might feel the need to stretch your legs and open some windows.
Spring is traditionally a time of renewal, a welcome opportunity to shake off the dust and cobwebs of winter and embrace what’s ahead. It’s also a common time for a more literal kind of cleanse: a solid spring cleaning.
The arrival of spring is a good opportunity to clean things up around your small business. Take some time to deal with workplace clutter, look at your finances, and reassess the road ahead. In many ways, it can give you a bright new outlook.
It’s not uncommon for business owners to get a bit lazy with their business when the days are short, and the nights are long, so we recommend that you take some time to give your business a spring cleaning and start the season fresh with better opportunities and a clearer strategy.
We’ve broken our strategy down into 5 ways you can give your business a spring cleaning, whether you work from home or lease an office.
1. Give staff room to grow
Don’t let your staff get stuck in a rut of monotony at your business. If you’re not careful, it can happen quite easily. That’s why it can be beneficial to find new responsibilities and paths of position growth for employees within your company.
Look at the skills and talents of any employees you have. What could they do in additional to (or instead of) their current role to build that skill further?
You can inspire someone by believing in a growing skill they have and renew your sense of appreciation for that person by witnessing how they adapt and manage additional responsibility in your business.
2. Get started with your desk
The idea of a full-scale business clean up can be a daunting task, so give yourself some momentum by tackling a manageable project first: dealing with your individual work space.
Start with any accumulated piles of paper and other clutter and either give them a home or toss them in the trash. Wipe down flat surfaces to get rid of any built-up dust and grime.
Give your computer a quick clean, too, by organizing files and emails, upgrading outdated software, and deleting any unwanted programs or material. Make it an office-wide event and get all your colleagues in on the clean-up – by doing it together you’ll improve the mood while making sure the job gets done across your whole business.
3. Reassess your mission and strategy
It’s probably been a while since you considered your business’ mission and overall strategy, but it’s likely that you’ve learned a lot of important new information in the meantime. Use the knowledge you didn’t have then to update your mission and strategy to suit your company now.
If your mission and strategy still seem perfectly on target, we applaud you! It could still be beneficial to find a new area to strategically focus on or add another concept or value to your mission statement.
4. Brighten up the books
If you didn’t already do it at tax time, take a good look at the bottom line and make sure your cash flow situation is solid.
Check inventory and supply levels and decide whether you want to get rid of some things or replace them. Is it time to liquidate old stock? Can you afford to buy new computers, or upgrade your phones? Audit your bank and see whether they can improve the plan they offer you.
Finally, look for reward programs and loyalty offers that will provide a return on your business spending.
5. Hire someone to do that task you hate
Springtime is about renewal, and there’s no better way to renew and rejuvenate yourself than by being able to say, “I’ll never have to do that thing I hate again!” Outsourcing is a great option for small businesses that are looking to grow.
You can outsource almost any task, from answering phones or doing payroll to writing blog posts. Give yourself some relief and let someone else handle the task you hate doing.
6. Take some time to brainstorm
We’re the most creative when we’re not too intensely focused and the mind is free to wander. Think of the activities you enjoy and find yourself being most creative in–the shower, on long walks, during car rides, etc. Pick something you like to do that doesn’t require too much focus, bring a notebook (if possible) and start brainstorming new ideas for your business.
It could be anything, big or small, in any department. Maybe you could come up with a new idea for an advertising campaign, or a new demographic to target. Perhaps you’d think of a web design change you’d like to make. Take some time to brainstorm and watch the improvements that follow!
7. Dust off your goals and update your business plan
Maybe you set new goals for your small business back at the start of the year. Perhaps it’s been a little bit longer since you last checked in. Either way, now is a good time to evaluate your progress, consider necessary changes, and make sure you’re still satisfied with where things are going, and how you’re getting there.
Take out your business plan and see how well it will help you realize the targets you hope to attain in the next 12 months, and the next several years. How have things changed since the last time you looked at it? Do plans and processes need to be updated?
Consider bringing in a trusted outsider to examine how your operation works and ask them to offer an honest assessment of what could stand to be changed. Finally, imagine yourself as a customer of your business, and take a close look at the interaction. What can you do to improve your relationship with your most important asset?
8. Tweak your content strategy
Even if your content strategy is working well and resonating with your target audience, there is always room for improvement–especially in content.
Send out a quick survey for your customers to fill out, asking what types of content they enjoy the most, what they’d like to see from you, and what they don’t like seeing you post. You can do a great job staying relevant to your audience using this method.
9. Streamline and schedule
Once you’ve reached the end of your cleanup activities, go back and review them, looking for possible improvements and other ideas. Then go ahead and schedule another spring cleaning session into next year’s calendar. By gaining an enhanced understanding of the necessary tasks, and tying them to a fixed date, you’ll find it far easier to handle future cleaning needs.