Spring is a time of new growth; and out with the old and in with the new; and a great time to spring clean!
It’s supposedly the impetus for spring-cleaning your home (although I often don’t get that memo) but spring-cleaning your business can happen in any season! I’ve recently finished a hectic end of year schedule, and after having a quick break, am rearing to get stuck back into business.
But there are a few things that should be tidied up first, and I want to start on the right foot – I need to do a little spring cleaning on my business.
Here are my top 6 tips to spring clean your business:
1. Archive old business paperwork
Old paperwork hanging around can be a distraction. I try to work on a policy of touch a piece of paper once, then file it away – or bin it! There’s no point hanging onto bits of paper if it’s not really necessary. I use an electronic filing system so everything that I need to keep gets scanned and filed electronically, and archived annually. Paper based systems are great too. Anything from the last financial year, throw into an archive box, update your archive register (so you know what’s in it, where it’s located and when you can discard it), and put it away where it’s not going to be a distraction.
2. Update your database
There’s no point in sending reminders to clients who no longer need them, or updates to people who’ve moved on. Updating my database to ensure I have current contact information will save me time, and means that clients and contacts are getting information that’s relevant to them.
3. Look at technology efficiencies
There is so much technology available to us these days, it can be a little overwhelming. So I don’t look at everything that’s available to me – however tempting that can be. Instead I focus on what technologies I can implement, and how they are going to make me more efficient. For example, Receipt Bank and Dropbox are two of my favourites – Receipt Bank is perfect for managing my supplier bills, and Dropbox is ideal for my electronic filing, as well as data sharing.
4. Reflect on the past 12 months
I don’t believe there’s necessarily a right or wrong way in business. There’s just lots of different ways. I like to take this time to reflect on the last 12 months and what worked well, what could do with some improvement, and what should never be discussed in the light of day again! There’s always room for improvement, but it’s difficult to do that if I’m unaware of what’s happening in my business.
5. Planning, planning, planning
I have a huge whiteboard on my office wall where I write my plan for the coming months. This keeps it top of mind because I see it every day, and is easy for me to tweak as I need.
6. Spring clean your business plan
A business plan isn’t something that’s written once and never seen again. It should evolve as your business does, so revisit it and see if it needs to be updated. Things to consider – have my goals changed? Have competitors or technologies changed the landscape of my business? Have my targets in terms of staffing, money and marketing changed?
Spring cleaning your business is a lot like spring cleaning your house – you get rid of a lot of the grime build up with a really good scrub; you get rid of things that don’t work; you organise things to make the process work better.
A good spring clean of your business also has a mindset element – if you get your head clear (reflecting and planning), you’re setting yourself up nicely to tackle the next few months, whatever they may throw at you!
First published in The Business Woman Media.