When you're always thinking of "what's next," it can let your past work become a little stale, reinvigorate past campaigns and catch small details that have gone amiss overtime by spring cleaning your business!
A fresh spring breeze flows through the office and you get a feeling of invigoration from the comfy temperatures and longer days of sunshine. We all feel the excitement and motivation of a new season which perfectly leads to a good spring cleaning. Landscaping the yard and dusting the blinds can be rewarding but I’m talking business, it’s time to weed out the old and sew seeds of success.
My Business is Fine, Why Clean It Up?
You’re a savvy entrepreneur, you know there’s always room for improvement. Even if things are going well there are parts of your business that can always be better. Increasing sales, reducing costs, and growing your brand recognition just to name a few.
An annual (if not quarterly) review of your operations is mandatory if you want a real understanding of where your business was, where it stands now, and where you want to be in the future.
Start With a Plan
Everyone loves to check things off a to-do list, I know I do. Set apart some time dedicated to formulating a plan. Invite key players, partners, and anyone else that can be helpful. Make a plan for your plan, a mini business plan
if you will.
Start with a list of questions that you want answered.
Create firm, realistic, attainable goals with actionable steps.
Decide who is responsible for each goal.
Create a timeline for delivery dates.
Determine how the information is going to be delivered (presentation, email, etc.).
Allow for flexibility, the more you learn, the more questions you may have.
Your business spring cleaning needs to not only focus on new things you want to do and plan for, but cleaning on the metaphorical cobwebs on work you've already done, here's the 12 things you need to consider:
Do a Personal Audit
Evaluating yourself and your own effectiveness is a great place to begin. Take the time to carefully and honestly reflect on your own performance. Be as objective as you can, look at yourself as others see you. Are you working smart? How many times a day do stop to check your phone? Be honest.
Do you do the things you set out to do? Do you lead by example? Do you hold yourself accountable? Are you constantly learning? If you’re brave, try asking someone close to you to do an employee review on you.
Plan a Vacation
I know it sounds crazy but hear me out, everyone is always talking about accountability, well, you’re allowed be accountable to your own well being, too. Planning a reward for yourself will help keep you motivated and makes your hard work worthwhile. What’s the point of being successful if you can’t enjoy it?
Update Your Website
Take an honest look at your content, design, and the functionality of your website, page by page. Is your information current? Are you in line with current trends in the market? Technology advances at a crazy rate and you need to make sure your website is keeping up. Is your SEO
up to date with the latest algorithms? Is your site mobile friendly? Is your security up to date?
Check your CTAs and analyze your traffic flow. I recommend eliciting outside help with this one. Getting honest feedback can help you modify your call-to-actions to be more effective. Do they flow naturally through your sales funnel? The verbiage you use is as important as the colors, shapes, and locations of your buttons.
If you haven't set up a traffic flow
yet for your site, now is the time to map it all out and guarantee all the hard work you do is being used to its fullest potential
Financial Review and Tax Recap
Maybe the least exciting but most revealing of all your cleaning is going through your finances. Dig in, find your wins and losses, check your year over year and compare it with your budget and actuals. This exercise should create a lot of opportunity for improvement. There’s always at least one “That cost us what?!”
This is also a great time to collect tax items you'll need for the following year, as well as pre-plan any quarterly taxes you need to pay. A small amount of work now will save you the giant headache of your taxes in the future (I may be speaking from direct experience here).
Review Recurring Expenses
Does making the office two degrees warmer make sense? Have you reviewed your office supply cost lately? Too often we pay too much because the current way is convenient or the flip-side, we perceive the effort to change as too much of a pain in the assets to spend the time needed. Take a few minutes to review all of your recurring costs and if they make sense to your business growth.
An easy way to track all your payments monthly is to open a business credit card just for your reoccurring payments. You can review all the things you spend money on monthly and not have a payment catch you by surprise or be paying for a service you aren't even using anymore.
Analyze Your Analytics
The amount of information available to us can be dizzying to say the least. Just about everything we do electronically is tracked, measured, compared, and put into some sort of report. When’s the last time you really dug in and analyzed your analytics? Find what worked, what didn’t, and make a new plan. Learn what your data means.
This is another thing I like to set-up to review monthly. After you know what data tells you the most valuable information, you can return to it each month to analyze and adjust.
Give Life to Your Business Plan
Your business plan should be a living, breathing document, not something you would find in the Deathly Hallows. Wipe off the dust and crack it open. How is your business doing? Did you live up to the expectations you set for yourself?
Take some time to review your mission and vision, if you’re like me it’ll be inspiring. What can you add or change? Has your business taken a different direction? If so, modify the plan and from now on keep it handy.
Optimize Your Processes
Having the right processes in place can make all the difference in getting more accomplished, more efficiently. Whether it’s organizing how you do billing or scheduling your meetings, you can create a faster and easier way of getting things done. Are your processes in writing? Is everyone on the same page? Do you lead by example? Take a look at how you are accomplishing tasks, I guarantee it can be simplified and streamlined.
Review Your Reviews
Reviews are a powerful tool for building customer loyalty, understanding your client’s needs, and showing the community that you are in touch with your business. Respond to all reviews (if they are negative take the conversation offline, but still respond). Do you have ownership of your business on all the sites where you might be reviewed? Is your company’s information up to date; hours, phone numbers, etc. Be involved with your market, they’re watching.
Perform a Social Media Check-Up
Your online presence goes beyond your website. Is your content fresh and relevant? Has your business changed at all? Are all of your profiles current with the most up to date information? Are all of your links functioning?
I find I'll keep up with posting, but not update my Facebook Page header, like, ever. What little things could improve your community engagement?
Clean Out Your Inbox
I challenge you to take a couple of hours and get to no more than 15 emails in your inbox. Delete old and no longer relevant emails. Create folders for ongoing conversations with clients or topics to be reviewed. Save some interesting articles to your Pocket
. And most importantly, take the time to unsubscribe from all those random solicitors that have weaseled their way into your inbox.
Tip: Set up an additional email account for any time you see something you may want to explore but don’t know how many other companies will get your info.
Actually Clean Your Office
A clean work environment allows for more productivity. Minimizing the clutter around you actually helps you think more clearly. Have you ever spent the day cleaning your house and left for a few hours? It feels good when you walk back into a nice clean place. Vacuum, dust, throw out the junk pile, and maybe Febreeze a little. You’ll feel better for it.
Analyzing and reflecting on your business is good to do any time of the year. We all feel a little bit more motivated with the change in weather and the extra sunshine we get. What better time to take advantage of that bit of energy than now. Once you do it once, schedule when you will do it again. Make a habit of taking a step back in your business and dusting out the cobwebs to make sure everything is working how it should be.
Get organized, make a plan, and get after it. Be thorough and realistic and don’t forget to reward yourself for a job well done.