It’s easy to get busy working in your business and forget to work on your business. Sometimes you just have to take a breath and realize that a couple of things need your attention. Start the season off right by spring cleaning your business.
Organize Your Office
First and foremost, organize your office. This is a big deal because if your office is messy, it can be incredibly distracting. Organizing your office could mean something simple like filing papers or taking care of that one thing that needs your attention. Organizing your office also includes filing and ditching the paper. Paper is not your friend. It’s just a total mess. If you haven’t converted to Google Drive, I highly recommend it. There’s just about nothing that you can’t photograph and file on Google Drive. It makes things so much easier to find because Google Drive searches by keyword versus you trying to remember if you put that in the office file or in the administrative file and so on. Quarterly, at least, go through and clean your workspace up. It makes a big difference.
Clean Out Your Inbox
Step 2 is to clean out your inbox. It hurts my heart to see when someone has 7,000 unopened emails. How is that a thing? You don’t necessarily have to do this with your personal email account but for work, it is especially important. If it is in your inbox, it should mean it requires your attention. If you’re done with it, file it in the proper folder. That way you can keep everything so if a client comes back later and asks a question, you have the information. This keeps your inbox decluttered so you don’t accidentally lose stuff. This is also a great time to go in and unsubscribe from those mailing lists you no longer wish to be on. This will continue to keep your inbox cleaner in the future.
Check Your Inventory
Number 3 is to check your inventory. This doesn’t apply to everybody, but it does apply to a lot of people. Check your inventory and if you’ve got old inventory, get rid of it. If it’s taking up space, it’s costing you money. If that means having a sale or promotion do it. It may be perfect for a giveaway.
Review Your Books
Number 4 is to review your books. For instance, if you have an old invoice that’s been sitting in QuickBooks that should have been deleted a year ago, go ahead and delete it. Also, use this as an opportunity to check your subscriptions and expenses. This is where you can find out exactly what you’re paying for every month, or see you got charged for something twice. You have to really focus on checking for subscriptions and expenses to catch that kind of thing. So check your books and your expenses. Look at your credit card receipt and make sure everything lines up. Make sure all of your invoices are up to date. If you’re going to write it off then write it off and get it out of there.
Check Your Phone
Number five is to check your phone. It could be as simple as deleting some old photographs to clear up a ton of space. We actually have an entire blog coming on this subject next week so we won’t spend a lot of time here. Just know that a cluttered phone makes working from mobile much harder.
Review Your Website
Number 6 is to review your website. Our team is constantly surprised by the number of businesses that have no call to action on their homepage. You have to tell people who are looking for you what you want them to do and if there’s no call to action then they won’t know. Conversely, you can have so many calls to action, they get bogged down and they don’t know what to do. We will have a blog on this coming in a couple of weeks too so if you need help spring cleaning your website, check back.
Review Your Social Media
Number 7 is to review your social media. Check your contact information on every platform and make sure it’s correct. Especially on Facebook, make sure the contact button is connected to the best way to get in touch with you. If you’re not going to answer your phone, it shouldn’t be a phone number. If you’re not going to respond to an email, it shouldn’t be an email. Do what works for you.
Review Your Marketing Plan
Number 8 is to review your marketing plan. Look at where you should be compared to where you are. It can be startling. You may realize that something was supposed to be done in the first quarter and you still haven’t gotten to it. Realizing where you are will give you a better idea of what needs to be done.
Check In With Your Customers
Number 9 is to check in with your customers. It’s important to find out how your customers are doing. You can schedule meetings periodically, follow up calls, or reach out online. it’s always easier to go deep than it is to go wide, so it’s easier to reach out to an existing customer and ask “Is there anything else we can be doing for you?” A lot of times it’s a very simple process and your clients will feel very taken care of.
Another part of checking in with customers is to check your email list. It’s probably time to clean out your customer email list or at least segregate the lists. For instance, if you’re a wedding vendor, you’re going to have a before and after. You could have an engaged list and then an already married list. You need to make sure that your lists are clean. We have retail customers who have people who sign up for email and periodically, like once a month, we go in there and make sure that everybody who signed up actually made it to a list. We also get rid of all the AOL emails, because AOL is terrible. It’s the worst email for spam and it’s most likely to get you booted for spam, so we don’t even send AOL. People will sign up for your newsletter and forget, then mark you as spam, and it kind of shoots you in the foot. So, if you are still living in 1997, please give up the AOL email and go to Gmail.
Review With Your Staff
Number 10 is review and engage with your staff. Ideally, you’re doing this on a more consistent basis but if you haven’t checked in with your team in a while, you need to do that. People need to know they’re appreciated. They need to know that they are valued. Everybody has an opinion and your team is one of your best resources, aside from your client base. Ask them what they think. “What do you think about this product? Is it working? What do you think about this process? Is it working? How can we simplify this?” Talk to your team and find out what they need. As a business owner, you don’t always get to see every single thing day to day, and you have to count on your employees to be your eyes and ears on the ground. If they have a customer who won’t respond to them, you have to know that. If they have a customer that’s giving them a hard time, you want to know that too. So, check in with your team and make sure that everything’s ok. Not everybody will come forward and just tell you what’s happening with their life so this is a good excuse for you to sit down with your team members and find out what’s going on with them.
Do What You’ve Been Putting Off
Number 11 is whatever you’ve been putting off, do it. It could be getting your taxes ready. Taxes from corporate debts are due on the 15th of March in case you forgot. If you’ve been putting it off, do it. That might be cleaning your desk, which we’ve already addressed, but everybody has that one thing that makes them crazy. Sometimes you just get in your own way, because you build it up in your head and you don’t want to do it.
Review Your Goals
Number 12 is to review your goals. If you told yourself in January that this year is going to be the year where you grow your email list and you haven’t done anything to move toward that goal, it’s time to go back to those goals and take a look at them. That kind of loops back to that whole “if you’ve been putting it off do it.” Take a little bit of scheduled time for yourself so that you can put your hands on this stuff and get it done.
If you’re not good at something, let somebody else do it for you. That’s the reason we have a bookkeeper and an accountant. The amount of time it would take us to do it, versus how long it takes her to do it, makes it a no-brainer. We could be generating sales in the, you know, 15 hours it takes to do something that takes her an hour to do. Absolutely review your goals.
Spring Clean Your Business
These steps are a great starting point but don’t forget we will be diving deeper later this month into spring cleaning your phone and website. Check back for more tips on how to make your business as effective as possible.