Spring is well and truly in the air! After the winter months, the popular act of “spring cleaning” is an opportunity to give our homes a much-needed refresh. It’s a chance to clear out anything that is no longer of use or benefit, tidy-up anything that is out of place to improve flow and order and perhaps tackle some long-untouched recesses that you know you should do more regularly, but just never seem to get to.
Just as a spring clean is a great way to revitalise your home and have you feeling a little more ordered, in control and prepared to face whatever is to come next, the same premise can be applied to your business. Without a doubt, there would be some things that are no longer of benefit, need a tidy-up or refresh and some cobwebs to be cleared off and dealt with too.
Granted, the idea of spring cleaning your business might feel a little daunting and overwhelming, but approaching the end of the year, especially given the challenges of this year in particular, is the perfect time to do it. A spring clean can certainly help to get things in good shape and leave you feeling positive to face the coming months, and new year that is just around the corner.
We’ve gathered some helpful tips to help you tackle a good spring clean for your business.
Tidy-Up Your Physical Workspace
Let’s start out small and simple. It might seem a little obvious, but the best place to start is by cleaning up your physical workspace. This includes everything from dealing with that growing pile of papers (either action it, file it or bin it!), wiping down surfaces and making sure you’ve got all your essential tools, like pens and notepad, at the ready. You’ll be pleasantly surprised how this one task can have you feeling ready to tackle the next with a little more invigoration and oomph.
Organise Your Virtual Workspace
Once you’ve got your desk looking the part, it’s time to do the same to your virtual workspace.
Start with your email inbox. Action, file or trash there too – like you did with the papers on your desk. Then do the same with your desktop files and make sure to take a back-up of it all. Losing all your hard work is much harder to deal with than taking a few minutes to keep it safe.
Are there any mailing lists that you are no longer interested in that you should unsubscribe from? Any other accounts or subscriptions that you might be paying for that you no longer need? And update your passwords too, to keep everything secure.
Whilst starting in your own “backyard” is a great first step, spring cleaning is not just for you. Encourage your staff to follow your example and ask them to clean up their workspaces and computers too.
Keeping Up Appearances
Now that you’ve tackled workspaces, it’s time to venture a little further. What could you do to make the place look and feel a little more welcoming for customers, employees and guests?
A lick of paint in reception? A new sign out the front? It could be as simple as washing the windows and getting the carpet cleaned.
Get Down to Business
With the workspace and aesthetics taken care of, now it’s time to really get into giving the inner workings of your business some attention. Of course, you’re probably giving it a lot of attention every single day, but this is a chance to step back a little from the day-to-day and check in with what is working and what could be improved.
Operations – spend some time reviewing current business processes. Sure, you know how it all works, but seek to identify any ways that it could be better. More efficient? More cost effective? Could you automate some parts of processes? Move from paper to digital?
Inventory – are you holding lots of stock that is not selling? Do you need a sale or promotion to move that stock? Make sure you aren’t ordering more of things that you don’t need or can’t sell. Have you run out of stock that is popular and needs to be re-stocked?
Supplier Relationships – review your current agreements and see if there is any room for improvement. Don’t be afraid to ask for a better deal with existing suppliers.
Employee Reviews – just as you reviewed operations, also check in on employee performance. Who’s adding value? It might not be that you need to “clean out” any employees necessarily, but perhaps you could benefit from re-assigning roles or responsibilities to make better use of particular skills and potential.
Marketing – don’t underestimate the power of a simple email to let customers know what’s happening in your business at the moment. That doesn’t mean to tell them that you’re having a spring clean! But let them know of a current promotion, new operating hours or remind them of an existing, or promote a new, product or service. Give your website a quick check to see that all the information is current and do the same on your social media accounts too. Most importantly, check that all contact details are up to date so that people can easily get in touch with you.
Look after Yourself
You need to look after yourself too so that you can give your best to the business.
The sun is shining, so make sure that you set some time for yourself to enjoy it. Fresh air and sunshine can work wonders to revitalise and refocus you if you’re feeling a little tired coming into the end portion of the year.
It’s also important to make time to do something you enjoy. A favourite hobby or an interesting book. If you can’t tear yourself too far away from work, you might like to combine the two by reading a book that can help to improve your business.
Be sure to commit yourself by allocating time for these types of activities in your diary. Think about the regular and short term but also look ahead too – have you noted the kids school holidays in there? Is there a conference you’d like to attend?
It’s important to remember that you don’t necessarily have to set aside a huge chunk of time to get everything done at once. Break the list down to smaller-sized, achievable pieces. Perhaps one or two each day and you’ll soon see a big difference.
Pushing up your sleeves to get some cleaning done at home might not be something that you are overly excited about, and no doubt you could list plenty of other things that you should, or would, much rather spend your time doing. And that same feeling probably applies to the thought of spring cleaning your business too. But in both cases, the benefit of a little discomfort in the short term can really pay off. It’s so important to make time to keep things in order and ticking along nicely, as inevitably, the “clean-up” pile can get grow to be too big, and if left untended can result in problems that could have been avoided.
So, before the silly season sets in, make a promise to yourself to roll up your sleeves and give your business a good spring clean. It’s a great way to end the year and will have you feeling refreshed and in control to tackle the new year with plenty of renewed enthusiasm.