Just like finally tackling that messy garage, basement or attic back home can leave you feeling like a weight has been lifted off your shoulders (and sometimes uncover forgotten-about treasures!) doing a physical and administrative ‘spring clean’ of your business can give you and your employees a great morale boost. Here are a few ideas to get you started.
Start by brainstorming with your staff
What areas in the office have become cluttered and make it difficult for your employees to find the things they’re looking for? Could doing a reshuffle of the furniture make getting around easier, or let in more natural light? What ideas do they have for preventing clutter from building back up?
The more involved your employees are in the process, and the more ‘heard’ they feel, the greater everyone’s enthusiasm for the spring clean ahead.
Sort through old files and papers, as well as digital documents
Almost every business ends up with a room full of boxes containing documents which may or may not actually be worth hanging onto. Sorting the wheat from the chaff, and ideally digitizing any papers you don’t need physical copies of, is always a great start.
As the majority of business communication becomes electronic, make sure you’ve got a system in place where important documents like contracts and invoices are stored and backed up safely off-premises.
If you’ve got a lot of stuff to go through, organizing a Friday afternoon pizza party-style get-together can be a fun way to add a little element of teambuilding into the mix!
Do a proper stock take
Whether you have a full-on warehouse space or simply a cluttered-looking stationery cupboard, figuring out what you already have to hand is a great way to identify stock you should be trying to move more quickly as well as what you’re short on.
Whether it’s setting standard procedures and checks in place for dealing with new inventory, or looking at forklifts for sale in your area to make your warehouse staff more efficient, a little time spent organizing now can result in meaningful and on-going time savings later.
Spring clean your marketing strategy and business goals
Moving away from your physical office space, taking a fresh look at your objectives as a business, setting some new goals and evaluating what has and hasn’t worked for you can be incredibly beneficial.
Start by reviewing your marketing efforts. How have your customers’ tastes and preferences changed? Are they using social media platforms that you don’t have a presence on yet, or are most of your website visitors now finding you on a mobile device? Is the tone that you’re communicating with them in casual and friendly, or are you still leaning towards a more distant and professional voice?
What are your business objectives for the next few years? Take a look at setting realistic goals, figuring out how you can best track your own progress, what resources might be out there to assist you, and set yourself realistic deadlines and milestones to keep you motivated and on the right track for optimum success.
Review all your business expenses with a fine-toothed comb
Spring cleaning your budget should be a regular occurrence at any business, but it can be even more critical for small and medium businesses trying to remain competitive without sacrificing on quality. Doing so means keeping a very close eye on all your expenses – both once-off and recurring – and making looking for cheaper alternatives a habit.
You might want to sit down with several months’ bank statements, separating costs into appropriate categories, and highlighting any recurring expenses which you haven’t evaluated for a while. If you haven’t done this exercise for some time, there are probably dozens of costs you could be trimming back on, but have simply overlooked.
Touch base with old customers
In going through old documents and correspondence, you’ll probably stumble across a few ex-clients you haven’t reached out to in some time. This can be the perfect opportunity to re-open the lines of communication – if they’re still operating, of course. If you don’t know why they stopped using your services, find out. A frank, honest and open conversation can reveal a number of ways you could be improving your service, or even make you aware of new competitors you hadn’t yet heard of.
Rid yourself of product lines or processes that aren’t profitable
Another form of business spring cleaning is identifying and eliminating products or processes you spend time or money on, but which don’t actually net you any significant reward. Start by working out the real costs of every product or service you supply, and a few potential problem areas should jump out quite quickly. Like many things in the business world, you can’t improve what you can’t measure – so get to crunching those numbers!