Now that spring is officially here, it’s a good time to look for ways to ‘spring clean’ your business. This is not about cleaning windows or decluttering the office, but rolling up your sleeves to see how you can improve:
- What your business does
- The way that it does it
At this time of year, spring cleaning ideas are flowing from influential business websites faster than meltwater in sunshine. So, here are some of the best ideas we found, and how they could help your business emerge from winter with renewed energy and drive.
How do you spend your time?
Many of us spend many hours working, but what do we actually do during those working hours? Ideally, our working hours should comprise of productive time spent both:
- In the business, i.e. doing day to day stuff)
- On the business, i.e. devising strategy, planning growth, creating new products or services
If time ON the business is crowded out by time spent IN the business, that’s when you need to get some extra help or outsource.
Optimise your business processes
Motivational guru Tony Robbins gives a timely reminder that:
“Spring cleaning your business doesn’t have to involve changing everything or starting from scratch with new and exciting initiatives. It’s the small changes that will ultimately make the biggest difference in your bottom line this coming year. … Start by getting your team together to identify processes that you can optimize which will save time in productivity and decrease costs for the coming year.”
Outsourcing for 2019
Nobody can be an expert in absolutely everything. That’s what specialists are for. So if you’re spending time doing every job in your business, you won’t be doing them all very well. Spring clean your job description by outsourcing what takes up your time but isn’t suited for you, or doesn’t directly benefit the business. Also look at what you don’t like doing, but needs getting done. Then delegate or outsource. As the saying goes, if you hate mowing the lawn, get a gardener, not a bigger lawnmower!
Cost verses ability
At this point, many business owners will say that they can’t afford to outsource, that doing it themselves saves money. Time for a mindset change.
- Consider how much YOU are worth per hour.
- Estimate how much additional income you could generate over and above those personal cost per hour.
- Compare that figure with how much you would pay a professional to do the jobs that are eating your time.
Bear in mind that even if the professional charges more than you ‘cost’, you would probably take twice as long to do the job as they would.
Examine neglected projects
Every business has a ‘dusty corner’ project one that has been sidelined or has stalled due to lack of fund or time or both. Entrepreneur Drew Hendricks suggests that spring is the perfect time to:
“Look specifically at those, see how they might be better incorporated, or just get rid of them if they have gone this long without any notice or results. There’s nothing wrong with simplifying to strengthen focus and funnel resources more effectively.”
Clean out your client list
There are ‘feeder’ clients and there are ‘eater’ clients.
- Feeder clients are the ones you enjoy working with: they feed you regular orders, they give good feedback and they respect your business and what it provides for them. They also pay you on time.
- Eater clients are the ones you know will be hours on the phone: they gobble up your time, your expertise and your energy, and to top it all, don’t pay on time so you have to spend even more time chasing payments.
Analyse your client list and work out just how much time the eaters take up. Do they actually offer a good ROI for your business? Can you turn that relationship around to be less demanding?
Have a chat with the future you
This idea comes from online domain retailers Go Daddy. We tried this and found that by just literally sitting in our office chair and looking around, it focussed us more.
“(This) might sound a little woo-woo, but it’s a practical mental hack that delivers results. Picture yourself sitting in your office in one year’s time and ask yourself what positive aspects have changed over the last 12 months. For example, how did you set yourself up for the successful year you’ve just had, and what processes and resources did you add or remove?”
Update your templates
Many businesses have standard layouts and templates for almost all of their documents, from emails and price lists to spreadsheets. They are so much part of your business, you probably haven’t updated their format in years. So, for 2019, why not give them a much overdue facelift? Simple tweaks will give every doc a more modern look, with new colours and typefaces. A more mobile-friendly layout will complete the fresh look with minimal effort. Remember to update all those standards document and PDFs too. (This is an ideal job for outsourcing to that graphic designer, Virtual PA, or Excel specialist you met at your Chamber networking meeting!)
Get expert help
With our own businesses, it’s not always possible to see through the everyday to the bigger picture. This can be especially true of changes to our physical working environment. As Entrepreneur magazine suggest:
“If you’re committed to a thorough cleaning, you may want to call in expert help to make sure nothing is overlooked. It’s not unusual for people to hire housekeepers, tree-trimmers, landscapers and other service providers to enhance spring cleaning. In the business world, it’s a good idea to bring in an objective third party to identify organizational clutter; hire an expert who has done the same for other companies.”
Got your own spring cleaning tip?
Why not share it with your business community at the next Woodstock Chamber of Commerce “Business After 5” meeting. A tip shared in return might just make the difference for your business this spring. See our Events Calendar page for dates of all our events.