09 May Spring Cleaning: How to Focus on Business Goals and Get Rid of Things that No Longer Serve You or Your Business
Flowers are in bloom, the weather is warming up and people everywhere are decluttering and getting outdoors after a long winter. In other words, spring has sprung!
There’s something inspiring about this season that makes us want to pack away our winter clothes, throw open the windows and clean out our flower beds. If you’re a small business owner like me, then you’ll also want to use some of that invigorating spring energy to revisit your New Year’s business goals and clean-up your business operations. Here’s how!
1. Tackle goals one by one. It’s easy to get overwhelmed if you have a laundry list of goals for cleaning up your business. Paul Foster, aka The Business Therapist, suggests writing your goals down and working on the most important item (or the one that bothers you the most!) first. Having a list will help you visualize and organize your goals, making it easier to address them step by step.
2. Declutter your books. You’ve probably just filed your taxes – something that many of us put off, especially if our tax records and accounts are in disarray. This is the perfect time of year to correct that and prepare for the next fiscal year. One fabulous way to do this is to link your business platform (i.e. Square, PayPal, Amazon, Shopify, etc.) with an automatic bookkeeping service, like TaxJar or Xero. The more you can automate and digitize your records and important documents, the better!
3. Refresh your website. When was the last time you gave your website a little TLC? We suggest setting aside some time to update the copy, remove any outdated information, ensure your site is SEO optimized, check all links, break ground on that blog you’ve been dreaming of, etc.
4. Update your social media. Are you satisfied with your brand representation on LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram and other social media platforms? Clear out old posts that don’t reflect your brand image, re-evaluate your target audience and your strategy for reaching them. Social marketing consulting and Predictable.ly Co-founder and Chief Marketing Officer Amy Vernon suggests using hashtags to join conversations about your industry. This way, says Vernon, you can become part of the “community” instead of someone just trying to push their product.
5. Literally clean up your business space. Having a clean workspace can do wonders for both you and your employees’ attitudes, plus it sends a positive message to prospective clients.
6. Purge your inbox: Your email inbox can seriously interrupt your workflow through a constant barrage of notifications and by the sheer fact that having a ton of unread emails is overwhelming. Plus, there’s the dreaded issue of missing a really important message! “Instead of storing it in your inbox though, just copy and paste the entire email to a word document and file it there for safe keeping. Word docs are designed to be saved and stored but emails are not,” suggests Southwestern Consulting Co-founder Rory Vaden.
7. Eliminate paper clutter: Even though digital clutter is a problem for all business owners in this day and age, office clutter still seems unavoidable. It piles up everywhere – in the form of receipts, magazines, old files, etc. Finding the time to deal with clutter can be hard for business owners, says Jenn Choi, vice president of marketing at Neat. Choi recommends scheduling time monthly or weekly to declutter and digitizing receipts and other documents when possible.
8. Turn to the experts. As this Fast Company article explains, decluttering has become a big business with companies cropping up and left right to help you with the process. Experts like Marie Kondo, author of The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, have some prolific tips for revamping your home and office, like focusing on decluttering instead of storage. As she explains, “sooner or later, all the storage units are full, the room once again overflows with things, and some new and ‘easy‘ storage method becomes necessary, creating a downward spiral.”
9. Hire a professional. Don’t let clutter and chaos bog you down. There are hundreds, if not thousands, of professionals dedicated to business organization and decluttering. Try finding one through the National Association of Professional Organizers. If you have time to pack up extra things laying around the office, called services like Scott Sinclair’s Box Butler to pick them up and store (or donate!) them for you. Delegating tasks like this will give you more time to focus on more important things, like developing new content ideas.
10. Re-evaluate your use of time. This tip applies two-fold; first, in terms of establishing a work-life balance, but also in ensuring your time at work is spent wisely. Entrepreneur Krish Chopra argues that bad clients are the biggest waste of time. Instead of wasting one or two months trying to work with a client that isn’t lucrative, focus on building new pipelines and growing your business, Chopra says.
As for work-life balance, try one or more of the tips we’ve featured above. You’d be surprised how much more relaxed and in control you’ll feel just by having your email inbox organized or knowing that your social media portrays your brand in a way your audience will identify with. Happy organizing!