Spring Cleaning Tips for Your Business
Spring cleaning isn’t just about vacuuming carpets, mopping the floor and dusting the windows – it’s also a mindset around decluttering, streamlining and positioning yourself in a more positive direction. I’ve put together some handy tips to help you bring the concept of a spring clean to your business.
I realise that I’m writing this in May, which means you’re probably reading it in June or even later – so spring may be well out of the window, and summer will (hopefully) be in full force. However, these tips are evergreen and will stand you in good stead whenever you practice them. The important thing is taking some time to step back, reassess your business and ‘clean’ up your processes.
Clean up your inbox
The average person receives 121 emails per day. I don’t know how accurate that figure is, but I know that as a small business owner, you’ll receive a steady stream of emails. These will probably be mostly unnecessary distractions from your day-to-day workflow.
You know the type of emails I mean: pointless spam that gets through your filter, ongoing automated messages from tools you use, poorly-worded requests from overseas workers promising to help you boost your SEO performance, etc., etc.
As an owner, every potential distraction can lead to wasted time and, across a day, this can mount up. Even if you ignore those emails, there’s an element of psychological distress whenever you open your inbox to see hundreds of unread emails you’ve put off.
I’d suggest taking control of your inbox by creating a simple system based on priority. In Gmail, you can create labels and assign emails to them. I would create the following labels:
- Do/Action: these are the most urgent emails that require you to take some form of action.
- Respond: emails you either need to reply to imminently or further down the line – useful for ensuring you don’t lose track and forget to respond.
- Delegate: emails containing tasks or jobs you can delegate to other members of your team or a freelancer.
- File: emails that need to be filed – these can either be to save to an offline location or just to be kept in this ‘file’ label so you can return to them later.
- Delete: emails marked for deletion. I’d suggest doing this to any emails that you haven’t taken one of the above actions against within 30 days.
This is just one type of filing system, but it is a nice easy way to declutter and is essentially ‘drag and drop’.
It’s important that you don’t take on too much responsibility as an owner. You'll be tempted to keep all of the important tasks to yourself, but that only leads to burnout and failed growth. Instead, review your vision and strategy and reposition yourself to only work on the most important tasks that contribute towards active growth. All other tasks should be handled by automation or another member of your team.
Review current performance
It’s easy to get bogged down in the day-to-day running of a business without ever reviewing your macro goals. Take time out to create a snapshot of your current performance and review it with fresh eyes. Pay particularly close attention to:
- Team KPIs: readdress KPIs first – how are employees performing against their KPIs, how do those KPIs fit into your business plan, should you change them or set new ones?
- Automated platforms: are the tools you use and pay for driving value? If not, should you work on better integration, explore new platforms or just take the work back to allocate to a human resource?
- Customer relationships: how are your customer relationships at the moment? Do you need to do anything to address problems or can you put new things in place to improve ongoing relationships?
Between employees, automation and clients, you’ll find the areas where the most value is lost – whether through inefficiencies, lack of training, poor communication or something less obvious. The only way to spot these problems, however, is to take the time to step back and review things against your original goals.
Assess your fixed costs
How many businesses have subscriptions they don’t use? I know I’ve had a few in my time – it’s sometimes more effort to spot and cancel them than it is to just let them slip by. Whilst many of these subscriptions and services may have negligible costs, they can quickly mount up and cause a financial drain that hampers growth.
As an operations professional, helping businesses reach their scaling potential is a big part of what I do. As part of that mindset, cutting out unnecessary costs (and improving profitability) and cash flow burdens is too important to ignore.
I’m not just talking about subscriptions, either. I’m talking about all of your costs: unnecessary ones like unused subscriptions, but also those costs which ARE necessary. Even those that are vital to your business can be experimented with: can you change tariffs or find lower prices with another supplier?
Perfect your onboarding process
Onboarding is one of those things you can easily overlook, but getting it right is critical to better future performance. How you onboard your team members and your clients is equally important – so take this spring cleaning exercise as an opportunity to review your onboarding process and any associated materials like SOPs.
If you’re confused about where to start, I’ve created a guide to onboarding that walks you through it, click the link to get started.
The tips above will help you declutter your organisation’s processes, bringing a new sense of clarity and direction to you and your team. Remember, you definitely don’t need to wait until Spring to do this – it’s more about carving out a chunk of time to review and readjust before moving forward. If, after reading these tips, you’re interested in how I can help you grow, get in touch, and we’ll discuss your business as it currently stands and where the future could take you.
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