10 Ways to Spring Clean Your Business
May 2nd 2022
10 Ways to Spring Clean Your Business
You've gassed up your lawn mower, dug out your gardening gloves, swapped out your winter tires, organized your closet and are stickering items for your Garage Sale. But your home isn't the only place that benefits from a good Spring Cleaning every year. In the same way that your home can't run on auto-pilot, your business needs some TLC too, and spring is a great time to check in and make sure that you're deculttering and optimizing your finances, systems, processes, staffing and tech. Here are our top 10 ways to Spring Clean your Business - and make sure to bookmark this page so you can do it again next year!
1. Dig into your data
Most businesses run on a calendar year, which means April/May is the perfect time to start generating and reviewing your first quarter (Q1) reports. Pull your financial statements, income and expense reports, web traffic data, leads and customer data, social media stats, and any other metrics you have that drive your business. Review them to look for trends and compare them to the same time last year as well as over the last 3-6 months to see how you're doing. The best business decisions are backed by clear data, so use what you've got to set your intentions for the second half of the year (Q3 & Q4).
2. Get your taxes in order
Connect with your bookeeper and accountant to make sure that they have everything they need to get your filing in on time. Get your receipts organized, your accounting software up-to-date, and make a list of any known deductions you may have to make their jobs easier. If you're not sure, check out your filing paperwork from the previous year to see what was calculated. This is also a great time to see if you can automate or streamline your bookkeeping processes to help you keep things in order. If you're looking for a bookkeeper, get in touch with us - we may be able to help!
3. Review and audit your selling channels
The best way to figure out if you're reaching your ideal customers is to audit your selling channels. Make a list of all the ways a customer can currently purchase your product or service (in person, bick-and-mortar location, website, Instagram shop, Facebook shop, third-party reseller, etc...). Then, input your sales data from each channel as well as the costs associated with that channel, and compare. Where is the best "bang-for-your-buck" in terms of revenue generated vs cost? Where might you be spending a lot and not seeing a good return? Are there any channels you could be using but currently are not? But remember, not EVERY channel may be the right one for your business - the right channels are the ones that connect you with your ideal customer AND generate a healthy return on investment [ROI].
4. Freshen up your marketing strategies
Like your business, marketing strategies are constantly evolving and it can take time and expertise to stay on top of emerging trends. Spring is a great time to evaluate what marketing initiatives you should undertake, which includes reflecting on any strategies you used for the holiday period as well as looking ahead to the summer season. Evaluating your marketing data from last year, researching new trends and marketing platforms, developing your social media, evaluating your brand presence, automating your marketing processes, developing a content calendar and looking into networking events and opportunities are all part of building a strong marketing strategy. If you're looking for help with your marketing strategy or social media, reach out to us!
5. Refresh your website
Does your website effectively represent your business and reflect your brand and values? Is it optimized to sell your products and services? Does it rank well on search engines? Is your content fresh? Is the backend structure up-to-date? Is it built with accessibility in mind so users with disabilities can navigate it easily (Interesting fact: 1-in-4 people have a disability that makes accessing web content difficult. if your website isn't built accessibly, you could be losing out on 25% of the market!)? As your business grows and changes, so should your website. NO website is a "set-it-and-forget-it" way to advertise your products and services; they require updating and maintenance to work effectively for your business. If you're not sure where to start, need a website, or you're looking to rebuild/refresh your current site, contact us - we have some great members who specialize in these areas and can help you out!
6. Review your vendors, subscriptions, and partnership agreements
As a business owner, it takes a lot of effort to find all of the vendors necessary to run your business, which includes everything from the companies who supply your office with water and paper to shipping and transportation, to software for your computers. And it's easy to fall into the trap of setting up relationships and never thinking about them again - BUT, doing so can often cost you time and money in increased fees, or changing terms of service agreements. For example, maybe you signed up for a promotional trial at a special price with a vendor and that has now expired, and the cost has increased significantly. While that may have been of benefit in the first year, the increased cost may no longer be worth it for your business (and there may be a less expensive vendor out there now!). Always take time each year to evaluate your on-going parternships to make sure that they are still benefitting your business and it's bottom line - and you may be surprised to learn that some of these agreements are actualyl negotiable, so always ask before terminating any agreement!
7. Check-in with your client list - and your clients!
Pull your client/customer lists from all of your selling channels and ask yourself some key questions:
- Who are my biggest assets (profitable, referrable, aligned with your brand & values)?
- Who are my biggest liabilities?
- Who haven't I connected with in a while? *and check-in with them!*
- Who has potential to become a great customer?
- Who has the potential to refer other customers to my business?
Note any useful data in your CRM system or if you don't have one, you can even create a spreadsheet with notes on your clients. Refer back to these notes and make additional ones throughout the year when relevant, such as noting where referrals come from, big client "wins", or when/how relationships should be terminated. Make sure to check-in with your clients every few months so that your products and services stay top-of-mind with them, and to remind them that you're here to help them.
8. Clean up your inbox
Filters, folders, tags: these are your inbox's best friends. Managing a business often involves a deluge of emails and if you don't have a good system in place for organizing your inbox, it can be easy to lose track of important attachments and replies. If you have a system and have been slow to stay on top of it, consider this your reminder to get back to filing! Even 5 minutes at the start of each day can make a huge difference to manage inbox clutter. And if you don't have a system in place, start by making a list of all of the categories of emails that you receive. These could be based on each client name, client type, project type, buying cycle, product/service or whatever makes the most sense for your business. Then, create appropriate tags/folders to organize your current emails. To make the filing work more efficient, do a global search within your inbox for key words and then select all the emails that match and file them away. For example, if you want to file by client, create a folder/tag with that client's name, search for the client's name, select all matching emails, and then put them in that client's folder. And while you're at it, digitize anything you can to save on wasted paper and printing, like credit card bills, invoices and vendor agreements.
9. Review your staffing needs
As your business evolves and changes, so will your staffing requirements. Scheduling, job responsibilities, and employee contracts and satisfaction should all be reviewed annually to make sure everyone is working towards a common goal. The positions you hired for initially or even last year may not be the roles you need filled this year - maybe you need more or less coverage for certain job functions, maybe the hours of operation need to be adjusted or vacation blackout periods need to be revised for the new business cycle. Especially in the wake of the pandemic, it's important to make sure that your employee contracts and job responsibilties reflect the changes that your business may have undergone.
10. Update your training materials
Review your current training materials and make sure they reflect the current state of your business operation. Maybe you've expanded in the last year, changed focus, or have new equipment or software. Making sure that you have written documentation with a clear process can help speed up the onboarding process for new employees and identify training gaps for current employees. Also review any employee certifications that may have expired (health and safety, WHMIS, SmartServe, and specialized equipment/software are just some examples) and make sure to have your employees recertify when necessary. This is also a good opportunity to look for additional training opportunities for your staff which may help further develop their soft skills, such as Diversity, Equity & Inclusion training, Indigenous Awareness training which can benefit both their personal development and your business. If you're looking for different employee training opportunities, reach out to us and we can let you know what we have available.