By Theresa Ceniccola
If you’re finished washing windows, cleaning closets, organizing the garage and spreading mulch, then I’ve got another job for you. This one involves a lot less elbow grease and a little more brainpower, but I think you’re up to the task. I’m talking about doing some spring cleaning on your business. It’s the kind of cleaning that doesn’t smell like lemons – but it will leave you feeling energized and excited about your work.
Here are (in no particular order) 10 simple tasks that will help renew your clarity and passion for your business. I would be lying if I told you I’ve done all of them in the past few weeks. But I can truthfully say that I’ve done them all in the past. Pick two or three that are calling your name and see if they help you create a fresh start.
10 Simple Ways to Spring-Clean Your Business
1. Air out your file drawer. Is it time to go through your paper filing system and create some breathing room in those drawers? Toss out anything you haven’t touched in a year – or store it in the attic if you need to hang onto it. Give yourself room to add new files and welcome new clients and projects into the business. While you are at it, throw away any business cards you have shoved in your desk – scan them or manually add them to your contact first if you want to keep them.
2. Create a clean slate and reprioritize your projects. If you are even slightly organized you probably made a list of projects, goals or tasks for the new year in January. We’re three quarters of the way through the year so it’s a great time to revisit that list and assess your progress. Is there anything you can cross off the list? Are there new projects you want to add? How can you make time for the most important items on the list?
3. Clean up your website. My website can become more cluttered than a mudroom on a snow day if I let it go. Now is the perfect time to review your site and see what you need to clean out. Is there too much going on in your sidebar? Do you have too many plugins or widgets slowing the site down? Are there 404 errors and redirects that need to be fixed? Does your backup system work?
4. Take a fresh look at your leads. Is your prospect list growing a bit stale? It might be time to review what’s working when it comes to bringing in new business. Write down the names of your last 20 clients or customers…then take a few minutes to figure out how they found you. If you own a brick-and-mortar business or an e-commerce site you may want to do this as a survey at check out. Analyze the results and identify the most effective lead generating strategies for your business. Then focus your energy on doing more of what’s working and less of what’s not working.
5. Let go of your old excuses. While you’re scrubbing the baseboards and clearing the cobwebs of your home, you might want to examine the dirt and dust that resides in your mind as well. I’m talking about the fear, doubt, guilt, envy and worry that you have allowed to take up residence in your heart and soul. Try journal writing to get clear on what’s holding you back right now and use this time to be honest with yourself and create a plan for letting go of whatever is not working for you now.
6. Get a handle on your financial records. Remember just a few weeks ago when you were compiling tax information for your CPA and you swore you would keep better records this year? Now’s the time to get started! Create a simple system that allows you to collect financial and tax-related data throughout the year so you’re not scrambling next year. I like using Evernote and Dropbox for this…along with Quickbooks, of course.
7. Update your inventory. What do you have hiding in boxes in the corner or closet somewhere? Pens with outdated logos? Broken or defective items? Brochures with the wrong phone number? Products you no longer sell? Make a decision today – you can sell them, donate them or toss them. But move them out of the closet and make room for new inventory!
8. Get a headshot makeover. If it’s been more than three years since your last professional photo shoot, you might want to slap on some lipstick and get a new headshot. I’m due for a new photo myself, and I know what you’re thinking…you want to wait until your hair grows out or you get a little bit of a tan…or you lose a couple of pounds. You know as well as I do that there’s never a perfect time for trying on bathing suits or getting your photo taken. But when you don’t look anything like your photo, people start to wonder if you’re hiding something. So embrace your beautiful self and get a headshot makeover.
9. Create some whitespace on your calendar. Whenever I clean out my closets or my pantry or my garage, I enjoy the clutter-free space for a few weeks. And then something tragic happens…stuff slowly creeps in and takes over the space again. I seem to grow into whatever space I have – and then I quickly outgrow it. The same thing happens with my calendar, which is why I need to ruthlessly protect my free time by blocking it off on the calendar. Take 20 minutes to block off your “down” time for the remainder of the year. Maybe you want to take off every Friday afternoon….or set aside one day a month for yourself. Go ahead and make the appointment now!
10. Get some fresh air. I mean this in a literal sense. Nothing helps you focus and remain productive more than a few minutes in the great outdoors. Build some time in your schedule daily to get some fresh air. Go for a walk, sip your coffee on the porch or take a catnap by the pool…whatever works for you.
Did I miss anything? What other spring cleaning tips or strategies do you have for your business?
Theresa Ceniccola is The Christian Mompreneur—a Mentor to Moms Who are Running a Business that Supports Faith and Family. As the president and founder of the International Christian Mompreneur Network, she empowers entrepreneurial moms to build profitable businesses with wisdom and grace. Theresa has successfully run a home-based business as a freelance writer and marketing consultant for the past 18 years. She considers herself blessed to make a living doing what she loves and empowering other moms to create businesses that support their values of faith and family. Join the International Christian Mompreneur Network (it’s free!) today and you’ll receive Theresa’s Mompreneur Toolkit featuring the Ten Commandments of a Mompreneur.