When the sun is out and a cool breeze is blowing, I feel more alive and more free. It makes it harder to be in the office at a desk. It makes me more agitated when I can’t find things and that slows me down. I am more energetic and more competitive. I want to have reports and compare our performance to last year.
It’s spring. I want a fresh start.
At home, we clean our closets and put away the fall and winter wardrobe. We bring out the spring ice tea pitchers and flowery cups. We put up the heavy throws and the dark pillows.
I want the same light and airy feel in my business.
I must go on auto-pilot because I start spring cleaning – yes, in my business.
Below are three categories of spring cleaning:
- Simple spring cleaning – physical organization and space.
- Deep spring cleaning – business operations.
- Deeper spring cleaning – faith foundations.
Simple Spring Cleaning
Here are some simple spring cleaning tips to give you a fresh feel in your business:
1. Clean up and clear out all of your files. Both online and offline. I find myself deleting and consolidating files. Re-organizing so I can find things. One thing I do is look at all of the paper and shred. If you have financial statements, bank statements, bills, invoices, notes, etc. take a picture and save what is important to Evernote or Dropbox. Trash the rest.
2. Clean up and clear out your email. I mean deep cleaning. Now is the time to unsubscribe to all of the retailers that you wanted to follow for good Christmas deals. I had 167 emails from Restoration Hardware since January. Create folders, especially if you have iCloud, for emails you need to save and move them all. Things from years ago, if you haven’t needed them in a year, just need to be deleted.
3. Review and reset processes. We did this yesterday. It doesn’t matter who you are, or how small or big your company is, some processes just dwindle away. It could be because you have new people. It could be because people became busy and were looking for short cuts. It might be that your process wasn’t very efficient. Make a list of cumbersome processes or efficiency problems in your business and put people on sprucing them up.
4. Dress up your office. We just moved so we are skipping this step because everything is new. However, if you are in the same old same old you may want to add new pillows, a new picture, fresh flowers or maybe a new piece of furniture. Sometimes it just takes a little new to feel anew!
5. Freshen up your gear. We all have equipment and tools of some kind in our office. We are working on getting our internet connection stronger. We are discussing which computers need revamping or replacing. There is nothing that drags us down more than old technology!
Deep Spring Cleaning
Now, let’s move past the surface stuff and look at some deep spring cleaning:
6. Analyze and evaluate your services or product. Are there any low margin or unprofitable lines in your business? Are there any services where the margins are so low and the work so hard that it isn’t worth it? Can you improve it? Can you raise prices or reduce costs? Can you streamline the process so it isn’t so hard. Take a hard look. It can really lighten the load if you jettison unprofitable and difficult work.
7. Review your customer base for pain. We all have seen the 80/20 rule in effect. Most business revenue is derived from 20% of the customers. Yet, sometimes 80% of the pain and inefficiency is also derived by a different, less revenue generating 20%. You know what you need to do.
8. Review your customer base for strategic and cultural fit. In small businesses, we usually accept almost any work we can do because we need the revenues as we are starting out. I know everyone by now has heard of the term “ideal client.” Each of us has an ideal client. The one that fits perfectly with our services and our culture. Those that we just click with. Work doesn’t even seem like work. The more we can fine tune our growth efforts to add ideal clients, the more bandwidth we have, the better work we do, and the more satisfied our clients become. Which means more referrals.
9. Review your vendors prices and quality of work. To keep costs down, we have to routinely check prices and get competitive bids. I don’t subscribe to always going with the lowest cost. I have more than learned that you get what you pay for. But I do believe it is wise to make sure your vendors are still in the range of market rates. I also believe you have to assess the quality of the services you are receiving. Our vendors can get complacent and not work as hard on current clients as they are spending all of their efforts on getting new people on board. We need to review the work and the relationship just like we do with employees.
10. Provide performance reviews for your team. I don’t believe in spring cleaning your team but I do believe in performance reviews and performance management. I think it is important to review and communicate job expectations and performance against expectations. I think it is helpful to set goals. I believe it is essential to have open lines of communication with your team and to help them to grow and develop in their role and prepare them for future roles.
Deeper Spring Cleaning
How about freshening our faith in our business. The Holy Spirit is truly the King of new life and fresh starts. Let’s get to some deeper spring cleaning:
11. Pray over your offices and team. I love the office prayer walk through. Here is an audio recording I did to walk you through.
12. Create a prayer team for your business. Invite people you trust and you know care about you and your business and ask them if they would join you in prayer for your business. In my e-book The Christian Business Edge, I discuss the benefits of a prayer team for your business and how to gather and ask for prayer from this team.
13. Commit to a new biblical practice in your business. It may be good stewardship of the businesses finances. It might be studying Biblical principles on leadership. It may be practicing generosity or hospitality. These aren’t just Biblical, they are good business too!
14. Start a Bible study in your business. This is okay if it is your business and it is a small business and you don’t require anyone to participate.
15. Find a ministry to support and donate time or money to. Ministries need business partners to keep them going and help them help others.
Are there one or two of these you would like to try to give your business a little refreshment and new life? Do you have other suggestions for spring cleaning for our businesses?