March 20 marked the official start of spring – a season bursting with blooming flora and the prospect of life’s rejuvenating powers. For small-business owners, spring is an ideal time to embrace the poetic promise of the season by asking: When was the last time I cleaned my computer keyboard with compressed air or wiped down the monitor with a static-free cloth?
OK – poetic the above is not – but pragmatic it is; and it’s the ideal season for small-business owners to embrace spring cleaning – both physical and strategic. Feel free to share these tips with your clients.
From the Physical Perspective
Eye your equipment
Properly functioning office equipment is vital to any business, but tends to go unnoticed until it goes kaput. Start with the simple things, such as changing the batteries in your wireless mouse and keyboard. It’s also a great time to check out new computers on the market, such as ones that are more energy-efficient and easy to take on the go. And don’t ignore your printers; remove and empty paper trays, make sure that ink cartridges are moving smoothly, and check online for software updates from the printer manufacturer.
Toss or recycle
Almost every office houses a graveyard of sorts – a dark corner where all nonfunctioning electronics and assorted other unwanted items are stashed and forgotten. Now is the time to clear the office graveyard and bring said items to their final waste or recycling resting place.
If your business maintains an inventory of products, evaluate each product’s profitability, and then thin your inventory accordingly.
From the Strategic Perspective
- Clean out clients – Not all clients are created equally. Analyze the profitability of each client; those clients who consistently consume more resources than can be reclaimed in the billing process should be purged from your client roster.
- Assess your retention rate – At the same time that you’re purging your client roster, you additionally should be assessing if your retention rate among valued clients has dropped. If so, spring may be the perfect season to step up customer service. If feasible, you also should contact lost clients and ask why they left.
- Dump dead weight – Similar to clients, not all employees are created equally. While it’s never pleasant to let someone go, losing money due to employee inefficiency can ultimately make or break your business. Consequently, you need to cast a critical eye toward which staff members are utilizing their time to the fullest, and which need to seek employment elsewhere.
- Spruce up your online appearance – A prospect’s first interaction with your business is likely to be online. As a result, it’s vital that your website is crisp, clean, and easy to navigate. Avoid crowding your homepage with information about locations, hours, and product/service offerings. Instead, create tabs across the top of the homepage that link to individual pages detailing this information.
- Meet and motivate – Whether the year has gotten off to a shaky or superlative start, spring presents an opportunity to bring your team together for an organization-wide pow-wow. If things are going well, spotlight key accomplishments and acknowledge those who have performed particularly well. If the first quarter has proven bumpy, openly discuss the problems on your company’s plate and how – as a group – these issues can be overcome.
Completing your spring to-do list should help pave the way for season after season of business success.