“Now that spring is in the air…” (Westlife “Seasons in the Sun” © – insert favourite artist etc)
Spring is traditionally a time to clean things, throw away stuff that clutters the place up and enjoy a little smile in the warm sun. Why not apply the same principles to your business?
Here’s some things to think about:
1. Clear out the Clutter
When I say “clutter”, I mean business clutter. Specifically, your business activities that are no longer relevant or profitable. Gather (metaphorically) all your business activities together including products, services, activities (including marketing stuff). Take a good, long look at them. Consider:
- Are they profitable?
- Are they still current for the market I’m aiming at?
- Do I do them just because I enjoy them?
- Should I do them, but don’t?
- Are the activities effective?
Depending on your answers, put them in the “Keep” pile or the “Throw” pile. You’ll need to be brave here: some things may be tagged “We’ve always done this” and it may be a wrench to throw them…
When you’ve done the exercise, you may be very surprised at how small the “Keep” pile is. This just means that you’re now concentrating on the most effective and profitable activities. You have also just made room to do more of the most profitable stuff and come up with new ideas/products/services to refresh your Value Proposition.
2. Dust off the employees
This may be a bit controversial. When was the last time you REALLY looked at who was doing what in your business (including you, if you’re the business owner)? Are there any square pegs in round holes?
Are you always busy running around with your ass on fire dealing with everything on a day-to-day basis? How often do you have time to pause and reflect on what’s happening? You employed people to do a job and take some of the pressure off you.
Sometimes, when someone has been in post for a while, they become complacent and need a freshen up. Perhaps a fresh set of targets is needed. It’s worth finding out if the role they’re doing is (still) appropriate to them. They may need a promotion or new responsibilities. They may need letting go.
One of the best ways of dusting off employees is simply to have an open and honest discussion with them. You might find they say something surprising! They could even come up with an idea for the business no-one else has thought of.
3. Hire some help
If your garden has seen better days, you would hire a professional gardener to clean it up. You might pay a window cleaner to get those mucky windows that are high up cleaned. The point is you can’t do everything yourself.
Think about what needs improving in the business. Are you capable (and consider both skill sets and time available) to do these things yourself? When was the last time you:
- Reviewed your business plan?
- Made sure your financial records were up to date?
- Checked out your website to ensure it’s effective?
Three fairly common things that you would probably need to hire a business mentor, accountant/bookkeeper and website designer to sort out for you. Once these are “cleaned” and up to date, it may still be easier to outsource these to free up more time for you to run the business and make more profits!
4. What about your personal goals?
It’s also a time to take stock of not just the business, but your own personal situation. Often, that fiery ass situation means you can’t spend time on achieving your personal goals:
- Next date night?
- Tuck the kids into bed?
- Have a holiday?
Spring clean those goals and freshen them up!
Some final thoughts for you:
When you do (and I hope you do!) spring clean your business, it will inevitably bring about change. Change for some people is very unsettling. Put up one of those easy to spot “Cleaning In progress” signs with your employees and get them engaged in the cleaning process. You’ll find it happens a lot easier and the results will stick better.
One of the many services we provide is a thorough examination of your business from top to bottom. Our review would help with any spring cleaning you wanted to do!
As a Business Doctor, I don’t coach; I actually get on to the pitch with you. Our hands-on, pragmatic approach is designed to maximise results, find and exploit your competitive edge and ensure you stand out from the crowd. In supporting you, Business Doctors make a difference by sharing and applying the lessons we’ve learnt in the business world. Driven by our passion for business, we help you gain confidence and then fast track your growth.
For more information about our services, get in touch with me on 07976 260065. My profile as an introduction is here.
PS: make sure you clean up the dust, spilled coffee stains and vacuum the carpet as well – it all helps!