Spring is here and this is a great time for solopreneurs to take advantage of this change of seasons to do some business spring planning. I think of spring as a time of resurrection, rejuvenation, renewal, and rebirth. It brings amazing bursts of color, warm breezes, and sunshine. Spring brings with it a unique hope and energy that invigorates, inspires, and changes attitudes, pulling us from the winter doldrums.
With spring comes the notion of spring cleaning. I spring clean my house annually. Admittedly, I have not always reached 100 percent completion. I do not especially enjoy cleaning and wish that I could twitch my nose like Samantha in Bewitched. Hey, is that a super power?
We discard stuff we no longer need/use/want, dust off those hard-to-reach dark corners, and scrub places we usually just pass over when we spring clean. Shouldn’t we jump on the spring cleaning bandwagon for our business also? We will soon be entering the fourth month of 2017, working toward those great goals we set back in January. Take some time this spring to critically look at the processes, procedures, and activities that make up your business: what is working well, what needs to be tweaked, what should be discarded?
Here are some “rooms” that might need to be cleaned in during your business spring cleaning time:
Networking. What groups are you participating in? Are you seeing a return on your investment of time and money? Is participation in these groups moving your business forward? Are you building speed of trust with other business owners? Have you established some referral partners with those sharing your same target demographic?
If you answered NO to any of these questions, it may be time to look for new groups. I especially like focused groups of entrepreneurs, building each of our businesses. I am choosing less general networking for more intentional networking. Clean out the junk, dust off your elevator speech, and find a group and system that works for you.
Your Email InBox. Are your unread emails piling up? I know a lot of us receive a ton of email that simply is no longer relevant to us (if it ever was). We’ve either changed direction in our business or the newsletter we signed up for has switched focus. Either way, it clogs up our inbox and just gets in the way.It is time to get rid of the irrelevant junk in your email InBox. Delete those messages a bit each day but also take 10 minutes to go through your InBox and unsubscribe to any email lists that are no longer relevant to your business. Most email marketing messages make this really easy for you with an “unsubscribe” button at the end of each message.
Advertising/Marketing. Are you spending thousands of dollars on ineffective advertising, because you believe that is the only option you have? With online capability today, entrepreneurs can find free or inexpensive advertising opportunities. Consider “new” ideas. Television, print and radio advertising are very expensive and do not necessarily yield the results you are seeking. Check out innovative programs to capitalize on the group purchasing power of millions of people worldwide.
Again, dump what does not work. I once participated in many vendor shows that were a complete waste of time and money (when I was an Interior Decorator). After each disappointing day, I’ would vow to never do another one; however, the next application would arrive and I would think, “maybe this one is THE one–maybe will meet that one person who will light my business on fire”. Guess what? I’ would finish the event, vowing to never participate in another one again 🙂
Do not be afraid to ask tough questions of your potential advertising partners. They are looking to sell advertising–not your product or service. Do not be afraid to “fire” your advertising partners. Remember Albert Einstein’s definition of insanity:
Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.
After all, it is business…nothing personal.
Time Management. Are you setting a schedule and sticking to it? Are you grouping appointments by type and location? Are you batching orders, setting specific time aside for email and Facebook follow-up, and scheduling time to make telephone calls? Eliminate inefficient use of time by consolidating when you can, being firm about your schedule, and taking control of your time!
Record-keeping. It is nearing tax time, which glaringly points out how great or horrible our record keeping systems are. If you have a good system, what can you tweak to make it better or more efficient? Does your credit card swipe mechanism tie into your QuickBooks account? Did your accountant have helpful advice to make next year’s tax time smoother?
If it is not so good (my hand is raised), what simple steps can you take to improve the process? I am one of those people who would stuff all their receipts into a folder for 12 months, then spend a month sorting through everything during tax time. I know that I miss out on deductions every year because of my poor record keeping. My 2016 tax resolution was to enter all expenses, sales, profits – anything related to money- into QuickBooks quarterly. I’m doing a little bit better. A little advance planning will save lots of headaches next spring. I would love to be able to skip this “room” during next year’s business spring cleaning period.
You may have other “rooms” that need the once over as well during your business spring cleaning. Use your critical evaluation skills to rejuvenate your business with bursts of customers, sunny clients, and a hot climate of growth!
What other business spring cleaning tasks can you complete that will help you to organize the day-to-day? Please leave a comment 😉