Each year, 78% of Americans do spring cleaning in their homes. If you’re one of them, chances are you like to roll up your sleeves and use some elbow grease to freshen up your abode. The results of this annual ritual can not only make you feel less stressed, more at peace, and more focused, but it can also give you a great sense of accomplishment.
Did you know you can do the same for your small business – without a mop, bucket and rubber gloves?
Here are seven things you can do as a small business owner to freshen up your workplace this spring (or any time of the year) without breaking a sweat.
- Your marketing plan. When was the last time you took a hard look at how you market your business – and the products or services you offer? It is important to evaluate what is working, what is not working and ask yourself what more you could do. Maybe you’re ready to do more on social media to grow your business or maybe it’s time to update your website. Perhaps you are interested in revising your customer service strategy, running promotions throughout the year or establishing a customer loyalty program. Collect your ideas, make a plan (or update an existing one) and turn those ideas into action.
- Your inbox. If the number of messages in your inbox contains a comma, make it your mission to get that number down and get organized. While it can feel overwhelming to get started, Fast Company offers a roadmap that can help you clean out your inbox in about an hour:
- Take 10 minutes to clean out the trash. This includes notifications on social media, delivery confirmations (for packages you’ve already received), newsletters already read and more. Do this en masse if you can.
- Take 20 minutes to create folders and labels. Once you’ve cleared the junk, you need to organize the messages you’ve already read—and don’t need to do anything about—but want or need to keep. Go with a folder naming system that makes sense to you – and know that you can update this down the road to customize it even more to suit your preferences.
- Take 20 minutes to address the emails that need action. After getting rid of the junk and saving the emails you may need to refer to later, it’s time to move on to the messages you need to act on. Try to follow the two-minute rule: if you can complete the action needed for the email in less than two minutes, go ahead and do it. If you can’t, add it to your to-do list to take care of it later.
- Please take 10 minutes to update your settings. Consider creating filters that sort your incoming messages for you.
- Equipment. Are you saving an old printer because you “might” need it one day? Is there an old broom in the corner clinging to life thanks to a little hope and a whole bunch of tape? Do you have a box of unused – or barely used – USB drives? How many old computer monitors or hard drives are stuffed into your storage cabinet? Clean out any unused, obsolete or broken equipment. If you’re getting rid of items that could potentially contain sensitive information (like the aforementioned USB drives or hard drives), just make sure everything is cut and cleaned before you purge.
- Digital files and paperwork. Maybe it’s a stack of manila folders sitting in the corner of your office, the filing cabinet you haven’t touched in months, or documents on a shared drive in your cloud-based storage platform. Make a commitment to go through all your piles, folders, cabinets and more. But before you purge, make sure you know what records you’re legally required to keep—and for how long.
When deciding which items to get rid of, make sure you dispose of them properly – especially anything that contains personal information. For all paper documents, the Federal Trade Commission recommends that you either shred, burn, or pulverize them. (But don’t get rid of paper that can help you track your small business expenses too quickly!)
- Data Security Protocol. When was the last time you backed up your data? Do you have established password best practices? As a business owner in an increasingly digital world, you maintain a delicate balance between keeping up with ever-changing technology trends and keeping important business data secure. And it’s more than protecting against user error or equipment failure. It’s also about reducing your risk of data breaches that can occur when personal information like customer credit card numbers or employee tax information is compromised. Read 6 Things You Can Do Right Now to Protect Your Business Data to put the right practices in place to keep your business information secure.
- Your business plan. According to the Small Business Administration (SBA), your business plan should be the foundation of your business and guide you through structuring, operating and growing your organization. But how often do you review it? Quarterly? Annually? Why not make spring the time when you examine this “road map” and decide what comes next. Maybe you’re thinking about things like opening a new location or adapting to changing customer expectations as a result of the pandemic. They should all be part of your plan. If you don’t have one, now is as good a time as any to create one. The SBA has templates you can use to create your own.
- Your business insurance. If you don’t have enough protection from business insurance, an accident of any kind can be detrimental to the health and well-being of the business you’ve worked so hard to build. So make an appointment with your insurance agent to review your policy. Together, you can ensure that you have the right coverage that suits your company’s needs and covers any risks associated with your business. Find out more about why you shouldn’t cut back on business insurance.
How to tackle your small business spring cleaning projects with confidence
If you want to tackle these projects (or more) but feel overwhelmed, we got it. As a small business owner, the thought of adding more tasks to an already overloaded to-do list can seem daunting. But there is help! Psychology Today offers 10 tips you can follow to tackle your next big project.
- Make a plan. Set your goals, get organized and be extremely specific about how, when and where you will complete your project.
- Commit. You set your goal in your plan. Let others know what you are trying to achieve as well. Having a little responsibility can be a strong driving force in your work.
- Split it up. Break your big plan into smaller pieces. This can make it feel less overwhelming and give you time to complete each task properly. Also, achieving small goals can help you stay motivated.
- Make it a habit. Schedule your project tasks in advance so they become part of your daily – or weekly – routine.
- Start in your head. By imagining the work you’re about to do through a process called mental simulation, you can get over the procrastination hump and prepare for what lies ahead.
- Make it simple. Instead of ending part of your project because you have to tackle a more challenging task next time, try setting yourself up for success by starting your next work shift with a simple task. That way you can ease back into your work – then get on with the harder work.
- Keep being positive. Staying fit can help you become even more productive, bringing you closer and closer to achieving your goals. So celebrate all your wins, even the small ones.
- Reward yourself. A reward for reaching a project milestone can be a good means of positive reinforcement. Bonus points if you can tie your reward back to your work.
- Let others know how you are doing. Sharing your progress with others can keep you on track to reach your project goals.
- Give yourself a break if you need it. If you feel stuck, find another unrelated task to do. Switch to another project. Take a short walk. It can re-energize and even provide some inspiration when you come back to it.
Here for every step of your journey
As a business owner, the sky is the limit for where you want to take your business. Whether you’re growing your home business or expanding to a second location, it’s important to make sure you have the right coverage to fit the needs of your business – and your employees. Contact us today to schedule an appointment to discuss your options.
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