By Kenneth Surbrugg, Director of the Center for Entrepreneurship at Missouri Southern State University
“Do something today that your future self will thank you for!” – Unknown
It’s that time of year where we start moving away from winter and looking forward to spring. This may conjure up images of cleaning up your yard, your garage, or re-organizing your house. But it’s also a good time to spring clean your business.
What does that look like? Well, here are six possible areas to look at as you spring clean your business:
- Exterior. How does your business look as we move into warmer weather? Are your windows and floor mats clean? How does your exterior sign look? Do you need to change the lighting to make your appearance brighter? Are the sidewalks in good repair? How do the parking spaces and parking lot look? If you have any green space, is it in good shape? If applicable, do you need to have any trees or shrubs trimmed or replaced?
- Website. Has anything changed since the last time you looked at your website? Do you need to update your business hours? Do you need to update pictures or videos? Is your font easy to read? How does your website look on a computer and on a smartphone? Do you need to update your “About Us” page? Do you need to add an FAQ page? How easy is it for someone to contact you from your website? When was the last time you tried?
- Social Media. Are your social media pages updated with the correct contact information? Do you need to update any profile pictures? Is the information correct on them? How easy is it to contact you through social media? When was the last time you tried? This is not specific to social media, but are you listed on any search engines, such as Google? Is the information listed on these search engines correct or do you need to update them with new content?
- Employees. How are your employees? When was the last time you checked in with each of them individually to see how they are doing? Do they have the resources needed to do their job? What are they missing? Do they need any additional training? Do they need to be crossed-trained to handle another area within the business? Are there any issues or problems that need your attention? Are they well physically and emotionally? Spending some time with your employees can help you identify possible candidates for promotion, as well as identify those that might need some additional training.
- Business Goals and Financials. Many businesses operate on a calendar-year basis, which means that the first quarter is almost finished. How is the business doing? Are your sales in line with your expectations? How are your expenses trending so far to date? How is this quarter when compared to previous first quarters? How are you doing on any business goals that you established a few months ago? If you have not started, why not? How are you managing your time and resources to efficiently operate your business? Do you need to adjust anywhere? Do you need to add any new equipment? Do you need to replace any older equipment? How’s your cash flow?
- Yourself. Last, but not least, how are you doing? How are you holding up? Do you still find passion in what you are doing? Is the spark faint or glowing white hot? Are you focused and on task or do you find yourself watching the clock until its time to leave? Do you need some additional training or support? Are you feeling healthy? When was the last time you went to the doctor? Do you find balance in your work and in your personal life? Balance does not mean 50/50, but do you feel that you can enjoy time with family and friends and not constantly worry about work? Do you check email at all times of the day? Do you resent your decision to own or manage a business? There are resources available to help you work through issues if you find yourself resenting work or dreading family/personal time.
There are so many other areas to examine — customers, selling channels, store layout, merchandise selection, and so on. These are suggestions for you to consider as you prepare for the end of the first quarter and move into spring, with longer days and warmer weather. Keeping a consistent image with well-trained and motivated employees can only help you achieve your goals. Keep up with your own personal maintenance and care for your body and mind. Finally, reach out to some other business owners through your local chamber of commerce or networking group to stay connected and refreshed. Great things can happen with a little planning and follow through.