Spring is in the air and for many of us, the spring season brings with it the often dreaded task of spring cleaning.
For entrepreneurs and business owners, taking the time to physically and mentally get your business organized and de-cluttered is even more important.
So, we have asked the CarolRoth.com contributor network of business owners, experts, advisors and entrepreneurs to share their best spring cleaning tips for business. Their answers are presented below in no particular order.
You may notice some similar ideas listed, but I kept them separate, as something in the way one is framed may resonate differently with you.
1. Clean Up Your Digital Space
Don’t ignore your digital space! Decluttering your computer, your inbox, and your business' website is just as important as physical decluttering. File away old emails, delete unused images or other unnecessary content from your website, and check your computer for stray files and folders. Decluttering your digital workspace will put you in a more productive mindframe, make your inbox a little less overwhelming to look at, and motivate you to keep things organized moving forward.
2. Make the Cleaning Process Fun
Our company holds a fun event two times per year in order to thoroughly clean the office. In short, my business partner and I hide $10 gift cards in various locations around the office for employees to find. It's kind of a like a cleaning scavenger hunt if you will. Once an employee finds a gift card, they are responsible for cleaning that area. Overall, it's a fun way to get everybody involved and not make the cleaning process seem like such a chore.
Spring cleaning is a great time to run a quarterly or annual Stars and Dogs Report on your inventoried products. The report will reveal, based on turn rates and sales volume per SKU, what adjustments you need to make in order quantities. With Stars, products that sell well, make adjustments to increase inventory so they are in stock 100% of the time. With any Dogs, slow or no selling parts, you may want to reduce or even discontinue these products and then, clean them out at clearance pricing.
Yes, 15 minutes. We can do anything in 15 minutes, scale the paper mountain, take out the email trash, or uncover your desktop. Yes, it can be done.
When office overwhelm hits after nesting all winter, I commit to cleaning up my office in 15 minute daily blocks. Picking a dedicated time helps. I recommend right before lunch or the last 15 minutes of the day. Setting a timer and working later in the day keeps me from avoiding work all together.
Restored order inspires productivity.
Spring cleaning is a good opportunity to "clean" out your schedule and make sure you're using your time wisely.
This spring, ask yourself: 1) Do you schedule routine meetings (daily, weekly, monthly) that can be replaced with occasional 1-on-1s? 2) Are you doing tasks below your pay grade that you could be delegating? 3) Are you working too many hours?
Use "spring cleaning" to reflect on how you're using your time, so you can allocate it better and reclaim your life outside of work.
6. Watch Out for News Clutter
The news media relies on fear and lack for its survival. Bad news sells and it can also debilitate and distract us from taking care of business. If you fall asleep with the evening TV news, that’s a good place to cut back. Read inspirational books or write in a journal instead. Each time you find yourself confronted with negative news, whether it’s the "if it bleeds, it leads" TV news or the gossip at the water cooler, ask yourself, "Does this serve me?" If the answer is no, walk away.
7. What Do I Want to Accomplish?
When you purposefully answer the question, “What do I want to accomplish?” you position yourself to de-clutter your mind and then, all that follows. Capture one far-reaching specific goal that is forever in your mind. Then, list smaller goals to achieve the larger. Next, eliminate all paperwork and computer files that do not match your vision and are no longer needed. The de-clutter process will help you advance more quickly to achieving what you want to accomplish.
Perhaps the best "spring cleaning" tip I can give is to clean out your CRM and other customer databases. Businesses let these databases pile up with old leads which are no longer viable. They just clutter up the system and hold the business back from making sales.
Go through your CRM, mailing list, prospect list, etc. and get rid of anyone who hasn't engaged with your business in the past several months. You may want to try to engage them once more, but if they don't respond, clear them out.
9. Kondo and Fredo Can Help
Let Marie Kondo and (Vil)Fredo Pareto help you spring clean your business. 1st, from the Queen of Lean and Clean: Tackle the clutter by category, one at a time. Then, look at everything on shelves & folders and begin to sort. Finally, ask yourself if you really need the business files/supplies/books you've been saving.
From the principled Pareto: Scrutinize everything & eliminate items and clients only contributing 20% to your bottom line. Keep the things & accounts yielding the most benefit.
Thanks to: Marlene Caroselli.
Step back and get your organization to focus on the important elements of the business. Redefine what is going to make you GREAT. Plan a one-day strategic planning session with the leadership team and stop chasing the last data point.
11. Use Software to Organize...
To me, spring cleaning means finding new ways to get more organized within my business. One thing I have started doing is to document all of my processes and communicate with my team members in a project management software. This makes it very easy to bring on new employees since they can be plugged into my processes and have a manual to follow inside the software. I can also see all of my projects and the stage of completion on each. Taking time to implement this will propel future growth.
12. Pitch IT and Ditch IT
Every spring, we are all about reviewing what we have in our organization as far as IT goes. We go through everything in our drop boxes, in our Google Drive, in our applications folders... if we do not need it, then it is pitch IT and ditch IT. One of the biggest time wasters and consumption of our time and energy is old out-of-date technology; if we have not used IT or will not be using IT, we make sure it is gone, gone, gone.
Chris Carter of Approyo
13. Ditch Toxic Customers
Spring is a great time to clean house of negativity and toxic customers. Many small businesses have dealt with a bad customer or two. But, if you have toxic customers who cost more to service than the profit they contribute to your business, now is the time to clean house and let them go.
Ditch the constant complainers that are never happy.
Toss out the price under cutters and late-payers.
Finally, ditch the customers that you don't look forward to talking to.
It's time to spring forward!
14. Clean Up the "Shoulds"
Get rid of all your "shoulds!"
Make a list of all those business tasks that you've been saying "I should do this" or "I should do that" for months or years and do one of two things with them.
1. Forget about it! If you haven't figured out how to get it done, maybe it doesn't matter.
2. Delegate or outsource it. If it needs to be done, get it done- even if it's not perfect or you have to pay for it.
"Shoulds" make your business messy. Clean them up!
15. That Pile of Business Cards
Everyone has them! A pile, drawer or even a box full of business cards. Why are you keeping them? Because they have useful information, right? Then, put it in a usable format.
First, sort them into piles: Don't remember them (toss those). Need to reconnect (call or email them). And, useful to have, but not sure why yet (save them).
Next, put all but the "toss" into a CRM system that you will access and update; then, get rid of those sloppy piles and boxes.
16. Harvest Low Hanging Fruit
Don’t only focus on your physical space during spring cleaning - clean your workflow processes, as well. Make an inventory of your primary internal processes and procedures, department by department. Then, get all of your managers and lead employees together around your conference table and review them. Where you find redundant redundancies (*snicker*), eliminate them. Where you find low hanging fruit for greater workflow and process efficiencies, harvest them!
17. Sustainable Spring Cleaning
Look through your organization and find ways to reuse, reduce and recycle. For our small business, this means:
1. If you can reduce paper by digitizing, then get scanning.
2. Adding compost, recycle and trash bins in accessible areas.
3. It hasn't been used for 6 months? Recycle, re-purpose or donate it.
4. Give incentives for the process. The more reduced, recycled and reused items per employee, the better.
Spring cleaning is great; it's even better when it's sustainable.
18. People Want What You Don't Use
Spring cleaning started March 1. I’m using a tip I learned last year, when I moved 3000 miles. First, office supplies and old desks/chairs don’t sell at yard sales; however, one group of people, TEACHERS, need them all and then some. Through the BuyNothingProject.org (BNP), I found a teacher. She took it all and planned to leave what she couldn't use in the teachers’ lounge. From her gigantic smile, you would have thought that I had given her solid gold. A big win-win.
19. Audit Your Annual Goals
I review my books annually at the end of March to see if I'm pacing to meet my YTD goals I've set. Is my website bringing in the leads I want? If not, I’ll have a professional brought in to make sure my website is as good as it can be. Am I getting enough referrals from other business owners? If not, there's never a bad time to reach out to businesses with a thank you card and gift certificate for prior referrals. Even if I’m exceeding my goals, there’s always room for more growth.
20. Detox Your Desk and Office
I went in early one weekend morning and took everything off of my desk and what was cluttering up the office.
Then, I went through every paper and put them into 3 piles: Action, Save, Discard.
I then put everything where it is supposed to be and threw away the 40 gallon trash bag full of 'stuff'. The action items were ready to be handled the first thing the next business day.
This took 3 hours and was worth every second.
is a national media personality, "recovering" investment banker, dealmaker, investor, speaker and author of the New York Times bestselling book, The Entrepreneur Equation.