Business Spring Cleaning Checklist

Business Spring Cleaning Checklist

Spring is here and I think that solopreneurs should take advantage of the change of seasons to do some business spring cleaning.. I think of spring as a time of 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 every single year. 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.  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 2016, 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?

business spring cleaning checklist

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 πŸ™‚

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 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 swiper 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 stuff all my 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.

business spring cleaning checklist 2

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 you can complete that will help you to organize the day-today?  Please leave a comment πŸ˜‰

R1

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About Online Biz Boomer Babe

Rachel Lavern is a Certified Business Coach and founder of My Booming Online Business--a blog for middle-age, global, uptown women. She is on a mission to transform entrepreneurs' finances by teaching the action set, mindset and skill set needed to get launched + make money.

Comments

  1. Rachael, I believe you touched on all the items we struggle with. Speaking of email, I had 59,000 plus emails. I deleted all of them. Now I delete them at the end of each day. I also unsubscribed to several email lists that I was on. It makes a huge difference.

  2. Excellent topic and advice Rachel. I started early this year on my business spring cleaning and just finished an article audit. It was a huge project, but the long-term ROI was easy to see. After seeing your list I can think of a couple of other areas to tackle. Thanks!

  3. I really need to do some of these, Rachel. I hadn’t thought of it as business spring cleaning, but love that–the metaphor puts me right there!
    It’s my email in-box. That’s the issue. And now it’s grown to the point I don’t even want to look at it! But this is great advice on how to do it.
    I’m ready!
    Thank you πŸ™‚
    Susan Mary Malone recently posted…This Is Free And It Will Make You HappyMy Profile

  4. Rachel, this is great. I wrote a small post about this years ago and it is a great reminder each year to do this. I love doing spring cleaning on my social media groups as well as opting out of email lists that I just delete and ever look at. It helps me refine what I am looking for in my business. Thanks for sharing.
    Sabrina Quairoli recently posted…3 Free Apps To Wind Down QuicklyMy Profile

  5. Great reminders. I save my bookkeeping the same way & spend a crazy day with my accountant. I promised her I’d do better this year. I deleted emails & lists in Jan but can always prune. The hardest decision is to exit some groups. I too eliminated many live shows & that has made life easier but building on-line sales is harder.

  6. Both Spring and Fall are fabulous times to take stock and declutter. I was introduced to an exercise that I did, which has incredible results. For nine days you literally give, throw away or sell 27 items. It can be something as small as a broken pen or as large as whatever you can imagine. The cleansing this exercise offers is amazing. Although I am doing some of your tips all the time, I find it is good to follow a ritual like the 27 items for 9 days, to really feel and see results. Thanks Rachel! p.s. I can tell you really LOVE spring too. πŸ™‚
    Beverley Golden recently posted…Hippie: Think Values Not LifestyleMy Profile

    • Oh that nine-day challenge sounds amazing Beverley! I can visualize how cleansing that would be.

      You know, although Spring is my favorite season, it is a tad bittersweet because it also signifies the end of the ski season (the only thing I love about Winter).

  7. Yes and Yes. Spring cleaning your business is such a good idea. I particularly like the idea of spring cleaning my email.

  8. Spring cleaning is easier this year. I started late last year cleaning out my Inbox. Unsubscribed to many and have been cautious about adding new ones. Taxes are also easier as I try to keep to a schedule of tracking expenses. But, still have piles of business stuff I’ve been meaning to get to. Thanks for spurring me on.
    Joyce Hansen recently posted…10 brain reasons for delaying a decisionMy Profile

  9. Oh yes, the best kind of spring cleaning! It’s amazing how many things I need to unsubscribe to. Several every day. As for email – that’s a constant struggle. I should do it every day but a don’t. Once a week usually.
    Beth Niebuhr recently posted…The Shiny Object TrapMy Profile

  10. Some spring cleaning could be good…I am not very good at it though…but agree with you clean up email, try new things for marketing etc.
    Katarina Andersson recently posted…A Dinner with Wines from Brunnenhof Mazzon in Alto AdigeMy Profile

  11. Excellent advice as usual Rachel!

    And like you, I can definitely improve my record keeping procedures as well!
    And you are so right, my lack of paying close attention to details, is definitely costing
    me who knows how much, in missed deductions!LOL!

    Thanks for reminding us, there is always plenty yet to be done!
    Mark recently posted…So What Powerful Marketing Lesson Can Offline Real Estate Investing Teach Online Marketers?My Profile

  12. Hi Rachel,

    I need to clean up my inbox and unsubscribe from a lot of distributions. Thank you for the reminder. This will save me a lot of time and email clutter.

    –Michael
    Michael recently posted…Should I have A Separate 529 for each child?My Profile

  13. Excellent advice Rachel,

    Because I turn in a business tax receipt quarterly, mine is done! Phew… But I did clean my email early February so that is behind me. There are so many other things that needs to be done because I don’t like clutter in my mind.

    I love the Spring Cleaning time because it de-clutters my mind. It also feels great when each task is complete. No on to the social sites to clean those up!

    -Donna

  14. Hi Rachel πŸ™‚

    Great post! Yes it is always a good thing to CLEAN out your business and go through things that are just not working for you in your business πŸ™‚ I try to go through my groups every few months, but you are right the best ones are the ones that help each other out πŸ™‚

    Awesome share, thanks for the great ideas to help with spring cleaning!!
    Joan M Harrington recently posted…Do You Ever Wish That There Was An Easy Formula for Writing Persuasive Web Copy?My Profile

  15. Rachel,

    Thanks for the reminder about Spring cleaning. I think my cleaning has to do more with cleaning out negative “suggestions” or “critiques” as I seem to be planting seeds that are quickly growing – so I have no time to let the weeds also grow.

    I am in the process of inviting my sexology colleagues to speak on a summit I am organizing. I have personally spoken as an expert on many summits but I have not yet organize my own. It is like creating a conference online. It is exhilarating, scary and it has huge potential. When I get deeply into a project, I can easily let go of everything that does not work or anything that is just a distraction. It is during my in-between times, when I am not focused on a project, that is when I can be vulnerable to time wasters and unnecessary stuff.

    Warmly,

    Dr. Erica
    Dr. Erica Goodstone recently posted…Males and females are really similar – or are they?My Profile

  16. Thank you for those great tips. I was always hesitating about advertising and marketing services because well, everyone wants to sell their services and they try to convince you. I believe that if you have clear mind and intention on what exactly you need for your business, then you will make the right choices.

    Zaria

  17. Luckily I stay on top of these things.. my expenses/income on my spreadsheet at least monthly… and file appropriately; I also get rid of stuff regularly that just isn’t being used; I opt out of stuff I stopped reading or don’t want emails on any longer; networking – some I go to because I want out of the house; analytics… I surely hope folks have Google analytics or something to determine how and if things are working.

  18. Boy, that question about the emails piling up just had my name written all over it. It seems that I wind up giving it out at checkout counters at Kohls & such, and then especially my personal inbox gets inundated with business ads. Since my business emails are transferred to my personal – so I can check both accounts “incoming” on my phone when I’m out & about – well … it’s nuts. Time to purge!
    Joan Potter recently posted…IT’S HAPPENING!My Profile

    • I don’t allow email on my phone any more, I suppose because I allowed email to become a dirty word. It can wait until I get to my desktop. Go forth and purge Joan πŸ™‚

  19. Super list! I love your comment about intentional networking. ALL networking should be done with a specific goal in mind. I do fairly well on most of your points, but I need to be more mindful of my business financials. I have a great bookkeeper but I also have to be involved.

  20. Millicent :

    This is a wonderful list to things to tackle to get into the spirit of spring in our business. I added recordkeeping and email clean up to my list.

    Thanks for sharing your ideas.