Spring is here. 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.
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 are now almost through the third month of 2015, 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 your business:
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.
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. Take a look at this great article on 20 Free Ways to Advertise Your Website.
Consider "new" ideas. Television, print and radio advertising are very expensive 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 used to participate in many vendor shows when I focused on art and interior design that were a complete waste of time and money. 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 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 poor record keeping. My 2015 tax resolution was to enter all expenses, sales, profits – anything related to money- into QuickBooks quarterly. A little advance planning will save lots of headaches next spring!
You may have other "rooms" that need the once over as well. Use your critical evaluation skills to rejuvenate your business with bursts of customers, sunny clients, and a hot climate of growth!
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