After growing up in New York, I’ll never forget those first signs of spring when I knew the snow and chills were behind me and I could look forward to sunny days. Even though I’m now a Californian, I still get that happy spring feeling when April rolls around, despite the fact the weather really doesn’t change that much throughout the seasons.
And along with the spring feeling of renewal comes the urge to do some major cleanup. Here are seven areas of your business where a bit of spring cleaning may benefit you.
- Inventory. You might have thought you were going to sell a lot of this or that only to realize consumers prefer that to this. Clean out your inventory by selling it at a major discount on websites like Overstock.com, eBay, or Craigslist. Or start an account on Amazon, sell it there, and have Amazon handle the shipping and handling. You can also donate the inventory and take the write-off as a donation. Be sure you research and follow IRS rules governing charitable donations. See the SBA's article "How Small Businesses Can Get Tax Deductions for Charitable Giving" for more details.
- Office. Cleaning and organizing your office is the obvious spring-cleaning task, but don’t forget about the parts of your office you don’t see, such as file drawers, junk drawers, behind and under furniture, and equipment such as copiers and computers.
- Website. Have you ever used webmaster tools to check the health of your website? Products such as Google Webmaster Tools can scan your website and let you know whether or not you have any malware issues, server errors, and “404 not found” errors. You can also use performance tools to test load time for landing pages, broken links, and meta tags.
- Email. If your inbox is anything like mine, it’s overflowing with emails that need responses and newsletters you no longer open or read. Set aside an afternoon to get caught up with your email and unsubscribe from irrelevant mailings. You’ll free up time and de-stress so you can get back to business.
- Suggestion box. If you haven’t set up a suggestion box for your employees, now is the time to do it. If you do have a suggestion box, spring is a great time to review and respond to your employees’ recommendations, complaints, and compliments. It doesn’t have to be an actual box, but it probably should be anonymous for those who are shy about speaking up. Check online for free apps such as Free Suggestion Box and SnapSuggest that let employees make comments digitally.
- Bad habits. What are some of your entrepreneurial bad habits? Do you try to do too much? Are you bad at delegating? What about forgetting to check Twitter or pay your small business insurance bill? If you try to make a list of bad habits all in one sitting, you’re likely to leave things out. Instead, start a new note on your smartphone and immediately write down each bad habit as it happens. Then think of a solution to each bad habit before you do it again.
Rieva Lesonsky is CEO of GrowBiz Media, a media and custom content company focusing on small business and entrepreneurship. Email Rieva at [email protected], follow her on Google+ and Twitter.com/Rieva, and visit her website SmallBizDaily.com to get the scoop on business trends and to sign up for Rieva’s free TrendCast reports.