1. New Year, new look
You may well be desperate to launch a new look for yourself by losing weight this year but what about your business. Spring clean your business by giving it a fresh look if you can afford it. Depending on the size of your business this may mean having a completely new website built for you from scratch, or if you are a stall holder or an eBay seller, it may simply mean having a logo designed and some business cards and flyers printed.
None of this needs to cost the earth. Remember you can outsource jobs such as logo and flyer design on freelancer websites. You just need to pay by the hour or set a fixed rate for the job in hand. You can also ask to see a portfolio or samples of work so try before you buy.
Once you have a logo designed there are numerous companies that allow you to design your own business card and stationery, so you are able to have a play and get it exactly right. On the whole, prices are reasonable but the finish may vary, so do shop around.2. Physically fit
Make sure your business is looking its best by cleaning. By this I mean, if you have physical premises, now is the time to make sure you spring clean your business and your stock by getting the duster and mop and bucket out. There’s nothing more off putting than dusty stock, or dirty shelves, so get cleaning. You should also ensure any stock you mail out for your online business is clean and fresh looking.
3. Turn over a new leaf with your customer relations
Is your list of customers and clients up to date? Does it need to be updated? Do you not bother keeping customer details? Now is the time to spring clean your business and change your habits. Keep your lists and databases bang up to date.
Consider running a customer satisfaction survey if that is relevant to you. Rather than let previous customers disappear if they are unhappy, see if you can gauge what went wrong and when and then take steps to put that right.
Spend a few hours doing some analysis. What has sold well? What hasn’t sold? Who are your customers? What are their habits? Can you target more of these customers? Are there any patterns in the way you have sold over the past year or so that you can learn lessons from?4. Be less selfish
Another way you can spring clean your business is to start to think about it in different terms. You could start to think of it as less your business and more your customers’ business. The idea behind this thinking is that you will make customers more central to your business and seek more ways to please them and solve their problems. What does the customer want and need? If you don’t know what your customer wants, ask them. Once you know what they want then ‘all’ you have to do is provide it for them. I know. I made that sound incredibly easy, didn’t I?
5. Be more sharing
What can you do to make sure that your customers stay loyal and keep coming back? You may think you have a business where there are no repeat buyers. You’re probably wrong. There aren’t many businesses where people only go once. Funeral parlours are a possible exception here! Even if you sell on eBay, you can still attract people to return to your shop. We’ve discussed before about going over and above – putting a few extras or freebies in – and that’s an ideal way to keep yourself to the front of people’s minds.6. Meet new people
Have you considered any new ways that you can acquire customers? You need to spring clean your business every so often and consider how to attract new buyers otherwise you’ll be left behind. If you don’t already do so, you do need to start thinking about social media. You need a presence on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and perhaps Pinterest and the others. If you’re not sure, why not test it out? If you’re absolutely clueless, hire a freelancer to run your social media account. Set a budget and see how it goes.
7. Obliterate errors
Check your website and any printed materials you have for mistakes and get them sorted out. Present a fresh and clean and error free face to your customers and your competitors. Stay sharp.
8. Check out the competition
Have a look at other websites and other stalls and shops and see what your competitors are up to. Have they spotted trends that you haven’t? How do their pricing structures reflect on you? Be as objective as you can be. Spend some time analysing what they are doing and consider the reasons for it. Should you follow suit? If so, spring clean your business and make an action plan for changes.9. Spend less
Take a long hard look at your finances. Are you spending too much money? Do you need to budget. Spring clean your business by cutting back on expenses and review where your big money is going. There’s probably not a lot you can do about rent, but do take time to check out prices for utilities, phones, shipping, and the other services you have for your business. Consider making changes or cuts where necessary.
10. Consider yourself
I sometimes feel like I’m singing the same old song – but you have to look after yourself and your energy and motivation levels. Find ways to re-energise yourself and get plenty of rest. What can you do to find the passion inside yourself that motivated you to start your business in the first place?
Over to you
What tips do you have for others wishing to spring clean their businesses? What do you do to spring clean your business? Let us know below or join in the conversation on Facebook.