Monday Motivation: Spring clean your business

It’s traditional to start thinking about spring cleaning your house at this time of the year, but have you ever thought to do that with your business? From cleaning up your customer data to reviewing your suppliers, it’s definitely worth spending the time looking at your business practices and clearing out anything that’s holding you back.

Firstly, in the news this week, businesses need to move fast to make business rates claims and there’s news that shared parental leave may be more popular than expected.

Top news stories

Time is running out for backdated business rate claims

The Forum of Private Business has warned that small businesses who have yet to submit backdated appeals for business rates need to move fast, ahead of changes to rules around rates appeals and backdating of rating assessments in England.

50% of parents say they’ll be better off thanks to shared parental leave

A survey of 2,000 working couples shows that the new regulations may be more popular than government figures suggest.

Small businesses 'treated unfairly' by compensation scheme

According to MPs, a "significant number" of small businesses have been "treated unfairly" by a compensation scheme set-up after businesses were mis-sold interest rate hedging products.

Government small business scheme hands out just £3.6m of £30m budget

BIS’ growth vouchers scheme, launched in January 2014, offers businesses up to £2000 to get business advice in areas such as marketing, recruitment and finance. But so far only 2,132 growth vouchers have been claimed.

One in five small business owners sacrifice health for work

35% say they will consider shutting down their businesses if conditions don’t improve and 35% of those polled have skipped paying themselves on more than one occasion.

Key dates for your diary

No important dates this week.

Top ways to spring clean your business

With spring around the corner and the first daffodils starting to bloom, it’s an ideal time to look at cleaning up your business. Just like at home, day-to-day tasks can mean you don’t have the time to spend the time keeping everything clean and things can get neglected. Here are our top tips for areas that could be spruced up this spring.

Your customer data

We all know that accurate customer data is essential but things do get out of date. Spend some time:

  • Checking your customer lists to ensure they are up to date.
  • Looking at the data to see how many of your customers are active. Think about ways to reactivate lapsed customers.
  • Analyse which of your customers have the best lifetime value.

Your marketing activity

Taking time to review what’s working - and what’s not - can increase leads and improve your ROI.

  • Analyse your campaigns and the number of leads you’re generating from each.
  • Cancel any campaigns or marketing activity that aren’t working for you. It’s easy to set things up and assume they are still adding value, but performance can change over time.
  • Check out new marketing opportunities to see what’s available. New social media channels get launched and new promotional opportunities are added to existing platforms, so take time to try them out.

Your suppliers

It can be easy to keep renewing your contract without checking out the alternatives. But as technology changes and more companies enter the market, you might find that you could save money or get a service that better matches your needs.

  • Talk to your existing supplier about alternative terms or services available. Review your contract and ask about whether any discounts are available.
  • Check out other suppliers to see if you could save money.
  • Look at ways to manage your cash flow. Switching to a monthly cost can make it easier to manage expenses.

Your emails

For some people, their inbox is a scary place. But giving it a clear out can make it easier to find what you need and see what needs to be actioned.

  • Devise a filing system and use it to keep old messages.
  • Try to minimise the amount of emails in your inbox. Some people like to keep those that need to be actioned in there; others will have a “To do” folder for this and keep their inbox empty. Pick the approach that works for you.
  • Set up automatic filing for emails that you don’t need to read immediately. You can use rules to file emails when they arrive, such as placing subscriptions into reading lists. This helps keep your inbox clear.

Your website

If you keep your website up to date, it’s easy for the number of pages to grow, making it harder for prospects to find the information they need.

  • Check your website analytics to see how people use your site, which content is the most popular and where people leave.
  • Archive or delete out of date pages - it can make a huge difference. For example, mobile company Telenor reduced the number of pages on its website by 87% and saw a 100% increase in revenue and a 35% decrease in support calls.
  • Adapt the content based on what’s popular with your audience.

Your business overall

Take a look at what’s working and set your business on the right road for the future.

  • Dust off your business plan and update it. It’s a valuable tool for evaluating your success so far and setting objectives for the future.
  • Review your financial situation and look for ways to minimise costs and improve your cash flow. Review your position and compare it to previous years.
  • Ask your employees for input about what could be improved - and get them involved in the clean up.

Do you think you will have a spring clean of your business?