After the cold and dark and snow of a long winter, spring is often thought of as a type of rebirth. You might think this only applies to nature, but having a chance for rebirth in the spring can also apply to your business. It’s a chance for your company to get the year off on the right foot after wrapping up the winter months and it’s a chance to set new goals for the rest of the year.
But before you set those new goals—whether they be upping sales, expanding or gaining a certain number of new clients—there’s essential spring cleaning that must be done. No detail, however big or small can (or should) be overlooked and examining every aspect of your business can really help your company can a new year off to a good start.
There are many things you can do for a little “spring cleaning” around the office, but let’s look at four major ways you can do some spring cleaning to get your business ready for spring:
- A Social Media Makeover
- Providing For Employee Health And Stability
- Examine Your Finances
Performing essential maintenance
If your company’s building isn’t in tip-top shape, it can lead to lengthy or even costly distractions. The best thing you can do is get some professionals to come and inspect your building and give you a rundown of the condition of your establishment.
So what kind of maintenance needs to be done? Consider these four essential steps:
- Start with the outside: Bottom line: if you can’t get customers into your store, you’re not going to succeed. Have a professional check everything and then get to work taking care of it. That means fixing anything that’s broken or damaged, doing some basic landscaping and even applying touch-up paint if necessary. The outside of your business is often the first chance you have to make a good impression with customers, so make it count.
- Move to the inside: Once you’ve taken care of the outside, get inside and get to work. You make thing maintenance is automatically taken care of, but if you’re a business owner or a building tenant, it falls on your company to do something. So, look for things that need fixing such as lighting fixtures and furniture. Hire electricians and IT professionals to make sure all of your businesses’ electronic equipment and components are working properly.
- Don’t forget utilities: If your company’s utilities aren’t working properly, things can get pretty uncomfortable, so don’t overlook them. Hire a local plumber to make sure toilets and sinks are working properly and you don’t need a major sewer repair. Hire an HVAC company to make any necessary heating and cooling repairs.
- Don’t forget the small stuff: Your business can offer the best products or services in the world, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t pay attention to even the smallest details of your operation. That might mean upgrading any necessary technology or making sure you have complimentary water and coffee on hand or even new POS printers to keep track of sales. If you put time into making sure everything is ship-shape, customers will notice.
Give your business a social media makeover
If your business doesn’t have some kind of social media presence these days, you’re selling yourself short. You can certainly hire the services of a graphic design company to redo your company website, but when it comes to community engagement, a solid social media presence is paramount. Here are some simple tips to refresh or job start your company’s social media:
- Look at what you have: Before you get to updating or refreshing anything, you need to know what you already have. Take a look at your company’s social media pages and make a list of handles, passwords and other necessary information. You should also check the engagement levels on your pages to get a feel for how many people are interacting with you and how they’re interacting with you. If you’ve got any inactive pages (such as Twitter accounts of former employees), get rid of them. Take notes of what you’ve got on your pages, what works and what doesn’t work. You need to also make sure that your company’s information is complimentary regardless of what platforms you’re using. So if a customer visits your Twitter page or Facebook page or Instagram page, for example, they should at least get some basic information about who your company is and what it does.
- Focus on ROI: There’s no doubt there are a lot of social platforms to choose from these days, but that doesn’t mean every single of them is going to work for your company. You may find it’s wiser to focus on one or two (say Facebook and Linked In or Facebook and Twitter) and making those the best they can be. If your customers know that you update a few sites regularly, they can interact with those on a consistent basis.
- Make a plan: Being active on social media doesn’t mean you have to know what you’re going to post all the time. But it certainly helps to have a plan for what kinds of content your company is going to post and how often you’re going to post. If your company is brand new to social media or trying to get back to posting regularly on social media, one of the best things to do is lay out a plan. You can look at things like holidays or key dates for your company. You can inform customers of new product launches or any promotions (such as annual sales like Christmas in July or Black Friday). Don’t necessarily copy what the competition does, but if a competitor is particularly successful on social media, examine that success and use those lessons to help your business. Again, consistency is key. You can set up your pages to post automatically at certain times of the day or certain days of the week. You can keep customers engaged by posting weekly contests so they have a reason to keep coming back to your pages.
- Get a community started: When people go online, they are often looking to interact. This can easily be done by starting a Facebook group centered around a specific topic or business. This is a great way to engage customers and provide a forum for them to voice concerns or suggestions you can use to improve your company’s methods as well as customer service.
Provide for the health and stability of employees
In any business, employees are the backbone from the CEO down to the custodial staff. When they succeed, the company succeeds. When they fail, the company fails.
As such, it’s important for businesses to provide for the welfare of their employees, helping them lead healthier lives and making them feel stable in their position with the company. This can be achieved in many ways:
- Employee encouragement: Spring is a chance for a renewal and fresh starts. That can also mean employee improvement. Spring can be a time for higher-ups to evaluate employees, let them know what they do well, what they need to work on and also to reward them for their hard work. These days, people leave jobs in droves in part due to a lack of recognition and recognition as well as reward can go a long way.
- Provide benefits: Employees appreciate recognition, but they also appreciate proper benefits. That includes affordable health care coverage, pay commensurate with position and pay increases (usually based on performance review). If your company is really forward thinking, you can provide other benefits for employees as well. This can include benefits for injured workers, links to attorneys, family intervention services and memorial service locations. The best companies create a work environment where everyone feels like family and when something happens to a member of the family, they want to be sure they have support. Giving them access to mental health services and legal representation in the event of an accident and even help with family deaths makes employees feel valued and affirms they won’t be hung out to dry if something happens to them.
- Raise expectations, but lead by example: If your business is looking to make this year it’s best year ever, there’s nothing wrong with raising expectations for everyone in the company. But raising expectations means communicating with employees, letting them know what those expectations are and then leading by example. Employees appreciate strong leadership. If leadership is willing to work hard, do the same things that are being asked of employees, encourage open and constant communication, employees will respect them and work hard for them.
- Create a happy work environment: When people are at work, they’re expected to work, but that doesn’t mean a business can’t have fun. Keep things fun and happy in the workplace by encouraging employees, celebrating birthdays and big accomplishments and even throwing the occasional potluck or party for a morale boost.
Look at your finances
Every business goes into a new year with the aim of making it better than the previous year, especially from a financial standpoint. There’s nothing wrong with this goal, but spring is also a good time to examine company finances from top to bottom.
If you’re a small business owner, chances are you’ve probably taken out loans to get your business started, to expand your business or even to keep your business afloat. Though loans can be helpful, loan payments can spiral out of control quickly and greatly affect your business from top to bottom. In fact, as many as 70% of small businesses struggle with debt.
So if you’re looking at getting lower interest rates on some of business loans, here are some ways to make that happen:
- Consider a bank’s POV: Every business that gets a loan wants favorable interest rates, but you must consider that interest rates are in place for a bank to protect itself against a company’s possible failure. One of the best ways you can attempt to get lower interest rates to is eliminate any potential or existing red flags to give the bank more faith in your business.
- Boost your credit: Whether you need a loan or you’ve got an existing one, lenders will look at your credit score. If it’s not that great, take some steps to improve it. That includes paying bills on time, paying off debt, keeping credit card balances low and only applying for necessary credit Lenders will be more willing to help you if you can take some steps to show you can pay back money.
- Do some research: Before you borrow any money, it’s best to do your homework so you know you’re getting the best loan for your business. There are many ways to borrow money and many types of loans and by doing some research, you can get a good loan with a reasonable interest rate. If your business is brand-new, you might do well with a long-term, low-interest loan to allow for growth. If you’re already successful and looking to expand however, you might do better with a short-term, low-interest loan.
Whether you’re re-examining company finances, fostering a better working environment among your employees, improving your company’s social media footprint or restore your company’s office inside and out, there are many ways you can use spring cleaning of all types to really get your company’s year off to a fantastic start.
If you’re wondering where to start, keep it simple and take a look back to last year. What worked? What was your company most successful at? What didn’t work? How can your company learn from what didn’t work? Even the best companies can find things to improve on and by examining both successes and failures, you can keep what works, re-examine what doesn’t work and ultimately find all the right things to help your company do what it does best.