Photo by Humphrey Muleba/Unsplash
With so much time spent inside and in isolation, it’s easy to forget – but spring is here!
And spring can bring with it many things – cherry blossoms, March Madness, and of course, spring cleaning.
Now, the way most people think about spring cleaning, of course, is to clean out the garage and purge the junk drawer – which are worthy endeavors.
For the entrepreneur, or entrepreneurial type, spring cleaning might look a little different.
Here are some thoughts on what to focus on.
Purge Your Schedule of Low-Value Tasks
As I look at my weekly to-do list, I’m starting to see a lot of bloat.
And what’s interesting about most of this bloat is that it doesn’t add to my happiness let alone my business. It's devitalizing.
I find myself doing a lot of extra things because they might propel my business forward. But I have not confirmed that they will.
If anything, the track record so far shows I’m probably not going to see significant breakthrough in any of these areas:
- I have a Revue newsletter I’ve been running for four weeks. Every time I publish, it gets shared across my social media. As of today, it still does not have a single subscriber.
- Any time I publish a new blog post, I syndicate and distribute it across about a dozen social media sites. The only ones that seem to make much of a difference are Facebook and Twitter, and even then, the effect has been minimal.
- When I have a new product to share, besides sending emails and sharing about it in my latest content, my tendency is to spread my promotional videos and posts far and wide. And this usually goes nowhere.
- And so on.
Obviously, you don’t need to cut everything from your schedule. If there are things you want to continue to experiment with, that’s always fair game.
But if you are already overloaded, and your work is starting to feel like a grind, it might be worth purging what doesn’t lead to the results you’re looking to produce and spend more time on what’s already working.
And whatever you can’t eliminate, can still be delegated or automated. So, it’s worth considering those options too.
Update Your Website
Your website is an important tool, and in some cases, it may even be your primary engine for growth.
But what so often happens with entrepreneurs is that they get so busy working for and with their clients that their website gets left in the dust.
In 6 Ways To Spring Clean Your Business, Forbes contributor Mike Kappel says:
Chances are, your business has grown and changed during the last year. You might have revised your mission. Maybe you completely switched your business logo or color scheme. Either way, you should take time to scour your website for things that don’t line up with your business’s current brand.
In my experience, your business can transform rather rapidly in the span of six to 12 months, so his comments are on point.
Digital entrepreneurs will probably want to go beyond that, and think about:
- Eliminating options from their website. The fewer the options, the easier it is for your visitor to take next steps with you. Keep your menu minimal. And think of every page on your site as a landing page.
- Making sure your products are front and center. If people don’t know what you have to offer, how will they know to buy it? Ensure that your products are easy to access, and that you have a way of holding your visitor by the hand to lead them to the right product (for a great example, have a look at SuperFastBusiness).
- Ensuring your product listings are up to date. Some things may still be in stock. Others may not. You may have discontinued certain products, and others may have been superseded by the latest version. An out-of-date products page can confuse visitors and lead to fewer sales. Consider revising.
Organize Your Inbox
According to Harvard Business Review, the average professional spends 28% of their workday reading and answering email. That’s 2.6 hours spent on 120 messages per day.
We like to think we’re above all that as entrepreneurs, but the reality is our inboxes are often rife with newsletters we’re subscribed to, queries from customers, conversations with vendors and partners, personal emails, and more.
And if you’re anything like me, you tend to ignore most of it. Because there are more important, more urgent matters constantly nagging for your attention.
You get to your email when you get to it. You can’t spend 2.6 hours per day on it if you wanted to.
So, here are some steps you can follow to organize your inbox:
- Unsubscribe. Be merciless. Unless newsletters are essential to your success, unsubscribe from them. Those who are sending email campaigns are the ones making the money. If you aren’t sending more emails than you’re receiving, your ratio is out of balance.
- Start a support desk. Tools like Help Scout are incredibly powerful, easy to use, and affordable. Redirect all customer related queries to your support desk, even if you end up being the one answering them for a while (you can delegate eventually). At least it will get clutter out of your inbox.
- Create a team chat. Emails are frankly unnecessary for a lot of communication. And clearly, they steal productive hours from your team. Most project management tools suck, so set up a Slack group instead. It’s a tad cumbersome at first, but once you get used to it, it can help you streamline internal communication.
- Invest in better training. If you find that your employees are constantly coming to you with questions, it’s because you haven’t put the right systems in place. Use a low-cost, versatile tool like Loom to record training videos and save those videos in an internal knowledgebase so they can be accessed by anyone in your team at any time.
You can do a spring cleaning in your business whenever you want. It doesn’t have to be done in the spring.
That said, it will make a difference. You will feel lighter when you eliminate a lot of the clutter that occupies your mind and daily life.
It will help you achieve better results in your business, too, especially if you end up with more time to focus on the things that produce meaningful results.
And, most of the time, as if by magic, it will create more flow in your business. That will lead to growth.
- Forbes – 6 Ways to Spring Clean Your Small Business, https://www.forbes.com/sites/mikekappel/2020/05/27/6-ways-spring-clean-small-business/?sh=26f64c444d5d
- Harvard Business Review – How to Spend Way Less Time on Email Every Day, https://hbr.org/2019/01/how-to-spend-way-less-time-on-email-every-day