Spring is a time of renewal and growth. The warmer weather and longer days often provide a little extra motivation to clear out the clutter of winter and get a fresh start for the rest of the year. Who doesn't enjoy spending the first nice weekend of May sweeping out the garage or hosing down the patio?
But while you're tending to your personal chores, don't forget to dust off your professional portfolio as well. Spring is a great time to take stock of your company's customers and finances, and to freshen up your technology and marketing strategies. Here is my spring cleaning to-do list for small business owners.
Dust off your digital presence
Customers increasingly rely on smartphone searches to find local businesses. It's more important than ever to make sure your company's online listings are correct wherever they appear. Start by reviewing your Google My Business listing, then check major social sites and other online directories. Make sure your business hours are updated too, especially if you have seasonal hours that change throughout the year.
While you're at it, you should review your company's website. Are your products and services current? Are the prices correct? Have you captured any staffing changes or new contact info? Technically, make sure your website is up to snuff with Google's current standards by checking your page speed and mobile capability.
Polish your finances & expenses
You're probably still recovering from tax season hangover. Sorry, but it's time to start thinking about next year's taxes. With the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act going into effect, you need to review your company's legal structure and investment plans now to make sure you take full advantage of the potential savings by the end of the year.
Spring cleaning is also the perfect time to reevaluate your small business's services and suppliers, and make sure they still align with your goals. Is each expense meeting a need you still have? Is there a better solution? Are suppliers still giving you their best rates, or have they gotten a little too comfortable with your relationship? An annual review is always an effective way to keep suppliers on their toes, no matter how long you've been working together.
Your biggest expense is probably also due for a review: your workforce. Make sure your headcount is still meeting your needs, and that your team's skills and responsibilities have kept up with changes in your business or industry. Are your compensation and benefits packages keeping up with competitors in your market? In addition to annual performance reviews of individuals, it's always worth reviewing your entire staff and team structure.
Declutter your technology
Have you been putting off downloading yet another operating system update? Thinking about finally replacing your aging laptop so you can upgrade to the new version of software? Don't wait any longer. With data breaches and ransomware attacks making headlines almost daily, it is critical that you install all security patches, keep your software and hardware current, and back up all important business data.
You can also take stock of the tools and technology you use every day to make sure they're still adding to your productivity. Clean out your email inbox, delete old messages, and create folders by categories to organize the emails you plan to keep. Review your address book or CRM to make sure you have current information for your important suppliers, vendors, and customers.
Clean up your customer relationships
As long as you're dusting off your customer contact list, make sure your relationships are clean as well. Take stock of your customer loyalty program to see if it's still rewarding the right customers and keeping up with competing programs. It's also critical to identify your best customers so you can give them the attention they deserve. Has a new customer grown in size or importance? Are you losing touch with last year's top client?
There's probably nothing new or unusual on this to-do list. These are items you should review periodically no matter what season it is. But as a small business owner, it's easy to lose sight of the occasional updates when you have so many immediate priorities on your plate. Spring cleaning is your chance to take care of all your chores at once and get a fresh jump on summer.