28 Mar Spring Cleaning: 8 Innovative Ways to Clean Up Your Business
The tradition of spring cleaning goes back hundreds of years and is part of a variety of cultures, each with their own approach. Applying this tradition to your business is no exception. A once-a-year clean-up is a useful way to reassess your successful practices and get rid of those old worn out methods.
Do you approach cleaning systematically, going from “room-by-room” and making necessary changes, or do you prefer to spread the “cleaning” over a few weeks? Do you want to focus on high-traffic or worst areas first? Regardless how you approach updating and cleaning up all areas of your business, you’ll end up with a great sense of achievement and overall business improvement.
Update Your Business Plan
Before you start cleaning, the first step is to review your business plan. This is something that should definitely be undertaken regularly in a fast-paced tech business. Are you still pursuing the original goals outlined in your original plan? Have you changed strategies to achieve these goals? Have you redefined ways in which goals and priorities are pursued? Are these goals even worth pursuing anymore? Are some even detrimental to your business? Ask yourself all these questions and make amendments as necessary.
Review Prices and Correct Accordingly
Essentially this is part of your business plan, but if not addressed correctly, it can make or break your business. Always keep in mind there is someone out there that will do it faster and do it cheaper. Your responsibility as a business owner is to do your homework, see what the competition is offering, and what they are charging.
Perhaps you can offer the same product or service, but toss in an additional perk at no charge. Have regular discount specials or offer a variety of packages tailored to the potential client’s specific requirements. The options are endless but you’ll never get there if you don’t check out what the going rate is for what you offer.
Check Out New Ways to Cut Costs
Yes, implementing new technologies always mean streamlining existing ways of accomplishing tasks. Costs can slowly increase, wasteful practices become part of the daily routine, and unproductive time-wasting becomes common. Cutting costs and eliminating waste is the easiest way to improve your business operations, in addition to identifying what can be automated or outsourced. Sometimes cutting costs and updating procedures means reducing staff, which is unfortunate. However, it also opens up new opportunities as new technologies require new ways of doing things and people to do them. So, consider moving staff around to fill these newly created positions.
It Worked Then Doesn’t Mean it Works Now
The cutting-edge of marketing your business used to be sending out flyers, cold-calling, and other pretty annoying practices. Usually flyers get thrown away and sales calls get ignored. But it was what was done and apparently, it worked then. Obviously so, because businesses still make cold calls and flyers are always appearing in the mail. However, with the advent of the Internet and its continual improvements, it is now the number one way to reach potential clients. In particular, social media—where applications and developments are changing nearly every day—is the way that most businesses are reaching out to millions via websites and various social media apps. So, get rid of the paper and phone calls—stick with the latest trends in Internet marketing and the various ways it can grow your business. When reviewing your marketing strategies, always remember— new technologies means new markets. Keep your eyes open for these markets and get in early.
Don’t Do it Just Because it Can Be Done
According to Guy Kawasaki, former chief evangelist at Apple and current leader at Canva, having more money doesn’t equate with success. “Those with money,” he said, “abdicate and hire a digital agency. And then they’re going to have this team of 10 to craft a Tweet,” he continues. “So 10 people craft a Tweet, three people work on the graphics, three lawyers are making sure you don’t promise anything in the Tweet, and 45 days later you Tweet.”
This approach can mean death to a small- to medium company. You’re spending way too much and taking way too much time to do it, just because it can be done, with the cost vs. benefit way out of proportion to what you are trying to achieve. And in a business where change is the norm, taking this much time to do a relatively easy task means you’re already behind before you even get started. So, think about what you really need, and if it will really be something that will help your business improve, before committing to following through.
Once Upon a Time…
There was a person with a dream of opening a tech business. The process this person developed to reach this goal makes for a very interesting personal journey. Many in similar circumstances can relate to the story. So tell your stories! According to Kawasaki, “The genesis of most great tech companies is that people are creating something that they themselves wanted to use.” Creating a business is a personal commitment requiring passion in what you want to achieve. Include personal stories and experiences in blogs and others will learn from you and respect you and your business.
Make Your Website a Priority
Your website is the basis of all your marketing practices. Think of it as the front door to your home. Visitors’ first impression is critical in determining if they want to stay, or go visit somebody else. It is the first place potential customers go to learn about your business. From there, they can sign up for email newsletters, go to your Facebook page, provide valuable feedback, and add their name to your contact database.
But guess what? If your site looks like something your grandma designed in her sleep, and it has links that go nowhere, contains content that isn’t relevant, incomplete, or not engaging, you’re screwed. Your potential client will go back to Google and find a site that is professional, simple, modern, and informative. You can opt for an existing site update or a major do-over. Add some new pictures, update the information, regularly check for broken links, ensure that visitors have several ways to contact your business.
Organize your content around the visitor’s needs. Focus on what they want, and get it on the site. Run a promotion or use social media to get visitors to the site. This will at least get them to the site and hopefully they will stay there. And one thing that many website designers and businesses who design a site in-house may overlook—mobile devices. As much as 50 percent of your customers are visiting your website with their smartphones and tablets. Make sure your site is optimized for mobile devices, or your clients will be tripping over their keyboards to move on to the competition.
Reconnect With Old Contacts
Now that you’ve redefined your business goals, updated your website so it is a work of art, and seen improvements in traffic, it’s time to reconnect with past clients and contacts. Invite them to visit your new and improved website. Offer them a discount or special deal to encourage them to resurrect your business relationship, and with new contacts, make sure you provide details on how your business can do the job better than the competition. Don’t be pushy, but don’t give up either.
That is a lot to think about. Even updating your website alone can be a daunting task. But remember; there is help out there, so get a “maid” to help you “clean house.” A professional website design firm can complete some of the hardest tasks as part of your overall spring cleaning activities.