Let me ask you – when was the last time you cleaned up your business? Gave it a good scrubbing? Thrown out the stuff that doesn’t fit anymore? Cleared out the closets to make room for new stuff?
Now that there is a hint of spring in the air i’ve been thinking about doing my yearly spring cleaning here at home… and it occurred to me, how about spring cleaning my business?
I’m reminded of the idiom nature abhors a vacuum, the theory of which is that empty or unfilled spaces are unnatural as they go against the laws of nature and physics – and that nature will find a way to fill those spaces.
As it applies to business I consider this to be a process of getting rid of the old to make room for the new.
I hear from business owners all the time who say “I simply don’t have the room/space/time to be able to do X, Y, Z”. At face value we can take this quite literally – there is only so much room/space/time in our lives and when it’s full it’s full right?
I wonder how much of our room/space/time is actually full with ‘old junk’, stuff that you don’t need anymore. Old thoughts, old responsibilities, old ‘shoulds’… the kinds of things that may not be obvious but can actually be a huge drain on your energy.
Time to get rid of these things to make room for the stuff we want yes? Here are a few suggestions:
- Clean up your to-do list – I like to compare this to cleaning out the clothes in your closet – a good rule of thumb is if you haven’t worn it in a year it’s time to get rid of it. Same thing applies to your to-do list – if you have an item that’s been on your list for more than a month it’s time to get rid of it. Getting rid of it can mean different things, you could delegate it to someone on your team, you could hunker down and just get it done or you could simply cross it off the list and let it go. Either way, the things that keep hanging around on our to-do lists are ‘shoulds’ and become a HUGE energetic drag… make it a habit to keep your to-do list clean.
- Clean up your autoresponders & sales pages – When is the last time you read your sales pages, autoresponders and other marketing materials? For some of you i’ve bet it’s literally been years! (cough cough, who me?) I believe our marketing materials need some good TLC from us to keep on doing their job, and if we ignore them they start to wither and die (not to mention become seriously outdated in some cases). Read through your sales pages, autoresponders and such and update accordingly. Pick one a week to tackle and in no time all your offerings will be energized and working for you again to attract new business.
- Clean up your team – I’m not talking about firing your team here, not by any means. What i’m talking about is taking a look at what each team member is doing and looking for ways to streamline/improve processes. It can be easy to just go on autopilot and “do things the way we’ve always been doing them”… take a look at what everyone is doing and ask the question “Can this be done better/differently?” I find that there is almost always room to tweak how things are being done – especially in the online world where new software and systems are coming out each day to make things easier. This is an excellent project to assign to your Online Business Manager by the way.
- Clean up your subscriptions – What ezines are you subscribed to that you no longer read? How many unread blog posts are in your RSS feed? Again apply the clothes closet rule here – if you haven’t read something in a month (or so) then unsubscribe from it. If you aren’t reading something on a regular basis that means it doesn’t apply to your immediate life and/or business needs… and you need to get rid of it to keep your mind clear and open to new ideas and thoughts. I dare you to be relentless here – i’m guessing that you can let go of 50% or more of the stuff that clutters up your inbox and feed readers.
- Clean up your computer – How many emails are in your inbox right now? If you have more than 50 it is TOO much. Being online as much as you are your computer and inbox need to be inviting! They need to be a place that you look forward to visiting each day. Get a system in place to manage your inbox. Clean up all the icons from your desktop, change your background picture, get rid of software that you don’t use, backup and remove old files that you don’t need anymore. And hey, if your computer is more than a few years old perhaps it is time to treat yourself to a new one?
- Clean up your desk/office – yes, I know… boring! But really, how long has it been since you actually gave your desk and office a good cleaning? Are your drawers full of old receipts? Time for some new pictures on the wall? Maybe move your desk to another part of the room? Our environment can have a huge albeit subconscious effect on our energy levels and motivation. I’m embarrassed to say that i’ve never given my office much attention since we moved into this house in July 2006 – I still have a stack of pictures beside my desk that haven’t quite made it to the wall yet! Definitely some work here for me.
It may seem like alot of work to do all of this, but I challenge you to go ahead and pick one just one of these to attend to this week. If you make a point of tackling one spring cleaning project a week (even for just one hour) you will start to see huge progress very quickly. Like a breath of fresh spring air!
Be sure to post your progress, comments and other spring cleaning suggestions here at the blog.