Today is the first day of Spring. Time for a fresh start and time to tackle the spring cleaning of your business.
If you are a small business owner, you may have noticed that the emails, tasks, and papers have piled up through the winter months. But don’t be alarmed as there are a few quick fixes that you can do in order to clean up some of the clutter in your work world. Here are a few tips and tricks that I use and also share with my clients:
- Start by de-cluttering and cleaning up your desktop & your downloads folders. Most of us are guilty of saving items to our desktop or download folder as a matter of convenience. If you need to retain a document then move it off of your physical system and back it up somewhere secure where you can access it if you had to do so remotely, if you lost your laptop or if your hard drive crashed. *Remember, that items saved on your desktop are not always retrievable if your system crashes.
- Next, get rid of the paper piles that clutter your desk, office & file cabinets, etc. Shred anything that is older than *seven years, including your bank statements. The odds are if you have not looked at it in that long then you probably won’t need to. And, if you feel like you may need something, scan it and file it in a digital file instead.
- Organize your tasks and to-do lists and put your revenue-generating tasks at the top. Focus on doing the work that will make you money and give you the best return. For those other administrative and back-office tasks, delegate them out to someone like me, a virtual assistant, who can take care of the details in the background.
- Clean out your email. Do you get LinkedIn notifications, conference and training opportunities, marketing materials and similar spam emails in your inbox that you never have time to read? If so then consider deleting all of them. But, if you can’t bear the thought of missing something that might come in then create a spam email account that you use ONLY for marketing, conference notifications, training, etc. Using my email as an example, you could do firstname.lastname@example.org. Then you would unsubscribe your current work email and re-subscribe with your alternate one.
- If cleaning out the spam emails and notifications still doesn’t tidy up your inbox, try sorting your emails by date and go back to the oldest ones first. Do you really need them? If your answer is yes, then file them away. If you don’t need it DELETE IT! You will be surprised what a liberating feeling it is to clean out your inbox and to get rid of stuff that is no longer pertinent or relevant.
- Evaluate your client base and determine if you need to do a purge. We all know that person or business who is a thorn in our side and we dread picking up the phone when they call or opening the email from them when it pops into our inbox. For you mental, emotional and personal peace of mind, consider breaking ties with your difficult or toxic clients. It will give you room to build and develop business relationships that foster growth….for them and for yourself!
- Lastly, get your finances in order. If you have receipts lying around that you haven’t accounted for, gather them up and get them to your accountant, bookkeeper or virtual assistant for reconciliation and processing. Reach out to your past-due clients and get their payments (or make payment arrangements) so that you get the money that you are due. And most importantly, make sure to honor your tax obligation and set up your annual tax appointment before April 15th!
Taking the time to spring clean your business will help set you up for success and allow your business to grow and blossom into the summer season.
And remember…if you don’t have the bandwidth or if you need assistance in doing any or all of these tips that a virtual assistant like myself can be a huge asset in helping you get organized and positioned for success!
*Retention lengths vary based on the nature of the business and types of documents. Please refer to the IRS record-keeping page for specific retention periods.