Some businesses operate year-round, but have a predictable “slow season,” while other businesses have a season (or, at least a month or two) when their business has very little client work at all. Some potential examples of the latter are landscapers, exterior painters, swimming pool cleaners, etc.
With spring on the way in the Northern Hemisphere, thoughts turn to spring cleaning – indoors and outdoors. Some folks will busy themselves doing a thorough cleaning inside their house or apartment, while others will head outdoors and work on their gardens and yards.
Because I’m a gardener at heart, I like to use gardening analogies when it comes to taking care of a business. Therefore, here are my top three tips for spring cleaning when you have a small business.
Fertilize and Nourish Your Business:
Just as your garden needs nutrients to thrive, your employees will thrive when you provide them trainings or workshops. Have you recently started using a new project tracking app? Why not invite someone in to train your employees on it?
Conduct a Thorough Inspection:
You don’t just abandon your flowers or bushes once they’ve been planted, do you? Nor should you neglect your website, office space, or shop. Do all the links work on your website? Are your contact details and operating hours correct? Is your office equipment functioning properly? Are you running low on ink or paper that might run out at a critical moment? Are there some shelves in your shop that can use reinforcement or a new coat of paint?
Pruning Helps What’s There to Prosper:
Trees and bushes benefit from pruning because it allows more resources to be used by what remains. Take a look at your services and products. Are there any that cost you more effort than they’re worth? When you cut back on time spent doing unproductive tasks, you free up your time and resources to devote to more important responsibilities.
Even if your business is not on a regular cycle with predictable down times, you can still make good use of unexpected down times. Here are some ideas.
Examine your processes.
Have employees write up their process for handling certain services or transactions. Then sit down together and take a look at ways these processes can be streamlined or optimized to save time/money.
Plan and schedule your social media.
If you don’t already use a platform like Buffer or Hootsuite to schedule posts on your social media channels, a period of down time is a great opportunity to get to know these options. Take a look at upcoming holidays and consider if you want to create a special promotional campaign around those days. You could even, perhaps, host a social media challenge or contest with a prize giveaway.
Do you have a newsletter or blog? Get ahead of the game and write a few (or several!) evergreen articles and posts to have at-the-ready for your busiest times. Put together a list of topics you could cover in blog posts, so that when you have time to write, all you need to do is pull out the list and select a topic.
You can also prepare for the slow season during your busy season by keeping a list of things you need to do but find yourself saying “Ugh – we’re too busy to focus on that now” or “That has to wait until things calm down.” My own lists come in very handy for weeks when a client is delayed in getting materials to me. I just pick something from the list and do it, without ever having to stop, look around, and think: What should I do now?