Spring clean your small business

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Spring is typically a time we clean out our houses, open the windows and brush the dust away, but the same principle can be applied to our businesses.

Declutter your digital life

With email, smart phones and social media making it easier to do business from anywhere, they’re also making it more difficult to switch off.
Put a few hours aside to go through your emails. Organise them into folders for easy searching or, if there are a lot, don’t be afraid of archiving old emails.

They’ll still be accessible but they won’t be clogging up your inbox. If you find that a lot of your emails are from mailing lists that you never read, simply unsubscribe!

If you find social media and apps draining your time, simply turn off notifications and only look at your accounts at set times of the day.

Review your business plan

If your business plan is a document you wrote a number of years ago and then never looked at again, now is the time for a second look.

There is never a bad time to review your strategic objectives and where you stand in terms of achieving them. If you don’t have any objectives or business KPIs, it isn’t too late to set them.

When you know what you’re trying to achieve and why it makes it easier to review your business performance and what activities you might be engaged in that actually don’t bring any value. Don’t be afraid to make tough decisions for the good of the business if something isn’t working.

Get your finances in order

The start of a new tax year is a great time to get the books straight – and there’s never a bad time of year to save your business money!

Before you start cutting back, do a quick audit of your spending, then tackle the biggest costs first. If you don’t know where to start, there are specialists who can do this for you, call the Forum on 01565 626001 for more information.

It also helps to make a note of your contract renewal dates, as these may dictate when you can switch supplier and ensure you can act before you get rolled into new contracts. Save yourself time and get increased buying power by joining a buying group and use brokers to help you get the best deal.

It’s also worth looking at the money going into your business too. If you’re experiencing problems with late payment, make sure you have credit control procedures in place.

Smarter marketing

Marketing can be a considerable spend for many small businesses, and it’s often the first thing to go when budgets need to be cut. However, it helps if you can make educated decisions about where you spend your money.

If you don’t already, invest in putting appropriate marketing metrics in place. These could be the number of sales or leads generated by your website, where your sales are coming from, or any other metric which demonstrates the return on your marketing investment.

If you can measure your marketing efforts and what is achieved by them, you will have a better idea of where to spend your budget and where you might be wasting money.

Ask your customers

If you’ve been thinking of developing a new product or service or giving your marketing a refresh, it pays to understand more about your existing customer base. What do customers think of your existing products? Is there something they need that you’re currently not offering?

A good understanding of your existing – and potential – customers should inform all your business decisions.

Make sure you’re up to date

You may think that once you have employment contracts and various other policies in place, that’s where your responsibility as an employer ends. However, employment and health & safety laws can change at least twice a year. Make sure you’re up to date with the latest legislation changes and get a specialist to review your employment contracts.

To find out how the Forum can help you stay up to date, plus protect your business with a 24/7 legal helpline and comprehensive business insurance, call us on 01565 626001.