The flowers are beginning to blossom, baseball is back, and spring is in the air. Like it or not, It's time to do some spring cleaning!
Embracing change is one of the hardest things a person can do. However, especially in a technologically driven world that's constantly changing, we need to embrace what’s coming - letting go of the the old and willing to embrace the new - if we want to succeed in business and in life.
To gain more insight on professional spring cleaning, I decided to ask my CEO's and entrepreneur friends over at the Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) about the 1 thing you can reorganize (or clean up) to restore order in your business. The YEC is an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. This is what they had to say, on 12 things worth spring cleaning:
1. Your To-Do List
Most smaller people tend to get stuck inside their business and have a difficult time getting out. That makes it particularly difficult to focus on big picture tasks necessary to grow. Implementing a to-do list or a system like "Getting Things Done" will help you get everything you need to do in writing and will help you prioritize, thus restoring order in your business.
2. Your Inbox
Some professionals find solace in chaos. However, hundreds of emails in your inbox is not normal nor is it productive when organizing your life and your business. There are tons of great services like Unroll.me that can help lower the emails flooding your inbox each day. Creating folders and categorizing project emails is another quick spring cleaning fix that takes less than a half hour!
3. Your Team's Motivation
Motivation is less tangible than vacuuming behind the printer or tidying up your inbox, but refreshing your team's motivation will yield exponentially higher rewards than any other traditional business spring cleaning item. Get everyone together, recognize high performers and wins from Q1, and talk long-term strategy until everyone is on board with your plans for your team or the company.
4. Your Cloud
Keep your cloud storage solution clutter-free. Make sure everything is in their respective place and it isn't just a catch-all. It will boost productivity and make your employees happier when they have to find that sales report from three months ago.
5. Your Brand Standards
Take time to get all of your logos, positioning, messaging and other brand standards consolidated. Ensure everyone understands the brand's vision and mission, and that they understand how consistent, branded communications reinforce that vision in the marketplace. Purge old files and audit touchpoints such as websites, blogs, ads and stationery to ensure everything is branded consistently.
6. Your Finances
Some professionals get lost in their visions and in new and exciting projects. But you need to make sure you are positioned financially to withstand challenges. Are your finances in order? Can you sustain current investments and make new ones? It’s good to think about where your money is going and plan for the necessary changes ahead.
7. Your Legal Projects
Legal projects often fall on the back burner, so spring cleaning is an excellent excuse to get your legal house shipshape. Important areas of focus are intellectual property and contracts. Have you worked with a lawyer to review your business and ensure you are maximally protected with copyrights, patents and trademarks? Do you have up-to-date contracts with partners, vendors and clients?
8. Negative Energy
Get rid of negativity. This can be either an individual or part of the business model that is not helping to develop the company, or someone around you who is bringing you or your team down. Be swift and make sure clean-ups are handled immediately.
9. Your Shared Files
Organize all your shared files with a consistent hierarchy and interlink them so everyone has an easy time finding task procedures. Whether it's Google Drive, Dropbox or another system, be scrupulous about organizing your business processes, rough drafts and work product. You and your team will save countless hours and frustration of looking for this document or that process.
10. Credit Cards
You should cancel any unnecessary credit cards (or debit cards). People often accumulate ancillary services, and they haven’t invested the time in canceling them because they don’t think they’re big enough to worry about. Cancel the card and save some money. Only sign up for services that you really need.
11. Your Unnecessary Relationships
Over the course of a year, we can accumulate relationships that take up 80 percent of our time but account for only 20 percent of our sales. Because we work with hundreds of customers at a time, we find it useful to cut the external dead weight a few times a year. Removing relationships that absorb our time but yield little results allows our team to double down on our most valuable relationships.
Ken Cauley, President, Advanced Media
12. How You Monitor Your Goals
The beginning of spring coincides with the end of the first quarter and represents a great opportunity to reorganize how you are monitoring your pursuit of your goals. It gives you the opportunity to check in on potentially recalibrating your goals. But most importantly, it offers a time to reflect on how you're watching your own goals and what you can do to ensure your team is focused on them.
Now it's your turn. What are you doing to clean up your business, career or life this spring? Please let us know your thoughts in the Comments section. Don't forget to share this post with your network so that we can all benefit from a little spring cleaning!
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