We all have them – those annoying bottom-of-the-list tasks that pop up at the wrong moment, only to be thrust back to the bottom of your to-do list as more important matters crop up.
With lockdown forcing many of us to operate at reduced rates or not at all, now could be the perfect time to turn your list upside-down and tackle these long-forgotten jobs. Not only can clearing the dregs of your to-do list be quite therapeutic, but it can also put your business on a good footing post-lockdown. And after all, it IS spring.
If this sounds like a good idea but you’re unsure where to start, why not try our list of top spring-cleaning tasks for your business?
1. Give your emails the chop
If your inbox has seen years of abuse and is running into the thousands, it’s time to start a cull. Make a strong coffee and then go back in your history and delete those out of date communications, the group thread that went around the office two years ago, and any one-liners that say ‘thanks’ and nothing else.
This should mean that you’re only left with stuff you need to file or that relates to ongoing business. Chuck older communications into archives (and label them properly!) and then organise all your current goings-on into their own folders. You can compartmentalise these as much as you want to – no one will judge.
Once you’re done, you’ll have a lean and mean inbox that will be ready to accept future business after lockdown.
2. Check your contacts
If you’re sending out emails announcing exciting business news or updates, you will want to know that these actually reach the right people. But if your contact list is out of date, chances are that you’re talking to the online equivalent of a brick wall.
To change this, bring up your contact lists and check phone numbers, email addresses and job titles. Delete the ghosts and you should be left with a shorter, but more accurate, list.
3. Reorganise your supplies
Chances are, you probably have some frustrations when it comes to where things are stored or accessed. Whether this is envelopes kept at the back of people’s drawers or printing supplies stored at the other end of the stockroom, it’s likely that a little reshuffle could make this all more logical and save people time when business as usual resumes. If you can’t get in to do this now, perhaps simply creating a task list for others to action when things go back to normal will suffice.
4. Review your email campaigns
We’re getting onto the meatier tasks now.
When was the last time you read through your email campaigns and checked that they were up to scratch? Well, today is the day.
Have a good read through and check that the emails still represent your business and what you do. If your priorities have changed, or you have newer products or services to offer, revamp your emails to include them. You may even want to try out some different approaches so that you can see what works best.
5. Review your tone of voice
A business is an ever-evolving beast, which means that your brand identity is unlikely to stay the same forever. As a result, your website, emails, brochures and social media channels can start to look and sound out of date.
If this is the case, start planning some new brand guidelines and think about how you want your business to be represented – this could catch customers’ eyes once your back in business.
6. Save some cash
We all know the potential money-saving results of switching suppliers but finding the time to do an in-depth comparison can be challenging.
But if you’ve been a loyal customer of a faceless energy supplier or bank for too long, now is a great time to review your options, particularly as you can save some money in the process.
Go on comparison sites, read the small print and see if you can save costs on your energy, suppliers or business bank rates – every penny helps.
7. Give your procedures a polish
If you have an ISO management system, the lockdown can be a perfect time to sit down and take stock of your processes and procedures. It’s particularly easy if you have QMS Connect – you can simply sit in your living room and log in to see all of your documentation at the click of a button.
If you want to give things a spring clean, read through your processes and check that they are still relevant to your business and are fit for purpose. Checking that management reviews and audits are up to date won’t hurt either.
8. Do some analysis
Running regular reports to check your sales rates, the success of your marketing campaigns or even your social media reach can often fall by the wayside. So, set up a few reports and analyse the results to see if there are any tweaks you can implement to give your business a bit of a boost. This could reveal your best customers and inspire you to find new ways of reaching out to new contacts for exciting business opportunities.
9. Get ready for the taxman
Spring is the month of rebirth, but it is also the season of tax returns, so why not take the time to get your books in order? If you tend to stuff receipts into random files or do all of your book-keeping in a mad rush, it can be a great idea to take off the pressure and start getting things sorted now.
10. Refresh your business plan
After such an unprecedented situation, it’s very possible that you may have to re-think some business strategies.
As a result, digging out your business plan and giving it a revamp can help you to prepare for these new realities. It may also help to take a look at your old ambitions and see how far you have come. To keep things positive, set yourself some new realistic goals that you can either start working on now or once you’re back at work.
Need a helping hand?
You don’t have to spring clean your business alone! If you want some advice on what best-practice processes and procedures you could implement, or ways to roll out key changes to your existing ISO processes, we’re always happy to help.
And if you have upcoming audits and need some help preparing, please feel free to get in touch. You can drop us a line at [email protected] or give us a call on 0333 344 3646.