The birds are chirping and the weather is getting warmer. Whether you are a solopreneur or a seasoned entreprneur, the changing environment signifies the perfect time to do a little Spring Cleaning.
Any business that expects to thrive fruitfully needs to make sure that they are periodically "cleaning house". Depending on what your business is, your idea of cleaning house may vary significantly. But one thing is for certain, as the marketplace changes, so should your business.
One of the most common obstacles that most small businesses face is the lack of available funds. Operating on a shoetring budget can definitely be a hindrance to your potential growth. However, just because you are considered a "small" business doesnt mean that you have to think small. Start thinking outside of the box in terms of your financial growth. Take a long, hard look at your past practices and determine what works and what doesn't. Are there any areas where you could potentially cut costs? Are there any areas where you need more capital? Perhaps your obstacle is finding better sources for financial capital; or that you simply need a better marketing plan to convince people to invest in your business.
Having a proper support system can also be a huge factor that determines the outcme of your professional efforts. The debate between being a solopreneur or an entrepreneur is one that depends largely on your scope of business. Brick and mortar businesses will obviously need more physical support than businesses that are more consultant based or operated in a virtual environment.
Deciding whether or not your business needs full time staffing, as well as details of their employment is a decision not to be taken lightly. Determine the absolute need for staffing, and what your employee costs should be. High turnover rates could possibly mean that you are not paying enough, or not making your employees feel valuable. Keep the lines of communication open and make sure that everyone on staff is growing along with your business.
Your product is also a major element of the spring cleaning process. Even if you are not in the business of selling retail products, your brand or your image shoud be treated as a product, and deserves to be reevaluated. In a service oriented environment, you ARE your product. Clients need to feel reassured that when they choose you to perform services, they are receiving the best their money can buy. Think about your image and how you come across to others. Are you consistently professional? Are you approachable? Do you represent your clients to the best of your ability? Think about your website and your marketing materials. Are your services and social media accounts up to date? Take the time to fine tune your website, contracts, or marketing materials. You may find that perhaps your message isn't clear, or that your information is not easily accessible.
For retail business owners, figure out whether your inventory levels are up to par with your goals and customer needs. Having minimal product on the shelves can be thought of as a good thing because it shows that you are selling. However, it can be a negative if people truly love your product and cannot get their hands on it. On the other hand, too much product could mean that your prices are too high, your packaging is outdated, or your product needs tweaking. Ask existing customers for their input on your products and services. Their feedback could unleash an idea to improve your product more than you realized was possible.
Whatever your business needs, a thorough analysis of your business goals, successes, and current standing is essential to surviving the changing market. So get out your cleaning supplies and dust the cobwebs off of your small business!
Have you started the spring cleaning process yet? What changes have you decided to implement?