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Time to spring clean your business

The arrival of spring always has an effect on business. Spring sales, a lift for real estate, a new season in fashion and a range of consumer items all contribute to a more lively and energetic economy.

And along with ways to maximise the spring lift, it’s also a good idea to consider a ‘spring clean’ for your business. That’s the opportunity to dust off the business plans, and take a good look at how you are tracking and where you are headed.

Your business plan (and if you don’t already have one – now is a really good time to draft one) should be a living document – rather than one that you just put together then store in a drawer. By creating regular review periods for your plan, you can regularly chart the course of your business, identify opportunities and highlight areas you need to change – often before they become a major problem. So, use the changing season to review how you are performing against your original goals, and where you might improve the business based on what the numbers highlight.

And while you’re taking a good look at how your business is tracking, you should also take stock of your cash flow management. If you are having trouble getting paid on time, or if you can’t accurately forecast your cash position over the coming months, it’s a good idea to make a seasonal resolution to make cash flow a priority.

Spring is also a period of opportunity in business, with a natural lift in consumer and business confidence. So revisiting your sales and marketing planning, and looking for new ways to drive demand from clients or customers, should form an important part of your spring-cleaning process.

Checking in with your customers and clients is also a good idea at this time of year. This doesn’t have to be an overly formally process (though some research and performance monitoring can also be very valuable). It could be as simple as spending a couple of extra minutes with key clients or regular customers to make sure that your products and services are still living up to their expectations, and that nothing has slipped over the winter months.

Most people are happy to share observations – often with some insights that could be both useful and profitable – and even the act of asking reinforces that your focus is on their satisfaction.

Finally, don’t forget to follow up with staff, to ensure you are all still working towards a common goal. Working over a long cold winter can be very de-motivating, so ensuring your business is positioned to take advantage of the opportunities of a new season might take a bit of leadership.

And in doing all of this, try to take a bit of time out for yourself. Get out with friends and family, take a break if you can, or just go out at lunchtime and enjoy the weather. You’d be surprised how much more energy – and a new perspective – a little time outside your business can bring, with a renewed focus that should get you through to summer.

Spring clean your debtors and sign up to CreditorWatch to expose bad debtors and be alerted when the businesses you trade with fail to pay.

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Julian Smith

Julian Smith

Julian Smith is responsible for MYOB’s corporate affairs, government and public relations in Australia and New Zealand and is also New Zealand general manager. The qualified lawyer has spent much of his career at large multinationals in a range of senior legal, sales, marketing and customer management roles. Julian is a regular keynote speaker and business commentator and sits on a number of government and industry boards and advisory panels. Julian can be found on Twitter <a href="http://www.twitter.com/JulianTSmith">@JulianTSmith</a> or contacted via email Julian.smith@myob.com

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