According to the Reserve Bank of Australia, we are now facing the ‘imminent’ upturn of the economy. Unemployment rates are decreasing, sales and profits are on the rise and with Christmas round the corner all the business doom and gloom seems to be slowly sifting away creating smiles all round.
Before you get too caught up in the hysteria of good times booming, get too busy with prospective clients, or start your round of Christmas festivities – we think it’s a good time to blow away the cobwebs of the GFC by getting back to basics with an operational spring clean.
At Taurus, we decided to create a summer pre-Christmas ‘business sieve’ into a team effort, pulling every member to organise a small part of their day within their week and get motivated as corporate clean-up bees; and what a difference it has made. We are certainly going to hit the ground running in 2010.
An operational overhaul is similar to doing an audit. We pulled out our marketing, advertising, sales and communication material and reviewed what needs updating, what can be compressed, archived and what you can give the old ‘heave hoe.’ We have sorted customer files, removed templates we can use again, identified new processes and cleaned behind things. We started the exercise thinking we needed new storage and now have more room than we can poke a stick at.
Here is my checklist for a festive operational business spring clean (feather duster and Santa hat optional) that will make you, your employees, workplace and visitors feel fresh and rejuvenated to hit the ground running in the New Year.
My top 10 operational tips are:
1. Filing /organise old client files – the most dreaded and draining part of doing an operational overhaul, but most probably the most essential, is to free up filing space and get rid of dead wood.
2. Tidy up – organisation is your best friend; kitchens, bathrooms and reception areas can be put back into order. The areas represent your brand image and will negatively reflect upon your company’s professionalism if not kept tidy.
3. Make sure all contacts are up to date – your contacts of customers, suppliers and prospects is the essence of your business, without these you have very little. Make sure you have correct lists, phone directories and folders created. Create processes so these are updated on a regular basis.
4. Throw out everything you don’t need – yes those three year old printed emails are not all necessary and need to go. Everything that you do need keep labelled and in a particular place so it can be found when it is most needed.
5. Finances – leaving accounts, invoices, and receipts in a mess is a business sin, so get your act together now. It doesn’t take long. You will thank me for this when the tax man comes knocking on your door.
6. Computer – folders folders folders; is the name of the game. Get those works in progress in order, and keep your computer well protected with up-to-date software, virus protection and regular system back ups.
7. Website – when was the last time you looked at your own website? In today’s online society people create an instant perception of your business from a Google search. If press news are not up to date, and the site is not visually appealing it will reflect badly upon you. Also try to add recent testimonials whenever you can.
8. Admin – fix up the simple stuff, stationary, desks, and office draws. Every little bit counts.
9. Templates –these are a time saving heaven as you will not have to reinvent the wheel. They will increase efficiency ten fold and reduce workplace headaches.
10. Portfolio updates – is your best and brightest work on display? Well it should be. Find creative ways to display your work. Try using large display folders and leave them in a client waiting area for them to flick through.
All in all, it’s about seamlessly working out a system which will de-clutter, reorganise and freshen up your work environment to increase productivity and business performance in the New Year. Happy cleaning everyone!
Top tip: If you feel you are time poor hiring or outsourcing to professionals who can help with cleaning and organising your workplace can be a valuable investment.