Q1 is over. That means we are a quarter of the way through the year already.
Time flies when you are having fun, right? Definitely when you are building and running a business.
While you are enjoying the nicer weather, take the time to open the windows and air out your business. Well, so to speak. Let’s take a look at a few things that you should do every year to spring clean your business.
Make Next Year’s Taxes Easier
Now that you’ve recognized the pain of doing taxes, let’s make next year easier.
Staying up-to-date with your business bookkeeping is a great way to do that. That means monthly bank reconciliations and credit card allocations (while you still remember what those purchases were for!).
When you are first starting out, you can probably just use a spreadsheet (Excel or Google Sheets, either will work). But as you have more and more transactions and things get more complicated, you’ll want to move onto a software accounting program.
I personally use FreshBooks, mostly because I found the invoicing and payments process better than with QuickBooks. Both are available as Saas/online platforms and offer mobile apps. Which is great for uploading receipts on the go.
Review Your Outstanding Invoices
While on the topic of accounting and finances, let’s spring clean the invoices. Yes, both your AP and your AR invoices.
Start with your accounts receivable – make sure that you have invoiced everyone that owes you money. And then review your outstanding invoices to make sure that the prior invoices are paid up.
Then go through your accounts payable to make sure that you have entered all the invoices with the proper due dates so you don’t get hit with late fees! Make sure that you are being charged what you agreed to and understand any additional charges.
If you want to take the extra step to spring cleaning, review those subscription invoices. Make sure that you are still using the service and that you don’t duplicate it with another service. You’ll be amazed how many times you can find another service doing the same thing.
Get Rid of the Paper
So many of our businesses are mobile. No longer are we stuck in an office, surrounded by Redwells and paper files. (Am I totally dating myself with the reference to Redwells? Maybe it is a law office thing, but it took forever to ditch the paper files and move to electronic files! For those not in the know, Redwells are those expanding pocket folders that hold multiple folders, common to keep all the folders in a case together.)
I, for one, am happy that we are now mostly digital. But that doesn’t mean that we don’t still produce quite a bit of paper. Spring Cleaning is definitely a great time to get rid of the paper!
That’s why the FreshBooks app is great – you can take a picture of your receipt and then trash the original receipt. Don’t worry about an audit either – the IRS has been accepting scanned or digital copies of receipts since 1997!
A lot of local communities will hold free or reduced cost shredding events so that you can securely discard your papers. So check out the local Facebook and NextDoor groups to see if one is happening near you.
I also like the burn method (if you are in an area not under a burn ban). There is something really appealing to see all those papers go up in flames.
Refresh the Website
No, I’m not talking about a full rebrand. But take a few minutes to scan your website.
Is all the information up-to-date? Do you have profiles for all your top people? Make sure you’ve removed the bios for anyone no longer with the company.
Do you have some new accomplishments you’d like to highlight? Maybe you’ve been quoted in a major news article or featured on a podcast? Make sure that you have mentioned it on your website to increase your authority and expertise, both in the eyes of potential new customers but also in the eyes of Google.
What about the pictures? Could they use some updating? At least some new ones. Spring, with all the blooming flowers and sunny days, are a great time to get some new photos of your team.
Let’s also take the time to make sure that all the links are working and the content is fresh. Do any of your pages need an update, as things have changed in your business or the broader market.
Update Your Social Media Profiles
Just like your website could use some refreshing, your social media profiles probably could use some attention.
Have you looked at those bios lately? Could they use some tweaking?
How about the graphics and logos you use on those profiles? Are you still using the best practices on your profile pictures and your header photos? Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and others have changed the size of the photos and how they are positioned. Make sure that you are using the best practices on your social media graphics.
Or maybe you’ve left a platform recently because of the pure craziness on it. Or maybe it doesn’t fit the direction you are taking your company. Make sure that the links, both on your website and on your other profiles, all reflect the places that you are active.
Purge Your Email List
Spring is a great time to clean up and purge your email marketing list of cold contacts. Especially with so many of the email service providers upping their costs, you want to maintain a clean list of subscribers.
Start with a re-engagement campaign for those that haven’t opened up an email from you in awhile. If they still don’t engage, then delete them from your email list. It’ll make your open rates look better and could save you money from going to the next tier on your email marketing platform.
Set Goals for the Rest of 2023
You may have started the year with some goals for 2023. But has that plan survived first contact with reality that this year has brought?
Economic uncertainty, lower consumer demand, recession fears. All of it may be depressing progress on your goals for the year. Or maybe your business has thrived because the niche is popular during economic tough times (victory gardening, anyone?)
If your original goals are now unattainable or you are far outpacing them, it’s time to reset those goals. That will keep us motivated as we move forward to keep working hard, no matter what the macro-economic outlook is.