This time of year always motivates us to do a little spring cleaning around the house to revitalise, organise and minimise, but there’s no reason this overhaul should be confined to our homes. If you’re anything like me and bring work home, then you will find by spring cleaning your commercial systems and processes, home life should become just that – more home, less work.
We’ve been incredibly busy at Elevate these past few months working not only in the business for our clients but on the business as well. In reviewing the actions we’ve taken internally to achieve greater productivity and a more streamlined approach to revenue and profit, it’s clear that the steps we’ve taken have audited, evaluated and adjusted our systems and processes just like a spring clean. So, here’s a “spring clean your business” checklist I’ve developed to help you assess and overhaul your operations without the need of an auditor!
#1 Test the team environment
I believe there really is no point at looking at the rest of your tools and systems if you don’t have the right team in place and a supportive culture to keep them there. Here’s how you can audit your team:
- Review your staffing level and make sure its appropriate for your business – too few people might be attractive to maximising your profit, but I can assure you it’s far costlier to lose staff to burn out than it is to make a few dollars right now. It’s also wise to check that you are not over-resourced for the business and therefore burning money.
- Audit the skills of your team individually – conduct performance reviews or send a survey to ascertain the strengths and areas for development. Your staff are one of your USPs, especially in service-based businesses, so leverage and capitalise on this.
- Review the culture – how often do you award and recognise team members? We all want to feel appreciated for our work so this is the number one area you can improve on today without it costing a cent (although a nice thank you gift is a good idea too). Other areas that contribute to employee satisfaction and therefore increased performance can include flexible working, encouraged work-life balance, a recreation space in the office, off-site team building days, casual Fridays and celebrations for birthdays and special occasions. Your team members always have a choice on whether they work for you or someone else, and word of mouth when it comes to you being an employer has a significant weighting in any industry – be the reason they want to work with you.
#2 Out with the old, in with the new
This is definitely not about your team anymore – it’s about the tools you give them to do their job. As someone who was raised with the Yellow Pages and fax machines and adverse to change like most people, I can assure you that it’s taken me some adjustment to welcoming the digital age. Why fix something that wasn’t broken? But I’ve learned that while something may not necessarily be broken, there could still be a better solution available – just like home appliances and décor need a facelift, it’s time for ‘out with the old, in with the new’ around the office.
- Review your administrative duties. Where does a great deal of your time get spent as a business? New business proposals? Answering customer enquiries? Creating invoices? These are the first places to audit and overhaul because when you get admin time back through quicker digital channels, it can be reinvested into more pressing areas of the business.
- Track, track, track – data entry has always been critical to business, but it’s incredibly draining of time. Time sheeting and CRMs have come a long way since the old punch clock or Excel spreadsheet, and they can help keep you on top of capacity, budgets, meetings, emails, proposals and much more with minimal effort.
- Hightail away from email – countless studies have shown how distracting emails can be to staff, consuming about 23 percent of our workday! By eliminating staff emails between each other, we have been able to help our team focus their energy on the tasks that matter most. Of course, communication still needs to exist within the team, but by taking it away from email and placing it on SharePoint’s Teams program (and there’s Slack, Workplace by Facebook and so many more options), we’ve separated the not so urgent communication from the more insistent matters that come through on email.
#3 Go shopping
There’s a reason going to K-mart or Bunnings makes you feel good on a Saturday morning. You know you need the right tools for the job around the house or yard and what you had just wasn’t cutting it, but now you’re home with a brand new mop and shovel and ready to get to work! But why do we love spending money at home, yet treat work expenses as a real blow to the budget? Give yourself permission to GO SHOPPING!
Buy the CRM that’s going to help you speed up your business development lead time, put that staff training program in the cart and spend up on the IT that’s going to keep your business running well into the future. You really do have to spend money to make money in business. Not a lot, and not in every aspect of the business, but where it counts. And staff and systems are at the core of every business.