We’re all familiar with the idea of spring cleaning our homes but it can also work wonders for a business. A yearly spring clean is a great way to refresh and reset your business, helping you to build a plan for now and the future, or to refocus on an existing plan.
In this article we will look at some areas on which you can focus to build a stronger and more prosperous business, regardless of its size.
Enhance your customer service
If there’s one thing we’ve learned during the pandemic, it’s that customer loyalty can help carry your business through even the most difficult period. To improve your customer service, focus on your previous mistakes by:
• identifying your biggest missteps in last year
• outlining how you and your team can avoid them in future
• highlighting what went well and how you can build on this in this year.
Build your marketing and communication plan
A sound social media marketing strategy has become critical. Engaging with your clients on social media is now essential to making your business visible, building your brand, and developing a loyal following. If your business cannot justify the cost of a fulltime marketing manager, consider engaging an external marketing consultant to help you create and implement a plan.
Prioritise your company culture
If your employees feel engaged and inspired, rather than just satisfied, they will be more productive. Building a company culture that makes your employees feel appreciated, respected, and empowered to develop their careers will boost their engagement and loyalty.
Review your processes
Covid has changed the way we do business. Many businesses were forced to implement cloud-based software in a hurry just to keep operating. Now is a good time to review software and administration processes to ensure they are providing the best value to your business.
Review your budget
Having a budget is important, but regularly reviewing your budget is essential. If you’re not meeting your business goals, the quicker you identify the root cause, address it, and make improvements, the better. Involve both your leadership and accounting teams in your regular budget reviews to keep all areas of your business on track.
Hold a planning day
Planning is essential for the smooth running of any business. However, business owners are often so busy running their businesses that they lose sight of their goals. Occasionally it is essential to step away from working in the business to spend some time working on the business.
Depending on the size of your business, you might limit your planning day to your leadership or management team, or you might involve the whole business. We choose to include everyone at our planning days as different people have different perspectives – receiving feedback from all areas of the business helps to identify issues as well as opportunities.
Five tips for a successful planning day
Involve as many staff as possible. The best ideas come from collaboration and can often come from someone you least expect. Everyone in your business views success from a different perspective and these insights can help you set your business strategy.
Ensure you have a clear idea of what you’re trying to achieve. Survey your staff a month before to gather feedback on any issues they have so you can work together to address them. Boost staff morale by sharing wins such as new clients and contracts. Discuss the ideal clients you’re looking for, new sectors you wish to target, and any major changes you plan to implement during the next year, such as new policies, staff recruitment plans, and changes to software.
People are most attentive in the morning so get your most significant topics and areas of focus out of the way before lunch. Use the afternoon for more social and less structured tasks, while team focused games and activities are useful to build collaboration and morale. Ending the day like this means staff will look back on the event more favourably than they would if they have spent the entire day on business strategy.
Hold your planning day away from the usual place of work. Depending on your business, this may feel difficult but stepping away helps to generate the clarity and focus you need to formulate a clear plan. If you need essential staff to stay behind, trust them to keep things running while you’re not there.
You should hold a full-scale planning day once ayear. However, you can also hold smaller events more regularly to help progress towards goals and to update your staff. To minimise disruption to your business, you might hold your planning day during a quieter time. Alternatively, holding your event during a busy period can give your
staff extra motivation to achieve.
Finding time to step away from your business to spend time on your business may feel difficult at times. However, doing so can bring long-term benefits to both business owners and employees by building perspective and a new-found passion for the business.
About the authors
Dana Feng and Ben Spiers
Dana is an accountant and has been with Lee Green, the Adelaide member firm of Russell Bedford International, since 2014. Dana specialises in providing accounting and taxation services to small and medium enterprises with a particular focus on the horticultural industry.
Ben is a director at Lee Green, joining in 2018. Ben has extensive experience in business consulting across a range of industries, his recent focus being the development of financial reporting models for Cooperative Research Centres and other diverse industry groups.