Spring clean your business

Organizing your files can help clamp down on clutter (istockphoto)
Organizing your files can help your business clamp down on clutter (istockphoto)
The office¬†is¬†second only to¬†the bedroom as the most lived-in space in our daily lives. And yet,¬†our workplace rarely¬†gets the kind of special attention that we commit to cleaning our homes. It’s time for that to change. This year, consider “spring cleaning” different aspects of your business to make your company more efficient and effective year-round. Clean your physical workspace:¬†A clean workspace can improve employee morale, prevent office-borne illness and¬†create a more professional working environment for workers and clients. Give your office a makeover by: -Deep cleaning carpets or floors; -Dusting office furniture; -Wiping down computers and other office equipment with electronics-friendly cleaning cloths; -Vacuuming behind your desks, making sure to unplug electronics and pull away the wiring first. De-clutter¬†your filing system: This applies to both¬†paper documents¬†and computer files. Create archives to store¬†old data.¬†Invest in organizers.¬†Throw out any files¬†that¬†are no longer¬†useful or necessary¬†for record keeping purposes. Your goal should be to clear your desk (and your computer’s desktop) of extraneous files. Finally, consider going paperless in the office; online storage systems like DropBox or Apple’s iCloud allow you store files¬†securely and share them across¬†a network, rather than constantly making copies. Fix up your website:¬†A company’s website is a direct extension of its¬†brand. An old or outdated webpage may discourage new customers from contacting you, no matter how amazing your in-house products or services are. Take some time to perform some basic¬†e-maintenance by: -Repairing broken links -Updating contact¬†information, logos and¬†company bios; -Introducing new pictures and testimonials; -Integrating features like Twitter and Facebook into your website. If your web¬†design skills are less than stellar, consider enlisting third-party help.¬†Content management platforms like WordPress provide¬†customer support services and¬†can help you create¬†a design¬†practical, stylish¬†(and affordable)¬†website from the ground up. Evaluate your goals: If you’ve set business goals for 2013, now is the time to check in and see how those goals are progressing. If you haven’t set goals, it’s not too late. A simple visioning exercise, like this one developed by Purdue University, can help you identify where you’d like your business to be five¬†to ten years down the road, and¬†develop a strategy¬†to get there. Organize key information: Put together an administrative manual that contains all your processes, passwords and contacts.¬†Having the information readily available will help ensure¬†that you and your employees follow proper procedures when performing day-to-day tasks, which in turn promotes productivity and consistency. Thank your customers: Take the time to craft an email or a newsletter addressed to all the clients who have frequented your business in the past year. Thank them for their patronage and¬†tell them that you’d love to work with them again.¬†It’s a small gesture that goes a long way towards fostering positive¬†relationships with your customers.