Four ways to give your business a spring clean in 2016

With winter nearly over, it’s a great time to start thinking about whether you can carry out some spring cleaning in your business to get you set for the rest of 2016. Here are some top tips:

1. Update your business plan

When you first had your business idea, you would (hopefully!) have drawn up a plan, visualising how your business would develop. As part of your business spring clean, it’s a good idea to review your plan and check that it’s still relevant. If you’re planning to take your business to new markets this year, for example, or make any significant changes to your operations, you should update your business plan to reflect this.

You should also look back over your numbers for the last couple of years and see if your forecasts are still accurate - for example, whether you had an extra cost you hadn’t planned for, or made more or fewer sales than you anticipated - and update those figures in your business plan if necessary.

2. Review your social media profiles

Social media is a great way to engage with customers and get useful exposure for your brand but that doesn’t mean that your business needs to have a presence on every single platform. For every post that proves popular on Facebook, you may have a dozen others on Google+ or Instagram that are doing nothing for you.

Take some time to delve through the metrics of your social channels and see which ones are performing well for you. Most platforms have useful analytics available for free to do this, but you may choose to use cloud tools like SproutSocial or Hootsuite for deeper metrics. Armed with this information, you’ll be able to prune out any social media channels that aren’t working for you and focus on the ones that are.

3. Brush up your business books

Bookkeeping isn’t the most exciting thing about running a small business, but it’s nevertheless one of the most important tasks to stay on top of. Without up-to-date information about how much you’re spending, how much tax you owe and which clients haven’t paid you, you’ll never know exactly how your overall finances are performing or be able to make informed decisions about where to take your business next.

Poor bookkeeping is often down to poor organisation, so if you tend to wait for months before updating your accounts - or stash your expense receipts in a shoebox and only get round to processing them at tax return time - perhaps you could implement a more effective system.

Above all, make sure that “doing the books” becomes a regular part of your weekly business routine. Blocking out an hour a week and using it to reconcile your bank transactions, chase up invoices and log expenses will save you a lot of hassle in the long run.

4. Review your supplier list

As part of your business spring clean, take a look at your suppliers and consider how they are performing. Do you work with a courier company that’s routinely late when making deliveries to your business, for example? Does your broadband provider fail to provide you with adequate coverage or service speeds?

Once you’ve identified any issues with your suppliers, consider your next steps: you might want to raise the issue with the supplier directly and ask them to resolve it or you may prefer to choose an alternative company to work with.

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