Today’s blog is a nudge to give your business a seasonal clean up and tackle those tasks that can be let go – a reminder to schedule in time during the year for a business a spring clean (even if it’s not spring!).
I don’t just mean a physical tidy-up of your office space, have a look at the areas where you have let things go for too long and get stuck in! If you’re anything like me, this sort of thing has driven you insane for ages and it’s been on the “to do list” for longer than you would like to admit.
Ok, so here’s a good jump point of areas you can tackle do some seasonal cleaning in your business!
1. Canva – The Photos
Canva is like a little pot of social gold on the internet, and so many small businesses are using it to create some great content for their social media accounts in a simple and straight forward way. (If you don’t know what Canva is go to www.canva.com and send me a million thank yous later).
For those of you using Canva though, there’s a chance you have imported a gazillion photos into there to use. And likely you just used those images once or twice and now you scroll and scroll to find the photo you actually want to use.
It’s time for a photo cleanout!
Get rid of all those photos you will never use again or only in a blue moon – perhaps make sure the blue moon ones are stored on your hard drive before deleting.
To delete, just go to uploads and hover over the photo that you want to delete, three dots will appear in the top right hand corner of the photo, click them and click delete.
Your life will feel less full already!
2. Canva – The Files
If you’ve been using Canva for a LONG time like me, you are likely to have all sorts of creative resources on there – Facebook posts, Instagram posts, Presentations and the list goes on and on.
And they are probably all floating around in your Canva account in a disorganised mess.
Did you know that as part of your paid Canva subscription, you create files? Yep, you can organise all these creative assets into folders – so when you are looking for something, you can just go to that folder and find it – no more scrolling for half a day looking for something!
And while you are busy filing your goodies in their new canva folders, it is the PERFECT time to delete all those posts you’ll never use again.
The first time I did a big Canva-Clean, I had lots if creations I had completed for other people and from a previous business which were absolutely no longer relevant. So I took the axe to them and they are now all gone!
This filing and deletion session made it so much easier to find things, and I feel less stressed heading into Canva to look for something because I know where it is!
And even if you are on the free version of Canva, this is a great reminder to just go in and delete anything you no longer need to use.
Argh, the infamous inbox. It can be the bane of so many of us in business (or in our lives generally).
Today is the day you need to tackle it. But don’t get overwhelmed, I’ve got a few quick tips that don’t take much time to implement at all.
To start with – unsubscribe from all those emails that you really, seriously, never read!
Perhaps once upon a time they were relevant to you, but now, you’ve moved on or they are no longer serving you content that you can relate to or learn from. (*Ahem, hopefully not mine!)
So, here’s what I suggest you do:
- Instead of having your emails in your inbox in date order, put them into “from” order. This then sorts the inbox by who sent the email (sub sorted by date).
- Go through the each sender and ask yourself:
- Keep or
- Unsubscribe and delete
I’ve done all these tips in the past week and I can tell you that my inbox tidy up took about 2 hours – yep, only 2 hours. Of course depending on how full your inbox is, will determine how long it takes you, but generally it becomes a really quick process once you get going.
Interestingly, I learnt some very valuable things via this exercise too, especially in relation to how long I’ve been running my current business (about three years).
- During the deleting emails and unsubscribing process I saw that there were many businesses that had pivoted since I first subscribed. In some cases this was a really good move and I was still interested in their offerings, and some not so good, but as far as them keeping me on their list, that is totally ok.
- Lots of businesses I deleted had very consistent emails until they didn’t – lots and lots and lots of businesses have gone out of business. But the big thing I found is that some of these businesses had completely stopped using email strategically (which I think is a mistake!). If you are a business where you may be a bit lax on reaching out to your customer base by email, go check out these blog posts: 14 Tips On Getting Your Email Opened And Read, and 7 Ways To Market Your Business On A Shoestring to get some great tips on reinvigorating your email marketing!
Here’s a massive pro tip for when you are cleaning out your inbox. It’s a fabulous excuse to reach out to people you haven’t had communication with for ages.
I came across about 50 people I hadn’t personally contacted (many are on my list but I’m talking personally contacted) for a while. So, between cleaning out my inbox and the cray cray world we currently have, it was a great reason to reach out with a simple “HEY”.
This had nothing to do with sales or selling or anything like that, it was about touching base with someone who is in business and genuinely wanting to check in with them. Many of them, I must be honest and admit, I wouldn’t have touched base with had I not come across our previous email conversations.
It felt good to reach out and offer an unexpected “HEY” and I can tell you, I’ve learnt so much from their responses – I know some freaking awesome business owners who are taking all 2020 has been throwing at them in their stride and pulling on their big girl/boy undies and heading head first into any storm – I was so very proud of them.
I also discovered some business owners who I thought would be struggling (in retail) are going great guns! Small business owners ROCK. They just freaking ROCK.
Now, after you’ve been poking around your inbox and now have it neat and tidy, the next task I have for you is to look in your SEND box.
Are there particular emails you send ALL THE TIME that you could make templates out of?
I know Gmail has canned responses – but you could set something like that up even if you don’t have Gmail set up. Even simply having a word document open with some stock response options listed there makes it so easy to cut-paste into a reply, and then just do a minor tweak as needed.
Don’t go overboard with the semi-automation though.
H2H – human to human – is so important, but some responses are ok as “canned” or “stock” responses, which can save you a stack of time when responding to general queries.
Plus, if you have staff working for you who are involved in emailing customers, it can help create a very consistent and efficient process for them to take on.
4. Tidy the Office Space.
Get the area you work in looking sharp!
Clean office equals clean head.
Uncluttered spaces equal uncluttered heads.
Do a bin run. Take the time to go through all those scraps of paper that have been piling up. You might rediscover some with amazing ideas, others with messages from phone calls 12 months ago, some with lists of TO DO activities for that week or day.
But a pro-tip on the bin purge – read all those pieces of paper before they go in the bin – you just never know when the next “best idea ever” got buried in “to do’s”!
If you are in the situation where you have never worked from home, but you are now, really evaluate your “temporary” workspace. For many people the home workspace setup was done in such a rush with the shutdowns, that the space you started (and then continued) using may actually not be the best.
My tip for you is to take a good look at if you are utilising the best spot to be your temporary “work from home” office or workspace.
As we have seen, many companies are now looking to continue providing the work-from-home flexibility, so this is a great chance to nail your home workspace setup (and check with your accountant, you may be able to claim items for setting this area up).
There are so many Australian companies who pivoted during the covid crisis and are now creating some great “iso-workstations” that are a snap to assemble (including those that need no tools whatsoever!), or businesses local to you may now have some fabulous looking items to kit out your home workspace.
I worked from my kitchen table for about 18 months when I first started this business – and it was such a stupid decision looking back.
Cleaning out one of the spare bedrooms and making it into an office was the best decision I had made in a very long time!
Yes, I live in a 6 bedroom farmhouse – Mr Farmer is one of 8 – so loads of kids once lived here.
You might not have that luxury, but I am sure you can find a space to work that’s just for work.
HOWEVER – pro tip of pro tips – don’t make your home workspace in your bedroom. That’s never a good idea – EVER!
Now – for the rest of the 8 Seasonal Clean tips that might help you whilst you’re in an organising mode:
5. Google Drive
Is your Google Drive currently a hodge podge of random documents and files. Take some time to create a folder system that works for your business, and get those “loose” documents floating around sorted and filed appropriately.
6. Back Up, Back Up, BACK UP!
Archive and back up your hard drive onto a separate hard drive (of course!).
And while you are at it back up your phone. I repeat BACK UP YOUR PHONE!
Please back up any other devices you have with information stored on there.
7. Time For An Upgrade?
Have a look over your current office equipment, and maybe consider upgrading equipment like monitor, printer, chair, filing cabinet etc – remember to purchase local wherever possible. Lots of businesses are offering some fantastic EOFY deals right now.
8. Update Your Bookwork
Yes, I know. Yuck. Bookwork is generally a chore for most small business owners. But it is vital to your business running successfully.
And I’m sorry Jenny Waterson for saying yuck if you’re reading (Jen was on the podcast 65 talking finance – check that out if you haven’t listened to it – www.socialmediaandmarketing.com.au/65).
I have literally spent hours and hours getting my bookwork up-to-date recently. It’s definitely a place I fall down in. I can look at analytics all day to plan content but actually doing my bookwork – yuck!
However it is such a critical thing, so, don’t be like me and put it off.
Just get it done because no one else is going to do it for you! And while you are at it schedule some time on your calendar every month to keep on top of your bookwork.
So do you have any great tips to share for things you do in your “seasonal clean” of your business?
Leave me a comment, I would love to hear from you.
Got other questions? Do you want to share your “seasonal clean” ideas with other business owners?
Let’s continue this conversation in my Facebook Group – Like Minded Business Owners. If you haven’t joined yet, welcome along! It’s another great way to stay on top of what’s going on in the world of social media and marketing!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Jenn Donovan is a marketing strategist and social media extraordinaire, coach and mentor to savvy business owners. Owner and Founder of Social Media & Marketing Australia.
With a passion for making business simple, because it’s isn’t easy but it should be simple or at least simpler, she’s built a reputation for helping other small business owners simplify their marketing and businesses so they can reach their goals, be more profitable and live the dream (finding the freedom they set out to achieve when they started … the illusive small business owner freedom dream …!)
Jenn believes in giving before asking and that’s why she’s the host of the popular Small Business Made Simple Podcast