Have the urge to do some spring cleaning this year? Be sure to funnel some of that energy toward making effective changes in your small business. Mary Lee Gannon, CEO of StartingOverNow.com, specializes in productivity solutions for people and organizations. Here, she offers four ideas for jump-starting your spring cleaning efforts.
1. Make a “vision board.” If you’re a sole proprietor, find a quiet, inspiring place to envision your business five years from now, Gannon says. If you work with a team, or want to incorporate employees into the process, schedule a team meeting. Next, gather the following: poster or foam board, markers, glue, and a stack of magazines from various industries. Pull pictures from the glossies that reflect where you want your company to be. Jot down words that reflect the vision (i.e., six-figure sales, social media expert, etc.). Once you’ve cut out pictures and brainstormed words, choose the ones that best reflect where you want your company to be in the future. Glue the images to the board, add the words, and keep your finished “vision board” in a place where you and your staff will see it every day.
2. Set goals backward. Once you have an idea of where you want to be in five years, it will be much easier to set short-term goals to get there, says Gannon. If you want to hit $1 million in sales five years from now, what should you be doing one year prior to reach that goal? What about two years prior? Think of client lists and advertising strategies. Work backward until you’re one year away from today: That’s your goal to work toward now.
3. Take a 30-day challenge. Does your overflowing desk need to be organized? What about a back closet that you fear opening, lest the contents bury you? Set a goal to work on a project every day for the next 30 days, Gannon suggests. If you have trouble getting started, set a timer for 10 minutes and dedicate that time to tackling the task. After 30 days, reflect on your progress. You’ll either have picked up a habit that will be easy to keep (i.e., maintaining a tidy desk) or be ready to move to the next level (i.e., investing in shelving units to store items that don’t fit in the closet).
4. Choose exercise over email in the morning. Checking email and answering the phone kill your productivity, Gannon says. Take advantage of the change of season to step outside, rather than respond to email, to start your day. Set times when you will check email and return calls during the day, such as at 11 a.m. and 4 p.m.