The first day of spring has come and gone and even though it’s doesn’t feel like spring just yet in NYC, it’s time to focus on doing some spring cleaning. You might think about spring cleaning your closet or your garage, but what about spring cleaning for your business?
This is a great time to tackle all of those items that have gotten pushed down the to-do list throughout the year or to re-examine your strategies to decide if they are still effective. Spring cleaning is the perfect time to take a step back and ask yourself, is this still working? Is this the best strategy for my business to effectively serve our customers? If the answer is yes, then set it aside to review again next year. If the answer is no, then it’s time to do some problem solving or eliminating.
Here are a few items that should be on the spring cleaning list for your business:
Clean that data. Every business has data points and every business has to work to keep that data clean so that it can be analyzed. Did you rely solely on collecting emails when you created your customer database? Well if you’re relying on text message marketing, it’s time to think about adding phone numbers to that list. When is the last time you purged inactive users or incorrect email addresses from your list? Spring cleaning is a great time to tackle that project.
Evaluate, re-work, or archive. It is a good idea to look at your content marketing with fresh ideas to see if your old blog posts or old lead magnets are still relevant and useful to your audience. Your old content should be as consistent as possible with your current voice and brand or customers may feel like it’s a different brand altogether when reading it. Evaluate old content, and decide if it can be re-worked. There’s no sense in starting from scratch. If some of your old content can be salvaged and updated to be relevant now, then do that, don’t make more unnecessary work for yourself! If you have evaluated your old content and it can’t be re-worked, then archive it. Again, if it’s not consistent with your current brand and voice or it’s not relevant or provides incorrect/outdated information, it’s no longer valuable to your audience and you should cut the dead weight.
Revisit products and pricing. Analyze your sales data from the last year, are you seeing an increase in sales? If you’re seeing a decline in sales, you should take a look at your products and pricing. Maybe your product was very original a year ago but since then, many other sellers have started selling a similar product, are you differentiating enough from your competition? If demand has gone down or competition has intensified, it might be time to look at your pricing. If your product or service costs noticeably more than your competition, take a look at why that is. Maybe your product is a much higher quality, or maybe customers are willing to pay more for unparalleled service, it’s important to understand why you are competing for, and losing customers, based on price. Consider bundling products or service to differentiate yourself from your competition, create more value for the customer, and justify a higher price point, or it might be time to think about lowering your price.
Take a look at your budget. Have your cost of doing business and your operational costs gone up? Have you increased sales as a result? If your cost of doing business has gone up, but you’re not making enough additional revenue to offset it, you have a problem. It doesn’t matter if you sell a million units. If you sell those units for $1 and it costs you $1.50 to make and sell that unit, you’re running your business into the ground. If your operational costs have gone up but your revenue isn’t matching that increase, you either need to raise your prices or lower your operating costs. Maybe you grew a little to fast to meet demand and your payroll costs are unsustainable, then it’s time to look at hiring a team as contract workers rather than full-time employees. Did you invest in some fancy software and services to help your business grow? Well if you’re not seeing a direct benefit from those then it’s time to ditch them and find and different solution. I like to be as frugal as possible when it comes to operating costs in my business until I know that an increased investment will result in an increase in revenue and profits.
Get customer feedback. Some businesses choose to send out customer surveys at the end of the calendar year when everyone is in review mode. Because of that I like to hold off until spring when customers probably aren’t getting sent as many surveys and they’re not running around crazy getting ready for the holidays and the end of their fiscal year. I recommend thinking about one overarching idea to focus on in your survey. Maybe you want to invest in growing a certain product that your business offers. Use this survey to ask questions that will give you not only an idea of the interest level for that product but it will also provide you with some warm leads to follow up with. I’m also a big fan of incentive your survey. I know people have different opinions about this but in my opinion, you have to give your customers a little extra reason to take the time to fill out your survey instead of the many others they’re getting sent every month.
Do some customer analysis. I’ve talked before about how to decide if you should fire a customer. Spring cleaning is a great time to take a look at your customer list from the perspective of the 80/20 rule. Try to determine who on that list is the 20% of your customers who are bringing you 80% of your business. Once you have that list, think about how you can provide even more value for those customers. As for the 80% of customers who are only brining in 20% of your business, look over that list and decide which of those customers you can grow and upsell. The ones that you can’t upsell, decide if they are taking up too much of your company’s time and attention and give them the axe.
Now I know this is a long list but doing just one of these items will be a huge benefit for your business this year. Try prioritizing the items on this list and choose one day out of each month to tackle them in order. Or dedicate 5-10 minutes every day to working on them, just keep plugging away. You may even decide a couple of these would be better to outsource. Feeling completely overwhelmed and don’t know where to start? Email me to schedule a free introductory strategy session with me today!