How nice would it be if every time you sat down at your desk, you were able to focus completely on the tasks you needed to get done in order to move your clearly defined and mapped-out business priorities forward? No stacks of paper blocking your way, no cluttered inbox full of demanding messages and junk you’ll never have time to read and no overwhelming and competing task lists of things to get done before you can start your “real” business work.
The new year is a perfect time (not the only time) to evaluate the systems in your business, to declutter and purge the processes and tools that are no longer working for you and to upgrade the areas of your business in ways that will help your business grow and thrive in the upcoming year. A successful business relies on a successful foundation and in order to build that foundation you need to create space for your business to grow!
The process of creating room for success in your business
The spell for creating room for success in your business is made of three steps:
Evaluate – By reviewing the different systems and tools you use in your business, you can evaluate which are helping you reach your business goals and which are holding you back.
Declutter – The second part of the process is to declutter or purge whatever systems, tools and processes that no longer fit your business. Get rid of anything that doesn’t fit the business you want to have. This part is probably the hardest but remember we’re creating space that will be filled by something even better.
Upgrade – Bring on the metamorphosis! The third part of the process is to upgrade or create an upgrade schedule or strategy. In what ways can each of the systems of your business be upgraded to help you make your ideal business vision a reality? It can be a gradual improvement, a minor tweak or a complete overhaul – you’d be surprised at the impact even a minor upgrade can make.
Below I’ve covered a few of the most common business areas that I’ve heard from entrepreneurs that cause them the biggest headaches and a three-step approach creating more room in these areas for business growth and success.
Paperwork and Digital Files
Evaluate – What does your paperwork look like at this moment? Do you normally have loose papers everywhere and how do you file or deal with business mail? Be honest, how much of the surface of your workspace can you see? [Steve Job’s article or quote] Now look at your digital files and folders – are they all over your desktop in a disorganized mess or are they neatly filed away in folders? Quick test – (1) How long does it take you to find a document from the second to last project that you worked on? (2) Are all the files from this project stored together or easily findable?
Declutter – Block 1-2 hours in your schedule to go through all of your paperwork. Get rid of anything that you no longer need or file anything that you do. Book another 1-2 hours to deal with your digital files. A culprit in my industry for digital clutter is previous versions of design files – trash bin those suckers.
Upgrade – The results from the first two steps of the process may determine how far you’ll want to go with the upgrading. From complete overhaul, to minor tweak – it’s all up to you. How does the paperwork and digital filing system work in your dream business? Start there Some ideas for upgrading your systems in this area include moving to a paperfree office system (easily done using shoeboxed.com, Evernote and other great applications available) or you can start with creating a digital filing system. See a sneak peak of my digital filing below.
Evaluate – Are you completely happy with the front-end of your website at the moment or is there a list of things you’d like to change or tweak but you never quite get around to doing? How about the back of your website – do you have a ton of pages, files or posts that you no longer need? If you’re on WordPress, what does your plugin situation look like? Keeping a ton of plugins activated and/or installed that you don’t use, has a major impact on your loading-speed needlessly. Also, take this opportunity to review the systems you use to support your website. How often are you backing your site up? What security measures do you have in place?
Declutter – Take some time to go through you website with a fine-toothed comb. Get rid of any pages, blog post and categories or media files that you no longer need. Also, make all of those little changes that you’ve been putting off. In the back-end, delete any plugins or themes that are outdated or that you’re not using anymore.
Upgrade – When you visualize your ideal business, what does your dream website look like? Have you been putting off making it a reality because you think you’re not there yet? I’ve got news for you, investing in yourself, your business and your website is the best decision you can make as an online business owner and having that “dream” website will transform your business instantly. So whether you’d like to go for a complete overhaul or minor tweaks to your systems, take care of your websites. It’s your online storefront and the best sales employee you could ever have. Some ideas for simple upgrades include implementing a regular update schedule to review content and back-up your website or purchasing the premium version of plugins that you’ve been eying up and are improvements to the current ones you use.
Evaluate – Who are the clients that you’re currently working with? Are they your ideal clients and how does working with them make you feel? If awesome but they’re not quite what you pictured as your ideal customer, maybe you have a new target customer? After all those ideal customer avatars that every business program has you create are meant to be fluid and changeable as needed (and desired). Don’t get so attached to the idea that you don’t exercise flexibility. If the clients you’re working with now are not close to your ideal customers and drive you mad when working with, it might be time to evaluate your marketing and sales copy to see why you’re attracting these types. What are the stages of your client experience process?
Declutter – Client that you work with on a regular basis who are more of a pain than they’re worth? Ditch ‘em. Hanging on to these types of clients longer than you absolutely need to will only hinder your growth. Take some time to interview clients and get rid of any steps of your client experience process that aren’t serving your business or customers anymore.
Upgrade – Work on your sales copy so it attracts the types of clients you want to be working with. You could take a course to learn more about copy, use many of the free resources available or even pay to work with a pro-copywriter. With the right copywriter, this is one of the few investments, you’ll have no buyer’s remorse. What are some ways that you can upgrade your customer experience? Check out the post here for guidance on mapping out your client process.
These are just a few of the areas that you may want to look at when preparing for a new year, new quarter or new month. Even just clearing out and doing minor upgrades can lead to major growth in your business.
What other ways do you “clear the decks” before a big project in your business?