Spring represents renewal, rebirth, and the start of new life, and spring cleaning your business means injecting this fresh feeling to your own operation.
1. Have a Self Upgrade
a) Upgrade your appearance. This is your shop window. Is your suit up to scratch? Are your shoes, briefcase, diary, pen, tie, belt, watch supporting your brand? All these things will certainly either work for or against you in your colleagues’, and clients’ subconscious. And they have an impact on the psychological messages you send to yourself. Very often, it is the small things on the periphery which can have a disproportionately positive (or negative) subliminal effect.
What does your level of personal fitness say about you? (not being a body fascist here, but image is important). And are you in good shape to give maximum physical energy to the new volume of business you want to have coming in.
b) Upgrade the way you act. Are you hunched? Is your posture correct? Are you exuding confidence with every stride? I always remember the words of a drill instructor from my time as a trainee Naval Officer who said, “It doesn’t matter whether you have anywhere specific to go or anything specific to do; the secret is to look as if you have”. A purposeful poise will generate confidence in yourself and in your clients and in your colleagues and team members.
And it’s more than that… As Tom Watson (founder of IBM) said: “If you want to be the best company in the world, you’ve got to act like it today, immediately.”
c) Upgrade the words you use. Remove the jargon and refresh with words that successful business people use. This will reflect in your behaviour and in your thinking. All of these three steps are underpinned by the way you think. Think successful and you’ll be successful.
2. Have a Business Upgrade
a) Clear up any hangovers. Clearing up all the stuff hanging over from the past is essential to signal that you are ready to take advantage of the volume of business on its way. In creating a clutter-free business and having nothing outstanding, you will often come across something to remind you of a business opportunity. Get up to date and you allow new opportunities to arrive. A signal to the “business universe” that you are ready to receive, and that there is nothing in the way of you doing all the new business which will come your way.
This requires you to get decisive about all those things in your “In tray” and the piles of paper on your desk, the emails in your inbox, and the odd files which seem to hide in briefcase compartments and get carried to and from the office every day, with all good intentions of getting round to acting on them. Clear your desk to the wood.
b) Upgrade your office environment. Clear up your office, reception area, etc. Is your furniture really what it should be? Are you “making do”? Are you well supported technologically? And if not this may be the time for you to invest in IT hardware and software. What does your office, your reception area say to clients?
Clients want to deal with successful people. They only want to associate with success. Again, the small things will make a huge difference here, and you don’t have to spend a fortune to make the environment you work in very stylish, of high quality and supportive of your brand.
c) Upgrade your systems. To keep your business capacity up, and ensure you deliver first rate service from a world class practice, it’s essential you have strong business systems, procedures, processes. Take a look at the routine tasks your business does and ask “how can these be systemised so I can spend more time with clients, doing what I do best?”
What is your client’s journey through your business like? What is their experience from the moment you are in contact with them, right through the process of them becoming clients and beyond? This is not just about the personal service you provide, but also the experience they have in every minute detail. How can each detail be improved?
Apply this continuous improvement to everything that affects your interaction with your existing clients and potential clients. What they experience in their interaction with your firm will either work for you or against you, and so should be deliberately chosen… not an accident. For example, how the phone is answered, or your voicemail/ answer phone message. Do these project your brand, inspire confidence in prospective clients, and speak volumes about your values?
Of course, you might extend the concept of having a spring clean to other areas of your life… such as having a clear out at home. And maybe it does mean getting all those niggly little jobs done and finally sorted, clearing out those dark cupboards where nobody goes, but where who knows what lurks!
Just as a body finds it difficult to function with clogged arteries, and just as we feel re-energized when we spring clean, so too in our business and professional lives a “spring clean” will yield immediate results. It may be that a day dedicated to a “Business Spring Clean” will energise you and your team at just the right time.