The Cambridge Dictionary says Spring Cleaning means cleaning all of a place, very well, including parts you do not often clean. For a home, this means the windows, floorboards, and other areas neglected by regular cleaning. For a business, it means more than just office windows and floorboards. It’s an opportunity to clean house, so to speak, but also clearing out people and things that are slowing down your business.
Some areas to address for this new twist on Spring Cleaning:
Clean out your customer/client base
Businesses are always looking to grow their customer base. But there may be customers or clients you’re currently servicing that detract more than add to your business. They may demand too much time, even if they pay for it, or sap the joy you have in running your business. They’re pushy, ungrateful, obnoxious, rude, or any other unpleasant adjective you can think of.
You can clean out your customer base without creating hard feelings if you do it wisely. Some ideas to make this work:
- Be professional and don’t make it personal.
- Give reasons for terminating the relationship without going into great detail (e.g., you can’t handle the workload, the client needs to work with a bigger company).
- Make a referral if you can (and if you aren’t just shifting a problem to someone else).
Clean out your inventory
Bloomberg reported that $163 billion in oversupply or damaged inventory was wasted worldwide last year. Take this Spring Cleaning opportunity to get rid of slow moving or obsolete items to better use shelf and warehouse space to save money and reap other benefits. Here are some ideas to help:
- Use inventory management software to identify the good sellers versus the poor ones. If items haven’t sold in 6 to 12 months, it’s probably wise to get them off the shelves.
- Hold a sale (perhaps call it “Spring Cleaning”) to unload slow movers.
- Use a liquidator to get rid of inventory in bulk. Here’s a list of 12 websites to consider.
- Donate items you no longer want to stock. For example, the National Association for the Exchange of Industrial Resources (NAEIR) can get unsold merchandise to schools, churches, and other non-profits. Check IRS rules for claiming a tax deduction for donations of inventory.
Clean out your debt
On March 22, 2023, the Federal Reserve raised its interest rate a quarter of a point. This puts the Fed funds rate at 4.9%. This means the interest rate you’ll pay on adjustable rate borrowing, such as a line of credit, likely will rise. Take this Spring Cleaning opportunity to manage your debt with these ideas:
- Try to reduce or eliminate your debt. Increase monthly payments to bring down your outstanding balance.
- Convert variable rate debt, such as lines of credit and credit card borrowing, to a fixed rate loan.
- Avoid new borrowing. If you need to borrow for a specific purpose, such as buying a new piece of expensive equipment, look to vendor financing. This is usually a short-term loan with a fixed rate.
Albert Einstein said: “Out of clutter, find simplicity. From discord, find harmony. In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity.”
Spring Cleaning may just do the trick for your business!
Note: You'll find other ideas to consider for Spring cleaning your business in this blog post.