Peer to peer: Re-evaluate finances, software and strategy

What are some tips/advice to spring clean my business?

Nicole Parmar - CEO and founder, Nicole Parmar

Change is in the air. Winter gives way to warmer weather, and many of us are ready for a spring cleanse. Take this as a chance to also spring clean your business.

Audit your business

Sit down, pound espresso (or pour yourself some wine) and go after it. You need to go through your operations meticulously: rein in spending, cut down costs and enhance foundations.

•Filing systems: Are you able to easily access documents? Is your data backed up on the cloud and a hard drive? If not, do a thorough audit and create an easy-to-understand filing system.

•Passwords/security: If it isn’t already, security should be your priority. Are you using a password manager? Have you restricted former employees’ access and deleted their email accounts?

•Banking: Understand your interest rates, credit card fees and carrying costs. Tighten up unnecessary spending. 

•Software as a service (SaaS): After your bank audit is complete, review your subscription products/SaaS. Are you using all the tools you’ve signed up for?

Fix up and tune up

•Computers: Clear caches, empty the trash, update software and fix any nagging problems. Preventing potential problems is going to be faster than dealing with new issues as they arise.

•Legacy technology: Move antiquated systems onto new platforms. Focus on building your company around cloud storage and SaaS products that have application programming interface capabilities.

Sarah Adams - Vice-president, small business, RBC

There is something about the springtime that makes us all want to get organized. You can do so for your business by assessing and looking for efficiencies from financial accounts to inventory management.

Take stock: Just like cleaning your closet, first assess what tools you already have in place and be sure you’re using them to their full potential. For example, you’re likely already using an online banking platform, but are you taking advantage of all of the available functions? Explore whether you can submit payroll remittances directly through your bank, or if you can download your accounts into your preferred financial management software. These are small steps that will save you time and ensure you’re managing your financial accounts seamlessly.

De-clutter: File away excess paper and look for ways to transition online. Not only will you save paper and desk space, you’ll also have a proficient means for tracking payments and cash flow.

Get advice: Now is the perfect time to check in with your advisers. Whether you have a formal board or just a team of people you trust, find out how they perceive the business is going. Whether it’s your banker, accountant, lawyer or another professional, continual feedback and advice is always a good thing.

Get back on track: Is the business where you hoped it would be at this stage? If not, make a plan for how you’ll get there. Make sure you set specific and reasonable goals and track them regularly. If you don’t have an annual plan, now might be a good time to create one.

Laurie Schultz - President and CEO, ACL Services Ltd.

Spring is the perfect time of year to start reflecting on your goals and progress from both a personal and a professional standpoint. Spring represents the beginning of the last fiscal quarter, which gives us an opportunity to re-evaluate and determine where we can refocus ourselves on critical growth.

Spring cleaning in business is about taking the opportunity to focus. Reassess your resources and move away from the chaff that is bogging you down. To begin to assess your team’s overall performance, workplace leaders must first take the time to evaluate themselves. Time is the single most valuable resource; workplace leaders should take the time to ask themselves where they are spending it. CEOs and managers should look at how they are understood as leaders and representatives of the business. This will help their companies refine their business strategies and ensure the choices they make reflect the bigger picture.

Spring is also a time to encourage increased focus on employee engagement and development. This time of year is naturally a time when people start feeling more active and adventurous, coming out of the winter doldrums full of the intensity of starting a new season.

A renewed focus on employee engagement will help boost morale – and your bottom line – as your staff look to invest their energy into meaningful work. Ensure your people have work that matters to them and to the world, and the support and resources they need to do it, and they will ride the springtime high throughout the year.