By ensuring that all business operations are running as smoothly as possible, organisations can focus on their core offerings. Here we outline a number of areas that can benefit from a spring clean.
Be Human Resourceful
HR policies should be reviewed at least once a year to ensure that they are fit for purpose. A broader HR audit could identify any staff training needs and gaps in the skill set of the workforce.
Are there any current requests for changing working patterns from your employees? If so, consider a feasibility study; a lot of employers’ fears about flexible working may be completely misplaced.
Consider checking on levels of sick leave. Does the level indicate a problem with any part of the business? Or do people feel supported while they are sick? Also, check on annual leave; is everyone abiding by the policies? Are people taking the appropriate amount of time off to ensure maximum efficiency?
Gone are the days when you could stick up a webpage with your address and be done with it. Depending on your sector, clients may be looking for a little more than basic information.
So ask yourself, does your website reflect your current brand positioning and how you wish your business to present itself? Is it intuitive to use for a range of clients and interested parties? How does it compare to your competitors?
You may want to consider adding industry-specific resources or news, anything to get your clients coming back to you again and again. (At a basic level don’t forget to check if all the links still work and if the contact information up to date!)
Social media savvy
Social media can extend your reach immeasurably but you have very little control over what can be said about you on the wild web. So, take some time to review your official presence; is it effective? Are you reaching the right people? Investigate what pops up with a casual Google search, or how you are mentioned on Twitter, Facebook et al.
Also, think about what you would do if you fell foul of public opinion on the internet. Is it best to stay silent? Or to engage? Preparing for this situation means that you’ll know what to do in a crisis.
What’s the big picture?
Strategic aims can sometimes get lost in the hubbub of the day-to-day. Take some time to review your business goals. Do you and your team know and agree on the plan for the next year? Or the next three? A strategy day can help clarify goals for everyone.
Calling all clients
Keeping clients happy is paramount in any business, and client relationship building is an ongoing concern. It is always worthwhile taking some time to make sure that you are fostering the right kind of relationships with and gaining and retaining the right clients.
Don’t shy away from an annual review of clients who owe money or are consistently late settling invoices; building up a picture of which clients you have to constantly chase means that you can direct resources more effectively.
Check the small print
It’s worth checking over your contracts to make sure that you are compliant with any regulatory changes. This is not only the case for client contracts but for any contract of employment or engagement.
Policies and internal procedures also must be up to date and accessible for the relevant stakeholders. And check your insurance and liability; do you have the correct level, and could you get cheaper or more effective coverage elsewhere?
Intergenerational working can yield fantastic results and be a positive experience for both mentor and mentee. A mentee benefits from the mentor’s experience, knowledge and contacts, they also get much-needed support as their career develops.
The mentor can benefit from the mentee’s enthusiasm and a new perspective on old problems. Mentoring can also help with recruitment and give insight into new, younger markets, and help invigorate a brand.
Whether you see networking as a necessary evil or an enjoyable part of the job, it is no doubt a useful skill to have as it is also an important part of most industries.
In some ways, technology has made it easier to network. The reach of platforms such as LinkedIn and Twitter means that you can potentially reach a huge amount of contacts from the comfort of your office. However, there is no substitute for a successful face-to-face meeting.
It is vital that you consider what you would like to achieve through networking. You have to pick the right events or put yourself in situations where you will meet the right people. You also have to do your homework; is there someone specific that you would like to be introduced to? Or are you on the lookout for more general contacts or investors? You also have to be prepared; are you ready to answer the important questions, or do you have information for anyone who may be interested. At the very least, don’t run out of business cards!
Get free help
There is a wealth of free business resources that you can access. Make sure that you are up to speed on what’s on offer. For example:
- www.gov.uk provides a range of business and financial support options, including advice on writing a business plan and help from government-backed schemes.
- startupbritain.org offers resources and guidance to help people start and grow their own business.
- www.human-resource-solutions.co.uk offers a range of policies, support and guidance for free.
- www.mentorsme.co.uk is a gateway for UK businesses looking for mentoring.
Join the club
Industry associations are not just valuable for training and accreditations, they can offer some fantastic support, publications and networking resources. By engaging with your specific organisation you can not only meet and learn from your peers but you can potentially help shape how regulators see your industry.
Even if you don’t feel that your business fits into a specific group or sector, there are still a number of organisations that you can turn to for support or information. Check out groups such as the Federation of Small Businesses, the various branches of the British Chambers of Commerce.