Tag Archives: productivity

6 Spring Cleaning To-Dos

As springtime brings the promise of warmer days and longer stints of daylight, now is an ideal time to get cracking on your spring cleaning responsibilities—both at home and at your small business!

 

Six Small Business Spring Cleaning Tasks to Tackle Now

 1. Tidy up your online presence.

Check to make sure your NAP (name, address, phone) info is consistent and correct across all platforms where your business appears online. This includes any online directories and review sites, such as Yelp, Trip Advisor, Citysearch, and others. Most SEO specialists agree that Google and other search engines look for NAP consistency across the web as a way to validate that a business is legitimate. If your NAP info is outdated or incorrect on various sites, Google might reflect the wrong information in (or omit your business from) search results.

Also, review your website for broken links and other errors that should be fixed. The more hassle-free and user-friendly your website, the more likely potential customers will make repeat visits to it.

 

2. Review your business plan.

Revisit your business plan and identify any sections you should update to better reflect your aspirations and goals. A business plan is meant to be a living document that changes over time. As a roadmap for your company, it may need to be tweaked to reflect a modified course that will help you overcome competitive pressures, regulatory changes, and other influences.

 

3. Assess your cash flow.

Are you receiving income from your customers in time to meet your expense obligations? If not, you might want to consider updating your payment policy (or creating one in the first place). Some potential ways to fix a sluggish cash flow are requesting a down payment or full payment in advance of providing products or services, invoicing immediately after you’ve provided services (rather than waiting until the end of the month), and following up with customers sooner rather than later when invoices are past due.

 

4. Eliminate clutter.

This is spring cleaning in the literal sense. Clear your desk and files of unnecessary paperwork that’s taking up space and creating a distracting environment. Declutter your digital files, too. Identify and delete messages in your inbox that no longer require your attention. Archive and organize the files on your computer or in the cloud for easier access.  If you need to keep a record of them, consider creating a special folder for that purpose or using an online app like Evernote or Dropbox to save them.

 

5. Be a task master.

Explore productivity and task lists apps like or Hours or Todoist, or a good old fashioned desk calendar and notebook to keep yourself on track.  Consider new, streamlined ways to work with your team with task management software such as Asana or communication apps such as Slack. Identify you or your teams obstacles (prioritizing tasks, delegating tasks, meeting deadlines) and create a system to overcome them.  Remember, it’s all about creating a system that works best for the way you work and your goals.

 

6. Get a fresh perspective.

Contact SCORE to connect with a business mentor. SCORE mentors provide unbiased feedback that can help your company succeed. From marketing to product development to pricing to customer service and more, SCORE mentors have expertise in all aspects of running a small business.

No matter what the season—spring, summer, fall, or winter—SCORE can help your business move in the right direction and achieve its goals.

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Five Tips for Uncluttering Your Inbox and Boosting Productivity

Emails

According to a recent eMarketer blog post, Adobe research in July 2015 found that U.S. business executives spend 3.2 hours daily checking work email on weekdays. They spend almost as much time checking personal email: an average of 3.1 hours each day. As a small business owner, it’s likely that you also spend a great deal of time communicating by email with customers, colleagues, vendors, and project partners. While email is critical to your business, your inbox can easily become a constant distraction preventing you from getting other tasks accomplished if you’re not managing it well.

Here are some ways to take control of your email so it doesn’t thwart your productivity:

  • Schedule time to tend to your email inbox. Reserve blocks of time every day for checking and responding to emails. Knowing you have dedicated time to deal with your email, you’ll be less likely to interrupt your other work to sneak a peek at your messages.
  • Mark important emails as unread if you don’t have time to respond to them in the moment. That will make them easier to find when you finally do have an opportunity to give them attention.
  • Use your email platform’s filtering capabilities to automatically send email messages from certain senders or about certain topics to specific folders. It will keep your inbox less cluttered and save you time by taking away the manual step of filing your messages.
  • Don’t subscribe to email newsletters unless you’re really interested in reading them. And assess whether those you’re already subscribed to are providing value or if you find yourself deleting them without even opening them. If the latter, consider unsubscribing so they don’t add to the noise in your email inbox.
  • Make sure your email communications are clear and to the point. Pay attention to writing in plain language and structuring your messages logically so they make sense to recipients. Also, be direct about what action (if any) you need from the recipients. Clarity from the start will help avoid a lot of wasted time spent sending emails back and forth to explain what you meant.

Managing your email effectively will help you stay more organized and productive overall. While it may take some time and practice to get your inbox fully under control—and keep it that way—your efforts will pay off in the long run.

For additional expert insight and guidance to help you run your small business more efficiently, reach out to Portland Maine SCORE to connect with a mentor.