6 Virtual Spring Cleaning Tips for Your Small Business
Ah, Daylight Savings Time. We lost an hour of sleep, but that's a small price to pay for longer, sunnier days. Spring is coming: green grass, robins, daffodils, baseball. (Any chance for a Mets-Yanks World Series this year?) That means it’s also time for a good spring cleaning. And not just at home. Here are 6 great ways to—virtually—tidy up your small business, too.
- Make sure your IT security is up to snuff…you’ll sleep better.
Is your software up to date? One of the best ways to protect against hacking is to make sure you have the latest versions, including anti-virus software that updates automatically. Change your passwords! Especially for online banking. Data breaches can stay hidden a long time (think 1 billion—with a B—Yahoo accounts). Update your passwords at least once a year—every quarter is even better. To reduce the pain, use password management software. Who’s minding your website and email system? If you use a third-party data center for IT services, at least once a year you should ask how they keep your data safe and secure.
- Refresh your website...be your best virtual self.
It's easy for a small company to let time pass between website reviews. Big mistake. Content goes stale. Links get broken. With a thorough quality check at least once a year, your website will stay as professional as you are. And if your site doesn't automatically adjust size on mobile devices-where most searches happen today-you're WAY overdue for a "responsive design" upgrade.
- Go paperless to save money…and trees.
If your business is document-heavy, you should consider a few different way to slash the cost of paper, ink and toner…and increase convenience and productivity.
- Organize electronic files in named folders (and sub-folders) on your computer. Don't Print!
- If you absolutely must print, set the printer default to double-sided and grayscale instead of color. Instant 30%-70% savings on printer supplies.
- When you receive physical documents, use a scanner to convert them to electronic files.
- Consider cloud-based systems, e.g. for customer relationship management. The Cloud not only reduces paper, it lets you access your data from any web-enabled device at any time.
- If file cabinets are literally cramping your style, you can hire a firm to digitize all your old documents in bulk. Use the space for some foosball tables - your employees will love you for it.
- Purge your email...like that webinar invite you flagged 6 months ago.
Cleaning out your inbox can feel like a deep tissue massage: it hurts while you’re doing it, but - aah - it does feel good when you’re done. Of course, it’s hard to make time for an email purge; there are always higher priorities - repainting your ceilings, washing windows, going to the dentist. Here’s one simple approach: plop down on your couch one evening with your laptop, a beverage of your choice, and something on TV that doesn’t require your complete attention. With that half-distraction in the background, you can pleasantly dump gigabytes of spam, pointless CCs, and old notes from your in-laws. Then, going forward, get in the habit of deleting useless emails as soon as you receive them.
- Get a handle on expenses...your taxes will be less, taxing.
Tax Day is almost upon us. If you’re like a lot of small business owners, you either struggled to organize last year’s expenses - a soul-sucking exercise - or you dumped everything on your accountant’s desk - which cost you money. Consider using expense tracking software. Your future self may thank you for it.
- Review your financials...balance your balance sheet.
Do you have enough working capital? Can you finance organic growth? Can you afford an acquisition? Do you have the liquidity to take advantage of new opportunities on short notice? Stop in at your local Dime Community Bank branch to ask our helpful, knowledgeable staff. We’re right here in your neighborhood. We understand your business needs.