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Business Insight: Spring cleaning is good for your business – and you


Jessica Nelson
15 October 2018

Article by Southern Cross University accounting lecturer Liz McLardy

Spring brings a fresh and motivating focus to our homes and habits. So, why not take advantage of this seasonal momentum and extend it to your business.

Take a step back from your busy business owner schedule and borrow the essential elements from Lean Six Sigma to sort, straighten and sustain your business operations.

It will help you to re-evaluate what is working, and what isn’t, in the way that you are generating value for your customers, eliminating unnecessary costs and finding ways to increase efficiency and flow. 

Before you start, it is worth taking a moment to shift your mindset from business owner to customer.

This simple change in perspective will stop you from slipping into defending the way things are done to questioning whether they really deliver value to your customers.

Here are three ways to help you get started:

  1. SORT – The first step to spring cleaning your business is to sort through what you want to keep, store or throw away/donate. This is all about clearing your office, retail space, warehouse and production floor of unnecessary clutter, stock, equipment and office supplies that are no longer adding value to your customers and so streamline your operations.
  2. STRAIGHTEN – Get your team together to identify and optimise processes that can save time, materials and waste and decrease costs for the coming year. Walk through your business operations (this could be virtually) like a typical customer and take note of everything that is not adding value and instead wasting time, money or resources.

Consolidate inventory, cut out unnecessary meetings and sort through your virtual spaces too; archive emails into folders to reduce search time, create electronic filing systems and clean out product and customer data.

You may find poor ordering processes causing delays, too much inventory increasing storage costs, suppliers/outsourced partners not meeting deadlines leading to unsatisfied customers, and the over processing of products to the point where you are wasting money and resources. 

  1. SUSTAIN – Take note of what your business is doing well and find ways to simplify your operations to strengthen your focus on what works. Acknowledge and provide feedback to your staff so they know that you value what they are doing and the positive contribution they are making to your business. Consider brightening up their work spaces so they feel a greater sense of pride in what they are doing, upgrading tools and equipment to make their job easier and involve them in the spring cleaning processes.

Remember that spring cleaning your business doesn’t mean changing everything. It is the small changes that could ultimately make the biggest difference to your bottom line.

This article originally appeared in the Business Insight section of the Gold Coast Bulletin newspaper on 13/10/2018 and is for general information purposes only.