In this unprecedented time of uncertainty, it is unknown if customers will flock back to their regular routines or withhold their spending dollars until they feel stable and secure again. As a business owner forecasting is an important process that needs to be built into your strategies. If you have been completing all my business projects this week, you are already ahead of a lot of small and medium sized businesses. This last of five projects focuses on the physical side of your business and it doesn’t matter if you are a sole proprietor or a large employer, image means a lot.
From your personal appearance to the way you display your product or services, your business needs to look good in all its aspects. While completing a deep cleaning of your business, you can additionally forecast how your customers will be interacting with your product or service. For example: With the new COVID-19 reality, it could be foreseeable that customers might develop a new expectation or definition of clean. Any business that presents itself as clean and fresh, or updated and modern, will add greatly to their customers experience. For this project I would like you to assume a completely different perspective. Think like you are an outsider who is about to buy your business next week. What are they looking at, how are they thinking, and where are they subtracting dollars from your valuation?
What the Heck is Deep Cleaning?
Deep cleaning is exactly as it sounds, clean everything in your business so that it presents itself as best it can. With the mindset of a buyer or first-time customer, are you impressed? Write down everything you think defines “clean” for your business and put together an action plan to ensure these are cared for. This even applies to sole proprietors who don’t have a place of business. As you can see from the short list below, even accounting might need a quick vacuum. I would like to clarify something before you read further. In no way am I suggesting you run out and spend great masses of money in an uncertain economy. All my projects are meant to kick start your deeper business thinking and document it without spending cash. This last project is slightly different as it has an additional physical component.
Clean up accounting: Are there personal items on the books? Project #2 had you analyzing, evaluating and tidying up your financials. If you have followed through with project #2 your books should be in good order now, but if the family boat is still on the books, its time to clean it out. You will need to explain any unusual items in your financials such as the sale or removal of assets (and why), or an unusually high (or low) gross profit. Finally, ensure all your accounts are up-to-date and accurate to show a true representation of sales, profits and expenses. You’ll want to make sure you review any unusual items on your books and then prepare written statements explaining why the items are there.
Physically clean: Get the soap and other cleaners out from under the sink and start cleaning every corner and every shelf of your business. You will want to present your best possible version of your business. This means that a deep cleaning and decluttering of your location(s) is an absolute must. Remember that customers are physically looking at the environment in which they are making their purchasing decisions. Ensure that clutter and overflow storage are not making the location appear messy. You will find that good housekeeping makes your space more enjoyable for everyone.
Paint, touch up, or small renovations: Don’t forget the look of the walls. Touch ups or re-painting are often put to side because the day-to-day is too busy. Now might be an opportunity to spruce things up a bit. For no-to-low cost alternatives, you or one of your contacts might have spare paint lying around, or some municipalities offer free or cheap paint at recycling centers. Small renos do require cash, but you don’t need to break the bank, by doing it yourself you might be able to pull off an amazing look for half or a third of the price.
Update Equipment: Update devalued or old equipment and items that aid in the business revenues. These are the things that help the business convert product or services to cash. They are not the decorative or nice to have objects. If any assets have a low value on your balance sheet yet are worth more than the amount showing, have them re-valued to explain their actual value. Search on-line or work with vendors to find best costs if you choose to update equipment. Remember that you are not the only business struggling. All suppliers will be looking to move product and there might be some cost saving opportunities you could take advantage off in the near future.
Wardrobe cleaning: Have your business attire cleaned, ironed and ready to represent your professionalism. Even if you are a one-person operation who video conferences, make sure that waist up wardrobe looks fantastic. You can not control other people’s perceptions, so ensure you make an impactful impression.
Update your website or social marketing: Take a look at what your competitors are doing and spend sometime cleaning or updating your website. Your website may be a few years old and visually out of date already. Do some research to understand what modern looks like today so that your business grabs your customers attention. Apply any lessons learned or alternative sales opportunities from project #3. Ensure your social platforms represent you and your business, even I have had to delete posts or people because of untasteful comments. Keep comments neutral and only about your product or service to ensure your customers have the enjoyable experience they came for and not a passionately opinionated comment war.
Share And Help Others
I hope you can utilize this last project even if only to spruce things up a bit. If I can help you or others with even a small business tip, I will feel rewarded. You can’t do everything yourself so don’t be afraid to ask questions on my social media platforms or contact me for extra help. As a consultant, I find a great reward in transferring my knowledge and skills to help others succeed, especially during difficult times. Know that a planned execution on your strategy will be rewarded with results. Make the choice to support your business with solutions that make it even more valuable.
Please "Share" this with others. Vaughn Bonsteel is a Business Consultant and Safety Consultant helping companies and people like you understand their current situations so they can move their businesses towards their goals.