The six-step business detox
It happens to every business: processes get worn out, websites look tired and, all in all, your business feels sluggish and exhausted. Perhaps you need a business detox.
Next week I’m trying something new: a Business Detox.
I’m shutting my doors, turning off my phone and switching on my out-of-office message.
Why? Well, I’ve been flying solo now for about three years and feel it’s time to give my business some much-needed love and attention.
Things are great from a potential-client point of view. Some considered SEO techiniques have me ranking high, and the enquiries are coming in thick and fast. But while the flow of work is good, my work processes no longer seem to fit. My cash flow isn’t great, my documentation is out of date and my website could do with a spring clean.
It’s time to cleanse – to clear all the muck and clutter out of my business tubes and start fresh.
"Clean out old files from your computer, install software upgrades, tidy up your desktop and clean out all the biscuit crumbs from your keyboard."
Of course, if you’re thinking about detoxing you could hire a business adviser or a virtual assistant to help you out. But you know your business best, and with a little time and perspective I think you can give it the boost it needs.
So here’s my advice on how to give your business a big fat colonic.
1. Manage expectations
Explain to your existing clients that you’re taking a break. If you want to tell them it’s for a holiday rather than a business detox that’s your call, but many will respect you for taking time to refocus your business.
Set your email to ‘out of office’. Record a new voicemail message. Even add a flag to your website explaining you’re closing your doors for a week.
This might make you sweaty with panic. “Think of all the enquiries I’ll miss.” There will never be a perfect time to detox your business; there will always be urgent work.
Be brave. You won’t regret it.
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2. Set your objectives
Take a long walk and think about what you’d like to achieve during your business detox. Here are a few ideas to get you started:
A clear business vision:
- What do you offer?
- Who do you want to work with?
- Which clients are most profitable?
- How do you want to position yourself in the market?
A six-month budget plan:
- Is your cash flow strong?
- Does your pricing match your competitors?
- Does your pricing cover your business costs?
- Can you reduce spending?
- What would you like to earn in the next six months?
A marketing plan:
- Who is your core audience?
- Where are they? How can you reach them?
- How much time should you be spending on marketing?
- Can you plan out a set number of blogs/emails each month?
- Which parts of your site need urgent attention?
3. Plan your time
Set a schedule of what you plan to do each day. Be realistic and expect to work just as many hours as you usually do. Take time each day to do something non-work related – a massage, long walk or swim. This will give your brain time to relax, and help you process all the thoughts buzzing around in your mind.
4. Detox your workspace
Save some time to give your office a thorough spring clean. Is there clutter on your desk you never use? Do you have piles of paper lying around? Buy a scanner for the important stuff and shred the rest. Be brutal, buy a new pot plant and aim for a zen work environment.
5. Get personal
Let’s be clear here. When you’re flying solo, you are your business. So if you feel exhausted it will come across in all your business dealings.
Use your business detox time to spend some quality time on yourself. Perhaps shout yourself smart new laptop bag, a new suit or haircut.
6. Techie cleanse
Clean out old files from your computer, install software upgrades, tidy up your desktop and clean out all the biscuit crumbs from your keyboard.
By taking the time to deep-clean your business from admin to appearance, you’ll feel refreshed. All those niggly little jobs you’ve been putting off are done. Your desktop sparkles, your computer runs like a dream and you’ve even had your eyebrows waxed (or ears if you’re a male soloist).
You can now face the world and your clients with a new positive attitude.
Isn’t this something you should do every six months or so?
What do you think of the business detox idea? If you were to detox your business what would you tackle first?