At the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, most businesses closed their doors. Even if you’ve stayed open, it’s likely been at lowered capacity and with new customer service guidelines in place.
As vaccine availability increases and restrictions ease, we know most local businesses are particularly excited to welcome customers back. As you open your doors, a thorough spring cleaning can help you ensure COVID-19 safety while setting the stage for a period of new growth.
Use our spring cleaning list to get every aspect of your business ready—from your physical space and your website to your bookkeeping and your state of mind.
Clean Your Storefront
If you have a retail shop, food service business, or showroom, the first step of spring cleaning is getting your physical space in tip-top shape.
You’ve been sweeping, mopping, and disinfecting surfaces for months to comply with COVID-19 safety. But now, you have an opportunity to step back, see what’s working, and give your space a full refresh with some seasonal cleaning.
Hold a Clearance Sale
It’s hard to clean your space when the shelves and stockroom are overcrowded with products. But spring is the perfect time to make way for new inventory.
- A clearance sale can help get rid of unneeded stock while helping you connect with new customers.
- Take stock of your inventory and mark down the goods that should go. Then, advertise your sale through local channels like Nextdoor. When you claim your free Nextdoor Business Page, you gain the ability to post in the newsfeed and promote special offers. Let your neighbors know you’re holding a sale by sharing a Local Deal advertisement. As more Nextdoor users discover your business, you’ll get valuable recommendations that will help build your brand reputation.
Once you’ve freed up some space by holding a sale, it’s much easier to see what else needs to change.
Consider Your Layout and Organization
In this new era, most customers will want ample space to move through your store. Take a bird’s eye look at your space. Are there areas that tend to get congested? How could you change the layout to enable better flow?
Solutions could entail large-scale changes to your layout, like moving the location of your register. Alternately, try changing your store’s organization or moving a popular product to a different shelf to help with decluttering.
In addition, consider your employees’ perspective by reorganizing any particularly cluttered drawers or filing cabinets.
Once you have your new layout, complete your reorganization by placing signage to update customers on the new flow of traffic and any changes to safety procedures.
Clean the Physical Space
When it comes to deep cleaning, make sure you are equipped with all the right cleaning supplies. If the job is too large to handle on your own, consider hiring a cleaning service to help with the decluttering. Don’t forget the following steps:
- Clean from ceiling to floor – Before you break out the mop, dust your ceilings, ceiling fan, and overhead lighting. Don't forget to clean blinds, light switches, and other spots that are often forgotten. When you clean from the top down, debris won’t fall on your freshly-mopped floors.
- Patch walls – Walls get dirty and dinged up over time. Look for noticeable spots that need patching or attention with a magic eraser cleaning tool. You could even consider a new coat of paint.
- Pressure wash the windows – Depending on your geographic area, your windows get hit with precipitation, pollen, dirt, and dust throughout the year. Washing your windows’ exterior can help your space feel more bright and inviting.
- Don’t forget the appliances – If you’re in the restaurant business, it may be time to clean your industrial ovens and dishwashing equipment. Remember to deep clean on small appliances as well.
- Give the stockroom some TLC – Your customers aren’t the only people who deserve a welcoming space. Stockrooms and employee break rooms can get cluttered and dirty over time. Include your stockroom in your spring cleaning to boost employee morale and focus.
How is the area immediately around your store looking? Pick up any trash and debris on the sidewalk near your entrance so your business is more welcoming to customers.
Polish your exterior signs and invest in new landscaping. This could be as simple as planting flower seeds.
If you want to give back to your community, organize a neighborhood cleanup and get other local businesses involved as sponsors.
Organize Your Digital Space
Even if you don’t own a storefront, there are still ways to spring clean your business.
In the age of eCommerce, more and more customers meet small businesses online. That means that your website is just as important as your retail space, and your email etiquette is just as crucial as your in-person customer service.
To that end, take the following digital spring cleaning steps.
Clean Up Employee-Facing Tech
If you open the company inbox to find 500 emails, it’s easy for a customer inquiry to fall through the cracks. Stay on top your email communications and be more productive by taking these steps:
- Clean and sort the inbox – Comb through the most recent 100 emails in your inbox and unsubscribe from irrelevant listservs. Create folders to sort marketing updates and anything else that doesn’t need to be checked daily. With a blank slate, you’ll be ready to reply promptly.
- Declutter the desktop – If you or your employees work from a computer with two dozen files on the desktop, it’s incredibly difficult to find the right spreadsheet when you need it. Create clear folder labels and sort documents accordingly.
Upgrade Your Website
If your expertise isn’t in web design or eCommerce marketing, it’s easy to overlook the importance of a fast, well-organized website. But ask yourself: how long do you wait for a website to load before going back to the Google results?
You don’t necessarily need to invest in a full redesign to improve your website’s functionality. Try out any of the following projects:
- Update your information – Check your phone number, address, and hours. Make sure this information is consistent across your website, Nextdoor Business Page, and Google business page.
- Change your page titles and addresses – Make sure that both accurately convey the information on the page. For example, your contact page should be yourbusinessname.com/contact and not labeled with a random string of numbers.
- Update your pages’ meta-descriptions – If you’re savvy with web-building tools, updating your pages’ meta-descriptions to include local keywords related to your business can help improve your local search engine rankings.
If you have the budget, a qualified website expert can help you better organize your site and improve its speed, further improving the customer experience.
Organize Your Books
For many small businesses, spring can be the most stressful time of the year.
Hopefully, you already have an accounting system in place to ensure you’re paying accurate quarterly taxes. If you’ve crossed your t’s and dotted your i’s when the tax deadline rolls around, you might already be in good shape.
If this isn’t the case, you may find yourself sorting through invoices and receipts, double-checking pay stubs, and otherwise pouring over paperwork.
As you clear the hurdle this year, consider investing in a better solution.
- Use smartphone scanning tools to bring your bookkeeping records online. That’s one less piece of clutter to worry about at your place of business.
- There are numerous small business accounting software solutions that make it easy to photograph receipts, label transactions, and do some of the subsequent legwork for you.
- Likewise, a qualified CPA can help you get your financial house in order. Search Nextdoor to find a local expert.
Adjusting to a new accounting system can entail a learning curve, but you’ll thank yourself next spring.
Enjoy the Benefits of Spring Cleaning
Curious about the top benefits of spring cleaning?
- As we’ve already noted, cleaning your physical space can help your customers and employees feel comfortable. Likewise, updating your website and improving your bookkeeping procedures clear the obstacles to future growth.
- Beyond these benefits, studies suggest that cleaning the physical workspace and digital clutter reduces stress and boosts employee productivity.
- Finally, it’s an opportunity to uplift other local businesses that may be able to assist you with your spring cleaning needs.
Welcome Your Neighbors Back In
Once you’ve completed your spring cleaning checklist, it’s time to reopen your doors. Be sure to let your neighbors know all about your spring cleaning projects. Show off your hard work on Nextdoor and social media channels.
Likewise, try offering a special promotion or hosting a grand re-opening celebration. Use the opportunity to show appreciation for all the support your customers have given you over the past year.
Google. Speed is now a landing page factor for Google Search and Ads. https://developers.google.com/web/updates/2018/07/search-ads-speed
The Telegraph. Why a spring clean is good for you. https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/health/alternative-medicine/3354156/Health-Why-a-spring-clean-is-good-for-you.html
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