American households had a traditional chore of “Spring cleaning.” Winter clothes were stored and Spring and Summer clothes brought out. Heavier bedding for keeping warm in the Winter was also stored and less heavy bedding appropriate for warm Spring and Summer nights were taken out. (I suppose there was also “Autumn cleaning” to prepare for Winter, but it wasn’t a popular phrase.)
From time to time, we need to do the same for our businesses.
Some customers are emotionally draining to serve. They constantly complain and harass employees. They “stretch the truth” and have unrealistic expectations. They walk around with little black clouds over their heads, sharing their misery. They are slow to pay their bills or don’t pay them at all. By encouraging them to go elsewhere or otherwise refusing to continue doing business with them, we “create space” for better customers who are more positive and rewarding to serve.
We may have product lines or inventory that aren’t selling well, creating a distraction and sucking up resources. By discontinuing them and clearing them out, we create space for new product lines that justify the attention we give to them by selling well and generating more profits.
An employee might not be productive. He or she might do poor work, have a poor attitude or complain to other employees, infecting the workplace environment. If the employee doesn’t respond to counseling and training, you are probably doing that employee a favor by letting him or her go to work elsewhere. You will have also created a space for a better employee. There is a business proverb, “Hire slow, fire fast”, that is usually a reliable guideline. When we do let them go, we think, “Why didn’t I do that sooner?”
By the way, if you’re looking for “Spring cleaning” ideas, ask your employees. They usually know what should be done.
As you prepare for the holiday season and the end of the year, what “Spring (Autumn) cleaning” should you do for your business? Would you like a “sounding board” or “fresh set of eyes” to help that process? Write to me at email@example.com to schedule an initial consultation.