14 Ways to 'Spring Clean' Your Business Operations

14 Ways to 'Spring Clean' Your Business Operations
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Spring is coming, bringing with it that extra bit of mental energy that comes from the return of fresh air and the end of rainy cold. The change in season also creates a chance for companies to review their processes. So what can your business streamline and de-clutter to improve operations?

A. Examine Automation

With the projected advancements for artificial intelligence and automation in 2017, I will take a closer look at all aspects within my company, from bookkeeping to customer support and manufacturing to marketing. Wherever the automation of the work can be done, I will integrate the software and/or hardware to streamline operations, and free up time and personnel for design and business development. - Peter Bonac, Bonac Innovation Corp.

A. Unsubscribe From Unneeded Accounts

You subscribe to a lot of social accounts, email updates, and blogs through the year. Now is the time to unfollow all accounts that aren't providing any value. This will help you de-clutter and focus on what's important. - Pratham Mittal, Outgrow

A. Audit Your Activity

Every so often, I make it a point to step back and analyze my daily activities, as well as the activities of my team. I'm looking for inefficiencies, clutter, overhead and other "junk" that's accumulated over time. It's remarkable how much we do out of habit, never stepping back and asking ourselves if there's a better way. - Robby Berthume, Bull & Beard

A. Review Neglected Areas

Every year, certain areas get neglected due to a lack of resources, so it's the time to look specifically at those, see how they might be better incorporated, or just get rid of them if they have gone this long without any notice or results. There's nothing wrong with simplifying to strengthen focus and funnel resources more effectively. - Drew Hendricks, Buttercup

A. Digitize More

I'm looking for all the ways I can get rid of any paper processes and operate in the most efficient way possible with digitized and automated processes. And, anything that is still manual, I will work with my team to determine if there is a tool or process that will change it. - Murray Newlands, Sighted

A. Question Processes

I've found that even the most mundane and tested processes can have massive room for improvement right under your nose. That's why I encourage my whole team to question everything (similar to a toddler) and ask "Is that the best way to do it?" — even if it's a process that's been in place for years. We'll even have a "spring cleaning," where we go through every process and look for improvements. - Elle Kaplan, LexION Capital

A. Freshen Up Client Documents

Invoice templates, care instructions and the other docs we've been providing to our customers are starting to show their age. This year, I'm going to go through all of those and find out if my design people can't improve the way these documents reflect on our company. Some of the templates date back to the 90s, so it's hard to imagine that they couldn't do with a little improvement. - Matt Doyle, Excel Builders

A. Reorganize Systems

As a startup, we developed systems and processes organically as needs arose. At the time, it allowed us to be agile. As our company grew, specifically the size of our teams, that strength often became a weakness. The timing can't be better now to take a step back and say, "If we could do it all over again, how would set things up?" because we now have the opportunity to simplify things. - Vincent Wong, mHelpDesk

A. Take A Look At Staffing

We plan on taking a good, hard look at staffing. That's not to say that we plan on definitively cleaning house, but we do want to identify the roles and responsibilities of every team member on board and ascertain whether downsizing is an option, or cross training is a better strategy. Either way, we think we'll be able to improve revenues, one way or another. - Andrew Schrage, Money Crashers Personal Finance

A. Study Use Of Time

Begin by having the team do a deeper level of hours tracking. This reveals where the team spends its time (include internal meetings and admin stuff) and will expose inefficiencies. With solid data, you can analyze and make decisions on platforms or processes that will have a much wider business impact. - Dan Golden, BFO (Be Found Online)

A. Cut Out Unnecessary Meetings

It seems like meetings start to pile up throughout the year. Every new project somehow turns into a weekly call, meeting or update. Remove the unnecessary meetings from your calendars and reprioritize your time. You can even consolidate meetings if they can't be removed. Whatever you do, just don't let your calendar impact productivity. - Renato Libric, Bouxtie Inc

A. Document Consolidation

I have my whole team select a folder that they have each managed through the year and clean it out: look at documents that were set up but never used, reorganize and retitle folders in more descriptive ways, and go through each project to make sure completed ones have results and post-mortems documented. It also gives everyone a vested interest in keeping things tidy throughout the year! - Diana Goodwin, AquaMobile

A. Declutter Physical And Digital

We set aside time to do both a physical and digital spring cleaning. Purging our office and re-organizing work spaces and storage closets leads to a more productive work environment. Digitally organizing, deleting and archiving files and folders that are no longer used removes clutter and allows for more efficient work. Un-enrolling your email from lists is a great way to spring clean your inbox. - Leila Lewis, Be Inspired PR

A. Consolidate Inventory

As we continue to grow, we are acquiring more and more production inventory. Much of this is spread out in several storage facilities, which gets logistically inefficient and expensive. We are now consolidating and organizing our inventory more effectively. The organization extends to our production vehicles, adding new wraps and installing desired tools for efficiency onsite at productions. - Justin Lefkovitch, Mirrored Media

These answers are provided by the Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), an invite-only organization comprised of the world's most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, YEC recently launched BusinessCollective, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses.

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