5 Tips for Spring Cleaning Your Small Business

spring cleaning
Cultura RM/Matelly / Collection Mix: Subjects / Getty Images

April 16, 2015

The arrival of the spring season always feels new, fresh and filled with promise, and that doesn't just apply to getting our homes and yards ready for the new season. We can use the idea of spring cleaning to refresh our businesses and get on track for the rest of the year. Here are five ways to spring clean your small business.

1. File Your Taxes on Time

If you owe taxes, payment is due to the IRS by April 15 every year, regardless of whether or not you have filed your tax return.

Missing your payments can result in stiff penalties and interest charges. Even if you can only send in a partial payment, that will help reduce the amount of penalties and interest you owe.

If you're looking to get a loan this year, being able to show a bank a past tax return can be an asset. Typically, cash flow based on your last tax return is the most important to a lender. Demonstrating cash flow based on last year's taxes is a key component to qualifying for a SBA-guaranteed loan.

2. Use Cloud Accounting Software

Small business owners don't need to purchase expensive business accounting software programs or spend hours on complicated reports. Cloud accounting software will provide basic assistance, and there are packages designed for small business owners. These programs simplify the process and provide essentials that include a general ledger, the capability to create detailed invoices, and view business inventory and purchase history.

Not using a cloud accounting software like Xero or QuickBooks online yet? Take an online tour or try a free trial. It's easier for you and your accountant to manage your business finances.

3. Get Your Vision Down on Paper

Many small business owners are so busy focusing on the day-to-day that they don't have a clear vision for the future.

Spring is a great time to get your small business vision down on paper. Look at long and short term business goals first. Then devise strategies that can help get you into a position to grow your business.

Dream big but make your vision as real and concrete as possible. Focus on a few key strategies to deliver your vision over the next year. It's better to do a few critical things well then choose ten strategies and fail to execute any of them.

4. Step Up Your Online Presence and Social Media

The world is changing. Having a positive presence online is key to any business.

If you need a website refresh, there are inexpensive services that can help you upgrade like GoDaddy or WordPress. Investigate your online customer ratings and comments on sites like Yelp and Angie's List. Be responsive and address issues and concerns online quickly. This helps put a human face on your business and can boost word-of-mouth referrals.

If Facebook and Twitter are a good fit for your business, you don't have to go it alone. There are targeted and cost effective advertising programs that are easy to put in place and can be less expensive than other traditional marketing initiatives.

5. Have Fun with Your Business

Not everyone gets to run a small business -- you're a part of the American Dream.

Continue to put your heart and soul into your business. The economy is picking up speed. Business is improving. Small business owners are in a great position to succeed and spring is a great time to inject fun back into your company's culture.

As the company leader, get excited about the opportunity to have fun while you work. A positive attitude can be contagious. Ideas can be as simple as holding a meeting in a park or hosting a picnic lunch outside. You have a great resource for adding fun to the workplace -- your employees. Ask them for ideas that they think are fun. Something as simple as an office makeover can be fun for your team; invest in fresh paint, colorful decor, green plants and healthy snacks.

Don't forget to celebrate work anniversaries and birthdays. A card or a cake takes little effort but can pay off big for employees who feel under appreciated or burned out.

Finally, look outside of your business for opportunities to give back. Volunteer for a local charity or donated needed items. Get your team involved and build up good karma.

About the Author:

Evan Singer is the General Manager of SmartBiz and a seasoned executive with broad experience in financial service and consumer industries. Through online automation, SmartBiz reduces the SBA lending process to as fast as 7 days, and offers low 6% to 8% rates. Follow SmartBiz on Twitter @SmartBizLoans.