Spring Cleaning Your Small Business

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5 Questions To Ask When Spring Cleaning Your Small Business

“If I don’t have the space to be creative and work on my business (growth, new initiatives, strategy, etc.), then I know I need to tweak my systems.” – Krish Chopra, Director of Operations United Medical Rotations.

It’s time to dust off some cobwebs. It’s the season of spring cleaning, and the perfect time to review your operational procedures. Every business is about building a solid set of processes that keep the money coming in and make the best use of limited time. That’s why it’s important to take a good, hard look at your operations and efforts.

So where to begin? Here are five questions to figure out where to aim the dustbuster.

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1. Have There Been Any Changes?

There may have been a change in your business, mission, industry, or customer demographic. Revisit your business plan and re-evaluate if these strategies are still in line with your goals. Some might say you should be updating your business plan every month, every week and every day It may be necessary to rework or adjust certain structures and tactics in order to realign your business plan. Taking the time to examine changes and update business plan is what will help make order out of chaos.

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2. Can it Be Automated?

There is always a million and one things to do. Take a closer look at certain aspects of your company. Wherever automation can be done, using software or hardware integration, it should be implemented or at the very least explored. Small business owners end up losing productivity dealing with redundant, time-consuming tasks; some which might be extremely important, others more mundane. Whether it’s billing, customer support, or manufacturing, automating these operations will free up time for business development and allow you to operate in the most efficient way possible.

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3. Is It Just Taking Up Space?

A physical spring clean is just as important as a digital one. Set aside time to do both. Re-organizing work spaces and storage closets will lead to a more productive work environment. When it comes to the digital cleanup, organize, delete, and archive files and folders that are no longer used. Look at documents that were set up, but never used. Reorganize and retitle folders in more descriptive ways. Unfollow social media accounts, email updates, and blog accounts that aren’t providing any value and just taking up space.

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4. Has It Been Collecting Dust?

There are some areas that inevitably will have been neglected due to lack of resources or time. This is your chance to look into these areas and evaluate whether they can be better incorporated, or if they can be eliminated. Great companies foster a culture in which you’re constantly brainstorming, innovating, testing, analyzing, and reinvesting. Removing those unnecessary processes will strengthen your focus and funnel resources more effectively. They have already gone this long without any notice or results.

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5. Is This The Best Way To Do IT?

Like any business, you don’t have much time to waste. It’s important to utilize your time as efficiently as possible. Take a step back and measure where your time is being spent. There may be tasks that can be delegated or outsourced. Even the most mundane and tested processes can have massive room for improvement. It’s remarkable how much we do simply out of habit, without ever pausing to think: is there a better way? Go through every process and look for redundancies and areas for improvements. Could a change to remote or teleworking turn the staff’s hour long commute into two added hours of production? There are a stunning number of business practices and technology available to help every aspect of your business.

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The Lack of Trust in Tech

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[dropcap]H[/dropcap]umans trust other humans more than they trust computers and technology. We see it daily as people struggle to interact with technology, from “failure to adopt” to “problems keeping up”, people trust people, not computers. Which to me is very, very telling. Consider the number of people you actually trust. I bet you that circle is small. I bet some of the people you say you trust, you are actually skeptical of, or keeping them close because you, in fact, don’t trust them. So for a human to trust another human over a computer, telling!

A self-driving car was involved in fatal crash on a Sunday evening and the Arizona governor was banning the use of self-driving cars by Monday morning. Human-driven cars were involved in 8 fatal crashes on November 8, 2016, in Arizona, but they have yet to ban human powered cars. Matter of fact, they have yet to even enact distracted driving laws, making them one of THREE states lacking such laws. Thrillist ranked them the 17th most likely state to die in a car accident, and second only to the state of Florida in yearly pedestrian deaths. But according to the State of Arizona, self-driving cars are less fit for the road than a distracted driver.

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People trust people, not computers. Which to me is very, very telling. Consider the number of people you actually trust.

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Let’s consider the recent Autonomous Uber accident; In which a woman was fatally struck by the autonomous vehicle while crossing the street with her bike. The vehicle did have a safety driver behind the wheel, who in the event of a malfunction or issue, could take control of the vehicle. Because again, humans trust humans more than technology. Except in this scenario, the human was unable to, for whatever reason, prevent this fatal accident. I could give you a million reasons why a human would not be able to take over from an autonomous vehicle in time to properly correct an oncoming accident, but I’ll just say distracted driving & leave you with this link.

According to police, the woman was crossing the street mid-block when she was struck. To which Tempe Police Sgt. Ronald Elcock reminded citizens to use crosswalks, “None of us ever want to go through this ever again, using crosswalks will definitely limit this from happening again.” To some this may come off as strange, a bit rude to the deceased, victim blaming; but to me, it simply signals he clearly believes following the laws will help save lives, and I would argue autonomous cars are better at following laws than humans. Computers are better at following the rules than humans, that is literally what they do.

So how did the accident happen? User error. You can only compute a program, and thus a self-driving car, to follow a certain (sometimes strict) set of rules. The rules of the roadways are set, and they say you should only cross the street in the crosswalk or yield the right-of-way to vehicles. Jaywalking has caught up plenty of people lately. Arizona professors & pedestrians alike.

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So maybe humans don’t want computers taking life. Valid concern. But you can’t be on the side of the human in this trust fall if you are a stickler for the rules. You can’t be against the autonomous car if you too are annoyed by the jaywalkers who don’t yield to your green light. Who knows, maybe a little rule following by some, like autonomous cars; could lead to a lot of rule-following by all pedestrians & bikers on the roadway. If nothing else it’s better than beating the jaywalking out of people!

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