With the warm spring breeze, everything feels new, fresh and filled with promise. Unfortunately, this feeling won’t last forever. Soon, the weather will get warmer and people will start complaining about the heat. Seasonal allergies will hit with a vengeance, and the renewed energy and sense of possibility will start to fade.
It’s been a long winter. For those of us that work out in the environment, it’s been downright tough. We prayed for rain, but find ourselves wondering – “is there such a thing as too much prayer?” I know better to mix religion and media but the analogy is quite fitting in the West after a wet, cold winter. Finally, Spring has sprung. Ah Spring…Spring is a time for renewed energy and clearing out the clutter. With the warm spring breeze, everything feels new, fresh and filled with promise. Grab that energy and put it to use – what seemed impossible in the grey days of winter is right outside your door – just get up and grab it. It is the perfect time to look at your business and give it a good spring cleaning. Let’s look at how to make the most of the season.
Get the Green flowing
When was the last time you looked at your bank balance? Staying on top of the greenbacks coming an going out is the first step to your new Spring outlook. Healthy cash position is really important in keeping your business green and growing. With tax time coming up – it is the perfect time to set down with your financial advisors and chart a course for success in the year ahead. Use the bounty of Spring business to fine tune your budget (you do have a budget, right?). You don’t need to have an accounting degree to get your finances on the right side of the dirt. There are many tools available as part of your basic accounting software that can assist you in looking at the financial side of your business.
Dust off your plan
So many strategic plans end up on a shelf or in a file somewhere. Pull yours out and put it into action. Revisit the planning process I have shared in the past. We know that the planning process involves looking at where we are and where we want to be and then aligning our resources (4m + t) to get us there. When planning for (or considering) growth we need to take an in-depth look at our operations, resources and relationships both within our organizations and outside in the environment in which we operate. If we only had a crystal ball, it would make the process much easier – and probably a lot more fun. However, when you take away the mystery and look at the facts, you’ll find the crystal ball isn’t really necessary after all.
No matter whether you are planning tomorrow’s workday or looking strategically over a long span of time, the first step remains the same: where are we today? Looking at your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats is the perfect foundation for growth and planning. Evaluating performance of employees and surveying their strengths and weaknesses can provide another level of information that’s essential to your growth. Take inventory. What tools and materials do you have? What’s their condition and how do they fit into a new or changed direction? Keeping up to date on the most progressive technology can lead to a more efficient and effective workplace.
If you don’t have a plan – don’t fret, make your spring goal to adopt one. A business plan is an essential roadmap for business success. This living document generally projects 3 to 5 years ahead and outlines the route a company intends to take to grow revenues (sba.gov). There are so many guides and tools available online to walk you through the process, there’s no reason to reinvent the wheel. Identifying what differentiates your business from others is key to success.
After all we are in the green industry. Spring is the perfect time to go through your files and weed out the outdated and unnecessary items. Try to reduce your paper output by looking at electronic alternatives for filing and storing data.
Set up recycling stations in your office and encourage employees to participate by using the proceeds from a recycling program for a team lunch or happy hour.
Polish your presence
Take a look at your website. Is the information up to date? Are you sharing information that compliments your work and demonstrates the highest industry standards? If you don’t have a website, get one! We live in a 24-7 world of consumer information. Make your presence known.
Make sure your Credentials are all up to date. And encourage your team to continue to strive for the next level of credentials. Whether it’s certified tree climber specialist or board certified master arborist, working toward and maintaining industry credentials creates a built in network for training and knowledge.
Take a look at performance. Not only your own but the crew and staff too. The performance appraisal system can help identify employee weaknesses that should improve through training and career development as well as strengths that may be channeled to better utilize the employee’s talents. The appraisal system may also provide important input to reward employees based on their relative contribution.
Make a clean sweep
Hand the broom to your team. Encourage or perhaps empower them to clean up their personal clutter too. Trucks, gear bags and desks can become receptacles for unnecessary paperwork as well as gear that could probably be (or should be) pitched.
To summarize and keep things shining bright you should schedule a meeting. Review your plan. Share your goals and encourage the team to set some group goals as well. Having successes, they can work toward together is a great motivator. Include a gear check and inspection in the program. Offer an exchange program for fatigued and outdated gear. Make it not only about the company but about the team and their role in it.
After writing this column I am inspired to roll up my sleeves and jump into my own spring cleaning with my team at Epicenter. I’m looking forward to hearing how your goes. I’d love to see before and after photos – send them along to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Cheers to yours leaving you with sparkle that allows you to clearly see success and growth in your future.