Besides these moments of reflection and realisation, there is – as always – work to be done, and the quiet and dark moments at this time of year are perfect for looking at your records and making sure to take care of any left-overs and things to take care of to REALLY end the previous year. It’s a kind of closure for business records, and it will take a huge weight off your chest once everything is lined up correctly. It is also a brilliant way to get a good picture of what needs to be go into your year planning going forward!
Make things easier by tackling the filing back-log
If you have piles of papers waiting to be filed sitting on your desk you’ll stay stuck in the old year for a good while. Not only is it a constant reminder of things you have not done yet, it will also keep your mind occupied whenever you sit down and (unconsciously) realise there are things that need doing. And those are things you do not want to be doing now: you want to move forward, not be reminded of the past. So: get rid of any filing right now.
Create new files
If you are using annual (or even monthly) forms, recording files, spreadsheets, logbooks, etc. THIS is the time to create the ones to be used from now on. Make sure you don’t simply copy the old ones, but have a good look at any standard content and update it according to the current situation (think about dates, deadlines, changed wordings and keywords, branding updates, etc.). Also, it makes perfect sense to remove all remaining data from the copies, so you can start off with a clean slate.
Update your marketing materials
Of course there is no need to renew everything with the new year, but it pays to take a look at existing materials to verify if there are any mention to past events (by the way, this is always a good idea to do regularly), or if there is mention of dates in the past. Also, it’s a good time to check against your current branding and any changes you might have undergone. An important one here are price lists, contract templates, etc. You want those to be up to date at all times, but it is always good to have a price list with a relatively recent date on it. Not only does this avoid questions from potential customers, but it shows that this price list is up to date.
Review your website
Websites are notorious for being forgotten by business owners once they have been set up. They are often considered as something alike to marketing materials, and that is certainly true to some degree. However, websites need to remain functional and fresh if they are to attract interest. Therefore, it is important to regularly check that all pages are accessible, that any outside links are still working, that images show properly, that attached documents remain accessible (and are up to date!), that contact information is correct, etc… generally that things are in full working order. Think of this as a MOT for your website.
Besides the functional check, maybe this is a good time to think about the content as well. If you have a page highlighting your employees, is this up to date? Have new people joined the team, have there been changes in functions, would you recognise them from their pictures? These people are your shop front: make sure they are represented in the best possible way!
Of course, and your business might have slightly different requirements with regards to starting off your year. Still, I hope these couple of ideas give you a little push to start thinking about these things…
Ask the ClutterMeister
Some pertinent ideas from the 'old office dog' who has seen it all, to help clear away the mess in your office.
Sign up for FREE decluttering advice
My name is Tilo Flache and it is my mission to help my clients organise and declutter their work spaces.