5 Ways to Spring Clean Your Small Business

Spring 2022 will begin on Sunday, March 20. This date marks almost two years since the World Health Organization (WHO) declared COVID-19 a global pandemic on March 11, 2020.

Themes of rebirth and renewal often use symbols from the spring season, and it’s also a good time for entrepreneurs to focus on surviving and thriving in the new economy.

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Spring brings warmer weather, spring break vacations, and Daylight Savings time, along with a fantastic opportunity to renew your energy and clear the clutter. Increase your productivity and lift your mood by implementing “spring cleaning” strategies with respect to your business operations.

1. File your taxes on time

2021 was an eventful year for taxes, from extensions and exemptions to forgivable PPP loans and stimulus checks. You might be wondering how all those changes might affect your tax deadlines for the 2021 tax year, as well as taxes you’ll file in 2022.

Here’s a partial list of dates to put on your calendar. Check with your accountant or a tax professional to make sure you’re on track and to file any extensions needed so you can avoid penalties.

January 15, 2022 4th-quarter 2021 estimated tax payment due

April 15, 2022 1st-quarter 2022 estimated tax payment due

April 18, 2022 Individual tax returns due for tax year 2021

April 18, 2022 Deadline for a contribution to a traditional IRA, deductible or not, and a Roth IRA.

June 15, 2022 2nd-quarter 2022 estimated tax payment due

September 15, 2022 3rd-quarter 2022 estimated tax payment due

October 15, 2022 Extended individual tax returns due

January 15, 2023 4th-quarter 2022 estimated tax payment due

Small business tax planning can be complex. Work with a financial professional who has small business experience. If you need guidance to find a good fit for your business, review our blog post: How to Find an Accountant for a Small Business.

2. Clean your computer hardware and software

It’s easy to hunch over your computer every day without considering just how dirty it can get. Especially in pandemic times, a clean and sanitized workspace is important. Here are some steps to clean your hardware and software:

Step 1: Hardware

  • Wipe down your computer
  • Clean your keyboard (you might be surprised at the number of crumbs it can hold!)
  • Blow dust buildup out of computer vents, fans, and accessories (you can purchase aerosols with nozzles – developed to get into hard to reach areas)
  • Check the surge protector
  • Keep PC ventilated
  • Backup your hard drives
  • Install updated software to protect from malware

Step 2: Software

  • Take stock of the digital clutter that may be impacting your workflow.
  • Delete files you no longer need
  • Spend time organizing files into folders so that they’re easy to use
  • Set up filters for your inbox to avoid getting overwhelmed by sorting through and addressing emails
  • Back up with a copy in a physical location, such as on an external hard drive or thumb drive, or store backup in the “cloud” in a secure location. Commit to backing up your computer at least once a week or more if you’re working on a project or want to preserve recently stored images

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 creative juices flowing and write your small business vision down on paper.

Create long- and short-term goals first. Read Setting Business Goals: A Comprehensive Guide to learn how to use a SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats) analysis to pull it all together.

Next, explore strategies that can help get you into a position to grow your business. Determine where your business is now and where you want it to be in the future. Dream big but make your vision as real and concrete as possible.

Finally, review your business plan. A business plan is an organized roadmap to help analyze plans for marketing, sales, production, distribution, etc. Assessing your plan can help you streamline, spark new ideas, and put new goals into place.

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4. Freshen up your brand’s online presence and social media

Online consumer activity skyrocketed during the pandemic. If you want your small business to be competitive, it’s imperative that you establish and nurture your social media channels and online presence. Keep these steps in mind when working on a brand refresh:

  • Identify your target audience
  • Build relationships with engagement by responding to feedback, answering questions, and solving problems
  • Create a social content calendar so you don’t miss out on creative ways to promote your business. Review this 2022 marketing calendar from the SmartBiz Small Business Blog.
  • Research relevant hashtags
  • Perform a competitive analysis and determine what others in your space are doing that is working…and what is not working
  • Create great visuals. Make sure your brand colors and style are consistent across all social media channels

If you need a website refresh, there are inexpensive services that can help you upgrade like GoDaddy ® or WordPress ®.  Our article has other suggestions to jazz up your brand. Review Rebranding Steps for Small Business.

5. Have fun with your business

Not everyone gets to run a small business. You're a part of the American Dream and your business is a vital component of the U.S. economy.  Take pride in your accomplishments by continuing to put your heart and soul into your business.

For example, spring is a great time to inject fun back into your company's culture. The SmartBiz Small Business Blog has ideas to help you put a positive culture into place: How to Create Company Culture That’s More Than a Ping Pong Table in the Break Room.

Mark your calendar for Friday, March 4, 2022. It’s Employee Appreciation Day, a time for companies to thank their employees for their hard work and effort throughout the year. Review fun ideas to show your employees that you care: 15 Employee Appreciation Ideas to Try.

A positive attitude can be contagious. Ideas can be as simple as holding a meeting in a park or hosting a picnic lunch outside. A low-budget 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 may feel underappreciated or burned out.

6. Build good karma by giving back

Finally, look outside of your business for opportunities to give back. Many charitable organizations are in need due to the economic downturn in 2020. You and your employees can make a difference. Volunteer for a local charity or start a community drive to donate needed items. Our article, 5 Clever Ways Small Businesses Can Give Back Locally, has additional ideas to help you contribute.

Final thoughts

Out with the old and in with the new! You may be tempted to put off important spring-cleaning tasks, but these simple actions can set you up for a season full of new energy, more opportunity, and less stress, which is ultimately great for your employees, your customers, and your peace of mind.

For more tips to help your personal mental and physical help, check out resources from the SmartBiz Small Business Blog:

Exercise and the Entrepreneur – Learn how exercise can help you be a better business owner and employer and how to incorporate movement into your routine.

Best Books for Entrepreneurs During the Pandemic - The right book won’t just calm your nerves; it can help you grow as well. This list contains books with insight into business operations and how yours can thrive during these uncertain times.

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW: The SmartBiz® Small Business Blog and other related communications from SmartBiz Loans® are intended to provide general information on relevant topics for managing small businesses. Be aware that this is not a comprehensive analysis of the subject matter covered and is not intended to provide specific recommendations to you or your business with respect to the matters addressed. Please consult legal and financial processionals for further information.

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