Happy new year! How’s it going? Is it a new year, new you? Your business is running smoothly, generating new leads, income streams and growing in the direction you have planned. You have an excellent work-life balance and all loose ends from last year are tied up successfully. Your technical equipment is all glitch-free and updated where necessary. You’ve also spent time planning 2019 business goals, gaining revenue and are working steadily towards a bright future.

If that sounds like you, congratulations! You’re on top of your game. Have a cup of tea, refresh your thoughts and maybe listen to your favourite music for five minutes before continuing the great work.

If, on the other hand, you’re already feeling frazzled in the second week of January, perhaps it would help progress to detox your business. You don’t have to book the business into a spa and make it drink kale juice for a week – but the results detoxing your business environment, re-assessing your goals and removing ‘toxins’ like distractions and mundane processes can have truly exponential results.

You might be surprised how hurdles can be overcome and challenges met once you’ve carried out a few changes. Where are you now and where would you like to be in a year?

Step back and analyse what is working well for your business and what is not. How can you work smarter and with less stress? What’s cash-flow like? Depending on the type of business, the way it works and your own perception, challenges can seem insurmountable. Some issues may be technical, some operational, some psychological. Nothing is impossible.

Take time to make a list of what’s working and what’s not, to identify what needs changing. Don’t leave anything out. Sometimes if one small cog fails to turn properly, it prevents more significant wheels from turning and eventually everything comes to a standstill.
Which parts of your business inspire you and which parts cause procrastination and frustration? When you run a small business, it’s important to maintain the passion and excitement for your work in order to maintain your energy and enthusiasm and keep your goals in sight.
1. Environment:
Declutter your physical environment.
• Filing system – does it need an overhaul? Commit half an hour a week to clear up paperwork
• White board/black board – many small benefits benefit from a ‘brain-storming’ board for work in progress, new ideas and marketing or events.
• Reduce paper – opt for paperless statements and virtual notices where appropriate.

2. Equipment and software:
• Is everything necessary and working to capacity? Clean up your desktop, audit your tech tools – and the bills you are paying for them.
• Do items need replacing or updating or mending?
• Is it realistic to upgrade/change contracts on telephones/computers etc where necessary
• Training: Are you confident in using the equipment you have?

3. To do list:
Make it achievable and relevant. Unfinished tasks and loose ends that stick on your to-do list will drain your energy. If you have a long list of projects/tasks that are unfinished, take an appraisal of why these things are outstanding. Make a decision to do one of three things:
• Delete those that are no longer relevant to your company goals.
• Put new time-scales on those that are still relevant but not appropriate right now. But don’t let them hang on there for eternity!
• Those projects that are clearly important and will help you achieve your long term goals need to be dealt with quickly. Ask yourself why they have been left. Is there an underlying problem that you’re not addressing? It’s time to face up to challenges and see what’s holding you back from completing them.

4. Client and business relationships
Take a look at your customers and business partners. How do they fit with your ideals? Are they jamming your files and draining your energy or is there mutual understanding and benefit, creating space for new opportunities and allowing the business to keep growing and improving?
• Say goodbye to unreasonable clients. Trust your instinct on this. If they don’t pay or they cause unnecessary stress every day or week, it’s wise to simply let them go.
• Say goodbye to suppliers and services that are sub-standard. They are draining your resources and tarnishing your business name.
• Credit control. Keep track of what money is owed and chase outstanding invoices.
• Organise your bills and receipts. Conversely, keep on top of what you owe and associated receipts and warranties.

It might sound daunting to undertake a business detox, but hopefully, this short piece highlights the benefits and potential rewards of spending a few hours tidying up and making plans for the future. Your business will thank you. .

At Advance Virtual Assistants we regularly help clients detox their businesses. We can be a sounding board to help sole traders set achievable goals within a specific time frame. We can take care of day-to-day regular administration tasks (those you procrastinate over), thereby removing ongoing niggles, stresses and distractions. We can offer bespoke services for individual clients. We provide virtual administrative assistance to all sorts of companies from start-ups to more established ones. With our support, business owners feel fresher, freer and more able to see and concentrate on the bigger picture.
Contact us today to see how we can help you get the best out of 2019.