The way I see it, it’s never too early for a little spring cleaning. As we are now into March and heading into the warmer months (at least here in Cleveland, Ohio), we have the perfect excuse to begin cleaning, organizing and putting things together – in our personal and professional lives.
Earlier this year, I came across an article, published in Entrepreneur Magazine, by John Pilmer, an entrepreneur, consultant and CEO of Pilmer Public Relations. The article described several ways to improve your business and life as a whole, and I found it to be interesting, insightful and thought-provoking.
The items on this list can be applied to any business. With that in mind, let’s apply them specifically to your tree care business.
Cut the clutter – This applies to more than paperwork. Have you been meaning to clean up your office? Do it! File away those old estimates and bills sitting around in piles growing higher and higher. On that note, look into management software and technology to get away from handwriting invoices, estimates and other things. Toss the junk mail that keeps toppling over on your desk. Clean out and organize your equipment storage area and facility.
Invest – Who needs the stock market? Invest in you. Invest in your employees. Skim a little each month from your profits and look at upgrading equipment you’ve been putting off. Upgrade your work area with new chairs, work gear and a fresh coat of paint. Re-examine your marketing budget and upgrade your website, if necessary. Spend less – No, cutting corners is not the goal here. Look for ways to eliminate unnecessary expenses by brainstorming with your team and employees. Maybe you are paying too much for your telephone/Internet service in your office; check around with other providers. How about fuel for your equipment? Take a look at what you’re paying and see if another supplier can get you the same fuel for less.
Take a break – For some of you, especially at smaller businesses, this is difficult. But it is most important, keeping your mental health in mind. If the jobs are coming in steadily and you feel confident with your crew, you’ve earned a break. Step away for a day or take a long weekend. That little amount of time off could do wonders, and you’ll likely come back refreshed.
Organize – Get your financial matters in order, and make sure your taxes are up to date and the bills are paid. Make a priority list of whom to pay, when and how much. Make sure your employee paperwork is all updated as well as your company’s insurance policies and related paperwork.
Spread the word – This might be the time, before the busy summer season, to kick your advertising and marketing efforts into high gear. Look at online marketing and advertising. Create a Facebook page and Yelp listing for your company, if you haven’t already. Get better-looking business cards (there are companies online that offer them free or nearly so).
Find the positive – It’s so easy to find the negative aspects of our jobs, especially when we are overworked, underpaid, stressed and exhausted. Go back to when you started in this business and remember what it is about tree care and arboriculture that attracted you in the first place. Was it working outside, being in nature, or operating equipment and machinery? Maybe it has always been your family business, and you take pride in keeping it going. Maybe you own the business, and you have always wanted to work for yourself. Remember why you like your job and enjoy what you do.