One of the annual rites of Spring is the opportunity to declutter. We do it in our house. As we put the winter wardrobe in storage, we take the opportunity to get rid of the clothes that we don’t want or the kids have outgrown. We box up the toys that nobody plays with anymore and the tchotchkes that we decided have outlived their usefulness. My job this year has been to clear out the piles of used CDs and vinyl records that I’ve scattered around my office. I had been making progress until a trip to a couple record stores in Athens, Ga. resulted in all-new stacks where the old stacks used to be.
Maybe you’ll have better luck than I did with a little Spring Cleaning of your own. Take this opportunity to not only declutter your home but also your business. I’m not talking about just getting rid of piles of outdated brochures, either. Is there anything in your business that you can afford to get rid of? Take a good look at the products you make. Perhaps there is a long-time item that’s just not popular anymore. Can you come up with a way to breathe a little life back into the product, or is it time to discontinue it and make other, better-selling things? Do you have a machine that’s at the end of its life cycle? Maybe it’s time to retire it and improve your operations with a new piece of equipment.
There are plenty of things to review as you “clean up.” It could be an extra process you don’t need to make, or extra paperwork you don’t need to fill out. Heck, the fact that you still have paperwork in 2017 may be something to consider. Don’t just settle on, “This is the way we’ve always done it.” After all, you run a business and not a museum. You can have a long and proud history, but the moment that the history gets in the way of your profitability, there is a problem.
That philosophy doesn’t apply to craftsmanship. If you truly believe that taking the slow way — artery pumping a ham or hand-tying a summer sausage — provides you with a higher-quality product, than continue doing what works for you. However, taking a good look at what goes on in your business all day and why you do it could provide you with the opportunity to streamline and become more efficient. Good luck cleaning up your act!