While helping a former client close the business, it has been amazing at how much “stuff” has been accumulated. Hence the title of this week’s blog.
Business owners typically defend every part of their company, and that’s good. Where that defense can falter, however, is when the business acquires assets, property, or “things” that have value at some point but become worthless to the company at another point. Those items should be purged and sold, destroyed, trashed, donated, recycled, or whatever can be done to eliminate them. We do not advocate clearing room to add more clutter. Far from it! The point is to eliminate what is not necessary to do business.
A Native American casino printed 10,000 newsletters to send to their player’s club members. We found boxes upon boxes of those newsletters in storage. When we asked why they were in storage and not in the hands of club members, the response was that newsletters were only mailed to the most active members of the club – about 1,500 people. The remaining 8,500 newsletters were purged, the storage space was put to better use, and adjustments were made to future printing and mailing orders.
Shred and dispose of paper files that are no longer needed for tax or accounting purposes. Old furniture, desks, chairs, computers, file cabinets or whatever else is sitting in storage should be sold or donated. There are countless not-for-profit organizations that would welcome donations and enable your company to take a write-off (make sure you check with your accountant on deductions).
Purging gives you an opportunity for a fresh perspective. Look at what you have through impartial outside eyes. Update your signs if your market segments have changed, and get rid of the old ones! Clean up your office to give yourself new energy. Try to get it done in a day, even if you give up a Saturday to preserve your sanity at work. Bring in a spouse or a different set of eyes to look at everything, and try to avoid getting defensive.
Now, by purge we are not talking about a wild spree of firing employees. Do, however, take a look at your staffing requirements, job responsibilities, and employee performance. You may find staff who deserve accolades and some who deserve to be let go.
The December purge enables your company to clear the debris from the current year and make room for the challenges of the next. The holiday period may also be a slow time that serves well for the house cleaning process. Think about purging again in six months, around the 4th of July or whenever it’s convenient.