Spring is here, time to dust off the old to make way for the new.
I'm lucky to live in the beautiful county of Wiltshire, in the heart of the Salisbury Plains, but even surrounded by nature the winter months can seem dull and endless. As business owners we are generally working flat out in the run up to Christmas and then we breathe a sigh of relief when we can finally take a break. If the year starts like this one, with lots of grey days followed by storms and news of flooding all over the country, it can be difficult to find motivation and the year can start in a bit of a slump.
Thankfully Spring seems to be finally showing it's beautiful face. The days are getting longer, the temperatures are warming bit by bit, and the flowers are sharing their beauty with us and reminding us that there is new life on the way.
Without fail, waking up on a glorious sun filled Spring day, I get the urge to blitz the house freshening everything up and embracing the energy that seems to come from the day. My house has been sitting idle and cosy for the Winter months and now I’m ready to bring it back to life...
... and your business is no different.
So, how do you Spring Clean your business?
In my case it's a time for a physical and digital spring clean. I’ll start with the office and put everything back in it’s proper place, re-homing anything that hasn't moved for over six months, if it's been sat still for so long I don’t really need it. I also clear up the folders on my computer and tidy the desktop. It’s the most boring job ever, BUT.... when I go back to my computer and it's all organised and looking tidy I feel ready to take on new challenges. It's one of life's little victories that makes me feel good inside even though no one else knows it's happened!
Most years I also go through the images on my website, it’s amazing how time can fly by without us paying any attention to how our websites look. This year I’ll be skipping this job since my website is relatively new but I know for certain that this time next year mu business will have evolved and moved forward. As business owners our websites are our electronic shop-windows to the world and it’s essential they reflect where we are right now.
When was the last time you reviewed your website? Does it do the job you want it to? Does it address the needs of your customers and properly represent the service or products you provide? What are your current images saying about your business? Does your business portrait look like you? Are you using out of date images or ones where the styling looks dated because trends have changed?
Brand awareness and how you present your business is the main way to ensure that your business stands out from everyone else. Having the right wording and the right images that are presented in the right way all help towards creating a presence that engages with our clients.
A few things to do while you're motivated for your Business Spring Clean.
- Ask for help from one or two trusted people who know your business well, ask them to go through your website looking for issues. If they spot something so will your customers. Make sure you fix any issues they raise.
- Invest in professional images that are personal to your branding. Stock images are great, but others can buy them too and you don’t want to end up with the same images as a competitor! Stock images often look generic and impersonal and can quickly look dated. If your business is relatively new and you’d initially set up a website that will "do for now so I've got an online presence" make sure your images still reflect the way your business has developed.
Working with a professional photographer that understands your business and can reflect it in top quality imagery will make a big difference.
- Make sure that your commercial portrait is a true reflection of you. Using a holiday snap or one that "will do for now" is not good for your business. Ask yourself how you respond to someone’s image. We are all guilty of judging quickly when we see a photo of someone, good or bad it stays with us even before we have spoken to them.
Your image should reflect your personality as well as the position you hold in your business, and it should showcase your business too. Don’t forget, not all business portraits need to be corporate looking headshots, environmental portraits can be more effective for many businesses.
- Get inspired! See what is trending in the fashion industry (Pantone
always release the colours for the seasons that are coming and they are trend setters for anything related to fashion). Find ways to make this work for your business. Whether it's styling of your products, or the styling of you. Be on trend somewhere so that people can see that you are aware of the world around you and not stuck in a rut. Check out the films that are coming in the year, they often set trends that hit the high street in the following year. Browse Instagram, look for hashtags relevant to your business and study the most popular images.
- Set some goals for the year. Imagine that it’s December 31st and you are writing about the highlights of your year, what would you love to be including? These dreams can become your goals, now set some time frames and make it happen!
- If you're feeling flat after the dull weather of the winter season, then it's a great time to get out and about networking and meeting new people. Spending time chatting with like minded people is a great way to lift your spirits. With the current global shut down due CoronaVirus, networking via online group chats will be a great way to keep in touch and keep you motivated.
My final thoughts...
It can be really challenging running a business on your own, I know because I've been doing it for many years. Keeping motivated when things are quiet as well as exploring new ways to reinvent the wheel takes a lot of energy. It's important to book time in the diary to reflect and review. Just imagine that the Spring Clean of your business is an extended version of this. Don't feel guilty about taking the time you need, it will pay dividends in the end.
If you are feeling inspired and think that new imagery for your business is something you’d like to talk about then please get in touch. I have some great packages and offer options for new businesses as well as existing ones.
If you'd like to see some examples of my work and a small selection of the wonderful businesses I've worked with please have a browse through the Portfolios section of the site.