Spring Clean Your Business

Though we’ve kind of been having spring for months here in Toronto, yesterday it became official. And while things like gardening and beer on patios come to mind, I also love to throw open the windows and shake the dust out. This goes for my business as well as my home. Here are some ideas to spring-clean your business.

So, in no particular order…..

Move file folders to permanent home:
I have a set of file folders for everything from receipts to exhibition invitations. At the end of the year, I go through each one, throw out the stuff I don’t want/need, and put the things I do want into manila envelopes labelled with the date. I have a box full of envelopes called “Business Receipts 2009” and “Wedding Contracts 2008”, sorted by year, so I can always put my hands on the things I’m looking for. This system leaves my filing cabinet holding only one year’s worth of stuff at a time.

File your income tax:
I shouldn’t have to say this, but you need to file your tax every year. Whether you hire an accountant, or do it yourself with a  program like TurboTax, your numbers all have to be in to the Candian Revenue Agency by April 30th.

Back up hard drives:
If you don’t have an external hard drive, stop reading this and go buy one. Depending on what you need, they’re, like, $50, which is a small price to pay to make sure you don’t lose everything that’s technologically important to you. I recommend backing up your system really frequently, but at the very least it should be a part of your annual routine.

Dump gear:
It’s easy to get into a habit of schlepping the same junk all over the place, but every now and then it’s good to go through things and make sure it still makes sense for you. Dump out your kit bag, tool box, drawer of cables, whatever you use, and gut it. Only the good stuff goes back. Make a home for the things you may need occasionally (like extra tripod plates, backup battery charger, etc) and get rid of the rest. 

Check your links:
You may not need to visit your own website very often, but it is one of your biggest ambassadors to the world. click through your pages and make sure everything works and is still relevant. Add a link to your new business page, or twitter feed. (If your tour confirms that you don’t have to make any changes because it’s already in working order, you get a gold star.)

Make lists:
Remember all of those resolutions you made in the new year? Write down your business goals and your best intentions. It’s time to make them happen.

Go through business cards:
I have loose business cards everywhere. I’ve collected them at openings, meetings, (and occasionally, randomly, on the subway). I found a fabulous metal box to keep them in, and yet, they always seem to be living in my wallet, on my desk, and on my fridge. I don’t have a fancy system for this – maybe one day I’ll alphabetize them, or organize them by service – for now I just shove them in the box; at least that way they’re all in one place.

Like I said, I love this kind of thing (I’m fine with being a nerd), and want to hear from you; what do you do to shake the dust off your business?

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The next Flightpath Artist Talks are less than a week away (March 27th), we hope you can make it. Please RSVP here.

Image source: Eadweard Muybridge 

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