Spring Cleaning Your Business

I’m moving house in the next 10 days.  I’m pretty sure I may have mentioned it already, but it’s the first time I’ve moved in about six years, so it’s kind of big deal.

When I was three years old my family moved into our apartment and 39 years later, my mother still lives in the same place.  Needless to say, we didn’t move much growing up so when I left home at the ripe old age of 19 to find fortune and fame (actually, I just moved away to go to university) it was a new experience for me.

Between the ages of 20 and 36, I moved 13 times!  That number includes moving to entirely different countries as well.  When we moved into the place where we currently live, I said I’d felt a bit like a gipsy because we’d moved so much.

What prompted me to think about all this moving around today was that I started to pack up the top floor mezzanine level of the house where we run the businesses from.  I found a notebook filled with handwritten notes that I took from watching a Frank Kern product from 2008, my DVD’s from 2010 when I joined Brendon Burchard’s “Experts Academy” and I even managed to dig out an old Nokia flip phone from when Moses was a lad – it didn’t even have a phone built into it!

Cleaning up our home office was like an archaeological dig, I’d lift something up and below it would be a pile of stuff from an even more ancient bygone era.  There were books, binders, discs and cables from several different technology eras.

And you know what I did?  I threw most of it in the garbage.  We packed it up in bags, dragged it down two stories in the house, loaded it into our SUV and took it to the waste management centre.

It’s the second time I’ve been to the waste management centre this week in fact.  Today’s trip was over 300lbs (about 140kg) of rubbish we got rid of and earlier in the week we’d dropped off about 220lbs (about 100kg) of old books and things.  In a single week, we’ve tossed out over 500lbs of garbage, including like I said 300lbs from our home office alone today.

On an aside, I remember when they used to refer to waste management centres as garbage dumps.  I guess in a suburb like Artarmon where the average three bedroom house sells for two million bucks, it’s probably uncomfortable for the residents to talk about the garbage dump a few blocks away, so waste management centre sounds better.  Either way, that’s where I dumped my Brendon Burchard DVDs, call it whatever you like.

It was really quite cathartic to throw all of that stuff away.  I’ve always felt guilty throwing away books, but today I took great joy in throwing Seth Godin’s Ideavirus book into a rubbish bag.  The more I threw away, the better I felt.

I love Moleskine notebooks and cahiers.  I found a pile of Moleskine cahiers going back to 2007 with business stuff, ideas and notes in them.  I took some time to flip through them, think back to when I wrote down the ideas and then I tossed them all away.

I was utterly ruthless about it and it felt great.

I did this earlier this year with websites.  When I first started working on the Casual Marketer website in January I started having some minor performance issues with my VPS from Liquid Web.  I spoke to their support and it was because of the number of websites I was running, they were all competing for RAM and slowing the server down.  The tech suggested I move up to a bigger VPS.

I thought about it for a few minutes and decided to kill off a bunch of old websites that I’d had running that I hadn’t updated in years.  I just went through the server, marked off the sites that I didn’t want and deleted them.  No backups, nothing – just wiped them out.  I probably killed about six or seven websites.

And then I reduced the size of my VPS.  I saved a few bucks per month, but that wasn’t the point – I decided to give myself smaller amounts of resources so that I would have to think harder about filling it up with crap.  Since doing that, I’ve not added a single site and in fact, I’ll probably get rid of one or two more next month!

Once the move is over in a couple weeks, I’m thinking I might get out the broom and do a bit of spring cleaning across the rest of the business.  There are some products and services that I think we can probably get rid of and there are some backend systems that we have that I’m going to totally re-evaluate the need for as well.

Sometimes less is more.

The problem I find myself getting into sometimes, as many of us do, is that I get ideas and I start things.  Then after awhile, those ideas build up and you’re so busy creating new stuff that you never go back and clean up the old crap.  Some of it may need a bit of a spit and polish or a new lick of paint, but I bet much of it could probably go to the waste management centre.

Take some time this weekend or next and go back and look at your business.  See if there are any things that you have that need a bit of a spring cleaning or maybe could just be tossed out altogether.  Getting rid of unnecessary baggage in your business will give you back time and thought space to work on more important things.

Plan your trip to the waste management centre and give your business a good clean up!

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