At my house we are doing some Spring cleaning. I’ve gotten rid of multiple carloads of old clothes, pictures, items to shred, books and….it feels really good! This is a good time to also Spring clean your business, a natural follow-up to last month’s Lent post.
As I just mentioned, documents are a good place to start. I had a file cabinet with many year’s worth of tax returns, health insurance documents, and other items that I just put away. Now don’t going throwing away all your tax documents and receipts just yet! Check out the guidelines from the IRS about how long to keep records: https://www.irs.gov/businesses/small-businesses-self-employed/how-long-should-i-keep-records. Most records need to be kept for 3 to 7 years. I was surprised how fast the years go by and how long ago I could have thrown away some items! Keep digging because you also may have documents from insurance that you no longer carry that can be disposed of. Also get rid of warranty and instructions booklets, they’ve either already expired or you’ll probably never need those because it’s easier to get instructions online.
Whatever you dispose of, be careful that you aren’t throwing away sensitive information! You can take your documents to shredding companies for a fee. I also found Shred360 which offers some free shredding events that periodically occur periodically in South Carolina. Here’s a link to upcoming events: https://shred360.com/charleston/. You literally pull up in your car and they unload the bags and shred it…super easy and free!
Another area to Spring clean is your website and other social media accounts. Admittedly this is still an area I need to deal with! Updating these as your business grows and changes is essential to making sure your online presence is an accurate portrayal of you and what you do. Don’t enjoy dealing with domain names and control panels…you can hire someone who loves it! Be sure to have updated services and products and communicate what is special about what you offer to your clients. Have a friend or family review it and get some other opinions.
Finally, dust off that business plan. Post-tax season is a great time to reevaluate and update this. Make changes as needed and just remind yourself why you created your business in the first place!
Jordan Ilderton, CPA