This morning I woke up thinking about cleaning out fridges.
You have to do that before you move, so the next occupant can start fresh.
You have to do that before a hurricane so that the contents don’t go bad when the power goes out, and then, by going bad and rotting in a warm house, ruining your house. (Or at least making your house smell like the dump for oh, about a year.)
You clean out the fridge before you have a big party so you can put the party food in there temporarily. When the party’s over, you can go back to your regularly scheduled fridge use. (Or, at least, you did that in the “before times”.)
If you’re going to have to change what you eat – for medical or other reasons – you clean out the fridge so you’re not tempted to eat something you shouldn’t that might, I don’t know, cause your blood pressure to rise or your blood not to clot.
You clean out the actual fridge for a lot of different reasons. I’m thinking this whole “cleaning out the refrigerator” metaphor is really useful. In business terms.
I have to treat my business like a refrigerator.
For the most part, cleaning out the actual refrigerator is not an emotional job for me.
Mostly, because I’m usually doing it quickly, based on the – usually unemotional – need to make room in it for something else.
I’ve almost always known that the task of cleaning out the fridge was coming. You can see a hurricane coming for a week. You plan a party several days, weeks, or months ahead. You know when it’s time to make room.
I know I have to do it regularly because the consequences of not doing it are so unpleasant. (And I feel like I’m not a grownup if I don’t do it.)
It’s, many times, difficult for me, in business, to clean out the fridge. To act at or, hopefully, before the moment something has reached its expiration date. It’s a lot harder to act at the point of expiration and not wait until the point of rot.
EVEN THOUGH I CAN USUALLY SEE IT COMING
Cleaning out my business *is* an emotional job for me. It’s hard to make a decision to stop doing something or start doing something else. In large part, because I know most of the people I work for and with, and making a change forces them to make a change, and to me, that feels like *me* inflicting something on *them*.
It behooves me to try to act at or before expiration, though, because when something is rotten and about to blow, the eau-de-rot permeates everything around it – the team, other clients, other projects. By that time, when I’ve waited too long, cleanup is painful for everyone and everything involved. Because of that, cleaning out my fridge, business-wise, really *is* a service to myself and my clients, and I need to work as hard as possible to remove the emotions from it, and to do it when it needs to be done. If I don’t do it, the consequences are unpleasant.
I’ve experienced waiting too long plenty of times. I’m experiencing it now with my own project I’ve been working on for three years. We’re past rot. We’re in the cleanup phase. And the cleaned fridge will be sparkling.
But OH MY GOD IS IT UNPLEASANT RIGHT NOW.
Unfortunately, when you’ve reached the stage of rot, you have to clean it up, somehow. The smell doesn’t go away on its own. (You might be reading this and think, WHY IS SHE ADMITTING THIS? Well, ’cause I’m human. We all find a 2-year-old carton of yogurt in our fridges every now and then.)
Now’s a good time to clean the fridge, before we all get even busier again in our industry.
Why clean your fridge?
I woke up thinking about cleaning out the fridge because I’m working on finishing up the talk and handouts for my second AmericanHort Ecommerce Mastery Series session, “Curbside Pickup Powerup.” (It’s next week. You can register for it here.)
Part of powering up ecommerce is cleaning out the fridge.
Businesses have to go through their inventory and decide what to put online. It’s a lot like cleaning out the fridge. They have to decide what stays and what goes: how long it stays, if it is past its expiration and needs to be tossed (or removed from the online store) to make room for something that will sell and will be profitable.
Your store is your fridge.
Whether your store sells widgets or time, cleaning it out will allow you to:
- Focus on what you really want to eat (do/sell) in order to feel good (make a living without driving yourself crazy).
- Make room for trying new things.
- Reclaim energy and time. (A cluttered fridge means, every time you open it, you have to decide whether or not to toss something and dig through a bunch of stuff to decide what you want to eat (do).) Do this enough – all day long, every day – and soon you will have extreme decision fatigue. You use precious energy deciding what to keep, what to choose, and what to get rid of when you could be using that energy to create, instead of using it to make endless decisions.
How to Clean Your Fridge
- Gather the data: the products and services you’re offering, names, prices you charge, inventory on hand (or current clients being serviced).
- Calculate product profitability.
- Evaluate whether offering those products and services help your business or hurt it. Something could be unprofitable from a purely cash-in cash-out standpoint, but if it is a legitimate source of leads – a product that’s a loss leader or a service that generates qualified business leads – it might be helpful. Something could be very profitable but if it makes you feel like garbage to sell it or like garbage when you’re doing it, it’s not helpful to your business.
- Determine what you’re keeping and what you’re tossing.
- Make a plan to EOL (End of life) what you’re tossing. Discount it, take it offline, find people to refer clients to for services you’re no longer offering, refer your clients, give them closeout packages so they have all their info in one place then change your marketing materials and collateral to push what you’re focusing on.
- Enjoy your clean fridge!
I hope if you need some templates, help, or info on any of the following items, you’ll join us next Wednesday:
- How to decide what to sell
- How to fulfill online orders
- How to write job descriptions and job roles and responsibilities for staff
- How to manage a bunch of product or service data
- How to streamline processes and procedures for taking orders (even if what people are ordering is a service) and fulfilling orders (delivering products or services)
Finally, need help cleaning your fridge? Grab a discovery call time slot here.
Have a great rest of your week!