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I've seen the light and it shows the blight

Whether your excuse is daylight savings time, spring cleaning or pre-holiday holiday decorating, regularly scheduled major cleaning is essential to keep your business looking its best.

Clean out the dirt

"You'll stay up 'til this dump shines like the top of the Chrysler Building!" This line from the musical Annie> reinforces our need for a bit of spit & polish. There are no excuses for visible dirt and grime. Dedicate a day to clean everything top to bottom, including the tops and bottoms of tables, chairs, artwork, merchandising displays, etc. At the end, you should be able to pass the white glove test.

Retire the tired

Take a hard look at your uniforms, menus, signage, linens, smallwares, etc. They should not only be clean, they should be free of wrinkles, tears, chips, scratches, cracks and frayed edges. Let go of all things tired and weary and replace them with items worthy of your image and hospitality. To add some fun and goodwill to this housecleaning chore, hold an all-hands Spring Cleaning Fling.

Mini makeovers

Have you ever watched the hugely popular "Trading Spaces" television show? A designer has two days and a thousand dollars to re-do a room in someone's house. Due to the limited time and budget, they must come up with all sorts of tricks to update an existing space. Paint is often used to cover scuffed walls or re-define a space, familiar objects are utilized in a new unique way, and simple accessories like photographs, flowers, and candles add interest.

The not-so-front-of-the-house

Don't forget to work on the kitchen, bus stations, storerooms and walk-ins. It's amazing how motivating and energizing it is to work in a clean and organized space with up-to-date and properly working tools. It contributes to the feeling that you are a professional when you have a professional atmosphere. Cleaning and streamlining also increase productivity and product quality.

To shred or not to shred

I used to think that e-mail and technology would help to create a paperless society. Research show the exact opposite has occurred. The file drawers are fuller and the piles are higher than ever. Since office space is usually not much more than a shoebox, it's crucial to keep on top of records management. Not sure what to toss and what to keep? We've put together some storage guidelines for tax and general business records. If you don't need it, get rid of it. If you aren't sure, put it in dated boxes and put it in storage. If you haven't touched it in a year — toss it for good!

Dare I say this?

Periodic employee evaluations are also a way to retire the tired. Employees with a sloppy appearance or attitude are just as detrimental to your success as dirty menus. Give some tangible direction on how they can improve and set a time frame during which you'd like to see some improvement. Be sure to document your evaluations and recommendations in writing.

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