When was the last time you gave your business a trim?

When was the last time you gave your business a trim?

There’s nothing quite like experiencing the magic of a hair stylist’s scissors. You’re taken through an entire transformation, going from a ratty-looking to refreshed in less than an hour. There’s a whole new you in the mirror – one looks at least 5 years younger.

You walk out of the salon with a smile. You’ve got a bounce in your step. You feel confident about yourself – and it shows.

That’s a pretty drastic rejuvenation, if you think about it. Just a trim can change your entire mood, outlook, and impression you project on the world. (How many therapists can claim that kind of success rate for each and every client session?)

What if you could have that feeling about your business?

A regular trim keeps you looking sharp, groomed and in control. You should have one every 4 to 6 weeks for short hair, and every 8 to 12 weeks for long locks. Any longer than that and you start to look a little aged. Frumpy. Like you don’t really care that much about yourself and your appearance.

Imagine that your business was a person – humor me, for a moment. Imagine that you’ve just given your business a haircut, dressed it to the nines, and it’s looking sharp, fresh and groomed.

That’s how most businesses start out.

Now picture that same business after a year. You haven’t seen it since then – you’ve been too busy working and socializing on Twitter. It’s still wearing the same clothes it was 12 months ago. They haven’t even been washed or ironed. You’ve forgotten to book in its next haircut, and it looks downright shaggy.

That’s how most businesses end up.

We all pay great attention to detail when we’re starting out. We want everything looking spiffy. We want our processes to be streamlined. We want to come off looking credible, expert and trustworthy to potential clients. Clients are drawn by that attractive appeal.

Then we get busy. We’re working hard. We’re answering emails. We’re building our readership, our following on social media. We’re writing ads and guest posts and lead magnets and doing everything we can to expand, build, and grow our business.

We forget to give our business a regular trim.

Slowly, slowly… your business starts to look frumpy and unkempt, the same way you would if you stopped bothering to take care of yourself.

Your business would begin to look like that guy you know, the one who never seems to care what he looks like. “Boy, does he ever need a haircut. And a new set of clothes.” Or the woman you knew in high school that you bumped into last week. “Did you see her lately? She looks so old and run down – and she used to be so pretty!”

It’s practically fodder for TV’s What Not to Wear.

It’s easy for us to neglect our business. We’re so focused on overarching areas – bringing in clients, doing the work, paying the bills – that we completely overlook the tiny details begging for attention.

The little things. The small corrections and quick updates and teeny changes we’ve been putting off because we don’t think they’re important in the grand scheme of things.

They’re not detrimental. But taking care of these little details often make a big difference. They’re the regular trims we book with our stylist to take off half an inch. They’re the cufflinks we add to a suit to bring the whole look together.

Prospective clients notice these small details. And when they see that you don’t pay attention to them, it can make them doubt your competence, your ability to take care of their business.

After all, you’re not taking good care of your own.

This week, dedicate 3 hours to your business. Take a step back from the work, from your goals, from your dreams and everything you’re chasing. Work with what you have, as it stands in front of you.

Look over your website. Review your processes. Walk through your sales funnel. Make a clear list of all the tiny changes and small business improvements you could make.

Maybe you could finally change that button text. Maybe you could take down that old badge in your sidebar. Maybe it’s time to update your picture on your About page (sporting a fresh haircut, of course). Maybe it’s time to get rid of that widget, add those sharing buttons, or change your navigation for better user experience. Maybe you should look over your packages or increase your rates.

You’re not looking to make big changes. This isn’t a full makeover, where you lop off 12 inches of ponytail and buy your business an entire new wardrobe. You’re looking for small business improvements. Tiny changes, the type you could make in 15 minutes or less. Think of yourself as grooming your business, making little snips of your scissors that only leave a few small tufts on the floor.

If it’s been a while since you’ve last given your business a trim, don’t try to tackle this all at once.

Make a list of all the little changes – call it your Trim List. Schedule in a weekly trim of an hour, and do what you can in that time. If everything on your list took less than 15 minutes to carry out, you’d have at least 18 improvements made by the end of the month.

18 improvements to your business, by the end of this month.

Would your business experience drastic transformation? No – and that’s not the goal, either.

Drastic change is only for businesses that have been neglected so long, they need a full restart. They’re no longer viable in their current state, or the business model is so badly broken that they can’t be saved.

Your business won’t ever reach that level if you’re giving it regular trims. Little trims make a big difference, especially in the long run. Just imagine how polished and well groomed your business would become with all this regular attention.

Now imagine the nod of approval from your potential clients. Worth it, n’est pas?

Post by James Chartrand

James Chartrand is an expert copywriter and the owner of Men with Pens and Damn Fine Words, the game-changing writing course for business owners. She loves the color blue, her kids, Nike sneakers and ice skating.

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  1. Hi James,

    Great post with some solid advice.

    I especially like your strategy of making 15 minute changes. It can feel overwhelming to tackle a large project (like a website makeover). But I can always find 15 minutes in my day for minor tweaks.

    Thanks for motivating me to get off my ass and take baby steps.

    • Ha! You’re very welcome, and if you do tackle some tiny changes (which I highly recommend), try to prioritize them as best you can so that the tiny changes you do make are the ones that will directly boost your ability to earn new clients.

      After all, gotta make those changes count!

  2. Loved this post James and subtle push to get off our business backsides and book our business in for a haircut or a brand new do. 18 improvements by the end of this month? Yep, you’ve got me motivated. I’m off to start right now. Thank you 🙂

    • Woot! And if you want to get *really* motivated and make this dead-easy for yourself, think of it this way: That’s only 0.6 improvements a day.

      You can TOTALLY do that!

  3. I can relate very well to this James,
    I remembered the last time left my hair untrimmed longer than required, I looked like a masquerade to the extent that some of my friends found it hard to recognize me again.

    But the moment I started taking care of myself again, I looked much more younger and I also started feeling some sense of freshness.

    This same things also appplies to business as you’ve mentioned on this wonderful post. We really need to be taken care of our business. Give it a new look once awhile and it’ll also look good and fresh.

    But I discovered that one of the reasons why most people seems to abandon their business for long sometimes is due to the fact that it’s not profitable so at a point, they’ll just lose interest in it.

    A very awesome post mate, thanks for sharing.

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