WHAT WE LEARNED THIS WEEK: Get started on Spring Cleaning

Last year, Google started its “Spring Cleaning” under chief executive Larry Page. The plan was for the company to start getting rid of services it deemed useless to the company’s new strategy.

Basically, Google had accumulated too many businesses and services outside its core offering. It needed to get rid of them in order to remain lean.

Despite Australia being in the middle of a cold winter, maybe it’s time for your business to do some spring cleaning as well. Do you have any services or products you need to get rid of?

Think about what is and isn’t being used. It all adds up – and you may find you’ll save more cash than you expected.

Recruiting on social media – a potential gold mine 

In a recent study of American students, 35% said they plan to use LinkedIn as their primary source of a job hunt – a huge increase from just 5% in 2010.

At first, you might think this is crazy. After all, there are plenty of reasons why recruiting over social media can be a bad idea.

But hold up. Think about the type of people you want to hire – you might be better off recruiting from social media after all. Facebook has a wide, broad audience, so there’s no reason to think you shouldn’t search for job applicants there, and sharing job vacancies on Twitter is quite common now.

So you could use LinkedIn to drive recruitment, but you shouldn’t neglect other sources of social media. They can be a potential recruitment goldmine.

Discount – but be very careful

Microsoft shocked the market a little this week when it announced it would only be charging $40 for users to upgrade from Windows XP, Vista or 7 to the latest version, Windows 8, when it’s eventually released.

This is a huge change. Previously, copies of Windows cost hundreds of dollars, so paying only $40 for an upgrade is a dramatic shift in pricing.

It’s been rightly pointed out this is a defensive move by Microsoft. After all, Apple is getting more and more of the desktop market and the company needs to do something to maintain its market share.

However, it’s important to remember this won’t work in all cases. For those small businesses thinking about whether they should drop prices just to maintain their market share, it all goes back to how discounting affects your product.

Discounting can be a good strategy to keep your customers. But be careful – Microsoft’s way won’t work for everyone.

Spin off businesses if you can

Guy King and Bevan Clarke, the duo behind coupon site RetailMeNot, this week said they’ll be winding up their company Stateless Systems and spinning off a few development projects as standalone businesses.

After earning millions for the sale of their company back in 2010, it seems fitting the duo would invest in their own projects once again.

This strategy is actually one entrepreneurs should think about more often. If you have a part of the business that could work well as a separate company, there’s nothing stopping you from spinning it off into a separate business altogether.

If it’s not part of your core business, but is still a viable part of the company, then think about spinning it off. You don’t have much to lose.

Read the writing on the wall

Last week, Research In Motion finally announced it would be restructuring. The BlackBerry maker will lay off 5,000 workers and then delay its BlackBerry 10 operating system until next year.

After months of speculation, the company finally announced some concrete plans. After all, it has to do something, or it risks being made irrelevant.

Unfortunately, it may just be too late. The company has simply taken too long to respond to industry shifts, and now it has to get rid of thousands of workers as a result. If it had started implementing these changes some time ago, maybe they wouldn’t be in this predicament.

It’s difficult to read the writing on the wall in your own business, but if you have plenty of people calling for change, maybe it’s time to make some tough choices. After all, you don’t want to run out of time.


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