Take time to assess your business – Part 1

January 13th, 2012

Have you ever been frustrated that some things just don’t seem to change for the better and why you seem to be getting the same results week after week, year after year? Your level of health and fitness may not be where you want it, relationship stale, garden getting messier – nothing never seems to be on the improve. Well blame the law of atrophy where things just wear out and decay over time.

No don’t worry, there’ll be no health or relationship advice in this article, but there will be some things that will hopefully get you starting to think about your business – and it should be relevant to you whether you’re new to business or have been around for years and years.

Just like life, your business over time can start to decay if you don’t keep a focus on it and can easily wither up and perhaps even eventually die. That’s why I suggest that business owners should stop and reassess their business position each year. Sounds good you might think, but what the heck should you be looking for?

I’d suggest that you break any assessment up into a number of different areas, both internal and external.

So let’s look at some internal audits.

First of all you might like to consider your business structure – who are the shareholders and directors, what governance features do you have in place and do they really reflect your business today. After all if you’ve been in business for a number of years things may have changed, but have you changed with it?

Then consider your key staff and external advisors such as lawyer, accountant, business consultant, marketing team, IT advisor, banker, insurance broker and so on. Are they doing what you expect of them and are they adding value to your business. Are they able to add more value, but perhaps they’re unaware of what your goals and expectations are?

Then review your strategic plan – are you still heading towards that, does everyone in your team understand the direction you’re taking and do all your departmental plans (if you have them) or position/job descriptions support that end vision.

Internally review your unique selling point (USP) and product offering. Look at what you’re selling, margins, quoting or tender process. How does your whole sales and marketing plan stack up compared to what you want it to deliver. Does there need to be some changes and if so what?

Operationally are you on top of things, is productivity (the invisible thief) where it needs to be, how is quality managed, is your team and yourself delivering in the areas you need to?

How healthy is the financial side of your business, is your general ledger accurate, are you reporting on the key numbers and importantly, do you know where the money and profitability is going?

What about the people, are their employment agreements current, would your health and safety policies stand up to scrutiny, and does your team have a chance to have real input into the business. And what about the IT side of things – is technology holding you back or helping and what the heck would happen if you had an event which wiped out all of your hardware – how robust is your disaster management plan?

So many things to think about, but of you don’t think about them over time you’ll just find that you are slowly slipping behind. I recently had a client show me their health and safety folder. It was great except it was completed in the mid 90s and had not been touched since!

So hopefully there are some things for you to consider if you’re going to do an internal assessment on your business.

In the next article I’ll outline some external matters that you may like to review

If you’d like assistance in completing an assessment on your business don’t hesitate to contact PlanA Consulting. This assessment can be done with you in person if you live in Hawkes Bay or over Skype if you’re outside Hawkes Bay.

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