or is the business managing you?
Most business owners believe that they are managing their business well, and many are. But it is all too easy for ‘the boss’ to feel that, so long as he is giving the orders, he knows what is going on and all will be well…Until things start to go wrong.
At that point, the doubts creep in and one needs to conduct a searching re-evaluation of what is going on. Not always easy to do without feeling a loss of reputation or credibility with staff and customers.
Fortunately, there is a simple checklist – some questions that a business owner can ask himself. If the answer to any of these is ‘NO’, then there exists a clear need to review the whole process of managing that business.
10 Questions to help you manage your business
1. Do you hold regular (monthly) Management Review/Board Meetings?
Getting all the key players in your business together once a month is the best way of managing business effectively, ensuring that everyone understands the latest position and priorities.
2. Do you review a full set of management accounts at those meetings?
This should include the latest Profit & Loss statement and year-end profit forecast. It is always good to share such information and sharing it with trusted senior managers is the best way of gaining full understanding of what needs to be done and who is taking responsibility.
3. Do you also review the order pipeline?
Having the clearest possible fix of prospects for new business is the first measure of the business climate, and can lead to more meaningful discussions with customers and the launch of relevant marketing promotions.
4. Do you undertake periodic customer surveys?
Many business owners think they ‘know’ their customers. The occasional independent survey will validate that, as will talking and listening to the Customer Services team. Furthermore:
5. Is there a formal complaints reporting and response process?
This is the best barometer of customer opinion and the front line for maintaining a positive reputation in the marketplace.
6. Do all staff have job descriptions and is performance reviewed annually?
This is especially relevant in understanding your staff and building their confidence.
7. Do you review responses to your website; is it updated regularly?
Nowadays we all think we understand the power of social media. But there is a need for sustained marketing investment (however modest) which cannot be ignored.
8. Do you issue regular newsletters/blogs to customers and staff?
Customers and staff really appreciate such communications because it shows that the business owner is really aware of their needs and is listening.
9. Do you have a rolling new product development plan?
If your product or service is dating because it faces increased competition, you need to upgrade it. This programme should also be reviewed regularly to ensure that ‘mission creep’ does not delay the vital launch of a new initiative.
10. Do you have a three-year business and marketing plan?
The three-year cycle is important in ensuring that the longer-term goals of the business are not forgotten. In a ‘short-term-ism’ age, this is easily done!
For many businesses, such changes represent a considerable change and challenge to ‘the way we were’. But our experience shows that answering ‘NO’ to any of the above represents a longer-term business under-performance and, ultimately, a weakened exit valuation. No business owner wants to see his lifetime work undervalued when the time comes. So it’s worth making the change now.
CMC Partners work with business owners to realise their full business potential, providing growth and exit strategy development. To book your FREE confidential meeting, complete the form below.