Monday, March 24, 2014

Business check-up

     Free daily advice for people in small business
     from someone who has been there, done that

     A business check-up digs into the health of your small business. You take a critical look at the effectiveness of your operation.
     Find a quiet place--away from your business. No phones. No laptops. No catch-up work.

     Sitting alone on my patio works for me. I relax with a cigar and a cup of coffee and watch the birds.

     Your check-up involves more than the current numbers. You want to re-evaluate your personal hopes and dreams and goals. Tough thinking. 

     To begin, consider that businesses tend to go stale. Businesses tend to go stale precisely to the extent of their success. Success can be more that you expected or less than you hoped for.

     In either case, you become complacent over time. You settle in. You put in the 16 hour days and fall into bed exhausted. But your business is running. 

     Meanwhile, markets are changing. Your business is no longer playing in the same ballgame. You've achieved a certain comfort level. It's true whether you work alone or have employees.

     The original business dream no longer sparks the enthusiasm that accounted for your dynamism early on. You are in danger of drifting.

     All businesses drift. That's why you need a periodic check-up.

     When all your attention is focused on production (jewelry making, baking, landscaping jobs, financial services), selling is neglected. When you spend all your time selling (getting referrals, networking, offering sales), production suffers. It's a vicious cycle.

     Not to mention future expansion, funding, cash flow, taxes, and endless additional concerns. Daily activities consume your time. And human beings tend to focus on the problem at hand, not the longer range.

     When you think through your check-up, you might find that you've drifted off course. It's time for a new plan for your business. The purpose here is to get a new goal, or goals, in mind. 

     Only you can evaluate where you are in relation to where you want to be. You already know the possibilities, but only you can sift through everything. Clear thinking can turn today's hunches into tomorrow's realities. It can turn a failing business around, or it can expand a successful business.

     That's the value of that quiet place. Take a pen and paper, and jot down your thoughts. You'll find a new direction emerging. The most important things to consider have to do with markets.

     Are you in the business you want to be? Does the market support this? What are some directions you can take to better address current and emerging market trends? Are your original goals outdated? What are some ways you can head off in different directions? Do you want that? Do you have the resources to support new goals?

     Business check-ups should be done at least a couple of times each year. If you've never done this, you might want to begin with multi-sessions spread over weeks. 

     Take notes. Lay them aside so you have time to ruminate. Now, get back to work.

     If you have questions on this or any other topic covered,
     email me direct at: and put BLOG in the subject line. 

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