When was the last time you performed a check-up on your business? It’s an important practice. Think of it like maintenance on your car: every three months or 3,000 miles, you change the oil, rotate the tires, and possibly top off the fluids and check the engine. Doing so will help you identify and correct small problems, in order to keep your car running smoothly for years to come. The same goes for your business. By regularly scheduling a review of your business activities, you can make sure you focus on the things that are helping your business grow, while correcting things that would hold you back.
When performing your small business check-up, here are some of the elements on which you should focus:
- Review your finances, looking for ways to reduce expenses and maximize profits. For example, you’ve been purchasing your office supplies from the same distributor for many years. Do some research to make sure you’re still getting the best price. Furthermore, reduce expenses by eliminating non-essentials. Take note of what you use on an everyday basis for about a week to figure out where you might be able to cut back.
- Use a third party to help you objectively assess risks and weaknesses. For any risks you have recently taken or are thinking of taking, seek a third party’s perspective. They may be able to help you catch a detail you have missed. For example, one local children’s boutique owner is thinking about changing locations to gain more space for her expanding product line. She asked the opinion of a friend who lives in the area of the prospective location, who quickly informed her that although the location gets a good amount of foot traffic, most of the clientele is not her target market. This is a valuable piece of information that could have a make or break effect on the business.
- Consider each of your business processes from start to end. What happens from the time a customer enters your business for the first time to the moment he or she leaves? Is the person greeted cordially, offered assistance and given it accordingly, served promptly, and treated with respect? Customer service is a major aspect of your business and its process deserves frequent review and improvement. Give the same attention to each of your processes when conducting your business check-up.
- Review your overall strategy and make necessary adjustments. Is your strategy to reach the widest customer base possible? Do you strive to carve out a niche market and cater to a specific few? Whatever strategy you have laid out for the success of your business needs careful and frequent review. Create a list of what is working and what isn’t. Make adjustments where they are needed, and don’t be afraid to ask for feedback and help.
The long-term success of your business will only happen if you tend to the details on a regular basis. Some areas may need more attention than others, but reviewing these aspects often will help you avoid potential setbacks, and focus on the growth of your business.
How do you check up on your business? Please share your ideas below!