Benchmark Business Group

Business Check Up

September 1, 2015

"An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure." - Benjamin Franklin
Last month we discussed the importance of realizing value from your business. As a business owner, your goal is not only to make your business run smoothly and efficiently, but to design and grow a business that will eventually sell for a price that is worth your time and efforts.   With the onset of September, now is a critical time for you to conduct a checkup on your business so that you can ensure the business is prepared for success in the 4th quarter, into 2016 and beyond. By conducting a review of your business, you will be better able to find pieces that are out of alignment with your vision and correct minor issues before they become major problems.
We challenge you to complete a business checkup now, but more so take a long term approach to this. Think about this business checkup as a system your business will run at LEAST annually.   In many ways, it is like your annual physical. You will need a full account of vital statistics and you may need to schedule time to observe and test certain areas of your business. Yes, it takes time, but just like an annual physical, it's something that is in your best interest. This week as part of your business checkup we want you to focus on more strategical vital signs in your business including: business goals and performance indicators, next steps, and everyone's favorite, meeting with your accountant.
  • Business Goals and Performance Indicators- When was the last time you reviewed your goals for the year? Whether you have them written down, in your mind, or not defined at all, right now is the time to look at your business goals. Compare your goal to where your business is today. For each goal, be clear on your performance indicators, which are simply how you measure progress to that goal. Are you on track with that goal or behind? Be conscious of the fact that your performance indicators have different ranges. They might be good now, but be leaning toward a dangerous area. You're not looking just for areas that are under performing, but also for warning signs that something is off. Like your annual physical, this step is all about base-lining. You may be collecting data for your business as well as stopping to ask important, probing questions about your business. An example of this could be that when you review your sales pipeline, you discover that the number of active leads is down from the usual level of leads. Is this simply a minor lull in activity or is there an issue with your lead generation systems that populate the pipeline? You may not need to make changes now, but keeping a close eye on your pipeline and reviewing your lead generation systems would be a prudent action for the business to take.
  • Next Steps - By conducting a review of your goals and performance indicators, you are now able to plan activities and make adjustments that will move you closer to your goals or even exceed your goals.This checklist of next steps will also give your team a comprehensive look at the many pieces of the business puzzle that are in constant motion and prioritize what they are working on. Your team is integral to the success of the business. Give them the tools and information they need to help drive the business to success in the 4th quarter and beyond. If you're currently one of our business coaching clients, be sure to discuss creating a checklist of next steps with your business coach.
  • Meet with your Accountant - The relationship that you have with your accountant can have a huge impact on your business. They should be a partner and ally in your business. September is a great time to be thinking about your tax strategy. This is often overlooked by business owners until it is too late to have much of an impact. Your advisor will be able to give you an estimation of what your approximate tax burden will be at the end of the year and in doing so will also be able to advise you on ways that you may lower your tax burden. Meeting now with your advisor allows you time to act on their advice. In addition to everyone's favorite topic of taxes, your accountant can provide insight on a wealth of other topics such as strategies for planning, protecting your assets, maximizing profits, and increasing cash flow to name a few. Use this business checkup as motivation to discuss ways your accountant can make a positive impact on your business.
Schedule time to dig into your businesses performance, take the time to organize 4th quarter activities that need to be completed, and meet with your advisors about planning for the end of the year and beyond. The business you save may be your own.

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