business management

5 Steps to take control of your business, NOW!

Is your company in trouble?


1. Take your business temperature


First off you will have to get your finger on the pulse. To do this you will have to look at the following areas. (I have added some basic questions to help you start this process):


Sales  & Marketing


  1. Is your message getting to your target customer?
  2. Is the message getting to you target customer in the most effective and efficient manner?
  3. Are your sales reps making quota?
  4. If not, why? If yes, could they sell more?
  5. Are you missing opportunities, geographical, complimentary or public tenders? Why?
  6. Is your Internet strategy working properly? How do you know?

Business Operations


  1. How efficient are the operations?
  2. Does everything have a process?
  3. Is everyone aware of these processes?  Documented for easy training?
  4. Are you getting the best rates from suppliers or billable employees?
  5. Do you have the right partners?
  6. Are customers satisfied with delivery and product quality?
  7. Do you have repeat customers?
  8. Can your customers find, research, buy and track purchases online?
  9. Are your computer systems driving your business or just facilitating it?
  10. Are your employees happy and do they represent the company well?
  11. Are you getting the most out of your employees?
  12. Are your employees ready for the next step of your company’s evolvement?

Financial Management


  1. Do you have cash flow troubles? Why?  (If you can’t answer “why” you will need outside help.)
  2. Are your expenses inline with other similar companies?
  3. Are you stocking the right items?
  4. Are you carrying too much stock?
  5. Do you have a JIT system approach?
  6. Have you worked out the best payment terms?
  7. Do you have a means to expand the business if needed?
  8. Are you accruing to replace old equipment?
  9. Are you getting the most out of our assets?

Risk Management


  1. Are you taking unnecessary risk? Write down a list of “What if” questions and generate answers for all. Examples:
    1. What if my lead employees quit?
    2. What if I miss a payment to….?
    3. What if I can’t deliver my products or services for a given time?
    4. What if my operating costs go up?
    5. What if I get sick?

2. Analyze your options with  outsiders


Sometimes the best way to address your company woes is with outsiders.  After all, you are in this mess because you didn’t see something.  Setup a steering committee or advisory group with your friends or family who are business savvy and go over the nature of your business with them.  Hire a business coach to attend these meetings, the minor investment could save your company, this will also give you a well rounded view that family and friends don’t usually bring to the table.  Don’t be stubborn or closed minded,  I have received some great ideas from people who are not in the industry.   Now go over all the options for the specific areas of your business and hear everyone out.  You will be surprised of some of the things you will hear, everyone has an opinion waiting to be voiced.


3. Decide on your options


Decide, decide, decide… You now have to make what could be some tough decisions.  Letting people go, terminating contracts with longtime partners or just reducing expenses.  You must decide, to save your business and stick with your decisions, you are not doing anybody any good if you let the problems continue.


4. Take action


Act on your decisions.  Plan out how you will make the changes in the best possible way.  A business coach can also help you plan out the changes to reduce the impact on the business during the transition period.   A written change plan will be needed because there will be many details that can easily be forgotten.  If you forget how you planned to implement the changes you will end up with a different type of mess.


5. Update the business plan


Just like the heading says.  The business plan is a living document.  The day to day business changes you make, may render the business plan unusable if not updated.  The business plan is a guide that should be consulted, on a regular basis to ensure you are tracking properly, a measurement of your success.   There is an ongoing need to share your business plan with others, internal and external,  you don’t want to be embarrassed to share your plan.  Also, a current business plan will be needed for any financing or to recruit potential partners.


Take these 5 steps seriously and you can get the train back on the rails.


Good luck.



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