Business Planning – Business planning involves a regular review of your strategies and tactics for achieving your business’ goals. How is the new store location doing? Is your web site producing a steady stream of sales leads? Are the Friday specials attracting new customers?
Financial Management – Is the business profitable and generating sufficient cash to pay bills, salaries and needed capital improvements? How strong is your banking relationship? What is your backup plan if sales slow down?
Project Management – Major projects and initiatives such as marketing campaigns tend to work out better if carried out on the basis of a well thought out and executed project plan. What are the tasks to be accomplished? Who is responsible for each? What resources are required? When will the tasks be accomplished?
Ownership Transition Planning – Every business needs a succession plan to address continuity in the event of illness, disability or retirement of the owner and other key managers. Lack of a transition plan may result in the business losing value or being unable to continue as a going concern.
Human Resources Management – Your people are your most important asset. Without your associates, who would service your customers and support your business? What types of associates does your business need? Where will you find them? How will you attract and retain them? Despite the recession, good people are always in demand.
Marketing/Business Development – Marketing is about finding, attracting, and connecting with customers. Business development is usually taken to mean developing new markets or major business partner (vendor or customer) relationships. Both are important components of a successful business strategy, but don’t forget about sales. Your sales activities are the one which actually close transactions with customers, move product and bring in the cash.
Rate your performance in each of these areas with a simple one-page, two-column analysis for each area. Label one column "What's working well" and label the other column "What's NOT working well". List 5 or 6 positives in the first column and 5 or 6 negatives in the other. Then at the bottom of each page, list the three most important actions which you could take to improve your performance in that area.
After completing this process for all six areas, summarize and prioritize all of the potential action items, and resolve to work on the top three or four items over the next three months.
You will be amazed at what you can accomplish!