Time flies when you’re running your own business. Days quickly turn to weeks and then months as you work on the day to day tasks that need your attention. As you work hard it’s easy to lose sight of the bigger picture.
To help you stay on track and focussed on your business health we’ve put together a monthly checklist that you can use to assess the health of your business and stay in control.
1. Step back and do a financial overview
Your business won’t survive unless you have a tight grip on your finances. Make sure you carefully manage:
- expenses and bills – pay quickly to ensure goodwill
- invoices – chase all late payers
- payroll – ensure all staff records are up to date
- taxes – file your returns and pay on time, every time.
2. Review account statements from suppliers
Are your suppliers charging a price that’s fair? Are you still getting good value for money? If not, it might be time to look for new suppliers. Could you extend your payment terms with them?
3. Review annual sales
Look at your year-on-year sales. Are you doing better than the same time last year? Are costs and profit levels where they should be? Are you on track to reach your goals?
4. Keep a close eye on stock
If you’re running a retail or manufacturing business then stock is your lifeblood. You should:
- carefully match stock levels to sales forecasts
- make special provision for perishable goods
- ensure storage is safe and secure
- work with your accountant or bookkeeper to find the optimum stock levels.
5. Make sure your customers remember you
In a crowded marketplace, customers are likely to forget your service or product, so help them remember.
- Use a CRM (Customer Relationship Management) or MAS (Marketing Automation System) tool. This will help keep your customers and partners up to date with news about your business.
- Use all available communication methods. For example, email newsletters are a highly effective way of keeping in touch with customers – as long as they’re well written.
6. Spread the word about your business on social media
Social media can be a very effective marketing channel if you use it regularly. Make sure your blog always has fresh content, send new tweets and post on Facebook and LinkedIn.
7. Review your website traffic
Google Analytics is a tool that makes it easier to understand your website traffic. It will identify pages that are performing poorly and pages that are doing well. Ask a web developer to help you if necessary.
8. Keep on top of industry news
Set aside two hours a month to review industry news. Sign up for Google Alerts and set an alert so that the
news comes to your inbox. If you are a consultant in the medical industry, you could set one up for ‘medical
trends’ or ‘new technologies in medicine.
9. Keep your data safe
Use cloud-based applications to store data and ensure your information is always available and automatically backed up. Relying on your hard drive leaves you vulnerable in the face of burglary, fire or natural disasters. If you use your hard drive to store data, make sure you do at least one monthly backup online or to an external device.
10. Talk to your advisors
Arrange meetings with your accountant or bookkeeper, board of directors, and investors. Meet them at the
office or a cafe for a half-hour chat over coffee. Review business performance for the last 30 days and last
quarter to check you’re on track.
Successful business owners have great habits
Set yourself up for success and get into the habit of setting aside time for monthly tasks. Business can move at a rapid pace, especially in the first year. So make this checklist a priority to ensure your business is going in the right direction. This will keep things on track and in control – which can make all the difference.