Is your business in control, or in chaos?
You can use the following questions as a quick check to indicate the health of your business
- Do you know where you are going?
Have you got a plan? Have you written down who you are as a business and where you want to be? Does this have relevance to your business today? Do you know what your business will look like in five or even ten years’ time? Are you working to your plan, or is firefighting a way of life? A Business Plan and Vision not only tells you where you want to be but also lets you know where you are now and what it is going to take to close the gap. That is what you, as the business leader, should be working on every day.
- Are you getting customers ‘through the door’?
Do you know who buys your products and services? Do you have a Marketing Plan that is linked to your Vision and Business Plan, or do you have ideas which are implemented, regardless of how they connect to your long-term goals?
Do you review your plan regularly, keep within budget (assuming you have one) and adhere to a set of measurable actions? Marketing should happen continuously and be linked to your Vision. Do you have a marketing process that anyone can follow, to make sure that your company consistently creates great marketing, no matter who does it?
- Do you have a way of doing great things consistently?
Have you got a reliable, repeatable way of doing things that provides your customers with a great service every time, no matter who is doing the job? When one person leaves, how long does it take for the next person to catch up?
Have you created systems that are designed to work for your unique products and services, so that you have a business that you can confidently grow, sell, or franchise if you want to?
- Raising your standards?
Should you implement recognised standards, such as ISO 9001, for quality management, if so, why? Will this add value? Will it improve customer satisfaction? Will it ensure better risk management? How can you use the implementation of standards to eliminate waste and reduce cost in your business processes? Will you be implementing standards just for the badge that comes with certification, or implementing a programme that ensures your business runs smoothly and efficiently in every area?
- Talking to your employees
When implementing business management systems, ISO 9001, or any organisational change, do you explain to your employees what you are trying to achieve and why? Do you consider communication as vital, so that everyone understands the change so that they can help you build a great business?
- Health, Safety and Environment
Do you know if you are complying with health, safety and environmental standards applicable to your business? How do you know? If you are busy with the day to day running of your business, are you compliant or could you be open to risks and possibly fines?
- Legal Requirements
Regulations and legislation change regularly. How are you keeping up to date? Do you know if all parts of your business meet the applicable legal requirements? Do you have documented assurance in case of challenge?
- What’s your position within the business?
Do you have an organisation chart? Where do you fit within this chart? Are you filling too many positions? Are you the business owner some days and marketing manager on others? Do you get involved with lower levels of the business too often? While you are spending time at the bottom of the business who is working at the top?
How do you ensure that everyone in your business is doing a great job? Is there a smooth transition when people leave or are positions based on individuals? Have you built the systems and processes that turn ordinary people into extraordinary employees dedicated to serving your customers?
- Going it alone
Getting your business in shape can be a daunting task and the temptation is to fall back to doing things the way that you always have. It feels familiar and you feel like you know what you are doing. But if you do nothing your business is in decline. There is no such thing as standing still. Your business is either growing or losing ground. Which is yours doing?