A New Year Business Check up

The New Year has arrived. Have you taken any time to review and assess where your business stands?  A business check up can be anything from assessing internal controls to evaluating your business for that eventual exit strategy. Now is a good time to take a hard look at your business and examine where you really stand as we open a New Year.

First take some time over the next few weeks to generally review the previous year successes and failures and how this information may help you better plan for 2013. Be honest with yourself in assessing and evaluating the information. What should you be reviewing? Depending on the type of business you operate the following is a rundown of specific areas to consider.

Leadership Types – Are you a finder in your business or are you the salesperson? Are you still doing everything and grinding in the affairs of the business instead of delegating these duties to others?  If you are the grinder in the business then you are jeopardizing business value and overpaid most likely for your services. I’ll give you a tip; you most likely will never be able to retire if you are the “everything” to the business. If this sounds like you perhaps this year is the time “to take yourself out of the out of the process of being involved in every little day to day decision and start working on business growth and long-term strategy and maybe exit planning.

Internal Controls – The last few years have been difficult to say the least for many small business owners. Reducing employees to cut costs has been the norm unfortunately. So now you may have one person doing two or three jobs and it’s a good time to review your internal control risk. Hire an outside expert to assess your internal controls to identify any potential weak areas where fraud or errors may occur. Looking the other way because you believe all your employees are honest is not an acceptable approach to internal control risk.

Operations- Needless to say, every business can cut costs by reviewing process redesign. Find ways to eliminate costs by streamlining or outsourcing high cost operations and administrative activities. Review your inventory for obsolete or slow-moving items. And of course, be sure to include inventory as part of your internal control risk assessment.

Financial Reports – Have you prepared 2013 financial projections?  Is your business growing, flat in sales or declining? What may be the reasons for this? Is your market saturated, mature or on the leading ledge of new technology? This is the time to assess and evaluate all of this information. Do you know what the valuation of your business? What if you had to sell this year? Are your books and financial records clean or will a cleanup be necessary followed by a potential price reduction as a result? Business owners tend to ignore this area because it’s not what they do best or like to do.  If this applies to you then get a professional to help you handled all of this stuff so you can work on business strategy and growth.

As you begin the New Year it is wise to analyze your business to see where you stand.  Step back and take a long look at the big picture and make the necessary changes for improved success.

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