A sick business is no joke and certainly there seems to be a bit of a business flu epidemic out there. Does your business show signs of lethargy? Does it seem to be bleeding out when it comes to cashflow? Does it just struggle to even survive day after day? Do you wonder if your business should even open its doors some days?
Too often I see businesses which are seriously sick and are on the brink of death (aka closure or bankruptcy). Many business owners simply wonder what the heck happened. Unfortunately there is no quick fix or shot to give your business, but like your own body, good habits will create a healthier business all round. A business which is struggling, with the right help, guidance and action, can very often be brought back to life and in fact grow to become a strong and sturdy business.
Here are some habits you should be adopting to promote business health:
Be diligent with your cash. Whether it’s ensuring your bookkeeping is current and accurate or reviewing your financials and budgets closely every month, every business owner should keep their finger on the pulse when it comes to your finances. Sure, sales and operations are important, but it’s the back end (bookkeeping) which can make or break a business. Are you looking at your business performance, sales reports, debtors and creditor reports at least weekly? How long after end of month do you review your budgets and Profit & Loss statements and balance sheet? Do you even have a budget? Do you struggle to understand these reports?
Have a clear sales process. Is sales hit and miss in your organisation? If Jim does the sale, he always closes the deal, but if Jack does the sale, it’s not as likely a done deal? Your sales process should be a documented system which all team know and use religiously. It should not be a case of “Jim is great at sales” or putting it down to luck. Does your sales team get regular training and know how to handle objections? Quotes should always be followed up at least a couple of times.
Get the best team and keep them! Having the right team on board is critical. And like any virus, you need to rid yourselves of the bad germs, and this goes for the wrong team members too. Ensure you have the best team on board and look after them. Often it’s appreciation and feeling valued which is as important as a pay cheque. So remember to always be thankful. Ensure that new team are correctly inducted and that all staff receive regular training. Remember also to protect your business with Employment reements which ensure they cannot compete against you or take your clients.
Know what marketing works. Many businesses do not track the source of their leads. They are just happy someone has made contact or bought from them. I always ask “so how did you hear about us?” when talking with a new prospect AND I keep a record of this. You need to know how each lead source performs as a percentage of all leads. Strategies which work obviously are further utilised and those which don’t work should be changed or stopped. You don’t keep doing the same thing over and over if it’s not working.
Ask for help! Whether it’s your accountant, business coach, business consultant, lawyer or other professional – do ask for help when you get stuck. Often people feel they will be judged or don’t want to spend the money on professional advice, but these professionals have likely seen your challenge time and time again. They also know how to be professional and confidential. To quickly rectify a problem and find a solution will provide not only peace of mind, but likely improved financial stability. So please, don’t bury your head in the sand and ask for help when you get stuck. When you’re sick you go to the Doctor … when your business has the flu, consult a professional.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Donna Stone is a business consultant with three decades of experience. She grew her own business from a garage to be a multi award winning operation that spanned five locations nationally. She shares this knowledge and expertise with clients to guide them in their own success. Donna is the author of the Stepping Stone series of books. Visit www.donna-stone.com.au
© Donna Stone, 2015