In This Episode

One of the most common frustrations we hear from small business owners is that they feel like they are tied to their business.  Like they can’t leave for short or long periods of time without significant angst or stress as they wonder how things are going.  So how do some business owners manage to be away from their business yet still have a good sense for what is going on while others are afraid to leave their business?  Would you believe that much of it comes down to a few simple reports?

It comes down to what things do you look at to keep the pulse on your business?  If the answer has something to do with you walking around your business and talking to people and seeing first hand what is going on, then this podcast episode is for you.  While we’re not saying it’s not important to have a physical presence in your business, we are saying you’re unlikely to get a true feel for how things are going just by walking around the shop.  In fact too many people judge the success or failure of a business based on how full the parking lot is or how busy people seem to be.  There has to be a better way!

During the show today we discussed several different reports we advise our clients to be reviewing on a regular basis.  These reports include:

  • Financials: yes the numbers. This includes everything from reviewing your Balance Sheet and Profit & Loss statements monthly to reviewing your Cash Forecast on a regular (i.e. at least weekly) basis.  Your financials bring all of the various daily activities into a nice summary for how things are going.  If cash and profits are good you’re likely to be in a better mood vs. those things being tight or even negative.
  • People: what things are you doing to track the effectiveness of your people other than taking attendance. How do you tell who your best people are and how they are performing?  There should be different metrics you track on your people to know that they are not only working on the right things but also doing them well.
  • Feedback: how do you get feedback from your team, customers, and vendors? One of the biggest challenges for an owner is to get accurate and timely information.  This explains why so many owners feel more comfortable being actively involved day-to-day in their business.  Heck, if I’m present every day then I’ll be getting the feel and feedback I need.  But this isn’t always the case as most people are afraid to tell the boss how things are really going.  It’s helpful to have other avenues to get feedback from your team.  This can be anything from the good old suggestion box to having some outsiders come in to interview and engage with your staff.  It’s often amazing how your team will talk much differently to a third party than they will to the boss.
  • Marketing: which parts of your Marketing Plan is working and which ones could use a little love and attention? Marketing is one of those areas where business owners are constantly balancing how to invest either their time or their money (or both).  And as you might imagine the Marketing is pretty key as this is what tends to drive the sales of your business.
  • KPIs: what other things are key to the success of your business? What are some of those little things you’ve been doing for years that you almost take for granted but you know if you or someone else in the company doesn’t do them that you’re in for some troubles?

There are lots of ways, especially with technology today, to maintain good visibility in your business.  It’s one of those things that can actually help you enjoy your business more as well because you’ll feel more in control and won’t feel as tied down to having to physically be there all the time.

People, Companies and Resources We Mentioned in the Show