Where did all the time go? Two-thirds of 2016 is GONE… Poof! Up in smoke! As incredulous as I feel about this inconvenient truth, if I’m honest, I know exactly where it went. It evaporated in the precious hours that turned into days, that evolved into weeks, and maybe even months of being consumed with working in my business instead of on it! Yes, I admit it. I committed the cardinal sin of sacrificing long-term due diligence for the immediate gratification of daily deliverables. It took an intervention to get myself back on track. Welcome to the confessions of a small-business owner.
They say admitting you have a problem is the first step to solving it. With only four months to go until MBA Services celebrates our 10-year anniversary, I’m not only admitting it. I’m also sharing my personal intervention publicly in hopes of helping someone else who may be rowing the same boat. Who hasn’t set a goal, crafted a mission, or hammered out a “strat plan” only to concede later that the ball was dropped, the focus had waned and the burning determination that once fueled boundless energy to pursue your goals had slowly washed away in the flood of everyday life?
If any of this speaks to you, don’t despair. I have great news. You can do a 180 right now. Get your calendar and prioritize the time you need to make meaningful strides by year’s end. For some that means dusting off that whole foods diet you got from the doctor and investing in a personal trainer. Others may need to schedule a checkup to address the health and vitality of their business. According to the C12 Group, America’s leading Christian CEO forum, there are nine business checkup questions every business owner should review to assess progress (http://blog.c12group.com/mid-year-business-check-up):
- Are your financial reports current, reliable, and useful to you in operating your business? Managing a business without relevant and reliable financial information or having a team without any accountability to them can be costly.
- Are your goals clear and do they relate to and support your vision? Obtaining buy-in to your mission, goals, and objectives is a core leadership function. Employees need to feel part of a team, something bigger than a paycheck.
- Are your communications effective? Are your meetings boring and unproductive? Do the same mistakes seem to occur? Are you paying too much for rework on items that should have been done right the first time? Are you confident that your key players have the right information?
- Does your compensation system support your desired culture? Do you pay for performance or do you pay for simply putting in time? Your compensation strategy should be an integral part of your corporate strategy. Setting clear performance goals and rewarding those who achieve them, is the best way to improve overall performance within your organization.
- Are your employees working too many hours? Are you? Overworked and over-extended staff often make mistakes. This condition is generally indicative of bigger problems. If you or your staff average 70-90 hours per week, it’s time to evaluate workflows and efficiencies.
- Is employee turnover too high? Are you losing more people, especially key players? Employee turnover relates to many variables and can be an indicator of several different problems. Basic compensation policies may need to be changed or some managers may need to be trained or replaced, just to name a few of the variables to consider.
- Are your best customers happy? Most companies get 80% of their business from 20% of their customers. If your key customers are unhappy, this is an indication that there are serious problems that need to be addressed and fixed.
- Are you developing new business? Are you gaining or losing against the competition to get new customers? If your marketing, R&D, and sales efforts are healthy, you should be faring well among your competitors. Are you growing at a healthy rate for your industry?
- Have your recent initiatives been successful? Initiatives can relate to entering new markets or installing a new compensation system. It can also include changes to improve processes or procedures, or the culture of a healthy business to make it healthier.
Some people dread checkups because they’re afraid the results may be less than favorable. However, after going through the list, I feel great! It revealed I did better than I thought I was doing. It also helped to chart the course in the areas where I must devote more time, attention, and effort. In this edition of The Balance Sheet, the MBA Services Team is committed to helping you diagnose the areas in your business and body that could be drastically improved if only you knew where and how to start.
In the February 2016 edition of The Balance Sheet, we shined a spotlight on “priorities”, how to set them and how to achieve them. As promised, we are following up with a “checkup” on your progress. In this issue of The Balance Sheet we will pick up where we left off with:
Checks & Balances: Zane Adoum, Junior Accounting Associate, continues “Paving Your Path with Priorities” in Act II.
Accountability: Yolanda Hampton-Matthews, CPA and Certified Personal Trainer, revisits the three tips in her ‘Sculpting Results’ blog, checks up on your progress, and gives tips on how to get back in the saddle if you’ve fallen off the horse.
Diverse Assets: We highlight the achievements, insight, and services of MBA Services client Dubose Prosthodontics. The dynamic dental team based in Washington, DC, is a local and international leader in changing lives one smile at a time through dentistry.
By devoting the next 10 minutes to evaluating where you are, where you’re going, and where you want to be, you could literally liberate yourself from the hamster wheel. Are you ready? Then stick out your tongue, say “ahhhh”, and let’s get to work!
Warm regards and all the best,
Kelly M. Matthews