the New Year can leave owners feeling exhilarated,
exhausted or somewhere in between. As the year
draws to a close, take time to ensure youíve covered
all the bases and are starting the New Year on
solid ground. While our checklist in no way covers
every important aspect of your business, we hope
it will help you pinpoint areas that may be improved
1. Did you meet
your annual goals? If not, do you know why?
2. Is employee productivity
up? Down? Is it a concern?
3. Are profits up?
Down? Do you know why? Is there a correlation
between an increase or decrease in sales to gross
4. If you sell products,
how much is each contributing to gross profit?
Can you better manage the components of cost of
goods sold for increased profits?
5. If you are in
a services industry, do you know profit margins
on each service you provide? Are your services
cost competitive? Is your profit margin where
you would like it to be?
6. Have you reviewed
your property and casualty insurance coverages
for adequacy? Are your rates still competitive?
Is your broker doing his/her job?
1. Has cash flow
been a problem this year? Is it cyclical or ongoing?
Do you try forecasting your business? When was
the last time you reviewed your billing and credit
2. Where does your
annual budget stand? Does your budget process
allow for key manager input and buy-in?
3. Are you maximizing
your supplier/vendor relationships? Do terms need
to be renegotiated?
4. Have you considered
taking full advantage of donating unneeded business
assets to charity?
5. If you are leaving
the company or selling the company in the next
two years, do you have an exit strategy? Have
you taken the necessary steps to maximize company
6. If your company
has outstanding debt, have you ensured that you
have chosen the most appropriate vehicle for financing?
Is this an appropriate time to refinance?
7. Is your accounts
receivable situation secure? Are you prepared
in case primary customers donít/canít pay?
8. Have you reviewed
internal controls to ensure your financial concerns
are secure? For example, are duties appropriately
segregated to negate the opportunity for embezzling?
1. If profits are
down, have you explored the relationship between
employee performance and profit?
2. Have you hit
any milestones (e.g.? # of employees) in the past
year that would impact regulatory compliance?
3. Are incentive
compensation plans strategic and aligned with
4. If employee attrition
has increased, do you know why? Is it a concern?
Have you implemented a recruiting plan?
5. Do all employees
know whatís expected of them? Do they have the
proper materials, technology and equipment to
do their work right?
6. Are employees
aware of company goals and how their performance
impacts the realization of those goals?
7. In the past year,
have you reviewed your insurance and health policies
to ensure you are paying for only the options
that benefit you, your employees and the company?
8. Are employee
benefits cost-effective for the company?
9. Have you taken
the opportunity to show employees how much their
total salary (salary + benefits) is really worth?
10. Are position descriptions, employee
handbooks, safety manuals and other company communications
1. Are you achieving
the anticipated annual revenue and profit growth?
If not, do you know what obstacles are in the
way? Do you plan your growth? Is it written down?
2. Have you arranged
a planning session with your key managers to review
(or set) the companyís strategies and goals for
the coming year?
3. †Is the production
line as efficient as possible? Is down-time higher
than last year?
4. Can you reduce
the average collection period on your receivables
to improve cash flow?
5. Do inventory
levels need to be reviewed? Are you storing (and
capitalizing) more than needed?
6. Are internal
systems affecting profitability? Do employees
need to be better trained or educated?
7. Does the companyís
performance depend on a few key people? Is there
any way to cross-train and change this?
8. Is the company
operating at or above industry standards?
9. Are you and your
employees working harder, yet not realizing the
return you expect? What critical performance activities
are causing this?
10. Are there new competitors in your market
that are impacting your business? Do you have
a strategy for this? When was the last time you
did a competitive comparison?
11. Are you minding the business of your
business? Is your strategy in place to take you
through the next year? What worked during the
past year? What didnít work?
12. Do you have a disaster plan in place
and business interruption insurance in case of
This short list
offers areas to consider to ensure your business
operates successfully. Give us a call so we can
discuss these and others that may be affecting
your company. We can help you make changes now
that are sure to make improvements in the way
you operate your business in the coming year.