One of my SCORE associates, Joe Reger, and I recently met for coffee. As usual, we talked about automobiles and SCORE clients. Joe is a collector of classic cars, a hobby he can pursue because he was a successful small-business owner.
Joe remarked that before he enters one of his cars in a show, he goes through the process of “detailing” it. He has compiled a checklist and meticulously covers each item. That process, along with a stable of outstanding automobiles, has resulted in many Best of Show awards.
Our discussion then moved to how Joe achieved stellar results with his business. Joe knows that businesses grow stale, new competition appears, new products are introduced and customer needs and expectations change. The answer is to “detail the business.”
Here’s a checklist to detail yours:
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1. Know the numbers. What are they telling you? Are sales increasing? Are expenses increasing? What’s happening with cash flow? Who are your key customers, and are they sticking with you?
2. Customer satisfaction. Are you getting complaints? Are customer needs changing? Are your customers talking about your competitors? Do you meet with them and offer thanks for the business?
3. Employee Satisfaction. Is turnover becoming a concern? Are you engaging your employees to solicit input for new business opportunities, strategy, goals? Are you delegating? How about pay and benefits?
4. Competition. Are you checking out the competition? Are there new entrants? What’s happening to products, pricing, services and marketing?
5. Marketing plan. Is your target market still current? Are you monitoring response to your social media as well as providing frequent blogs, updates and specials? Have you considered a review by a consultant? Are your suppliers helping you?
6. Business plan. After a review and revision of the marketing plan, it’s time to incorporate it within the business plan. Goals need to be re-established with a level of stretching. Consider the use of the Business Model Canvas as a tool to augment the traditional business plan.
7. Technology and processes. Are you staying current? Are your systems up to date? Is outsourcing an option?
One last thought: How about asking SCORE to provide you with a miniature board to conduct a no-cost review?
Norm Beckert has been a volunteer with Treasure Valley SCORE for 15 years. After a hiatus, he wrote this, his 160th column for Business Insider. norm.beckert@ scorevolunteer.org. This column appears in the March 15-April 18, 2017, edition of the Idaho Statesman’s Business Insider magazine. Click here for the Statesman’s e-edition, which includes Business Insider (subscription required).