10 tasks to keep your business in good health
This monthly checklist will help you assess the health of your business and stay in control.
1. Step back and do a financial overview
Your business won't survive unless you have a tight grip on your finances. Make sure you carefully manage:
- expenses and bills – pay quickly to ensure goodwill
- invoices – chase all late payers
- payroll – ensure all staff records are up to date
- taxes – file your returns and pay on time, every time
2. Review account statements from suppliers
Are your suppliers charging a price that’s fair? Are you still getting good value for money? If not, it might be time to look for new suppliers.
3. Review annual sales
Look at your year-on-year sales. Are you doing better than the same time last year? Are costs and profit levels where they should be? Refer to your business plan and make changes if necessary.
4. Keep a close eye on inventory
- carefully match inventory levels to sales forecasts
- make special provision for perishable goods
- ensure storage is safe and secure
- work with your accountant or bookkeeper to find the optimum inventory levels
5. Make sure your customers remember you
In a crowded marketplace, customers are likely to forget your service or product, so help them remember.
- Use a CRM (Customer Relationship Management) or MAS (Marketing Automation System) tool. This will help keep your customers and partners up to date with news about your business.
- Use all available communication methods. For example, email newsletters are a highly effective way of keeping in touch with customers – as long as they're well written.
6. Spread the word about your business on social media
Social media can be a very effective marketing channel if you use it regularly. Make sure your blog always has fresh content, send new tweets and post on Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn.
7. Review your website traffic
Google Analytics is a tool that makes it easier to understand your website traffic. It will identify pages that are performing poorly and pages that are doing well. Ask a web developer to help you if necessary.
8. Keep on top of industry news
Set aside two hours a month to review industry news. Sign up for Google Alerts and set an alert so that the news comes to your inbox. If you are a consultant in the medical industry, you could set one up for ‘medical trends’ or ‘new technologies in medicine’.
9. Keep your data safe
Use cloud-based applications to store data and ensure your information is always available and automatically backed up. Relying on your hard drive leaves you vulnerable in the face of burglary, fire or natural disasters. If you use your hard drive to store data, make sure you do at least one monthly backup online or to an external device.
10. Talk to your advisors
Arrange meetings with your accountant or bookkeeper, and investors. Meet them at the office or a cafe for a half-hour chat over coffee. Review business performance for the last 30 days and last quarter to check you're on track.
Successful business owners have great habits
Set yourself up for success and get into the habit of setting aside time for monthly tasks. Business can move at a rapid pace, especially in the first year. So make this checklist a priority to ensure your business is going in the right direction. This will keep things on track and in control – which can make all the difference.
Xero does not provide accounting, tax, business or legal advice. This guide has been provided for information purposes only. You should consult your own professional advisors for advice directly relating to your business or before taking action in relation to any of the provided content.
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