UNBELIEVABLY, the first three months of the year have already passed us by. For those who operate a small business, this might be a good time to determine how well you’re doing against the business plan you established for 2015 and put into place on Jan. 1.
If your financials and gut feelings tell you that things aren’t going to plan, it’s better to make minor course corrections now than to wait until the year is half over and then have to make major corrections.
The best rule of thumb is to evaluate your business strategy at the midpoint of each quarter, but any review at any time of the year would be useful if it honestly answers the following general questions.
1. Have I (and my team, if applicable) fully completed the scheduled action items in my business plan?
2. If the answer to No. 1 is “yes,” did the work produce the intended results, moving me closer to my year-end goals?
3. If the answer to No. 1 is “no,” what factors, controllable and uncontrollable, contributed to the uncompleted work?
4. If the answer to No. 1 is “yes,” but the intended results weren’t achieved, what more could or should have been done? Or, what was done that just didn’t work?
5. Were my original goals specific, realistic, measurable, and attainable? If not, should any be scrapped to better channel my time and efforts?
6. Am I on track to achieve my goals?
7. What steps must be taken now to put me back on the path to success?
Reviewing your financials and business strategy should be done routinely for two important reasons. One, it keeps you focused on your goals, and, two, it keeps you accountable for the decisions and action steps necessary to achieve those goals.
column by BAXTER TROUTMAN
BIO: Baxter Troutman is founder and chief executive officer of Labor Solutions, a staffing company with offices in Bartow, Winter Haven, Lake Wales, and Arcadia. A citrus grower who served in the Florida House of Representatives, Troutman understands the challenges and concerns of today’s farmer.