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Business Reviews

This post gives some idea on what a business owner could be exploring, discussing and reviewing each month with their accountant or business coach. It’s what I used to help structure On-track reviews.

Business owner
Most small businesses are run for the benefit of the business owner. This includes financial and non-financial issues such as:

  • Take home pay
  • Net worth
  • Number of hours worked
  • Time working ON the business
  • Amount of stress
  • Happiness index

 

It is important to make sure there is a good lifestyle balance and I recommend reviewing these at least once a year, preferably quarterly.

Business strategy
It is important to keep focussed on the big picture issues such as:

  • Positioning
  • Brand awareness
  • Pricing
  • Competitive theory review of drivers
  • Product development

 

If you score each item each month you may be able to track positive and negative trends. You could think about:

  • Discounts given
  • Referrals received
  • Testimonials
  • Social Media contacts
  • PR

 

Financial Review
For most small businesses (below £1m of annual sales) I don’t think it is necessary to produce monthly management accounts. However, accounts should be prepared every quarter so the financial results can be reviewed.

Before the financial results are analysed it is important to make an adjustment for owner’s salary. This is because most accounts do not show a fair expense for the business owner’s time. This is because of profits being taken as dividends for tax planning or because the business is operated as a sole-trader or partnership.

From the management accounts these you should review:

  • Profitability
  • Liquidity
  • Return on investment

 

You should also review the budget variances including:

  • Total sales
  • Types of sales
  • Debtor days
  • Stock turnover (if relevant)
  • Wages to sales ratio

 

Marketing
The business’ marketing should be reviewed:

  • Key account reviews
  • Portfolio mix review
  • Referrals made
  • Net promoter score
  • Size of email database
  • Open rate on emails
  • Number of new leads
  • Website review (e.g. visitors and conversations)
  • Social Media review (e.g. Twitter followers and Facebook fans)
  • Campaign review to make sure each tactic is working
  • Test reviews to see improvements to campaigns

 

Sales
The sales review could include:

  • Number of customers
  • Average order
  • 80:20 review
  • Sales cycle
  • Pipeline review
  • Close won ratio
  • Reasons for losses

 

Operations
The monthly review could include a review of operations:

  • Customer service scores
  • Scope changes
  • Resource review
  • Compliant reviews
  • Problem customers

 

Management
A business is ultimately a collection of resources and they should be reviewed:

  • Team happiness
  • IT
  • Premises
  • New insights and learning

 

These are not the only things that could be review and I am not suggesting you review them all every time you have a meeting. But, it is vital you have:

  • Defined a competitive strategy and validate it
  • Long-term goals that are broken down into milestones
  • Create a financial budget linked to marketing indicators
  • Challenge your sales, marketing and operational performance