Small Business Top Goal: Top Eight Control Questions for 2021

Are you happy with your business this year? What are you going to do differently? How can you hire the right people to support your vision? Unfortunately, many small business owners don’t spend enough time planning for the future. It is quite understandable. Managers must keep up with the daily demands of their business, including payroll, taxes, product / service delivery, and customer expectations.

Fortunately, the end of the year is the perfect time for a comprehensive assessment of your business. Your business needs a checkup. Most people can relate to a checkup with their local doctor, depending on their history and personality characteristics (age, gender, family medical history). The doctor will perform a variety of tests, including blood, vision, heart, and hearing.

In fact, an item such as a person’s weight is not the only indicator of overall good health. Likewise, small businesses could also benefit from a good check-up. Successful entrepreneurs think strategically when engaging in a hostile global environment.

After 27 years of managing projects and conducting more than 100 organizational assessments of business organizations, I realize that both large and small organizations struggle to implement their operations effectively. This article examines how small businesses should take effective control of their organizations.

Welcome to the new normal! However, almost a year after this pandemic, the full impact on the US economy is unclear. According to recent studies, more than four million Americans have left the workforce and nearly 10 million are now unemployed compared to last February.

In fact, the number of unemployed continues to rise. According to a business study conducted between March 28 and April 4, 2020, small businesses have been severely damaged by the shutdowns triggered by Covid-19.

In an analysis of more than 5,800 small businesses (reaching a network of 4.6 million small businesses), the research highlighted the damage caused by the pandemic. The results showed obvious damage from the pandemic. At this juncture, 43% of businesses had temporarily closed and nearly all of these closures were due to COVID-19.

Respondents stated that they had closed temporarily, largely pointing to reductions in demand and concerns about employee health as the reasons for the closure. In fact, companies, on average, reported reducing their active employment by 39% since January.

All industries have been affected. However, the retail, arts and entertainment, personal services, food services and hospitality businesses showed significant decreases in employment that exceeded 50%. Some companies hope to receive help from the government.

According to a Babson Goldman Sachs report, 88% of US small business owners have already exhausted their Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan; The Small Business Association made these loans specifically to help businesses keep their workforce employed during the pandemic. These loans were helpful.

Yet these successes do not diminish the fact that more than 32% of PPP loan recipients have already laid off employees or cut wages. In fact, forty-three percent of black small business owners reported that their companies’ cash reserves would be depleted by the end of the year due to Covid-19.

Today’s small businesses and entrepreneurs need to renew themselves, as the potential impacts of Covid-19 have the ability to change their mindset because of their passion. However, small businesses must be willing to evaluate their current operations and make any necessary changes.

For example, customers have largely connected to the Internet to purchase services due to blockages. If a company does not have an online presence now, this company does not exist. Internet pioneer and PSINet CEO Bill Schrader explains what online visibility means: “Almost overnight, the Internet has gone from a technical marvel to a business obligation.” With the proper diagnosis of an organization, a company can develop a more sustainable success. Therefore, the correct revision is essential.

Here are some key questions to help you conduct your own self-examination:

  1. Do you have a clear vision for your business? What is it?

  2. Do you know why your customers buy from you and why others don’t buy from you?

  3. What results do you get from your marketing? Do you have an effective online presence on the web?

  4. Are you collecting data or the right kind of data about your customers and competitors?

  5. Are you keeping up with trends in your industry? If so, what are the key trends?

  6. How are you measuring results (that is, key performance indicators such as cash flow and income)?

  7. What are the marketing strategies of your key competitors?

  8. Have you evaluated your strengths and weaknesses (i.e. SWOT analysis)?

In short, successful global companies, like IBM and Google, have ongoing systems to evaluate their performance. Let’s call this process an organizational check-up.

Small businesses that want to be successful in this global and technological climate should be able to perform this self-assessment or check-up. This article demonstrated the relevance of a good check-up to help improve a business by asking probing questions. In many cases, small businesses do not have to assume this organizational control.

There are several organizations such as the Small Business Administration and local universities that can help with this process. Have you had a checkup for your business this year? It’s not too late. Kick off the new year with a healthy business checkup.

© 2021 by DD Green

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