Detox your business for 2007
For many people, the New Year is a period of promises and good intentions. Pledges are made to actually use that gym membership and start a rigorous detox regime. Philip Verity, a partner at international accountancy firm Mazars, suggests ten ways to get your business in top shape at the same time.
1. Get your own head together first – personal governance comes before corporate governance! Do fewer things, do them well and see them through.
2. As the owner of the business, is it working for you? Consider both your short and long term ambitions – what needs to happen in order for you to achieve them?
3. Take a step back and look at the business objectively. Do you have all the management information you would like to enable you to run the business effectively? Is it the right information?
4. Be brutal on costs – they will creep up. Assess your fixed costs (e.g. insurance, utilities, mobile phones, office equipment). Are you paying over the odds? Could you reduce costs by switching suppliers, re-negotiating contracts or cancelling those that are surplus to requirements? Can you reduce costs just by making processes simple?
5. Review employee skills to ensure there are no gaps in the business. Is a lack of skills or knowledge constraining the business? If so, consider strategic recruitment or training to fill the gap.
6. Update your business plan to ensure that it is timely and reflects the key areas of focus for the year. Bear in mind the adage ‘what gets measured gets done’ and set deadlines and targets within the plan that will be monitored and reported upon regularly, rather than just putting the plan back in a drawer until next year…
7. Check your HR policies and procedures to ensure they are relevant and reflect legislative changes (such as age discrimination, disability discrimination and maternity). That way everybody can focus upon impacting the bottom line.
8. Talk to your customers and listen to what they’re telling you. A client satisfaction survey is a good starting point.
9. Thank your staff for their work last year and motivate them for the year ahead. Help them to understand the direction of the business and the role that they play.
10. Focus the business on the key priorities – excellent businesses decide what not to do