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Top reasons to conduct an annual business inspection

Author: Dan Brecher|January 10, 2017

Should You Conduct a Business Checkup for 2017?

Top reasons to conduct an annual business inspection

Should You Conduct a Business Checkup for 2017?

annual business check-up

As we enter 2017, how healthy is your business? If you aren’t sure that your company is running at peak performance, it’s time for an annual business checkup.Just like the human body, businesses can suffer if they are not regularly maintained. Without proper preventive care, a relatively minor issue can spiral into a major incident. That’s why it’s important to take stock of your organization’s strengths and weakness at least once a year and adjust your operations accordingly.

Key Questions to Ask During Business Check-up

There is no set format for conducting a business audit. Below are a few key questions you should be sure to include in your company review and planning :

Do You Have a Plan for Growth?

Is your business growing at a healthy rate and keeping pace with the competition? If not, it may be time to re-examine your research and development plan or revamp your marketing efforts, among other factors. If your future plans will require new funding, it is also advisable to dust off your business plan and verify that it reflects the current status of your company. This is timely in light of the new administration’s promise to make an effort to ease raising capital for small businesses.

Are Your Employees Happy?

Disgruntled workers are less productive and can seriously impact the morale of those around them. Unhappy employees are also more likely to walk out the door with confidential information, blow the whistle on what they view as questionable conduct, or file an employment lawsuit. If your employees aren’t happy, what is the root cause? Are they overworked, bored, feeling under-compensated, or something else? It may be that they merely need recognition of some sort – an outing as a group or an office celebration.

Does Your Business Face New Risks?

Court decisions, new laws, and updated regulatory guidance can dramatically reshape the legal landscape of a particular state or industry. As we enter the new year, it is advisable to review any significant developments in 2016 that may have impacted your business or may be slated to take effect in 2017. Examples include amended wage laws, increased regulatory oversight, and new record-keeping obligations.

Are Your Financials Up-to-Date?

From shareholders to bankers, everyone wants to see your financial statements. To ensure accurate financial information and reporting, verify that your bookkeeping, accounting and information management systems are working well.

Is It Time to Move?

Is your lease up for renewal? Are you outgrowing your current space? In order to successfully negotiate the lease or sale of commercial property, it is imperative to do your research and assess your bargaining position as far in advance as is feasible, particularly if rents or acquisition costs are volatile in either direction.

Does Your Business Structure Still Work?

Businesses change and grow over time. Thankfully, the business structure you chose on day one is not set in stone. For instance, while a partnership may have worked when your start-up was getting off the ground, it may be time to explore the enhanced legal protections of incorporation.

Is HR Doing Its Job?

Given the costs of defending an employment lawsuit, your human resources department can be one of the best shields against legal liability. However, your HR staff is only as good as your training, policies, and procedures. Does your staff understand how to spot harassment? Do you have the proper staffing and policies in place to address employee complaints? Have you updated your employee handbook to conform to changing federal and state laws?

Are Your IP Assets Protected?

Although they are not tangible assets, intellectual property, such as trademarks, patents, copyrights and trade secrets, can be extremely valuable. An annual business audit is a great way to verify that your IP rights are being protected and, where needed, enforced.

Are Your Customers Satisfied?

For many businesses, a small percentage of loyal customers are responsible for most of the company’s sales. Keeping these customers happy is essential to the future success of your company. Common gripes can also be a good indicator of a larger issue that must be addressed. Have you asked your best customers if they need anything from your company that they have not been receiving? When was the last time you had a face to face meeting with your best customers?

Have You Updated Your Plans Lately?

Most organizations have a variety of “plans” in place, including strategic plans, succession plans, and disaster plans. Since goals, systems, and business operations change over time, it is a good idea to regularly review your key plans to identify any gaps or outdated provisions.

Your annual business checkup will likely identify at least one or two areas that need improvement. To ensure your company enjoys good “health” in 2017, it is essential to dedicate sufficient time and resources to this self analysis and to retain experienced professionals to help guide the process. Therefore, if you have any questions or if you would like to discuss the matter further, please contact me, Dan Brecher, at 201-806-3364.

Top reasons to conduct an annual business inspection

Author: Dan Brecher
annual business check-up

As we enter 2017, how healthy is your business? If you aren’t sure that your company is running at peak performance, it’s time for an annual business checkup.Just like the human body, businesses can suffer if they are not regularly maintained. Without proper preventive care, a relatively minor issue can spiral into a major incident. That’s why it’s important to take stock of your organization’s strengths and weakness at least once a year and adjust your operations accordingly.

Key Questions to Ask During Business Check-up

There is no set format for conducting a business audit. Below are a few key questions you should be sure to include in your company review and planning :

Do You Have a Plan for Growth?

Is your business growing at a healthy rate and keeping pace with the competition? If not, it may be time to re-examine your research and development plan or revamp your marketing efforts, among other factors. If your future plans will require new funding, it is also advisable to dust off your business plan and verify that it reflects the current status of your company. This is timely in light of the new administration’s promise to make an effort to ease raising capital for small businesses.

Are Your Employees Happy?

Disgruntled workers are less productive and can seriously impact the morale of those around them. Unhappy employees are also more likely to walk out the door with confidential information, blow the whistle on what they view as questionable conduct, or file an employment lawsuit. If your employees aren’t happy, what is the root cause? Are they overworked, bored, feeling under-compensated, or something else? It may be that they merely need recognition of some sort – an outing as a group or an office celebration.

Does Your Business Face New Risks?

Court decisions, new laws, and updated regulatory guidance can dramatically reshape the legal landscape of a particular state or industry. As we enter the new year, it is advisable to review any significant developments in 2016 that may have impacted your business or may be slated to take effect in 2017. Examples include amended wage laws, increased regulatory oversight, and new record-keeping obligations.

Are Your Financials Up-to-Date?

From shareholders to bankers, everyone wants to see your financial statements. To ensure accurate financial information and reporting, verify that your bookkeeping, accounting and information management systems are working well.

Is It Time to Move?

Is your lease up for renewal? Are you outgrowing your current space? In order to successfully negotiate the lease or sale of commercial property, it is imperative to do your research and assess your bargaining position as far in advance as is feasible, particularly if rents or acquisition costs are volatile in either direction.

Does Your Business Structure Still Work?

Businesses change and grow over time. Thankfully, the business structure you chose on day one is not set in stone. For instance, while a partnership may have worked when your start-up was getting off the ground, it may be time to explore the enhanced legal protections of incorporation.

Is HR Doing Its Job?

Given the costs of defending an employment lawsuit, your human resources department can be one of the best shields against legal liability. However, your HR staff is only as good as your training, policies, and procedures. Does your staff understand how to spot harassment? Do you have the proper staffing and policies in place to address employee complaints? Have you updated your employee handbook to conform to changing federal and state laws?

Are Your IP Assets Protected?

Although they are not tangible assets, intellectual property, such as trademarks, patents, copyrights and trade secrets, can be extremely valuable. An annual business audit is a great way to verify that your IP rights are being protected and, where needed, enforced.

Are Your Customers Satisfied?

For many businesses, a small percentage of loyal customers are responsible for most of the company’s sales. Keeping these customers happy is essential to the future success of your company. Common gripes can also be a good indicator of a larger issue that must be addressed. Have you asked your best customers if they need anything from your company that they have not been receiving? When was the last time you had a face to face meeting with your best customers?

Have You Updated Your Plans Lately?

Most organizations have a variety of “plans” in place, including strategic plans, succession plans, and disaster plans. Since goals, systems, and business operations change over time, it is a good idea to regularly review your key plans to identify any gaps or outdated provisions.

Your annual business checkup will likely identify at least one or two areas that need improvement. To ensure your company enjoys good “health” in 2017, it is essential to dedicate sufficient time and resources to this self analysis and to retain experienced professionals to help guide the process. Therefore, if you have any questions or if you would like to discuss the matter further, please contact me, Dan Brecher, at 201-806-3364.

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