What questions should you be asking yourself to help identify blind spots that could be impacting the growth of your business? This list of questions hit my radar while reading an article in Inc. magazine a couple of years back and now seems a perfect time in our business climate to remind ourselves of their importance. If you are a business owner, or a leader within your organization, take a moment to reflect on these important questions.
ARE YOU TRANSPARENT WITH YOUR EMPLOYEES?
- Does everyone in your organization fully understand your mission? Your employees are tasked with implementing your mission every day and if they don’t know your priorities how can they be effective?
- Do you share your financial statements? Does everyone know if their efforts are paying off? Do you explain how to use the monthly results to make course corrections so that everyone continues to pull in the same direction?
ARE YOUR COMPANY GOALS TIED TO EMPLOYEES’ PERSONAL GOALS?
- When employees see monthly financial results do they understand how they are impacted? Do you have a compensation structure that allows every member of the team to share in a growing bottom line…or share the burden of a shrinking bottom line? An effective bonus structure will be tied directly to company goals and success.
ARE YOU A COACH OR A FIXER?
- Your staff looks to you for help with keeping them on course. An effective coach helps employees learn to diagnose and fix their own issues. Do you believe that “if something is going to be done right you must do it yourself”? Fixing is not coaching. If you must fix, do it once, and use it as a teaching opportunity. Then spend your time coaching and you will see a direct link to team growth and business growth.
DO YOU HAVE A CULTURE OF ACCOUNTABILITY?
- As in all things, leadership starts at the top. Do you hold yourself accountable for mistakes or do you make excuses? Do you hold your staff accountable? There is a fine line between accountability and punishment and with punishment you lose respect. Show the staff how to learn from mistakes and how to hold themselves and each other accountable and you will experience a whole new level of results.
IS YOUR HIRING PROCESS A PRIORITY?
- In most companies, the biggest asset is the staff. It’s also the largest expense. It costs you the most to acquire and the most to lose. Shouldn’t it always be a top priority? There should be a structured and continuous hiring process in place at all times. Create a hiring “funnel” in the same way you have a sales “funnel”.
DO YOU HAVE INSTITUTIONALIZED BEST PRACTICES?
- Do you keep up with what your industry needs to do on a daily basis to be the very best at all times? Utilizing that knowledge, do you document what your company does best and then insist things be done that way religiously? If you depend on tribal knowledge, individually owned by various employees, you are always at risk.
DO YOU HAVE EFFECTIVE AND UP-TO-DATE SYSTEMS?
- If you’re a young business, you’ve done whatever it takes to survive on a daily basis. You may or may not have taken the time to create sustainable, repeatable and documented systems that allow virtually any employee to perform any task with relative accuracy. Strong systems can carry you through a variety of tough times.
- If you’re a seasoned business that has built strong systems through the years, do you perform regular “check-ups” to insure the systems are keeping up with new technology and changing industry needs?
- Ask your teams on a regular basis to perform system checks and then suggest recommendations for improvements, new metrics, and new tools that may be required.
DO YOU HAVE STRONG INTERNAL CONTROLS?
- According to Merriam-Webster, Internal Control is “a system or plan of accounting and financial organization within a business comprising all the methods and measures necessary for safeguarding its assets, checking the accuracy of its accounting data or otherwise substantiating its financial statements, and policing previously adopted rules, procedures, and policies as to compliance and effectiveness.”
- In other words, internal controls protect you from yourselves. We’ve heard the tales of companies losing hundreds of thousands or millions of dollars due to wire transfer fraud or employee theft, but it can go deeper than that. Simple mistakes caused by a lack of controls can cost you time, money, confidentiality, and a whole host of issues that may ultimately cost you your business.
How do you identify your blind spots and how can you fix them? Most employees are already doing double-duty and you, the owner, are likely doing quadruple-duty … so who has time to concentrate on plugging the holes in your dike? This is a perfect example of when to bring in an expert who can concentrate solely on this project without being distracted by other day-to-day issues at the company.
Nperspective is a group of fractional CFOs who have been doing this for decades for companies both large and small. We have the knowledge and expertise necessary to be able to suggest strategies and solutions that will eliminate blind spots and create new opportunities for growth. Nperspective has experience in this and many other important business challenges such as growth financing, working capital financing, exit strategy planning, tax planning, turnaround management, government compliance and reporting and so much more. For a fraction of what it would cost you to try to take on these projects internally … or what a loss caused by ignoring a blind spot might cost you, a third-party solution such as Nperspective can be the right choice.
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