Discover How To Avoid Your Business Becoming Out of Control

The small business owner will encounter problems from time to time that are outside of the owner’s skill set.

The comfort zone in which the business owner has previously operated may have been disturbed and in many cases cash, or lack of it, is a major contributory factor of the concern.

Quite possibly the owner is working alone, no one with financial or business management acumen to discuss the matter with other than maybe the business auditors; consequently no proactive action is taken and the discomfort and pain intensifies over time.

A ‘quick-fix’ may provide temporary relief but without addressing the causes the problem will arise again; maybe in the same guise or in some other form.

How does the owner overcome this type of problem and improve the business performance, profitability and cash flow?

Maybe a crossroads in the business has been reached. Business growth may have surpassed expectations, the business has become more complex or alternatively a demise has set in that unless quickly arrested will put at risk the whole organisation. The owner may now be unable to exercise the control over the business that was once possible. Business growth may have necessitated more time being devoted to ‘working on’ the business, more customers and suppliers to meet, more negotiations and more time spent building good customer relationships. Alternatively a downturn in the business fortunes may have forced the owner into reactionary mode; deliberating over short-term solutions that have a detrimental impact on the long-term success of the business.

In both instances the owner may be losing control of the business. In such circumstances taking action in acquiring the necessary skills, at the appropriate time, to supplement those of the owner is critical in avoiding disaster for the business.

The cost of NOT taking action in a timely manner usually far outweighs the financial cost of bringing in an expert BEFORE the problem has arisen.

How will the business owner know if additional financial or management skills are required?

If the business owner has developed management skills through external training, attending seminars or the like then the tell tale signs of when additional skills are required in the organization may well be recognised. Alternatively, a check on the controls existent within the business will indicate whether or not help should be sought.

A checklist of controls business owners should enforce include:

· Cash Flow Do you forecast your cash flow on an ongoing basis, measure actual cashflow against forecast and investigate variances?
· Balance Sheet Do you prepare regular management accounts, understand your Balance Sheet and analyse the movements and trends regularly?
· Profit & Loss Are your profits in decline? Do you know the causes? Do you know the appropriate course of action to take? Will you be capable of taking the necessary action?

· Overheads Are your business overheads under control? Are action plans in place to eliminate waste and unnecessary cost from your business?

· Products/Services Do you know the profitability of the products or services you sell?
· Customers Do you know which of your customers generate the most profitable business?
· Suppliers Are your suppliers reliable and supply cost effective, quality products and services?
· Quality Are robust quality systems in place that protect your business? Is waste or failure in service or product avoided?
· Business Performance Have you set key performance indicators? Are they reviewed regularly and acted upon?
· Future Direction Have you set your business and personal goals? Do you have a business strategy for the immediate, medium and long term?

If the business owner answers NO to even one question above, then consideration should be given to correct the weakness or engage an expert (full-time or part-time) to help re-focus, add to the business skills, improve business performance and success of the business.