Business Fitness: What It Is, How to Get It and
Why You Need It Now
Few business owners start their business with the leadership attitude. It’s more often a leap of faith based on past experiences, knowledge and interests. Learning to think of yourself as a business leader is a process that takes time and directed intent.
Through the process of envisioning, you’ve refined and defined what you want your business to become. Now take that vision and apply the fitness metaphor. See your dream business in a state of being sleek, strong, stable, flexible and attractive. That’s what we call “business fitness” and it’s the foundation for long term success.
In the first article we talked about refining and defining your business vision. Just like a builder would envision the finished house or an artist would envision his finished painting before applying the first stroke, the business owner needs to envision what the business will look like when it’s mature. Once this is clearly in focus, it’s important to write it so it becomes a reference as the business evolves.
In the last article, we analyzed your business to see where it is at the present time. Using your vision and your analysis, let’s apply the fitness metaphor. You’d want to be able to answer “yes” to the following questions. If you can, your business is in a state of fitness and you are ready for growth.
- Are you concentrating on the critical elements that determine the condition of your business – such as Gross and Net Revenues, Accounts Receivable, Inventory, Fixed and Variable Expenses, Unexpected Expenses, Cost per Unit Sold, Cash Flow, Net Profit/Loss, Cash Reserve or Debt?
- Have you clearly defined your market and targeted your marketing efforts to the most likely groups?
- Have you identified and eliminated all unnecessary expense?
- Is your inventory and/or accounts receivable as tight as possible?
- Are you consistently able to pay off debt?
- Is your cash reserve growing?
- Are your revenues and earnings increasing?
- Do you cut your losses early because you are closely monitoring results of action taken?
- Have you identified your strengths and are concentrating resources on them? Are you well supported in your areas of weakness?
- Do you do a monthly review of your income and expense statement and make decisions for future action based on bottom line results?
- Does your monthly income always cover your expenses?
- Do you have a feeling you are in control of your business?
- Do you have the documentation necessary to show the strength of your business should you want to borrow capital or attract investors for expansion?
- Have you diversified your core business enough so you are not totally dependent on one product or service?
- Are you aware of what’s happening in your industry and its position within the global economy?
- Do you pursue joint ventures, partnerships and other alliances that will forward your business goals?
- Are you open to new ideas and suggestions?
- Are you in a financial position to take advantage of new opportunities?
- Does your product or service provide a real and clearly understood benefit?
- Does your marketing and public relations activities make you look attractive to do business with?
- Does your customer service reinforce your attractiveness?
- Are your communications clear and on target toward your vision?
- Can others see that your business is doing well?
Answer all these questions about your business and compare it to where you want to go (point B). The question now becomes how do you get from point A (where you are now) to point B? Guess what? That’s the subject of the next article in this series.