drawing check box

May is Small Business Month in the US and was built to celebrate and promote the impact small businesses have on local economies and communities. Small businesses are the foundation of our community: and no one understands that better than a small business owner.

Small business statistics show that:

  • 77% of all new private jobs are at a small business
  • 98% of businesses have less than 100 employees
  • There are almost 28 million small businesses in the US
  • There are over 22 million individuals that are self-employed

The reality is only 51% of new businesses survive more than 5 years in America. Why do some businesses thrive, and others fail or barely survive? A key factor for businesses to grow and prosper is leadership: no matter how great the idea, product or service a business cannot succeed without someone who has not just the vision, but the skill to turn a vision into reality. Many small business owners and entrepreneurs lead and manage their business on a daily basis. Others analyze their strengths and weaknesses, and hire someone else to manage the business or make the sales or promote the business, while they focus on their skills.

Small business owners wear many hats, and get pulled in many directions: and often lose focus of the big picture while they deal with the day-to-day obligations of running a business.

It’s critical that small business owners not lose sight of the overall health of their business and take a snapshot of their business on a regular – not annual – basis. There should be no surprises about the strength of your business: a quick self-assessment will give you an opportunity to:

  • Change course if necessary
  • Consult or hire outside resources
  • Define an exit strategy
  • Identify opportunities to expand and grow

The 49% of small business who succeed don’t do it by accident: they have a vision, a plan, and take strategic actions to make their vision a reality.

Small Business YTD 10 Point Checklist

  1. Cash-Flow: how much money are you taking in and how much you’re spending?
  2. Contracts: all insurance policies, licenses, contracts and agreements are up to date and paid
  3. Customers and Clients: who are your primary customers, and are they satisfied with the product or service you are providing?
  4. Digital Footprint: are your online profiles (website and social media) accurate and updated regularly?
  5. Employees: fully staffed, trained and motivated
  6. Facilities: are your offices, equipment, machinery and vehicles maintained and in good working order?
  7. Core Business: has your core business changed, or does it need to change?
  8. Marketing: how are you promoting your business, and what is your competition doing?
  9. Needs Analysis: does the market need your products or service, are you filling the market need, and who is your competition?
  10. Networking: are you meeting people who can help you grow your business, or meet potential clients for your business?

The best way to plan for your business’s future is to look at what you’re doing right now. If it’s not working, now is the time to make changes to build your business.

Author: Lauren McMurray, StratIQ Consulting
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