What Every Business Owner MUST do Every Year to Survive and Thrive

You set out to build a business, not a 70-hour a week job. You love your customers and work really hard for them. But, do you find you are working for employee wages, not business owner profits? Here are the items you must review and improve upon every year if you want to grow your profits and your life. No kidding. I know you’re busy, but if you want the life you dreamed, set up a system to build on these key areas every year. You can bet your main competitor is!

Cultivate Cash Flow
. Every year, find another way to get paid faster, and pay out slower. Can you send out invoices a day early? Can you send reminders after 20 days? Can you get paid partially up front? Seriously ask yourself the question every year to come up with new ideas and retry old ones. Your bank account will grow.

You can’t Manage what you don’t Measure.
Set up new benchmarks. Are you measuring quality? Satisfaction? Job profitability? Are you looking at the commonality of less profitable jobs or product lines? Are you measuring wasted time? What about proposal to sales ratio? Measure whether you are getting better or worse. Your benchmarks will improve.

Raise the Roof on Prices.
Perhaps the most difficult; we fear we’ll lose customers if we do. But are we really charging for all the extra services the customer ordered? Have we offered something new of value that can be added? Have we looked at our competition lately, have they already raised their core prices? It’s easy to say “I Can’t”; find at least one item where you can.

New markets, new markets.
What customers are underserved in your business? Would it be profitable to do business with them? How would you reach them? What have you done to attract them? Businesses that are NOT growing and changing risk stagnating and dying. Don’t risk it. The world is changing, even here in Berks County.
Keep ‘em Satisfied. What new feature or service will tickle your customers and make them happy to do business with you? What will make them tell their friends about you? How are you keeping in touch with prior customers who use you infrequently?

Give yourself a raise.
If you diligently set up improvement projects in the areas above, you will generate more cash to your bottom line each year. Pay yourself first. Are your employees happy when they don’t get a raise? Of course not and neither are you. Put a little more away for you first. Which leads me to…

Save it for a Rainy day.
Someday, you’ll want to slow down. Go fishing, travel, visit your retired friends. The “die-at-your-desk” retirement plan won’t always be your first choice. Increase your automatic contributions to your emergency funds, retirement plans and wealth accumulation accounts. Every year – don’t wait for your financial advisor to remind you. Set up a regularly scheduled meeting that coincides with the start of your most profitable time-of-year. Boost your monthly contributions, even if just a little.

Okay, a shameless plug. I help busy Berks business owners get results like these every day. We find the time; we get creative; we make profits happen. We keep them. Call me if you want more profits too.

As a former SCORE Counselor
is a small business profitability consultant and Certified Financial Planner who makes sure you KEEP and GROW your profits. Having created and built a 30-person company, she KNOWS how to solve small business problems. Merra Lee can be reached at 610-488-7353 or at merralee@captureprofits.com. © Copyright 2004 Merra Lee Moffitt.