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Taking Stock of Your Business

Dedicating time each year to review and re-evaluate your business is an important process that helps you stay focused on achieving both short-term and long-term goals. 

When is the best time to reflect on past performance and make plans for the future? For some, it makes sense to have this review at the beginning or end of the fiscal year. For others, another time of year might work better. The important thing is to commit to the time it takes to make sure your business is (still) headed in the right direction.

Here is a checklist of things to review:

    • Your business plan – According to the Small Business Administration, “a business plan is an essential roadmap for business success.” It’s the document that clearly articulates what your business is, your vision for its future, and plans to make growth happen. As a living document, it’s important to make sure its contents accurately reflect your business’ current position and future goals. Don’t have one? We’ve got tools to help you get started.

    • Your market – Take a look at what’s happening in your marketplace. What are your competitors doing? What are the latest trends in your industry? What is the economy like? Understanding your niche in the market and identifying opportunities can inform decisions you make both strategically and tactically.

    • Your marketing plan – Product, pricing, packaging, and promotion. Giving careful consideration to each of these is essential in making sure your business stays competitive and connected to your customers.

    • Your financing needs – Whether it’s expanding your business location, investing in new equipment, or looking to manage cash flow, having clarity about your financing needs and understanding your options are important. Take a look at our article, “Borrowing for Your Business,” to learn more about things to consider when contemplating borrowing to build your business. Then talk with an ESL representative about what solutions best fit your needs so you don’t borrow too much or too little.

    • Your business partners – Make sure partners, like your accountant, attorney, advertising agency, and insurance agent, stay informed about changes in the direction you want your business to take. That way, they can continue to provide their best service to you! Enlisting the support and advice of a business mentor is valuable as you consider next steps for your business.

  • Your elevator speech – You never know when you’ll have just five minutes to introduce your business to important prospective customers. Make sure you can deliver your “spiel” with passion and conviction and emphasize the most important and unique elements of what you have to offer.

Looking for more information about running your business? Check out these additional resources: