If you are anything like us at Paris SBDC, you’re wondering where the first half of the year went. And while our fiscal year will be wrapping up soon, many small businesses run on a calendar year. So whether you are at mid-year or end of year, it’s a great time to stop and do a brief check-up on the tasks and goals for your small business. A mid-year check-in should be viewed as a positive task, meant to evaluate your business and give you time to change or improve a few things before the end of the year. Here are a few things you can do for your check-in.
Take the time to sit down and evaluate your business plan:
Depending upon the type of industry you are in, you may need to plan this task off-site. A day or two retreat sounds great, doesn’t it? If you are too involved or busy to take a few days for evaluation, cut it up into parts and perhaps leave for ½ a day so you can focus. Whatever works best for you, put it on your calendar and plan for your review.
How is your business doing financially?
Time to run a few reports! It is important during the ½ year check-in to see where you are financially. Are you breaking even, making great money, or are you losing money? Here are a few reports to look at:
- Cash flow
- Operating expense
These statements or reports will give you a clear “Number” for how your business is doing. Once you have this information, it’s time to consider where you are as a business and as a boss. Will you be able to meet your financial obligations by the end of the year? Are you where you expected to be, financially, by this time of year?
What does your company culture look like?
Consider your employees: Are they happy? How is your turn-over and how is the energy with your team? Check on the following:
- Have you kept the promises you made at the beginning of the year regarding wages, feedback and training?
- How is your employee productivity?
- How connected and motivated are your team members?
- Do you need more/less employees?
How are your processes?
You’ve heard the saying “If it isn’t broken, don’t fix it.” This is a great thing to remember with your processes. Take a look to see if you and your team are as efficient as possible. Would further automation help make everyone’s job easier? Perhaps those new iPads you’ve invested in for customer orders are slowing everyone down and they need further training. Take a look at the “things” everyone is doing and decide if the tasks are helping or hindering your business. Are there things you can contract out to do like payroll or marketing?
How do your customers see you?
Is your business perceived as positive – a great addition to the community in which you live? Are you spending enough time networking, advertising and participating in outreach programs? There are a few ways you can discover if your customers are seeing you in a positive light – here are some ideas:
- Customer Retention: Are you keeping customers? Do they come back for more?
- Survey: Ask customers how you are doing.
- Reviews: Look at your online reviews – what are people saying and are you hearing good comments?
- Increase: Have you had an increase in customers and/or sales.
Look at what’s next:
Are you on target with your business plan and where you wanted to be by midyear? If not, what needs to be changed or adapted? If so, what do you want to accomplish the second half of the year? Here are some good questions to ask yourself:
- What obstacles am I facing and what do I need to watch for this year?
- How are you going to accomplish your goals this year?
- What resources do you need?
- Who can help you stay on track?
Give yourself credit!
Are you having fun? Are you accomplishing at least a good number of your small business goals? Don’t forget to celebrate your successes! You are still in business after a pandemic, price increases, and inflation (things you cannot control); give yourself credit for your own perseverance! Even if it is something as small as breaking even this quarter, make a point to celebrate your success! Don’t forget that small businesses are the true heartbeat of America!
For additional information on how to do a mid-year check-in for your small business, or on ideas of what to look for and how to improve your small business, please contact us at the Small Business Development Center – SBDC – Serving Paris area: Lamar, Hunt, Hopkins, Delta, and Red River counties.