The Big Picture of Business – Business Success Checklist

When you own and operate a business you need to have certain procedures for an efficient and seamless function. Sometimes the difficulty of managing your time makes for a haphazard operation. An inefficient operation results in unproductive activities which often miss the point and worse yet, result in wasted time and wasted resources.

One of the ways in which you can optimize your business activities would be the focus and attention to detail that a checklist can stimulate. Here is my own business success checklist that will help you optimize your activities for a more efficient and purpose oriented endeavor. Success is inevitable.

Clearly defined purpose.
Having a clearly defined purpose will focus your activities to a customer-oriented perspective. When a business loses sight of the customer and what they really need they often run into difficulties. Your clearly defined purpose can also center the attention and be a source of inspiration for your employees.

Provide leadership.
A leader’s purpose and job is to give direction and purpose and motivate his people. Leaders must also provide support for the emotional needs of their employees while they are at work and even sometimes when they bring personal concerns to the working place. The business absolutely needs energetic and emotionally mature leaders for it to prosper.

Focus on excellence.
When a company is content with being merely mediocre it may survive but it will never do extremely well. The company must have an emphasis on high standards, a desire to create and give value to customers, accountability to the employers and to your customers, and the drive to learn. If these are incorporated into the culture of your company a culture of excellence in all things will soon be prevalent.

Plan for the future.
When your business has contingency plans for future scenarios you will seldom be caught by surprise. You never know when the next big recession will hit. Most successful businesses have planned responses to most scenarios because they took the time to think “What If”. It is important to identify swings and trends so that innovation can remain a strength of your business.

Instill discipline.
This is often an unpopular issue but this is a critical matter. The sharp focus and direction on your objectives and goals can only be maintained with constant monitoring of your procedures and processes. Whether your focus is on customer service, profits, investing, marketing, or company growth a constant awareness of your current position in relation to where you want to be is essential.

Business Success Checklist

1. The business you’re in

  • Study and refine your own core business characteristics.
  • Understand “The Business You’re In” and how it fits into the core business.
  • Design and re-engineering of products-services.
  • Development of technical abilities, specialties and expertise.
  • Utilization of industry consultants or technical specialists.
  • Development of core business supplier relationships.
  • Make investments toward quality controls.

2. Running the business

  • Objective analysis of how the organization has operated to date.
  • Formalize the organizational structure.
  • Document practices, procedures, operations and structure in writing.
  • Communicate policies and procedures to employees.
  • Physical plant is regularly studied, updated and modified.
  • Distribution standards are documented, practiced and measured.
  • Time management and “just in time” concepts are applied.
  • Plans are in writing to address inventories and reducing surplus.
  • Legal compliance and precautions plan is annually updated, with measurable goals.
  • Outsourcing, privatizing and collaborating plan is annually updated, with realistic, measurable goals.
  • Purchasing plan (with processes and vendor lists) is in writing.
  • Repair and maintenance contracts are routinely maintained.
  • Purchase and lease of equipment plan is annually updated, with measurable goals.
  • Continuous quality improvement plan is annually updated, with measurable goals.

3. Financial

  • Cost containment is one (but not the only) factor of company operations.
  • Each product-service is budgeted.
  • Long-term investments plan is annually updated, with realistic, measurable goals.
  • Assets are adequately valued and managed.
  • Cash flow, forecasting and budgeting are consistently monitored.
  • Written, consistent policies with payables and receivables are followed.
  • Strategic Plan includes provisions for refinancing, equity and debt financing.
  • Accounting firm utilization plan is annually updated, with realistic, measurable goals.
  • Banking and investing plan is annually updated, with realistic, measurable goals.
  • Payables plan is annually updated, with realistic, measurable goals.
  • Receivables plan is annually updated, with realistic, measurable goals.
  • Finance charges are negotiated.
  • Insurance plan is annually updated, with realistic, measurable goals.
  • Benefits plan is annually updated, with realistic, measurable goals.

4. People

  • Corporate culture reflects a formal Visioning Program.
  • Employees know their jobs, are empowered to make decisions and have high morale in carrying the company banner forward.
  • Top management has as a priority the need to develop and practice People development, skills and team building responsibilities.
  • Human Resources program is active, professional and responsive to the organization.
  • Incentives-rewards-bonus plan is annually updated, with realistic, measurable goals.
  • Personnel Policies and Procedures are written, and distributed to all employees.
  • Each employee has his-her own Position Results Oriented Description plan.
  • Training plan is annually updated, with realistic, measurable goals.
  • Professional development plan is annually updated, with realistic, measurable goals.

5. Business development

  • All members of top management have Business Development responsibilities.
  • Company has and regularly fine-tunes a communications strategy.
  • Sales plan is annually updated, with realistic, measurable goals.
  • Marketing plan is annually updated, with realistic, measurable goals.
  • Advertising plan is annually updated, with realistic, measurable goals.
  • Public relations plan is annually updated, with realistic, measurable goals.
  • Research plan is annually updated, with realistic, measurable goals.
  • Marketplace development plan is annually updated, with realistic, measurable goals.
  • Creative collaborator-vendor plan is annually updated, with realistic, measurable goals.

6. Body of Knowledge

  • Consultant plan is annually updated, with realistic, measurable goals.
  • Performance reviews are conducted annually updated, with realistic, measurable goals.
  • Company learns how to benefit from changes.
  • Organization predicts and stays ahead of trends.
  • The company leads the industry.
  • Everything that goes on outside our company affects our business.
  • Willingness to invest in research.
  • Commitment toward collaboration and working with other companies.
  • Maintains active government and regulator relations program.
  • Maintains active community relations program.

7. The Big Picture

  • Shared Vision is crafted, articulated and followed.
  • Ongoing emphasis upon updating, fine-tuning and improving the corporate culture.
  • CEO accepts and ideas and philosophies with employees and stakeholders.
  • Creative business practices are most welcome here.
  • Strategic planning is viewed as vital to business survival and future success.
  • Outside-the-box thinking does indeed apply to us and will be sought.
  • The organization maintains and lives by an ethics statement.
  • The organization subscribes to continuous quality improvement ideologies-processes.
  • Maintains active crisis preparedness and prevention program.

About the Author

Hank MoorePower Stars to Light the Business Flame, by Hank Moore, encompasses a full-scope business perspective, invaluable for the corporate and small business markets. It is a compendium book, containing quotes and extrapolations into business culture, arranged in 76 business categories.

Hank’s latest book functions as a ‘PDR of business,’ a view of Big Picture strategies, methodologies and recommendations. This is a creative way of re-treading old knowledge to enable executives to master change rather than feel as they’re victims of it.

Power Stars to Light the Business Flame is now out in all three e-book formats: iTunes, Kindle, and Nook.

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