[Reprinted by permission from: Ken Mair, Founder, 180 Degrees Consultants Inc.]
When I ran my first real business, in the mid 1970’s, every Monday morning my controller would bring me the weekly update reports. (Aged Accounts Receivable, Aged Accounts Payable, Inventory and Bank Position) This, by the way, was produced without a computer! From these we determined our weekly cash requirements and went to work. It wasn’t rocket science but it was fundamentally strong.
Today, as a consultant to small businesses, I am amazed at how often I meet owners who manage without this basic information. It seems with the incredible access to information we have today, business owners are managing with less information. The number one cause for small businesses failing remains poor or improper cash flow management.
It almost appears that business owners are being fed fire hoses of information from a variety of angles and they get so caught up in reacting, (email, voicemail, online inquiries, Twitter, Facebook, and Linked In) they are forgetting to fundamentally manage their business by the very principles that have built strong businesses for over a century.
With that in mind I offer you the thirty questions that I feel every business owner should ask themselves every week with some that should be asked daily.
Cash Flow Management
- What is my current bank position?
- What are my current aged receivables? What are the average days outstanding? Are there problem accounts that require my attention?
- What are my current aged payables? What are the average days outstanding? Are there any issues that require my attention?
- What is the current inventory position? Are there slow moving items that need attention? Do I have sufficient inventory to meet sales targets? Are any items on backorder?
- What is our order backlog?
- What are this weeks purchase requirements?
- Do we have the ability to meet our 90 day cash requirements?
- Are there any major purchase requirements in the next 30 days?
- What are month to date sales in relation to budget?
- What are year to date sales in relation to budget?
- What is the current month forecast from the sales team?
- Are there any major opportunities that require my involvement?
- What are the marketing events for the current month? Am I required to participate or attend?
- What are our 90 day marketing plans and what is my involvement?
- Are there events in the next 90 days that I should be discussing with suppliers and/or investors?
- What are my 90 day hiring requirements? Is everything in process? Am I required to do interviews?
- Are there any existing staffing issues that require my attention?
- Are there performance reviews that require my immediate attention?
- Are there outstanding coaching or discipline issues that require my attention?
- Are there any customer satisfaction issues that require my attention?
- Did we receive any major orders where I should call and thank the client?
- Are there any supplier issues that require my attention?
- Is there any news or information that I should communicate to my investors or financers?
Manufacturing, Logistics and Distribution Management
- Are there any facilities issues that require my attention?
- What is our current capacity?
- Are there any quality control issues that need to be addressed?
- What is our current order turnaround?
- What are the five most important things I need to accomplish this week?
- Did I accomplish my top five last week?
- What is currently on my plate that I can or should delegate?
While this list looks exhaustive it really contains only the basic questions that we as small business owners should be asking.
Most weeks you will have far more no’s than yeses. If you have more yeses than no’s it probably warrants some
investigation. I’m also certain that virtually every business owner could add at least ten questions to the list that are specific to their business. Do it! Either way, by asking these questions plus the ones you add, and paying attention to the answers, you will stay focused on the real issues facing your business and avoid being distracted by the background noise created by the fire hoses!
Here it is as a pdf file.
With Permission from:
180 Degrees Consultants Inc. 2000 Appleby Line, Suite 406, Burlington, Ontario. L7L 7H7 416-809-8120