Dear M & M:
Things have slowed a bit, but everything seems to be on track. I am not real sure how to go about this. What are some ways I can make an assessment of my business and frame new strategies in areas I need the most work in?
One wants to look at the whole business while segmenting or examining three key areas. Every business does three things and everything we do can fall under one of these three areas; marketing, operations and finance. If you think about it all three (marketing, operations and finance) must also work together.
Any marketing plan will not work if it isn’t financed. How will we ever know the return on investment of the money spent on marketing if it isn’t measured to see if the marketing campaign gave us the expected rate of return on our money? If the right people in the organization aren’t given the right direction through operations, how can we ever expect for the marketing campaign to be carried out?
In each of the three categories (marketing, operations and finance) one needs to ask the following questions. In marketing, do we have an updated marketing plan tailored to meet the current environment and does it have a process to measure incremental results? Under operations, do you have a process to measure customer satisfaction?
Have you considered possible alliances or the sharing of resources where it makes sense? When looking into the financial side of your business here are some questions one might want to consider. Do you monitor financial statements, track sales daily, understand your industry and know if you are hitting your mark in categories like payroll as a percent of sales in your business?
Generally there is one document every business should have that covers all three areas of these areas (marketing, operations and finance). It is called a business plan. Have you updated your business plan in the last 3 months? Identifying one of the greatest potential threats to your business by not updating your business plan and paying close attention to the big three (marketing, operations and finance) can spell big trouble down the road.
Market conditions are constantly changing. New products are coming to market, populations shift, competition gets stronger or weaker and our workforce is continually ever-changing. Successful businesses seek out new opportunities and discontinue things that are no longer working. While updating your business plan keep that in mind.