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Business Health Check

Read our tips on how you can health-check your business. In this article, we provide a rough framework to help you tick the right boxes.
Business Health Check

Updated on 02/03/2021

For small business owners, it can be easy to get caught up in the day-to-day running of your business. Whether that involves having multiple busy projects going on, or ticking boxes within business-as-usual activity, are you at risk of forgetting to take a step back every once in a while, to look at the bigger picture of how your business is developing?

That’s what a business health check is all about. It’s about making a conscious effort to dive a little deeper, looking beyond normal reporting patterns and weekly meetings to investigate whether the practices and protocols you have in place are really working for you.

In this article, we’ll share some suggestions around the aspects of your business that you could look to evaluate. Hopefully, our tips give you a little inspiration on which steps to take next in your business’s journey.

1. Revenues

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One of the main metrics used to judge the success or prosperity of a business is its’ revenue.

You could identify whether you could be generating higher levels of profitability by asking yourself:

  • Are my monthly revenues aligning with my long-term financial goals?
  • Am I within budget? And if not, where might I be overspending?
  • Which products or services are driving the most revenue growth for my business, and how can I invest in those areas to further that growth?

It’s possible that your financial targets may have to be frequently revisited under the challenging coronavirus circumstances, so it could be worth checking whether you’re benchmarking your revenues against potentially outdated targets.

2. Customer engagement

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Naturally, it’s important to tune into your customers’ changing attitudes and habits to ensure that they’re getting the service they want and need. That means going beyond asking ‘are we making sales?’, to asking ‘what do our customers think of us?’.

As new trends in consumer behaviour emerge, it may be worthwhile connecting with your customer base more often via emails, surveys, and social media interactions to seek out some honest feedback.

Perhaps, for example, your local customer base wants to know that sustainability matters to your business, but you’ve never really considered it before. Through talking to them, you could look into sustainable business practices and publish an environmental policy on your website or add it into your marketing plans, which may have a positive knock-on effect to your bottom line.

3. Performing a marketing health check

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Are the current channels your business utilises in its marketing activity truly serving your company’s best interests? With emerging technologies and trends popping up all the time within the digital space, have you taken time out of your working week to assess whether your competitors have seen success from, for example, tapping into one of a number of new social media channels such as Tik Tok?

These are the kinds of top-level questions you’ll want to ask yourself when conducting a marketing health check. It’s not solely about asking yourself whether you’re seeing return within each channel based on your current marketing spend, but rather is your marketing spend substantial enough to keep you competitive?

It could be the case that you need to update your marketing plan to include more competitor activity scoping, or that you try a different style of advertising collateral that’s driven by new insights around your customer needs. To kickstart this, you could put the question to your wider team; ‘are our marketing practices still relevant?’

4. Funding sources

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Determining whether your business has access to the right funding can be an essential part of a business health check. This is heavily influenced by your business’ financial goals.

If you’re looking to survive and build a level of stability in your cash flow, but you aren’t in a position to build up a couple of months’ worth of cash reserves, then you may want to look into the short-term funding options that could help get you over the line and allow you to keep on paying your employees.

Or, if you’re experiencing either steady or explosive growth, do you have access to the right funding to actually bring about change, implement your big ideas, and support the areas of your business that are seeing growth?

Exploring the different sources of business finance available to you could help you keep ahead of the game. It could help you prepare for financial challenges or take advantage of sudden opportunities and put you in a position where you’re better able to react to changing market conditions and fuel growth.

5. Forecasting and advance planning

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Whether conditions within your industry are constant and stable, or unpredictable and volatile, you may benefit from doing some advance planning around your business’ activity and goals.

Actions you could look to implement within your business to prepare you for the upcoming 12 months include:

  • Setting reasonable business goals and updating them quarterly. E.g. we want to increase our brand awareness by 8% locally within the 18 to 24-year-old market segment.
  • Creating financial forecasts with as much detail as possible to understand the position you expect your business to be in within the next 30, 60, and 90 days.
  • Developing continuity / contingency plans for how you’ll handle unexpected challenges, such as adapting your product, pausing production, or handling external communications.

In reality, there’s no one-size-fits-all formula for conducting a business health check, and the best health checks are often the ones that are data-driven, utilising as much info as you can acquire, and tailored to your business’ specific needs.

For business owners, the thought of changing processes and embracing new tools and technologies can be a little daunting. That’s why a health check could present a good opportunity to consciously consider the alternatives to your current techniques by exploring the best-practice techniques used by your competitors, as well as looking at and assessing your own. Through this activity, you may find yourself able to confidently say that you’re doing everything you can to stay competitive.

Disclaimer

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This has been prepared by Esme Loans Limited for informational purposes only and should not be treated as advice or a recommendation. There may be other considerations relevant to you and your business so you should undertake your own independent research.

Esme Loans Limited makes no representation, warranty, undertaking or assurance (express or implied) with respect to the adequacy, accuracy, completeness, or reasonableness of the information provided.

Esme Loans Limited accepts no liability for any direct, indirect, or consequential losses (in contract, tort or otherwise) arising from the use of the information contained herein. However, this shall not restrict, exclude, or limit any duty or liability to any person under any applicable laws or regulations of any jurisdiction which may not be lawfully disclaimed.

How could Esme help?

These are difficult times for many businesses, so it’s important now more than ever, to take good care of yourself and your team. If you’re concerned about your business being impacted financially due to coronavirus, visit our FAQs page for information about how we may be able to support you.