by Greg Fjetland
from Profit magazine
There are lots of obvious warning signs that a business may be in trouble. But how does your business fare with this checklist of less obvious trouble signs?
Do you find your employee turn-over increasing, even among stalwarts who have helped grow the business from scratch?
- Do you find your banker increasingly cautious, and less receptive to increasing your access to credit?
- Do you find yourself spending less than you should on scheduled equipment and property maintenance, in effect robbing the future to pay for the present?
- Have you prepared a financial blueprint for the year and perform a variance analysis every month to make sure you’re on track, or do you find it increasingly impossible to work within its guidelines?
- Do you have a system in place to monitor customer satisfaction, or have you lost several key accounts lately and really have no idea why?
- Is your business so successful that you may have trouble meeting orders and paying for required additional materials, or have you implemented an Accounts Receivable system to reward customers for prompt payment?
- Do you re-evaluate your business assets annually, or do you risk having unrealistic evaluations on your balance sheet, disguising the reality of how healthy your business is?
- Have your stock levels grown, revealing that you’re not in touch with which products are in demand and which need updating, or do you assume that time and changing customer demand will take care of your overstock situation?
- Are you being forced to cut into your margins more and more by dropping prices, or are you able to increase sales by better positioning your products?
- If your customer complaints have increased, have you responded by calling them, holding focus groups and then acting on their feedback?
- Have you grown the company out of the range of your expertise and capability but find yourself resisting hiring the talent necessary to maintain the company at its peak performance?
- Do you dread coming to work in the morning and have you noticed a corresponding lack of enthusiasm in your employees?
- Has the loss of more than 5 percent market share per quarter in two consecutive quarters, and if so, have you determined why and taken remedial action?
- Have you found your business increasingly reliant on just one or two key customers and suppliers instead of being well-connected to numerous business partners?Has your business lost focus and broadened to include anything you can make a buck on, instead of zeroing in on its core products and services