10-Point Small Business CheckupWriting a blog post about New Year’s business strategies is WAY late considering we are in the middle of the first quarter. Typically business planning for the upcoming year takes place in the last quarter of the previous year. It goes without saying that 2020 was not a typical year. As a small business owner myself, I’ve been trying to navigate and adapt to the changing local and international business landscape. Therefore, notwithstanding the lateness, I consider the information I’m going to share of much value so better late than never.

Most businesses owners conduct what I like to call a ‘systems checkup’ at the start of every year. Did the business meet the goals of the previous year? If it did, should it continue on the same path or make moves for exponential growth going forward? However, if it did not, what changes are needed to spur growth and achieve goals?

Here are 10 points I would recommend you include in your business check-up for 2021 and onward. The list will of course be adjusted to reflect changing market trends and economies.

  1. The owner’s physical and mental well being. This is very important especially if the business is a partnership which will be adversely impacted if one of the partners become incapacitated.
  2. Business Insurance. Appropriate coverage is crucial to the continuation or dissolution of a business in the event of the death of its principal (s).
  3. Review Core Competencies. Has the identity of the business changed or it plans to continue in the same realm.
  4. Customer Engagement. This is especially important and depends on your market. Have you had to increase/institute remote customer outreach. How have your customer responded to the lack of face to face engagement? What service can you introduce to maintain customer loyalty?
  5. Technology. How will developments in technology and social media benefit the business? Should it expand its online presence further?
  6. Changes in Tax Law. Some new tax credits for small business have emerged recently especially as it relates to the PPP Small Business Loan and stimulus payments.
  7. Funding. Have you explored all available grant funding for small business which are available to help mitigate the effects of the COVID19 pandemic. The EIDL and PPP administered by the Small Business Administration are amazing options. The application process is relatively easy especially if you utilize Fintech companies such as PayPal or Lendio instead of banks.
  8. Local Resources. Federal funding are being distributed via local government and local community organizations. To access the wealth of resources available, contact your County Government.
  9. Staffing. Do you need to reduce or increase staffing. Whichever direction you choose to go in be aware of the possibility of an increase in the minimum wage if you hire hourly workers.
  10. Maintenance. The business landscape has become very dynamic. It is crucial to anticipate shifts and be proactive in your response.

There are of course other points of interest that could be included in the annual checkup partly due to the nature of your business. I hope though that these provide a starting point for reviewing the health of your company and help you identify deficiencies if any and/or continue along the path of success.

Salomie Chung, MBA

Inspiring Infinite Possibilities