Business owners and managers spend most of their time monitoring operations and dealing with everyday problems. But just as an annual checkup from your doctor helps monitor and manage your personal health, an annual checkup can do the same for your business.
Here are seven checkup tasks that you should make time to do every year. These are important for your long-term business health and personal success:
1. Review your business insurance coverage.
Don’t just automatically write a check to renew your insurance policies when they come due. Instead, you should sit down with your insurance agent every year. Review your business operations, focusing on any changes. Discuss types of risk that could arise. And ask about new developments in business insurance.
2. Look at your business tax strategy.
Consider adjusting taxable earnings for the year, perhaps by accelerating expenses or delaying income at year-end. If you’re a cash-basis taxpayer, you could boost 2017 deductions by declaring and paying bonuses in December rather than in early January. Also, you may be able to defer invoices or make early purchases to reduce your 2017 tax bill.
3. Survey your customers.
An annual customer satisfaction survey is a great way to assess performance, get insight on potential new products or services and to let your customers know how much you value their business.
4. Determine your marketing effectiveness.
Are your current methods and channels working well, or are you simply doing what you’ve always done?
5. Update succession planning for your business.
Review your succession planning annually. You should have a specific plan for each key manager position, including yourself. Be prepared for a short-term absence or a permanent vacancy. Your plan may include promoting from within or recruiting externally.
6. Review your business banking relationships.
Every year you should go over your cash balances and banking relationships with your controller, CFO or accountant. Then meet with your banker. Ask about new products or services that could help your company. Address any service concerns or problems you might have had. And look for ways to boost interest earned and improve cash flow.
7. Update your personal estate planning (if needed).
If you’re a business owner, your company is likely to be a significant part of your estate. Your company, your personal circumstances and the tax laws are continually changing. You should take time each year to make sure your plans are current.
If you are serious about improving your business, consider an assessment of your operation.