Look before you leap! This is the sixth article in the series A CEO’s Guide to a Healthy Business.
Have you noticed that your annual health checkup starts with your health history? Even if you want advice for next steps, you won’t get it without first looking back.
You have to assess where you are today by noting your family’s health history, your current health status, and your current habits and patterns. All that added together gives your physician essential data for a diagnosis and next steps.
We can follow the same pattern for assessing business health. Looking back at your company’s performance history can reveal problem areas, strengths, and untapped potential. Stepping forward starts with looking back at your financial markers to see where you are today. Let’s look at looking back from a few different angles.
WHEN YOU SHOULD LOOK…
Just because you do an annual year-end review (you do that… right?) doesn’t mean you need to wait until year-end to see if your business is looking financially healthy and strong.
Officeheads recommends a quarterly review because it builds a pattern for reflection, allows time for course correction, and gives opportunity to refocus on goals. Details from each quarterly review can be logged and tracked so by year-end, you have all the data ready for a full 12-month analysis.
AS YOU LOOK…
Whenever you do take time to look back, start with your key financial reports. The fifth article of this series, titled “Business Intelligence for a Healthy Business,” points to these three:
- Profit & Loss
- Balance Sheet
- A/P and A/R reports
Look at the data these reports provide and then compare your results to your goals for the year. See if you are on track to achieve everything you outlined. Note unexpected successes. Review why you missed the mark on the sales you expected to generate.
In addition, as you look at your reports, be sure to seek expert advice. Your tax accountant, growth advisor, or financial management strategist will help you assess the information from different angles and what that means for your business’s health.
Here at Officeheads, because we have both financial managers and a CPA in-house, we are able to provide a full assessment of your financial health status. Their combined, strategic outlook gets the jump on potential trouble within your financial system—and that means your business can move toward greater health more quickly.
WHY YOU LOOK…
Looking back takes time. It takes mental energy. It takes courage to face reality. This is what healthy businesses do.
But healthy businesses don’t look back just for the fun of it. There’s a reason to engage in the process!
Healthy businesses look back and then use the data collected to plot next steps toward achieving their goals.
Healthy businesses look back so they can make informed decisions for a financially healthy future.
That’s the tough part, really. Making a change to achieve greater health is difficult, for individuals and for businesses. That’s why you need to keep your why—your goals—front and center. You’ll need your vision to keep you focused and able to pivot as needed.
One Officeheads client was having trouble reducing credit card debt. Although they loved to spend their extra cash (profit) on new and exciting projects, they made a commitment to put this on hold to embark on a 12-month credit card payoff initiative. Every month we provided them a pretty chart that showed their progress, which was motivating for them to keep going. It was a big celebration when their debt hit zero! They also had more profit than expected, because they didn’t have to make huge interest payments every month (which went toward the new and exciting projects).
Your business can step into greater health by taking the time to look back first. If you aren’t sure how to get started, we can help! We come alongside CEOs and business owners to make sure you have a process in place for reviewing where your business is, where it came from, and where it’s going next. It’s part of our signature 5-gear financial management approach. Get in touch with us today to see how the team at Officeheads can lead your company into a healthy 2023 and beyond!