One of the first steps you will take when preparing to grow your business is conducting a Growth Audit. This process allows you to evaluate your strengths and weaknesses before adding the stress of growth activities. Listed below are questions you will need to ask yourself for the audit. Growth Audit Questions Answer each question, Yes or No. Note any comments.
- My business plan is current and accurately describes and prescribes business activities in sufficient detail for daily operation and lender requirements.
- The goals of the business are known by all constituencies: partners, board of directors, investors, lenders, accountant, attorney, vendors, etc.
- Management, marketing and financial decisions are made with frequent reference to my business plan and goals.
- My plan guides business expenditures and when exceptions are required, they are documented.
- Periodic reviews allow explanation and control of deviations in goals and planning.
- Documentation allows me to evaluate the success of marketing and advertising expenditures.
- My advertising plan effectively allows my firm to communicate with its intended target market and outlines media and creative decision making.
- My marketing plan considers the needs of both existing and new customers in product development, promotion, pricing and availability of the product.
- An effective lead system allows me to profile my customers and their needs, and understand the source of leads, the source of sales, and the costs of generating both.
- Those who come in contact with customers on a regular basis have methods for telling management about customer needs, complaints and suggestions for improved products and services.
- Methods of generating repeat sales have been planned and implemented.
- Those responsible for marketing my firm work closely with those developing the business and financial planning.
- Systems of evaluating competitor's new products or services are developed and reviewed at least twice a year.
- Formal and informal communication methods allow all constituencies to regularly report opportunities and concerns.
- Employee policies are established, known by employees and assure legal compliance.
- Employee policies, benefits, insurance and training procedures are reviewed at least annually.
- Job descriptions and organizational charts have been developed. The latter allows communication to flow from the bottom up as well as from the top down.
- If subcontractors are used, their tasks are clearly defined, written documentation of their scope of activities is in file, and all legal requirements are met.
- Policies, record keeping and employee training allow the business to continue operation without interruption regardless of illness, vacation or other absence.
- Motivational methods, remuneration, and management style is sufficiently effective to limit turnover.
- Time management and productivity analysis is used to improve operations and is included in all employee performance reviews.
- Equipment and facility are maintained and effective record keeping allows management of the maintenance.
- Technology changes in production and office equipment are systematically reviewed.
- Inventory control procedures are established and can be expanded as growth develops.
- Supplier relationships are established, and are evaluated for price and service on a periodic basis.
- Shortages of industry wide materials are monitored and reported.
- Product and service quality is maintained and evaluated according to industry best practices and benchmarking techniques.
- The professional responsible for record-keeping and financial statements is knowledgeable about sources of financing.
- Financial statements are prepared in a timely manner and are used to diagnose positive and negative conditions affecting operation.
- Tax records and regulations are updated and documentation stored for convenient retrieval.
- All information required for business valuation is retained and updated.
- Established cash management techniques allow effective monitoring of accounts receivable, customer payment and deposits, collections, etc.
- Credit policies are established and enforced for all customers. Financial stability is established before credit is extended.
- Payment policies allow the firm to take advantage of discounts offered by vendors.
- Cash not required for operations invested.
- Fixed and variable costs are reviewed and updated periodically.