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Making Time For A ‘Health Check’

Over the last few months, physical health has been top of mind for millions of Americans. Unfortunately, New Year’s resolutions haven’t been the main driver of this unprecedented focus on our health and well-being. Instead, it’s the coronavirus pandemic that’s motivated many people to think about how they can protect themselves from infection and make their immune systems stronger.

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I bring this up because, as a shop owner, you should be putting just as much thought into the health of your business, on an annual basis. It’s an important process to help ensure that you don’t miss the forest for the trees, as the old saying goes.

“There are big-picture items and small – yet important – details that can get lost in the everyday goings-on of a shop,” Rick Schwartz explains in an article for Tire Review, a sister publication of ShopOwner. “Taking time to examine these areas annually will create not only a smoother-running operation with a sense of direction, but also a nimble company – one that is in a good position to take quick advantage of opportunities as they arise.”

Making time for an annual business “health check” forces you to take care of things that you otherwise might procrastinate or avoid altogether – such as getting your financial records in order.

According to Schwartz, some basic elements of an annual business health check might include:

Financial records – Have at least three years of historical financial statements available in hard-copy and electronic format, plus supporting documentation.

Succession plan – A succession plan lays out what happens to the business once you’re out of the picture.

Market analysis – Have a written market analysis that includes current information on your geographic market, an assessment of your competitors (and potential threats) as well as opportunities for growth.

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Business plan – If you’re looking for tips on creating or updating your business plan, there’s an excellent two-part video series on the ShopOwner website (posted in January) that can help.

Just as many people see their physician for an annual checkup, it makes all the sense in the world to do the same for your shop. Once a year, I encourage you to step back from the day-to-day grind and assess where your business is – and where you’d like to see it go.

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