31 Questions Every Business Owner Should Ask

Be sure to go through each and every question because asking yourself and understanding these questions and determining their answers are secret ingredients for ensuring you’ll be a boss forever (or at least however long you choose to be).

1. How frequently do we attempt to discover or seek out new revenue streams and ways to increase profit?

2. Do we have a policy about protecting key client, vendor or products lists and other proprietary information?

3. How often do we prepare periodic performance reports or plans around our key activities? (Key activities are activities critical or a company’s success.)

4. Are employees involved in providing solutions to problems and ideas for improving productivity and quality? If not, how can we get them involved?

5. How often do we prepare market studies?

6. Do we have a marketing plan? If so, do we discuss in our plan the resources we need to:

  • Implement the plan,
  • Identify responsibilities for implementing the plan,
  • Specify expected results and
  • Provide for a way to monitor activities and results?

7. Do we have a pricing policy? If yes, how often do we review our pricing policies and are they documented?

8. How are the sales, billing, A/R and collection policies documented and followed?

9. Do we have a sales campaign targeted at former customers?

10. How frequently do we review our advertising and sales promotion programs for cost and effectiveness?

11. Do we have a cash management program to help maximize cash receipts? If yes, do we discuss:

  • Timing on preparing invoices
  • Timing on mailing invoices
  • Due dates
  • Finance charges
  • Frequency of deposits
  • Use of idled cash

12. Do we use an inventory management system? If yes, does it include at least the following:

  • Reports on inventory shortages
  • Reports on quality problems
  • Receiving reports
  • Physical inventory counts
  • Quality control
  • Shrinkage control
  • Bills of materials
  • Cost control elements
  • Review of variances

13. Are we seeing an increase or decrease in demand in specific products or services? If yes, what do we think is driving the directions of these products or services?

14. Do we need to implement a cost-reduction program? If yes, do we need outside assistance?

15. Do we use our relationships with our suppliers to improve any of the following:

  • Product quality?
  • Pricing?
  • Delivery?
  • Research and development?

16. Do we compare vendors when making purchases?

17. Do we have a policy for handling quality control, reject or return-to-vendor situations?

18. Do we have a risk management plan?

19. Do we have a specific employee compensation plan? If yes, does our plan consider:

  • A wage/benefit program that will keep employees, maintain employees’ satisfaction and sustain high productivity levels?
  • An explanation of employee benefits to our company’s objectives?
  • Optimizing business weeks and shifts to minimize overtime?
  • Compliance with legal restrictions on wages and hours?
  • Properly recognizing the distinction between employees and independent contractors?
  • Requiring an independent contractor agreement for independent contractors?

20. Do we provide job descriptions to employees to make them accountable and responsible for completing and reviewing work?

21. Are our employees cross-trained to minimize confusion on terminations and vacations?

22. Do we provide a formal employee performance evaluation system?

23. Do we have an appropriate relationship between sales revenue and the number of employees/salespersons or their compensation?

24. Would it be more efficient to contract out production rather than making the necessary investment in capital assets and labor to do it in house?

25. Will we need to change facilities or renovate current facilities in the near future?

26. Does we frequently prepare cash flow forecasts to determine our cash needs?

27. How should we manage idled cash? Should we:

  • Invest in short-term, risk-free government securities?
  • Pay down debt?
  • Reward employees?
  • Reinvest in new equipment?

28. Is financing readily available?

29. How frequently do we need to evaluate our long-term financing needs?

30. What kind of economic indicators do we monitor, such as employment data, CPI, demographics, interest rates, etc.?

31. Are there any pending or recently enacted tax, legal or regulatory changes that should concern us?

Aren’t these a lot of questions? These are actually just the tip of the iceberg, but even with a full work schedule, these are the questions you should be considering as a business owner.

So now you’re probably wondering, “how can I manage answering these questions with a full workload?” That’s where Chris McCauley, Founder of Whizkins,
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At Whizkins, we’ve designed an online hub for entrepreneurs to help you not only answer these questions but also boost margins, lower operating costs, mitigate risks, make more money, find new revenue streams and opportunities and more!
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