How to Carry Out a Business Health Check on Your Business

Most business owners would really love to be able to understand if their businesses are realizing their full potential or not. The problem is that they cannot see the wood for the trees. They get so close to the business they can no longer be objective about what works and what does not work.

How To Carry Out A Business Health Check On Your Business

Those with some dollars to spare will often hire a management consultant to come in and take a look under the hood. However, there are bad as well as good management consultants and it is difficult to know if you are going to get value or not before you have written a sizable cheque. So what are the other options?

How To Carry Out A Business Health Check On Your Business

Have you ever considered carrying out a root and branch review of your business yourself? Would you know where to start? Are you confident that you would ask and answer all the hard questions objectively? Would you know what the hard questions are? Would your staff give you honest feedback?

How To Carry Out A Business Health Check On Your Business

In general, businesses can be split into separate functional areas such as finance, production/operations, sales, marketing, and logistics, which can be examined one by one. So, do you analyze one department or function at a time? Can you identify the need for changes or will you continue to do things the same old way because you have always done them that way. Have you got the confidence to identify what your business does really well and then build on this inherent strength?

How To Carry Out A Business Health Check On Your Business

The questions seem endless. However, you can approach the business health check in a more systematic way. You just need to know what the key areas for analysis are. Different consultants will do it in different ways. I tend to view a business under 28 core headings. Within each heading, a thorough analysis is required and you need to formulate all of the right questions to ask yourself and your team before commencing. The 28 headings are as follows:

* Management
* Staff
* Strategic Relationships
* Opportunities
* Challenges
* Funding
* Competition
* Business Goals
* Execution Ability
* Key Strengths
* IT Infrastructure
* Management & Use of Information
* Business Risks
* Operations
* Pricing/Margins
* Customer Care
* Product Offering
* Marketing
* Credit Control
* Key Performance Indicators
* Financial Performance & Management
* Communication
* Business Planning
* Sales
* 36 Month Question
* What CEO/Owner thinks is missing
* CEO/Owner’s Background & Experience
* Core Values/Vision/Mission/Objectives

Work with your team, or a family member or friend if you are working alone, to brainstorm what is going on in all 28 areas of your business. You will notice that there is not a distinct functional split in this model but that it is a mix of business activities and management function. This allows you to capture cross-functional imperatives.

You may not personally have all the answers but someone on your team or amongst your extended family and friends can help you complete the exercise, once you are prepared for total honesty from them. Be sure not to shoot the messenger.

Niall Strickland is an MBA with more than 20 years of business and management consulting experience working with entrepreneurs in small and medium companies. He can provide a list of more than 200 well targeted questions across all 28 key areas to allow you carry out a detailed health check on your business without hiring a consultant at

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